Using simple media devices to work with GeoSpatial Technologies

The images below are presenting different aspects of the ongoing wildfires in BC in 2017.  Each photo has a a story attached to it, but all of them can be made use of with GeoSpatial software – such as what we will be using this semester. This tutorial is a short session designed to ensure your accounts and access are set up for the semester as well as introducing some of the concepts and themes we will be delving into for the course.

Elephant Hill Fire
Mount Robson
Loon Lake

Steps for GeoTagging your photos and looking at them in Google Earth.

Privacy concerns with the use of data collected – i.e. your cell phones

Scott has proposed a concept that Aliens are inspecting the Earth and are trying to decide how to exploit us, but they cannot get a handle on our supreme leader – Google.  There are of course other players in the web based digital age, and all collect information from willing users.  This may be true, but willing users may be better define and unwitting users.  Let’s discuss this unwittingness and look at some links as well.

Google “Data Retention
Google says it will not mine emails anymore
Google and location information

IPhone “Privacy for Location Services
Phone User Data
Apple Privacy Policy
Apple Locations Policy

Setting your phone to use locations for photos

Set your mobile phone up to use location services.  Be aware that this opens you up to be tracked by the operating system (Android/Google IOS/Apple). 

Below are the general steps for iPhone
– Open settings
– Hit Privacy
– Choose Location services
– Choose the Camera App
– Set permissions to allow location access to “while using the app”.

Below are the general steps for setting location services for Android
– Open settings
– Find the location setting and turn it on
– Open you camera app and check its settings – turn on locations (sometimes called location tags)

Collect some photos

Head out during the week and collect some photos. Collect them in a variety of places.

After you have collected a bunch of photos, move the photos to your own computer. It may be easier to email the picture to your UNBC account (any email account will work as long as you can download them to your computer). Place the photos in a location you can easily find, as we will use them next week in tutorial.

Convert the photos to KMZ files (Google Earth)

You do not have to carry out this section, as we will carry it out next tutorial, but can always try it out anway.

Download and install Google Earth ( by choosing the desktop version

Download GPSPrune ( download gpsprune_20_java6.jar version) from: You do not have to install the software (you will just have to click on the file you downloaded)

You will need JAVA installed on your computer to run gpsprune ( If you do not feel comfortable installing JAVA – no worries we will use GPSPrune on osmotar next week.

Use GPSPrune to create a file for use in Google Earth (KML)
– add photos (Photos –>add photos)
– Convert to KMZ (File –> export to KML –> click on KMZ compression-

Open Google Earth and look at your handywork.