Archive for the ‘EveryTrail’ Category

Everytrail to Pattaya

January 6, 2010

I made an Everytrail version of my railway journey from Bangkok to Pattaya on New Year’s Day.

You can view the trip at http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=458559. I also embedded a slide show on my Google Pages site at http://sites.google.com/site/thebkkphotographer/home/by-train-to-pattaya. It’s below the PicasaWeb slideshow.

I stopped using Everytrail because it does not import my pictures from Picasa Web Albums as it says it is doing. It links to them. That means as I delete old albums to make way for new ones my Everytrail trips lose their pictures.

EveryTrail Import Selected=

EveryTrail Import Selected Photos

I won’t delete this album from Picasa Web.

Everytrail has improved its user interface since I last used it. I think it is a great idea. I think it is hard for them to make money other than with Google ads. Maybe the business plan is for somebody to buy them.

EveryTrail Pattaya Trip

EveryTrail Pattaya Trip

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My Most Interesting Photos

November 12, 2009

I found a use for my Google Sites web site!

I found a free (the Bangkok Frugal Photographer likes free) mashup service called iMapFlickr that can plot geocoded pictures from a Flickr set on a Google map.

iMapFlickr is in the new Flickr App Garden. I think I can waste spend weeks there playing experimenting with different toys tools.

I tried creating one from my set of fifty Most Interesting Flickr photos.

WordPress does not let you embed iMapFlickr maps in their blogs, but Google Sites does. So I created a page for this purpose. It’s here.

This is a static link to my map on the iMapFlickr site.

Google Sites edits the code I copied from iMapFlickr and pasted into its HTML editing box. They must have worked out a trust arrangement. That’s not suprising since iMapFlickr uses Google Maps. Of course Yahoo owns Flickr so it is an interesting example of the openness of these mashups. I love it.

I remember we had a similar vision of integrating separately developed applications over 20 years ago in HP with New Wave and the Distributed Application architecture (DAA). (Thank you Joe.)

It’s great to see the ideas realized, although in a completely different implementation. (Cruder of course – we were perfectionists and thus totally un-commercial).

I’m not sure if the map updates automatically when the tool regenerates my Most Interesting set every 24 hours. In other words, is it dynamically linked to the set, or statically to the pictures that were in the set wehn I made the map? Some experiments are in order.

I stopped using EveryTrail because it does not import my pictures from Picasa Web as it implied. It links to them. I have to delete pictures from Picasa Web to make space for more so my EveryTrail maps eventually become meaningless. Or at least photo-less.

Flickr does not delete your pictures, even for a free user like me. It hides all but the most recent 200 but you can still find them if they are in Groups.

I use another service to generate my Most Interesting set: Dopiaza’s set generator. I’ve been using it for years – it must have been one of the first external Flickr Apps.

Flickr is so huge and open programatically that it attracts this ecosystem of external apps and tools. I still don’t understand how anybody makes money like this but it is definitely a clever idea.

EveryTrail Drawback

September 17, 2009

I had a shock when I looked at my trips on Every Trail. One of them was missing its pictures!

I worked out what happened. I imported the pictures from my account on Picasa Web. But I had to delete them from Picasa Web when I ran out of space. I took the word “import” to mean that Every Trail copies the pictures to its server. But no, it is only a link. So if the pictures disappear from Picasa Web the Every Trail trip loses them.

It makes economic sense for Every Trail to do this: let Google pay for the image storage. I did not see any warnings about this and Every Trail shows the trip with the little “link broken” icons where the pictures should be.

That’s a disappointment.

Evening Walk

September 17, 2009

I didn’t have time to go out during the day in Wednesday. I enjoy my Bangkok walks and get antsy if I don’t go somewhere and take some pictures.

There were rain showers in the evening but nothing serious so I decided to have an evening walk around a safe, well-lit area. Central World is the obvious, if unimaginative choice.

Bangkok Central World at Night at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community

I started from Siam (Central) Skytrain Station and walked along the overhead walkway to Central World at the Rachaprasong Intersection.

Then I walked around the whole shopping “lifestyle” complex. I used the Canon EOS-30D camera with the 28-135mm image stabilized lens. I set the camera to 1000ASA. That’s quite acceptable with the SLR – definitely not with a Point-and-Shoot.

I found it was good to bracket exposures by plus or minus 2/3 of a stop. Many good sights had a single bright light that fooled the camera’s metering. A more scientific approach is to use spot metering. but digital film is cheap so it was easier to bracket and select the best in Lightroom / Photoshop.

I could do more work and build a pseudo-HDR image from the best areas of each shot. I didn’t use a tripod but with the camera on fast “motor drive” I was able to take three almost identical shots.

I enjoyed the walk. Bangkok is so lively at night. At the end of the walk I stopped by the stairs to Siam Station. There were food stalls everywhere with people eating noodles and rice. It was a very different scene from the tourist oriented street commerce during the day.

I only got hassled by touts once – outside the Intercontinental Hotel. “No – I don’t want a one hour tuk-tuk ride for 10B thank you very much.”

I find that if I say “no thanks” in Thai the touts are less persistent than if I speak to them in English. They assume I am a local and leave me alone.

Request Too Large

September 14, 2009
EveryTrail Bug

EveryTrail Bug

This is annoying. I have been building trips on Every Trail for my walkabouts in Bangkok.

It does not say there’s a limit on how many photos you can import. But if you import too many (how many?) the web server throws up. You’d have thought they’d have caught that in testing.

