As the name ‘Geotag’ suggests, it involves a geographical location to something like a status update, a tweet, a photo or something else you post online. Now a days it becomes so useful, because lots of people is now sharing their memories in the social media when they are traveling. So they’re not always in one specific location all the time like we used to be back in the day when we could only access the web from a desktop computer. With the help of geotag it is very easy to detect the user’s current location, so that he/she should not manually enter his/her current location.

What is Geotag?

Geotag is a process of adding geographical identification or geographical information metadata to a various media, like: photos, videos, SMS, MMS, Facebook posts, Instagram photo/video, Twitter tweets, etc.

The data usually consists of coordinates: latitude and longitude. Sometimes it may also includes bearing, altitude, time stamps, distance, place names, etc.

Geotag Techniques:

Geotag is based on positions and coordinates and is often directly taken from a global positioning system (GPS). The geographical location data used in geotag will, in almost every case, be derived from the global positioning system, and based on a latitude/longitude-coordinate system that presents each location on the earth from 180° west through 180° east along the Equator and 90° north through 90° south along the prime meridian.

Geotag Photos:

There are two major options for geotag photos; capturing GPS information at the time the photo is taken or “attaching” the photograph to a map after the picture is taken.

In order to capture GPS data at the time the photograph is captured, the user must have a camera with built in GPS or a standalone GPS along with a digital camera. Because of the requirement for wireless service providers in United States to supply more precise location information for 911 calls by September 11, 2012, more and more cell phones have built-in GPS chips. Most smart phones already use a GPS chip along with built-in cameras to allow users to automatically geotag photos. Others may have the GPS chip and camera but do not have internal software needed to embed the GPS information within the picture. A few digital cameras also have built-on or built-in GPS that allow for automatic geotagging. Devices use GPS, A-GPS or both. A-GPS can be faster getting an initial fix if within range of a cell phone tower, and may work better inside buildings. Traditional GPS does not need cell phone towers and uses standard GPS signals outside of urban areas. Traditional GPS tends to use more battery power. Almost any digital camera can be coupled with a stand-alone GPS and post processed with photo mapping software, to write the location information to the image’s exif header.

Geotag Formats:

Geotag formats, GPS coordinates can be represented in text in a number of ways:

[-]d.d, [-]d.dDecimal degrees with negative numbers for South and West.12.3456, -98.7654
d° m.m′ {N|S}, d° m.m′ {E|W}Degrees and decimal minutes with N, S, E or W suffix for North, South, East, West12° 20.736′ N, 98° 45.924′ W
{N|S} d° m.m′ {E|W} d° m.m′Degrees and decimal minutes with N, S, E or W prefix for North, South, East, WestN 12° 20.736′, W 98° 45.924′
d° m’ s” {N|S}, d° m’ s” {E|W}Degrees, minutes and seconds with N, S, E or W suffix for North, South, East, West12° 20′ 44″ N, 98° 45′ 55″ W
{N|S} d° m’ s”, {E|W} d° m’ s”Degrees, minutes and seconds with N, S, E or W prefix for North, South, East, WestN 12° 20′ 44″, W 98° 45′ 55″

Source: Wikipedia

Advantage of geotag something on social media:

The major advantage of geotag a location on social media is that it can give your friends and followers your exact location. For example, suppose you’re drinking coffee at starbucks and you want to post this on your facebook status with the location. Here the geotag comes into action, it’ll detect your location and help you post this.

Popular social media that supports geotag:

Almost every popular social medias has now implemented the geotag feature on their websites and applications. Here is the list of popular social medias that support geotag:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • WhatsApp

Geotag standards in electronic file formats:


With photos stored in JPEG, TIFF and many other file formats, the geotag information, storing camera location and sometimes heading, is typically embedded in the metadata, stored in Exchangeable image file format (Exif) or Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) format. These data are not visible in the picture itself but are read and written by special programs and most digital cameras and modern scanners. Latitude and longitude are stored in units of degrees with decimals. This geotag information can be read by many programs, such as the cross-platform open source ExifTool. An example readout for a photo might look like:

GPS Latitude  : 57 deg 38' 56.83" N 
GPS Longitude : 10 deg 24' 26.79" E
GPS Position : 57 deg 38' 56.83" N, 10 deg 24' 26.79" E

or the same coordinates could also be presented as decimal degrees:

GPS GPS Longitude : 10.40744 
GPS Position : 57.64911 10.40744

SMS messages

The GeoSMS standard works by embedding one or more ‘geo’ URIs in the body of an SMS, for example:

I'm at the pub geo:22.6520,88.4463;u=16

Geotagging with Android Smartphone:

By default, the camera application on your Android smartphone has the ability to add GPS coordinates to the image file, but there are a few settings you have to change for this feature to work correctly:

1. Go to your Android device’s home screen, then press the “Menu” button. Tap “Settings” to access the settings menu.

2. Drag your finger up the screen to scroll down the phone’s menu until you find the “Location” option. Tap the “Location” option to continue. Note that on some Android devices this may be labeled “Location and Security.”

3. Tap the option labeled “Use GPS Satellites” to place a green check mark next to it. This option must be turned on for the geotagging option to work.

4. Press the “Home” button to go back to the main screen, then tap the camera icon to launch your Android smartphone’s camera.

5. Tap the “Menu” button once the camera application loads, then tap the “Settings” option. On some Android cameras, this option will simply be a small cog icon.

6. Scroll down to “Store Location in Pictures,” or “Geo-tag Photos,” depending on your OS version, and tap that option to put a green check mark next to it. Tap “OK” when you see a message telling you that the GPS function needs to be turned on. Your photos will now be geotagged with your location as long as your phone can get your position from the GPS satellites.


Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information from a device. For instance, someone can find images taken near a given location by entering latitude and longitude coordinates into a suitable image search engine. Geotagging-enabled information services can also potentially be used to find location-based news, websites, or other resources. Geotagging can tell users the location of the content of a given picture or other media or the point of view, and conversely on some media platforms show media relevant to a given location.

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