From TOI-Pedia


Concept MapTools

MapTools is designed to give the user the possibility to easily create layered maps which can be shared with others and published online. A layered map can be anything from a sketched building plan to a realistically rendered street profile to a Google Map with gps tracks, geotagged images and videos and superimposed analytical drawings.

Project status

MapTools is currently in the initiation phase.

To create layered maps with Google Maps the user will need to create gps tracks and geotag images and videos. This manual explains this procedure. As the MapTools application is still under construction this manual also describes how to publish the maps on a blog as temporary solution.


Geotagging gear.jpg

For this tutorial you need:

  • a gps tracker (this tutorial uses the Sony GPS CS1)
  • a photo camera
  • a video camera (optional)
  • a Google account (to use Picasa web, YouTube, Google Maps and Blogger)

GPS Tracker

"The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the only fully functional Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Utilizing a constellation of at least 24 Medium Earth Orbit satellites that transmit precise microwave signals, the system enables a GPS receiver to determine its location, speed, direction, and time." (source: Wikipedia - GPS)

A GPS Tracker is a GPS receiver that records it's position at a certain time. The Sony GPS CS1 is a basic tracker which is very affordable. The CS1 only has the option of switching it off and on. A green light blinks twice every second when it's searching for a signal. When it's recording it blinks once every two seconds. The CS1 has no display so you can't see your coordinates while you are tracking. The data is saved in a .log file.

Synchronizing your gear

In order to geotag your photos your camera needs to be able to safe the time when the photo is taken into the photo's EXIF data. This is generally the case for every digital camera. The time a picture is taken must correspond to the time the coordinates are saved by the GPS Tracker as geotagging software uses the time from the picture and looks in the track file to see what your location was at that time. The GPS Tracker uses GPS time. Make sure you set the time of your camera before you start geotagging. It's difficult to set the time of your camera exactly to GPS time, but you can use or type in your location + the word time into Google search and you will get the time in UTC format.

When your done with tracking and start geotagging you might find that your pictures aren't taken exactly at the point you've taken them. This can have two reasons. The Sony GPS CS1 has a deviation up to about 10m. This is something you can do nothing about except buying a more advanced GPS Tracker. The second reason for the positions being off is that the time set in your camera does not exactly match the GPS time. The simplest way to fix this problem is by determining how far you where off your actual location in minutes / seconds. And change your camera time settings accordingly. For instance if you notice that your picture is shown on the map at a point where you actually were 1:30 minute earlier, your camera is 1:30 behind on GPS time, so you should set your camera time 1:30 minute forward.

Geotagging your pictures

Geotagging, also referred to as geocoding, means the labeling of media with geographic coordinates. Or in other words saving a location into for instance a picture or video. For pictures the coordinates are saved in the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data. The coordinates can be inserted into the picture manually using an EXIF reader. When using a GPS Tracker however geotagging software can be used to tag the pictures. A third option is using geotagging software in which you can store coordinates into a picture by pointing out the position on a map manually.

Geotagging software

A wide range of geotagging software is available online. When using the Sony GPS CS1 it is supplied with GPS Image Tracker. This program is only available for Windows. When using OSX a good alternative is GPS Photo Linker.

Geotagging with GPS Image Tracker (Windows only):

  • Start GPS Image Tracker .
  • Load in your track file via "log file list..." and then "add log files...". When your CS1 is connected GPS Image Trackers should load in your log files automatically.
  • Load in your pictures via "add picture files...".
  • GPS Image Tracker populates a list of pictures with their suggested coordinates. When now corresponding time can be found a question mark will appear in front of the image name. If you think this problem occurred because the tracker was off during this period or the problem is in the synchronization you can ignore this. When all your pictures get have this problem check if the time zone settings correspond to the camera. To change the time zone settings go to "log file list...", select the log file and click "edit...".
  • Save the pictures by clicking "save all..." and that's it. Your pictures are geotagged.

