Prague and Vienna… Here we come!

We are leaving for Prague and Vienna sooon! I can’t wait. You have no idea how excited I am.

Let’s see.

Passport… Check
Money… Check
Heavy winter clothes… Check
Camera… Check
Tickets… Check
Everything else… Check!

We’re ready to go!

Be sure to follow along with our Itinerary here!!

It’s almost like you’ll be there too!

As I said before, I’m going to be geotagging all our photos, but that probably won’t be done till we get back in the states. I’ll try and keep updates here daily, but in case we don’t have internet access I will just post them all once we are back.

And let’s hope the Riots in Prague are over with by the time we get there! Why are there always riots in the cities I want to visit!

We’re out!

GeoTagging Photos on a Mac

UPDATED: 2008-01-22 (GPSPhotoLinker)
UPDATED: 2008-03-26 (iPhotoToGoogleEarth)

In short:

The Long Story

I’ve recently got very excited about Geotagging photos. I’m getting ready to head off to Europe for a couple weeks, visiting both Prague and Vienna. I wanted to be able to track where we go in the cities. My past couple trips, including Berlin and Paris, I always get back and start trying to comment on my photos and I no doubt have trouble remember where in the city they were taken!

So this time, I want to be able to geotag them all. Needless to say, I don’t have the money to spend on a DSLR with built in GPS support, or even a DSLR that can support an external GPS unit. So I have to find a way to tag my photos from my trusty Canon Powershot SD630.

I started off with a Garmin Forerunner 201, which I borrowed from a guy here at the office. I used it for a few days of tracking my driving, it seemed to work pretty well, but it had trouble acquiring the satellites fast enough. It would take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, which just isn’t fast enough for me. Also, I was afraid that when in Europe it wouldn’t be able to hold a whole days worth of tracks.

There were a few other issues with the device as well. First, I could not find ANY software to work with it on my Mac. Even GPSBabel couldn’t seem to find it. Second was that the windows software only exported in Garmin Training Center (.TCX) file format. After some searching I was able to find a website that could convert the files to the correct GPX file format, but this would require that I have internet connection while in Europe. Which is not a guarantee.

So, this weekend I went out and bought a fairly cheap used Garmin eTrex Vista. I didn’t need or want anything too fancy. The maps, etc are unneeded. Plus I’m going to be attaching it to my backpack, so I don’t want anything expensive in case it gets stolen while in Europe.

The device so far seems to be working pretty well. It acquires signals in just a few minutes, and can hold 10,000 track points.

As for the Mac Software, I’ve found tons of software out there, however none of it seems to actually work!

For transferring the data points from the Garmin device to my Macbook Pro, I have found the best solution to be GPS Babel. It was able to easily and quickly find my GPS unit and then transfer the trackpoints off into the correct GPX file type data.

From there, I then was able to find Photo GPS Editor. It’s a pretty straight forward interface with a really nice wizard. It even gives you the ability to select a location on the map and set that as the starting point. It will then try and find the correct information for the pictures.

My major complain with this software is the “Offset”. Probably because I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be setting here. It seems that no matter what I put there, things are “close” to where they should be, but not quite correct. I know I’ll probably never get it EXACTLY on where the pic was taken. But still, I think they should be closer then where it’s being shown. IE. I have a picture of the “Fairfax Exit” on the I-10 freeway here in LA. The Photo GPS Editor is putting that picture as being taken about 2 miles past where it was actually taken at (2 miles north on Fairfax from the I-10).

I’m also very confused by the listing of the GPS unit’s data. It shows that there are 8 different track logs with many different points each. So I don’t quite understand what those all mean.

I’d been playing around with GPS PhotoLinker before I moved over to Leopard. However now it doesn’t seem to start (Something about a missing perl module). I have emailed the developer and he says it’s a known issue and should be fixed shortly. (UPDATE: The developer has been actively releasing beta versions that work on Leopard. Check out the site here.) UPDATE:// I have been using this software for a while now that it’s working on leopard and it works great! This is by far the best software to use!!!

Lastly, I tried out ImageIngester. At first the interface is very confusing and has way too much going on. It’s in some serious need of a redesign. However! I found at this software actually worked the best out of all of them!

Even though this software is very cumbersome in the design and not very intuitive (I’m not really going to go into what should be changed here), it was relatively easy to actually get the photos tagged with GPS data. The first thing I did was go to “ImageIngesterPro” and click “Switch Mode”. This disabled a lot of the advanced features which are useless for this experiment. Second, was to click the “Tools” option and select “GPS Input” to enable the use of GPS data.

