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How to batch geotag your photos using Free Software and OpenStreetMap

If you like shooting and collecting pictures, you might be interested in geotagging your pictures. More and more software can use such geospatial metadata information for categorizing and visualizing these pictures, for example in an interactive map. Today, on I love Free Software day, I show you a way how to batch geotag your pictures with OpenStreetMap and Free Software only.

Geospatial metadata, together with time-stamps, seem to me to be the most important meta-information a picture can have. It is extremely helpful in organizing pictures, for example to cluster pictures that have been taken at the same location but at different times. Personally, I always need this data whenever I upload my pictures to Wikimedia Commons, as it asks me during the process about the geolocation of these pictures. Before, each time I had to look up the data individually on OpenStreetMap and fill in the information manually. Pretty fast, I got bored of this and I was looking for a way to write this information automatically into my pictures even before uploading.

One solution to this is a GPS-recorder built-in or attached to the camera. Unfortunately, very few cameras come with a GPS-recorder built-in and additional GPS-modules are a way too expensive for most hobby enthusiasts. Fortunately, there are software-solutions, that enable you to use just any other device which is able to capture GPS-tracks and then later merge this recorded geo-information with your pictures taken.

For sure, there are multiple ways to do this. In this blogpost, I will show you how you can do this with a smarthphone, OpenStreetMap and Free Software. All you need is:

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Put Freedom into Firefox OS marketplace

Firefox OS Marketplace logo
Firefox OS Marketplace logo
My main interest towards Firefox OS derives from the fact that it is Free Software and that it is by Mozilla, an organisation that knows about the importance of free software and that fights for an “open web”. They also don’t hide that Mozilla heavily relies on Free Software technologies.

Given this background and the market share of Mozilla software – this leads me to the idea that Mozilla can play a crucial role in spreading software freedom into the mobile world and the world of connected devices. Even more as Mozilla publicly announced that they like to use Firefox OS as a Pivot to Connected Devices to

explore and prototype new use cases in the world of connected devices as an open source project with a clear focus on the user benefit and experience.

I like to argue, that a clear benefit to the user experience would be to easily find and use Free Software inside Firefox OS and therewith support Mozilla’s idea of “Open Web”. With the upcoming “internet of things”, it will be crucial that the people are in control of the technology and the devices that surrounds them. And as one simple but effective step towards that vision, I propose that Mozilla has a clearer information policy inside the Firefox OS market place. Please, add some information or label to make finding Free Software an easy thing. Make the use and the promotion of Free Software a concept inside Firefox OS, it’s market and add-ons. This would be a true benefit for the user.

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My first impressions using Firefox OS 2.6

FirefoxOS - PR logo
Update: After feedback from the community I updated some information using quotes.

Thanks to @ensowhat, I am now taking part in Mozillas Foxfooding program with a Sony Xperia Z3 and Firefox OS 2.6 by Mozilla. While I am testing Firefox OS, I will share my experiences in dedicated blog posts.

Here is some general feedback after my first hours:

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I love Free Software: OsmAnd

Today, like every year on Valentine’s Day, the FSFE is running its “I love Free Software” campaign: a day to show and celebrate your love for Free Software. That is why I take my chance today to thank the developers of OsmAnd for all the work they are doing!

Last year in summer, I was doing a bicycle trip for some days through the northern part of Germany, especially through the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte and along the Baltic Sea. Generally, when I am on bicycle trips, I prefer to cycle aside from roads and motorways but along the paths, the hiking trails or even dirt tracks. That was exactly the time, when I fell in love with OsmAnd, a maps & navigation application for Android systems.

This is not just because it gives me the ability to use Free Software with really good maps for navigation. This is especially because you can download any maps of the world (as long as you have enough space to save them) whenever you like (While you are on Wifi, e.g.) and use it afterwards completely offline. For example, when you go to some foreign country, you can download the entire map of this country before and then enjoy a complete maps&navigation system without the need of having internet access or having to pay any roaming charges for internet access. Or, like in my case, when you cycle long distances through landscape (where you miss power plugs as well as network connectivity most of the time) you can stay in flight-mode all the time and keep on cycling with navigation for days. In addition, the maps are really good and detailed and you can see even tiny hiking trails to follow. You can also set your own favorite points on the map, without having to fear that these favorite points will be send to or tracked by any server – as you are using it offline.

Last, but not least, you can download OsmAnd from F-droid, the Free Software App Repository, so you can use all OsmAnd features on an Android based operating system without the need of any Google account.

In short: Dear OsmAnd developers, thank you very much for this useful app. Keep the good work going, I love you guys!

#ilovefs everywhere

Today is the day to show your love for Free Software. Here is my message:

I love Free Software because it is in the very heart of a 21st century society that respects the rules of privacy, autonomy, democracy, participation and the freedom of speech.

(Just to list a few of its countless good characteristics)

I would love to see this message going out to the people that decide on our daily lives, our legal and educational framework. By promoting and using Free Software, they have the chance to set up the roots for a truly interconnected and transnational society. Hence, my message today is addressed to all of you in the European Parliament:

European Parliament celebrating #IloveFS

Description: The European Parliament celebrating and promoting Free Software – for a Free Society. Licensed under CC 3.0 BY-SA