Let’s say you stumbled across an amazing picture on the internet and want to find out where the picture was taken. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t have a title and description which makes your job even more difficult. Is there an alternate way to find a picture’s location ? Yes, there is way to find where a picture was taken if the picture is Geotagged.
To understand geotagging, we need to talk about something called as an EXIF metadata.
What is EXIF data and how it can be used to find where a picture was taken
Do you know that every picture you click from your digital camera or smart phone contains a lot more information than you think it does ? You will generally find the information such as the camera model, focal length, aperture, shutter speed etc associated with the picture. In addition to this, the images that are saved in a JPEG format on your digital cameras and smartphones also have a metadata. This metadata in stored in a EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) format.
The EXIF format contains the geographical location of the images which can help you find where the picture was taken. Most of the smartphones and digital cameras have a built-in GPS receiver now a days. When an image is clicked, the location information is stored in the EXIF metadata. This information may not be visible in the picture but certain softwares can be used to extract this information. Some examples are the popular image editing softwares. The location is stored in the form of geographical co-ordinates i.e. the latitude and longitudes.
This process of adding the geographical information to the image is called as Geotagging.
How to find where a picture was taken using the EXIF data ?
Before we begin, let me inform you that the digital cameras that don’t have the gps receiver will not have any metadata, hence no location information will be saved in your pictures. Most of the smartphones will capture images with geo tagging if the location feature is enabled.
So, lets assume that the picture’s location that we were trying to find earlier is geotagged. You need to follow these steps to find where the picture was taken.
1) Head over to Jeffrey’s Exif Viewer. This is a free online tool that you can use to find a picture’s location.
2) You are given two options here. Either you can specify a link to the picture or you can upload one from your computer. There is a huge list of file types that are supported and you may cross-check on the file format before uploading a picture in order to find where the picture was taken.
3) After you submit a picture by choosing an option from the previous step, you will be able to view all the details about the picture including the picture’s location. You will also be able to locate the picture on a map with the geographical details. The tool also shows you which direction you were pointing at while taking the picture !
In the above screenshot, I clicked the picture from my Nexus 4. Since the location feature was enabled, you can see the geographical co-ordinates where the picture was taken. (A part of the coordinates have been removed for privacy)
This tool is the easiest way for you to locate where a picture was taken using the EXIF data. Remember that you won’t be able to find out the picture’s location is the EXIF data has been removed from the image. For any queries you can always drop a comment in the comment section below.
Now you know how to find where a picture was taken !