Here the Offset stuff is much easier to change. I knew that my GPS and my camera were both set to Pacific time and I knew that my camera was an hour faster then my GPS. Under the option for “Camera Time Adjustment” I changed it to remove an Hour.

Next, click the “Choose” button to select your photos, then click “Start”. It was that easy! ImageIngester did all the rest.

Some of the other software I’ve tried has been:

  • GeoTag – This was a really nice software, however it only works on Windows because there is no Java 6 build for the Mac yet.
  • GeoTagger – This software wouldn’t even start on Leopard
  • HoudahGeo – This software seems nice, but it crashed my Mac every time I tried to export to Google Earth (which is something I really want to be able to do!). I’ve emailed the developer, but he’s been unable to resolve the issue at this point. (UPDATE: The developer has emailed me saying this will be fixed in 1.3, I have yet to try it out, but I am looking forward to giving it a shot tonight)

Now, as for getting things onto Google Earth. I was hoping for a quick and easy solution here. And Sure enough, there’s one available… That is, if you still have iPhoto 6. It’s called iPhotoToGoogleEarth. It’s supposed to export directly from iPhoto to a Google Earth KML file format. Of course, I no longer have iPhoto 6. Again, I emailed the developer and he is unsure when a new version will be available. So off I go to find a new solution.

UPDATE://iPhotoToGoogleEarth now works with iPhoto ’08! Great news and it appears to work great!!

The guy who wrote ImageIngester also wrote a nice blog entry about how to do this with some simple PHP. However, this is not exactly what I was hoping for. It’s a great way to do it, but I want people to download a KMZ format file and open it in Google Earth Locally. (And hopefully have a link back to the full size image online).

It seems that Picasa is the best solution, but last I checked it’s still only for Windows?

So far it looks as though I am out of luck on this issue. I’ve spent countless hours searching the web, perhaps I’m googling the wrong things, but I just have not been able to find anything! If you have any suggestions, let me know!

There’s a great article on GeoTagging on Wikipedia.

geotag kml mac
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The other day I was stumbling and found this thing called “Flash Earth“. Basically it takes all the different satellite sources out there and merges them into one. So I looked up the area behind my parents house… Yahoo has the oldest maps, back before they started building that giant horrible golf course. Then check out Google. It’s so sad that they took all the wonderful farm/forest land and turned it into hundreds of ugly cookie-cutter houses.

Along the lines of maps. I found a Google Blog post about the wildfires here in Southern California. The Maps offer a really neat look at there areas that have burned, evacuation data, etc.

As you all know, my trip to Europe is coming up quick, and we all know I love taking pictures. However, I _HATE_ having people in them. A while back I found this neat way to do it in photoshop, but it was very manually intensive. The other day I found a site called “Tourist Remover which does it for you! I can’t wait to get back from Europe and try it out!

I’m sure you’ve all heard it already, but Dumbledore is GAY!. It’s amazing what the right wing is doing about this. Get over it people, it’s a FICTIONAL person! My god, who cares!

I was also reading the other day about how some woman’s husband was riding in a porsche going over 100mph that slammed into a concrete wall… She sued of course and won 4.5 Million!. Just redic. The guy even signed a waiver! He voluntarily participated in a dangerous event, he KNEW the risks when he started! WTF was this woman thinking. And she’s just putting even MORE grief on the family of the driver who also died because they are paying 49% of that 4.5 million! UGH!

This story also reminds me of another article I read in which a woman was $135,000 in CC debt, spent $400 a month on Starbucks, had 3 cars and SIX kids! I just don’t see how people get into this kind of mess! How can you be so freaking stupid and live like that? I currently have $1,400 in CC debit, of which I could EASILY pay that ALL off in just a couple days… But it still freaks me out that I even have any money on my CC!

The other night Constantine and I watched Mrs Henderson Presents. It was a very interesting movie! I thought it was very funny. I highly suggest going to watch it.

