Geotagging features remind me where I took a photo when all my cemetery visits start to blur in my memory.
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I’m terrible at managing my photos. But I must do better, since my favorite photo subjects—cemeteries, and certainly tombstones—start to look alike after awhile. My most recent camera, a GPS-enabled Olympus TG-6, is a huge help in this regard.
My biggest challenge is keeping track of where photos were taken. I relied on my iPhone for this for a long time, until it wasn’t workable anymore. (I’ll spare you the technology agony.) I did my homework on GPS-enabled cameras that would take geotagged photos, and eventually bought the Olympus Tough TG-6.
The TG-6 offered several advantages beyond geotagging of course. It’s waterproof (good for Pacific Northwest), shock-proof (good for an active person), and bright red (so I can find it in my pack), and it’s got a compass feature and a logging feature too. Once I figured out how to set up the GPS on the camera itself I was in business.
It can take a couple of minutes for the camera’s GPS to get the location dialed in, so I continue my habit of taking a photo of the cemetery sign first, if I can. Once the satellite symbol is steady, photos are geotagged. If the satellite signal is lost momentarily, the coordinates aren’t saved with that specific photo, but I can generally look at the GPS coordinates on photos before and after. Of course GPS works best outdoors.
Back home, I can open an image in Preview (on MacOS) and choose Tools > Show Location Info. The More Info tab, GPS section shows the coordinates as well as a thumbnail map view. Here’s the neat Bridal Veil Historic Cemetery sign, made from a real saw blade (there was a mill at Bridal Veil).
I can open the location in Maps, or I can highlight the GPS data by clicking, then copy and paste it into a text file (or anywhere). Sometimes I edit the GPS coordinates in the text file and use them to search for the location in Google Maps or Google Earth.
The timestamp on each photo also provides clues as to when the location changed. On April 3, we visited Bridal Veil Historic Cemetery, then got coffee and lunch before going to the Eyman Cemetery in Carson, WA. The date/time change plus the cemetery sign plus the GPS info will all help me sort photos into the correct folders.
The geotagging feature has been especially helpful when I’ve added cemeteries to Google Maps. The geotagged photos I submit with a request to add a place in Google Maps helps get my additions approved a little faster. Because the TG-6 has built-in GPS I don’t need to tether it to my phone.
The TG-6 has an optional companion mobile app that can connect to the phone via Bluetooth and act as a remote control. I used the logging feature once to capture GPS points along a trail that I walked. The logging feature can be used when the camera is not active and logging can be turned on and off with an actual switch.
To protect the camera lens, since I often put my keys in the same pocket, I also purchased the Olympus CLA-T01 Conversion Lens Adapter for Olympus TG-1,2,3,4,5 & 6 Camera. It fits perfectly but is easy to lose track of, so I drilled a couple of tiny holes through the cap and made a “lanyard” out of fishing leader wire.
I also bought the Pickle Power battery charger with two spare batteries. It charges batteries fairly quickly when the USB cable is plugged into an adapter. The Olympus camera came with a USB charging cable which I sometimes use to charge the camera directly from the car’s USB charger.
I keep all the accessories in a Mead pencil pouch just like this one (same color as the camera). It stays fairly flat in the rear pocket of my backpack. (The camera itself goes in a grubby little bag I got at a yard sale.)
There are lots of GPS-enabled cameras on the market, but this one has been a good match to my needs and I haven’t destroyed or drowned it yet. I can recommend the TG-6 but regardless of brand preference, a camera with geotagging capabilities would be super helpful to a genealogist cataloging and photographing a cemetery.
Stump and Lamb explores personal growth and meaning via travels to pioneer cemeteries of the West. Posts may contain affiliate links.
This post was originally published at michellerau.com.