How To Find Out Exact Photo Geotag Location Data

Geotagging refers to adding geographical information, such as latitude and longitude coordinates, to various media like photos and videos. This allows you to pinpoint the exact location where the media was captured.

The geotags are usually embedded in the metadata of the files. The metadata contains exchangeable image file format (Exif) data that provides additional details about the media, including the date, time, camera settings and location coordinates.

Why is Geotagging Useful?

Here are some of the main benefits of geotagging:

  • Organize media files – Viewing geotagged photos on a map makes it easy to browse and search for photos based on location. This is extremely useful for travelers and photographers.
  • Identify photo locations – By extracting the GPS coordinates from geotagged photos, you can view the exact spot on a map where the photo was taken.
  • Create maps and visualizations – The location data allows you to create maps, heatmaps and other visualizations that incorporate your geotagged photos.
  • Improve local SEO – Adding geotags can help boost your local search engine optimization (SEO) by signaling to search engines that your images are relevant for location-based queries.

Ways to Geotag Photos

There are several methods to geotag your photos:

  • Capture geotags automatically: Use a camera or smartphone that has built-in GPS to automatically embed coordinates as you take photos.
  • Log locations separately: Use a handheld GPS device or GPS tracking app when taking photos, then sync the location log with photos later.
  • Manually add geotags: Use software to manually assign coordinates to photos by entering locations or selecting points on a map.
  • Extract geotags from other geotagged photos: Software can copy location data from one image and apply it to untagged photos taken at the same place and time.

Checking if Photos are Geotagged

Here are easy ways to check if your photos contain geotag location data:

On Windows

Right click the image file > Properties > Details tab > Scroll down to the GPS section

On Mac

Open image > Click “i” icon > Check if GPS tab appears > View latitude and longitude

On iPhone

Open photo > Swipe up to view info > Map indicates photo is geotagged

On Android

Open photo > Tap menu icon > Tap Details > View location under Metadata

If latitude and longitude coordinates are shown, your photo has been geotagged.

How to View Photo Locations

Once you’ve confirmed the geotag data exists, here is how to find the actual location:

Enter Coordinates into Maps

Copy the latitude and longitude values from your photo’s metadata, then paste them into Google Maps or Google Earth search bars to view the spot on the map.

Use Geotag Viewers

Specialized geotag viewing software like GeoSetter and Jeffrey’s Exif Viewer display your photos overlaid on a map, allowing you to see the locations visually.

Check Social Media Location

If the photo was shared on social media, location tags may still be visible even if coordinates were stripped from downloaded versions.

Removing Sensitive Geotags

While geotagging has many benefits, location data could reveal private details you don’t wish to share publicly. Fortunately, geotags can easily be stripped.

Strip Geotags from Photos

Use software like ExifTool (Windows) and ExifCleaner (Mac) to remove GPS coordinates from your image files before sharing them. This removes the risk of exposing your locations.

Disable Geotagging on Devices

Turn off location access for your smartphone camera app or disable GPS on your digital camera. This prevents photos from being geotagged in the first place.

Be Cautious When Sharing

Review social media settings to disable location sharing. Be careful when publicly posting images showing home/workplaces. Cropping out recognizable landmarks also helps.

Expert Tips for Managing Geotags

As a professional photographer and visual content creator for over 10 years, here are my top tips for handling geotags:

  • Always geotag photos that will be used for local SEO or location-based marketing. Accurate geotags help connect images to nearby searches.
  • Consider stripping geotags from sensitive personal photos before sharing them publicly. Location data could reveal more than you bargained for.
  • When uploading entire photo libraries to cloud services, strip geotags first for privacy, but retain originals with geodata intact for your own organizational purposes.
  • Manually add geotags to older photos taken without GPS tagging for consistency across your library. Use maps to approximate locations.
  • Use batch geotagging tools to transfer locations instead of manually assigning coordinates. This saves enormous time when working with large volumes of photos.
  • Store geotagged originals, but create stripped versions of selected images to share publicly without revealing locations.
  • Use social media responsibly by reviewing posting locations and disabling location sharing options when necessary.

Following these best practices helps unlock the advantages of geotagging while also ensuring your locations remain private where appropriate.

Conclusion

Geotagging provides immense organizational and analytical benefits for managing photo and video libraries. Extracting precise spot locations and viewing media interactively on maps creates an engaging browsing experience.

However, location data also represents a potential privacy concern if revealed unintentionally. Fortunately, preventing sensitive information leakage is straightforward when following proper geotag management guidelines.

Understanding how to access embedded GPS coordinates, strip geotags when required, and responsibly handle location sharing will allow you to utilize these features to their full potential.