Last night I had my meeting with the Admissions Counselor at the CSU Long Beach for an MBA. Anyways, it seems like I should be able to get in with no problems as long as I do well on my GMAT. The only issue is that I’m not sure I want to be in Cali long enough to get it. Because we’re looking at starting NEXT fall and then a min of 2 years after that. Perhaps I should just stick it out, do my MBA here, then as soon as I am done I will look for a new job and move. Because I am sure that my current company won’t have any use for my MBA nor will they be able to pay me enough to support it. We shall see. I am going to work on filling out the paper work today, I bought a prep book for my GMAT so must start on that. My goal is to take it in early Feb. Filing deadlines is March 30th!

Tonight I will be cleaning my apartment, then tomorrow we are having “Ghetto” dinner party! I can’t wait!


LA’s on Fire!

Seriously! These fires are everywhere now! I heard that the three different ones up in the canyon country are going to be merging into one huge fire in the next day sometime.. The smoke is getting crazy. It smells like a HUGE camp fire around here. The sunset last night was very pretty though because of all the smoke. I’ve uploaded a few more pics to the photodump.

It’s really sad that all this is happening, but the reporters need to get a grip. Seriously, 24 hour a day coverage is just too much. Not enough changes to really make a difference. Break in when there is updates, have steady updates every 10 or 15 minutes, but continuous live coverage is just ridic. The reporters also need to be a little more put together. IE, yesterday morning I was watching MyFoxLA and the reporter broke down crying because her church burned down the day before. Ok, yeah it’s sad that your church burned down, but you are supposed to be reporting on the issue, go interview someone to cry about the church burning down. Then she went on this 10 minute rant about how the flames are close to her house. Then the cut back to the studio and the guy is like. “And she just went through this 10 years ago when her house burned to the ground”.

Check out this picture from below:

I have marked in red dots on the large one the areas that I am in. 🙂

Also, if you have google earth check out this file.

Lastly, Check out some of the videos at

Idyllwild Camping Trip!

Well I’m back, sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been crazy busy with work and being out of town and what not.

So anyways, last week was very busy for me, 12 hour day on wed again. Getting things done with work, but it just keeps piling up now….

Thursday night Constantine came over and we packed up the rest of the stuff for the trip and then watched The Journey of Jared Price. It was a HORRIBLE movie. The only thing good about it was the hot sex scenes. Basically everyone has sex at one point. Except the old blind woman. haha. I do not suggest renting it though.

Friday we all packed up at 1 and then waited for Mok to get there. He got to my place about 2 and we all headed out. Of course there was traffic, but not near as bad as last time! I had to sit in on a really boring conf call during the drive up there and I felt bad for the rest of the people in my car. Got to the camp site about 5:30 or 6ish which was just perfect. The camp ground was beautiful and there weren’t very many people there.

So we unloaded and then made dinner which was Walking Tacos! Very yummy! 🙂 After that we all just sat around the camp fire talking and eating Smores and drinking and what not.

Saturday morning we got up and made breakfast, then headed out on a 7 mile round trip hike to Suicide Rock and back. It was a really cool hike! Lots of climbing on the way up though. But the view from the top was WELL worth the work to get up there. Soo pretty. We all spent about 30 minutes up at the top enjoying the view and the breeze. Headed back down and got back to the camp site about 2ish. Ate lunch and then we all showered. After that we were all too tired to really do much else so we headed into town (within walking distance) and checked out the shops and stopped at this crazy woman’s natural food place. I had something called the Strawberry Delight. Which basically tasted just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the bread. It was kinda gross, but I didn’t want to throw it out infront of her cause she said it was her favorite drink!

After that we headed back to the camp site and made dinner, which was delicious! The Corn bread and the Apple cobbler turned out PERFECT! I was amazed. It’s so rare that my dutch oven food turns out that perfect! That night we spent the night hanging out in the camp site chatting it up again. The stars were beautiful all weekend!

Sunday morning we got up and made breakfast and packed up the camp site. Headed out of there about 10ish I think. We got back to LA at 12:30 which was great time, no traffic or anything! Although my car did start to make a strange sound when braking hard. I really need to get rid of it! I just don’t know what to get or how much I should spend!

After that Constantine and I headed to this Chinese place here in RB. I’d never been to it, but we thought we’d check it out. It’s called Seashore Chinese. They have a lunch menu daily from 1-3pm! The place was filled with asians so you know it’s good! 😀 We had plenty of stuff left over for dinner tonight!

From there we came back to my place and took a 2 hour nap and then watched My Own Private Idaho. Which was just a CRAZY fucking movie! He spent the night and today I am back at work. UGH to 5 day weeks. I’m not sure I can do this! haha.

Pictures from the weekend are here