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Add geotagged photos to your web map

Geotagged photos contain the stored location of where the photo was taken in the image Exif data (metadata). There’s lots of ways to geotag photos; you can capture the location when you take the picture using GPS-enabled cameras, you can use the location capabilities of your device (e.g., phone or tablet), and you can use tools like those found in Flickr to geotag photos after they’ve been captured.

While you can’t drag and drop or otherwise add geotagged photos directly to your web map, here are a few ways to add geotagged photos using a few simple intermediate steps.

Use a Story Map Tour

An easy way to add geotagged photos to a web map is via a Story Map Tour. The Map Tour builder lets you import photos from a variety of locations directly into your map, including Flickr. Flickr also enableds you to geotag your photos if they’re not geotagged already. Once your geotagged photos are in a Flickr album, it’s easy to add them using the Map Tour builder. See Using Flickr photos in a Story Map Tour for all the details.

Follow the steps in the post to add your geotagged photos. When finished, not only do you have a Story Map Tour, but behind the scenes the Map Tour builder has created a map with a point layer named Map Tour layer, using the location of each geotagged photo.

The layer includes the URL to the photo and links to the photo locations. Below we’ve opened the unconfigured pop-up to display the raw information.

Finalize your web map by changing the layer name, symbols, and configuring the layer pop-up. Below is the same location shown above, with a properly configured pop-up.

Now you’ve got a web map displaying your geotagged photos.

Use Flickr and KML

If you use Flickr to manage and showcase photos, another way is to create a KML file pointing to your Flickr photos. Flickr, at one time, provided the ability to export geotagged photos to KML, but it no longer does. However, using a 3rd-party tool described in Turn geotagged Flickr Albums into KML you can create a KML that shows the location of each photo on the map (using the photo as the symbol), and points to the Flickr source for displaying larger versions of the photo.

Follow the steps outlined in the posts. Once the KML has been generated, add the KML by going to My Content and choosing Add Item, then From my computer.

Click Choose file

And browse to the location of the KML, complete the required details, and click Add Item.

Once the item has been created, you can click to add the KML to a new or existing web map by opening it in the map viewer.

Shown below is the KML layer added to a new web map. Note the small versions of the photo as symbols, and the nicely configured pop-up.

Create a CSV of photo locations

A third way to add geotagged photos is to create a CSV file containing the extracted X,Y locations (from the Exif) of the photos along with the locations of the hosted photos. Once you’ve created the CSV, you can drag and drop the CSV onto your map, or publish a feature layer using it as the source.

Once added to your map, the layer pop-up can be configured to display each photo in a similar fashion as described above. Note that you’ll need to host your photos at some web-accessible location, or use social or cloud-based photo hosting.

This method, and one geotag extraction tool, is covered in A Tip For Adding Geotagged Photos To ArcGIS Online Webmaps. You can find lots of other alternatives via online search.

More information

This post was originally published on August 14, 2013, and has been updated.

About the author

Tech evangelist and product strategist at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping users succeed with the ArcGIS Platform. On a good day I'm making a map, on a great day I'm on one. Follow @bernszukalski or email


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