Still – I like EveryTrail. It’s a great idea. A well done trip makes the place come to life. It’s one of those “I wish I’d thought of that” ideas. Simple but effective.

But – I cannot see how they make money by advertising alone.

My latest walk through the back sois of Pathum Wan is on EveryTrail.

Bangkok Pathum Wan – Chula Sois at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community

Geotagged Photos to EveryTrail (2)

September 4, 2009

Here’s my “simple” method of getting geotags from my photos into a form that EveryTrail accepts. See here for why I need to do this.

I keep all my photos in a Lightroom database. My principal camera, the Nikon Coolpix P6000 adds geotag information to the photos whenever it can. For photos that aren’t geotagged I use Jeff Friedl’s add-in for Lightroom.

EveryTrail accepts tracklog information in a format called GPX – GPS Interchange Format. It’s XML with a defined schema. I found that I can use the LR/Transporter add-in for Lightroom to export a file in the correct format.

Here’s a screenshot of the LR/Transporter screen I use.

LR/Transporter Export Settings

LR/Transporter Export Settings

There is a standard header that defines the file then a line for each photo giving the latitude, longitude and date/time. Finally there’s a standard footer.

There’s no need to export a file per image in LR/Transporter – the summary at the end suffices.

You don’t need to export the actual photos – you can use LR/Transporter to export the metadata in this format my selecting “Export Metadata Using LR/Transporter…” from the Lightroom “File…Plug-in Extras…” menu.

Note that if you use Jeff’s GPS plugin you must write the shadow GPS data back to the file’s EXIF using the instructions in the add-in.

Here’s an example of the file produced by LR/Transporter:

GPX File from LR/Transporter

GPX File from LR/Transporter

The only problem is that EveryTrail expects dates to be in mm/dd/yyyy format and this export is in dd/mm/yyyy format.It would be great if LR/Transporter let you specify the date format.

It’s easy to do a global edit to change that before presenting the file to EveryTrail.

Notepad ++ Date Replace

Notepad ++ Date Replace

You wouldn’t believe how much easier this is than the multi-step approach I tried before using two file format converters. Thumbs up to LR/Transporter!

Yesterday’s Walk

September 3, 2009

Bangkok Charoen Krung & Across the River at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: Share GPS Tracks.

This is my latest Bangkok Walking Tour created with EveryTrail. It uses my latest camera -> GPS Interchange File (GPX) export routine.

The animated slide show on the EveryTrail site is very cool. Check it out!

A Better Idea

September 2, 2009

Last night I prepared a long blog post explaining the complicated process I developed for getting tracklog information into EveryTrail from my geocoded photographs.

After writing it I had a better idea which I tested this morning. It worked well. I will trash the old post and document the simpler process.

New Every Trail Trip

September 2, 2009

I created a new Every Trail trip from my Circumnavigation of Hua Lamphong Station, Bangkok.

Around Hua Lamphong Station at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: Travel Community

EveryTrail Hua Lamphong Trip 2009-08-31

The process is sufficiently involved that I am too lazy to do it very often. That’s not Every Trail’s fault – I don’t have a GPS device so I have to emulate one using the geotag information from my photos.

The Big Draw of a GPS Run – NYTimes.com

August 20, 2009

The Big Draw of a GPS Run – NYTimes.com.

I have been plotting maps of my travels on Picasa Web using the geotagged photos from my Nikon Coolpix P6000 and geotags that I added to pictures I took with other cameras.

For example, here is a map of a walk I took around Benchasiri Park in Bangkok.

PicasaWeb Map 2009-08-03 2

There’s a lake in the middle of the park but the Google Map does not show it.

I never thought of planning a route as a piece of art and then “drawing” it with my pictures such as is described in this article. It’s a nice idea, although I’d probably end up under a tuk-tuk or falling into a canal as I tried to follow my planned route precisely.

I looked at the site EveryTrail that is mentioned in the article. I was thinking of plotting my trip from Bangkok to Mahachai, Samut Prakan by train. I noted that they only have one Thailand train trip in their library. Wow, something new I can play with!

However …

EveryTrail’s assumption is that you have a tracklog file produced by a portable GPS unit. I don’t know the details but I think it is fundamentally a text file that includes a date / time and a lat/long pair.

With EveryTrail you import the tracklog and they plot it on a map for you. Then you can add photos later.

But I don’t have a tracklog, I just have the geotagged photos. Thus it’s hard for me to use EveryTrail. They give users a third option of plotting the route by hand, but where’s the fun in that?

It would be great if the Nikon Coolpix P6000 produced a tracklog. It only tells you where you are when you take a picture. GPS units produce tracklog entries continuously. That’s how the PhotoTrakr works.

Now, if the Nikon Coolpix P6000 was an open system, perhaps running Android, then I could get an app that enhances the camera’s functionality. But no, the Nikon is a closed system so that isn’t an option. Annoying.

The other approach is to make a tracklog from a set of geotagged photos in Lightroom.

I can use the LR/Transporter addin to process a set of files and write a summary file with the GPS information. It does not understand Jeff Friedl’s shadow GPS data, but it’s an Export plugin. Thus I can use Jeff’s “GPS Injector” to put the data into the file for LR/Transporter to extract.

Then I have to use a couple of utilities to get the file into a format that EveryTrail understands. I am experimenting with a utility called “GPS Utility” that will read a CSV file and export a file in GPX interchange format.

Then I can import that to EveryTrail and Bob’s your uncle!