I have ~2700 photos from my recent trip to Antarctica. All but a few dozen were taken while on the ship, and the GPS track of the ship is known. The few that were taken off ship were within a three mile radius while deploying the ITP. If you don’t have a ship recording your GPS for you, you can get simple GPS systems for less than $100, or even a few $10s of dollars on eBay. The TrackStick is good for this type of project as it does not have a screen or realtime outputs.
I wanted to geotag all my photos by adding the latitude and longitude to the JPEG EXIF data. I was going to code it as the algorithm is quite simple (for each image, get the creation time, find the GPS location nearest that time in the GPS list, and add the (lat,lon) coordinates to the image), but not surprisingly this problem has already been solved. Repeatedly.
Three steps are required.
- Convert your GPS data into GPX format. If you are comfortable on the command line then use gpsbabel. If not, then go here for a web interface to gpsbabel. If you need help post in the comments. If you were on NBP09-01 a GPX file of our cruise is here.
- Add the GPS coordinates to the image EXIF tags. There are many tools that will take a GPX or NMEA file and add latitude and longitude coordinates to your photos. I use gpicsync and photoGPSEditor looks nice too.
- Output KML files. gpicsync does this for you, and has a list of other software that might help here. You can also upload your photos to Picasa and get a KML file that way (instructions).
The end result might look like this.
It turns out with 9 days left I have some unused email quota, so those of you reading this get to see some pictures from the last six weeks. This one is from the end of the ITP deployment.
Don’t expect much variety. There are only a few things I can photograph down here: Boat, Ice, Light, Penguins, People, and Water. Or if you prefer by quantity instead of alphabetic: Light, Water, Ice, Penguins, People, Boat.
According to Woods Hole (WHOI), the ITP is online and data can be viewed in near-realtime:
Approximate ITP Location: lat:-74.0017 lon:-109.002
Yesterday was different. We parked the boat in some fast ice (ice locked to land) and had an ice party. We put out the gangplank and were allowed off the boat. Penguins came over to inspect us.
The reason for this was we needed 12 hours to deploy an Ice Tethered Profiler (ITP), and Ice Mass Balance (IMB) system, and take an ice core. The ITP sits on multi-year ice that will hopefully last another year or two in the current location. Hanging off the ice/buoy is a 750 m tether and a small robot that once a day climbs up and down the tether collecting oceanographic data. Each day it communicates via an inductive modem to the surface base which sends it home via Iridium modem. You should be able to see the buoy we deployed here: http://www.whoi.edu/itp
The ship crane lowered several hundred pounds of equipment onto the ice including a snowmobile. A route was scouted almost three miles away from the boat, and we towed all the gear out there. The ITP deployment design allows two people with just a wrench and a screwdriver to deploy a ~ 400 pound anchor and ~750 m cable (also weighing hundreds of pounds). Photos will come later.
While we set up the ITP another team installed an Ice Mass Balance system. The IMB is a sensor suite that measures approximately the top meter of water, the ice and snow from water to air, and then the top meter of air. It gives a complete picture of the ice-ocean-atmosphere interface. Couple that with the ~800m data from the ITP and it is quite an impressive data set.
It was nice to get off the boat for 10 hours and to do some hard physical labor. And while we worked we watched the nose and gigantic soft black eyes of a seal that used our ice holes as a breathing hole.