Geotagging with Picasa2 and Google Earth:

When pictures are not or incorrectly geotagged you can tag them using Picasa2 and Google Earth before uploading them to your web album.

  • Start Picasa2.
  • Load in your pictures via "file > add folder to Picasa".
  • A field of thumbnails is populated. On the bottom right of a thumbnail a cross hair icon appears when a picture is geotagged.
  • Select the pictures you want to geotag or of which you want to correct the position.
  • Go to "tools > geotag > geotag with Google Earth"
  • Google Earth opens and you get a cross hair tool with which you can point to the new location of the active picture shown in the pop up in the bottom right.
  • When finished click on "done" to return to Picasa2.
  • You can now safe the pictures by selecting them and going to "file > save as..." or upload your pictures directly to your web album (see Upload pictures to web album from Picasa2).

Optimize pictures for web

Pictures taken with your camera normally have a high resolution and are sometimes uncompressed giving a large file size. To make images more suitable for the web it is suggested to optimize size and compression. A free software application that can do this and at the same time rename images is IrfanView.


  • IrfanView
  • PhotoShop (existing tutorial?)


  • resize
  • rename
  • image type
  • compression

Upload pictures to web album

When you have already created your album in the Picasa2 (offline) as explained in Geotagging with Picasa2 and Google Earth you can upload your pictures directly from here. Otherwise you can upload your pictures from Picasaweb.

Upload from Picasa2

  • Uploading from Picasa2 is simple. Right click on the album you want to upload and click "upload to web album...".
  • When login credentials are prompt use your Google account.
  • Select the option to either create a new album or add the pictures to an existing album and click "ok".
  • That's it. In Picasa in the bottom right of your thumbnails a green arrow icon will appear to indicate the pictures are uploaded.

Upload from within Picasaweb

  • Go to Picasa Web and login using your Google account.
  • Click "upload photos".
  • Select an existing album or create a new one.
  • Select pictures and click "start upload". (Notice that if you have a lot of pictures uploading will go much easier via Picasa2)
  • When pictures are geotagged Picasa will notify you and suggest to add a map. Accept this option.

Display pictures on map

When you have uploaded your pictures to your web album you can now create a network link to open your album in Google Earth or Google Maps and have your pictures displayed on their recorded location.

  • Go to Picasa Web and login using your Google account.
  • Select an album.
  • Click on "view map" in the "photo locations" frame.

To view the album in Google Earth:

  • click on "view in Google Earth".
  • select "save file" or "open" directly to view your album.
  • That's it. Your album is now shown on the map and added to "my places" in the navigation menu on the left.

To view the album in Google Maps:

  • Right mouse click on the blue icon left of "view in Google Earth". Then click "copy shortcut" (Internet Explorer) or "copy link location" (Mozilla Firefox).
  • Go to Google Maps.
  • Paste the copied url into the search field and click "search maps".
  • That's it. Your album is now shown on the map.

Convert your track file

Create KML / KMZ file:

  • online: GPS Visualizer
  • offline: GPS Babel

Upload your track file

Location? (spacelab server? see BlackBoard)

Display track on map

  • Google Maps
  • Google Earth?
  • Flickr?
  • Yahoo Maps?


Combining multiple KML / KMZ files

Google Maps API options?

Embed map in blog

To embed your map (with album and / or track displayed) into your Blogger blog:

Copy code from Google Maps:

  • Go to Google Maps and display your album and / or track as described before.
  • Click "link to this page".
  • Click "Customize and preview embedded map" in the pop up.
  • Set the map size and zoom and pan to set the default view.
  • Copy the code below "Copy and paste this HTML to embed in your website".

Paste code into Blogger post

  • Go to Blogger and login using your Google account.
  • Select your blog.
  • Click "new post".
  • Click the "edit html" tab.
  • Paste the copied code here.
  • Click "publish post"
  • That's it. Your custom map is now displayed on your blog.
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