Collector - Geotag attached photos

12-08-2014 07:51 AM
New Contributor III
In Collector, when attaching photos to a feature collected in the field, no GPS EXIF data is recorded in the file on both iOS and Android platforms.
It would be useful to have the geotag data in addition to the location from the feature photos are attached to. I collect many linear feautures, for example, and it is useful to know where along the line a photo was recorded. Geotagging also records the direction the camera was facing, another useful datapoint.
I was about to submit an idea when I stubled upon yours and the merged ideas.  I would like to maybe take this one step further.  I love using the Theodolite App by Hunter Research on my iOS device (iPad Air II).  The app has everything I need; coordinates, azimuth-bering , horizontal angle, elevation angle, time stamp and more.  Even has the ability to send an email of the photo with all the data embedded and a kml file.  I believe it has an exif file as well.  I would live to see a Collector option that alows me to automatically link and take the picture using the Theodolite app and attach the file within Collector.  I dont want to get out of collector to take a photo in Theodolite then open collector and attach the file.  I want a bridge between the 2 apps to use them concurently.
We are starting to use Collector more and more, but this issue has really slowed down our data processing on the back end.  Out of the synced Collector feature classes, we extract photos and catalog them in Sharepoint.  To do this we have some python scripts and FME workbenches to extract the coordinates from the feature, then create it in the EXIF for the downloaded photo.  Just founf that the Date Taken is not created by collector also, so if you don't have editor tracking turned on in your feature class you have no source for that data either.

The work around for all of this is to use a photo app to take the picture, then add it from the library in Collector, but this has caused a lot of confusion with users and the data has not been collected consistently.  Users don't want to keep opening and closing apps in the field.

Please incorporate the basic EXIF including GPS (photo angle would also be great) to Collector before it becomes a show stopper.

Larry Wiebe
Manitoba Hydro
As a User, I want to retain all of the EXIF data so that I can get more accurate location information about where the photo was taken.
  • GPS Longitude / GPS Latitude
  • GPS Img Direction / GPS Dest Bearing
  • GPS Speed Ref / GPS Speed
  • etc.

This will then allow me to run some python scripts to extract this information (if available) and allow me to symbolise on bearing to show the angle of the photopoint.


I also am hoping for GeoStamped images and a compass with in the open map environment.  
I just duplicated a post below, cause I agree with them all. We need this extended Geotagging info

In addition to the location and direction of the photos, date and time are other key pieces of info that should be included in an exported photo.

I saw that the August 2016 release of Survey123 treated the stripping out of EXIF data as a bug which was resolved in this release with additional functionality on how to stamp the location into the photo:

In previous versions of Survey123, a limitation caused EXIF metadata to be stripped from photos submitted. We’ve done more than fix this bug, as the photo capture page now has enhanced location features.
In the upper-right corner of the photo page you can now see a location icon, the same as would be familiar from geopoint questions. If this icon is visible at all, it means that your device has a location sensor, and so where you take the photo will be captured within the image. Pressing the icon will refresh the location; this is a good choice for when you want a specific location, but have moved while taking the photo.

Seems appropriate for Collector for follow suit?


Yep, excellent idea.  I'd like to see this available... or even the ability within Collector to specify which camera app is used?


For our organization, we take a photo at every site. At the end of the field season, we then upload the photos to a provincial database. We have found a few issues with the way Collector manages photos on iOS.

1. Currently, the photos are stored in the geodatabase. It's a bit of a process to get the photos from the geodatabase so that we can save them in a folder on our computers, so that the photos can easily be uploaded to the provincial database. 

2. Once the photos have been extracted from the geodatabase they then have really complicated identifiers that we need to deal with in order to figure out what photo belongs to what site. This is such a pain that we have opted to not collect photos using Collector. 

A few things that would be very helpful for us include:

1. Collector saving the photos to the iOS Photo Gallery. This is how photos are saved in Android but not in iOS.

2. Having the photo names associated with date/time or even better, allowing the user to set how the name is stored using a combination of the fields. For example, the site ID and the date/time.

3. Geotagged information (GPS location, image direction)


I agree that this part of Collector can sure be improved. Retrieval of the photos from the SDE server usually requires higher level GIS support. Collector should provide the option to store the photo to the internal device camera roll, even if it’s not the default setting.


We have worked around this by adopting a methodology where we always take the photo on the iOS device using the standard Camera App on the device, which sends the image to the Camera Roll. When attaching the photo in Collector, we choose the option “Choose From Library”.


This still gets stored in the SDE server with the rest of the new point information, but also allows the ability to download the photos from the camera roll in the traditional way. The SDE stored image remains linked to the online map and the images downloaded from the iOS camera roll are stored unlinked on your network using the standard iOS naming. It is still quite a chore when you have many photos to rename.

In either case, the GPS values and image direction are stored in the header image file, assuming that the iOS or Android settings are correct to enable this. I have had survey party chiefs come back with the whole days photos having no GPS values because they didn't check the setting.

To handle the issue of having to rename the photos to be able to know where they are located, we use the ESRI ArcPhoto Extension to insert all the photos in a folder onto an ArcMap session, then turn on an aerial underneath that.


Hope that helps.