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Nokia Beta labs has released an application for tagging photographs with GPS coordinates, with a view to embedding the technology into future versions of the S60 platform. However, few seem to realise that Nokia handsets are already tagging their pictures with a country of origin deduced from the cell location.

Digital photographs generally have additional information stored with them - there's even space in the JPG file format to store the EXIF information. Sites such as Flickr can be used to index all photographs taken using a specific kind of camera, for example, based on the information stored in the EXIF information.

The new application from Nokia uses the in-built, or connected, GPS to insert the longitude and latitude where the photograph was taken: which can then be mashed with Google Earth or similar in an update to the wall-hanging-world-map-with-pins that international travellers used to rely on for showing off their travels.

The application works well, though like all good Symbian apps it shuts itself down when memory is low leaving the user to start it up again when, and if, they remember. Clearly this is a work in progress, destined to become standard.

Anyone using Nokia's Lifeblog software will have already noticed that it tags photographs with a country of origin. That information isn't stored in the EXIF fields, however, but accompanies the photograph as it's synchronised with the desktop.

The quantity of photographs that one can take with a digital camera has made sorting them into an impossible task, so automated systems like this are essential for any kind of photo-album management. But with location information embedded in JPG files users might want to be careful what they're uploading to sites like Flickr, if they don't want the world knowing where they were as well as when. ®

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