When Your Camera Knows Where You Are

State of the Art When Your Camera Knows Where You Are

By DAVID POGUE The New York Times June 26, 2008

"Any sufficiently advanced memory card," Arthur C. Clarke once didn't write, "is indistinguishable from magic."

But if he had written it, he could have been referring to the Eye-Fi Share card. It's a 2-gigabyte memory card ($100), compatible with most digital cameras, with a twist: it has Wi-Fi networking built in. Each time you bring your camera home to your wireless network, it transmits your photos back to the computer, automatically and wirelessly. It can also upload them to Flickr, Picasa or another online photo-gallery site, automatically and wirelessly.

What's the point? First, you're saved the trouble of finding and attaching your U.S.B. transfer cable. Second, you skip the multi- step hassle of manually uploading the fresh pictures to a photo-sharing site.

Finally, there's an enormous showoff factor, both for you and for the manufacturer. How on earth did they fit Wi-Fi circuitry into a regular-size SD card, which could hide behind a postage stamp?

In any case, this week, a new model arrives with an even more amazing trick up its sleeve.

You know how your digital camera gives every photo an invisible time and date stamp? Well, the Eye-Fi Explore ($130) card invisibly stamps every photo with where you took it.

That's right: photo geotagging has finally come to a camera near you. Noting what photo was taken where used to require either tedious manual data entry or expensive add-on gear. Now it comes cheaply and automatically.

Once on your Mac or PC, each such photo shows the city and state where it was taken. You can also click to view either a street-map view or an aerial photo, clearly showing where you were standing when you pressed the shutter button. At long last, technology has reached a point where we don't need to write "Eiffel Tower, 1988" on the back of the print as a reminder.


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