GeoTagging iTunes tracks

Filed under: Geotagging — geoLibro @ 4:27 pm

…sort of. I thought maybe there was a way to do this with ID3 tags — and perhaps there is — but I didn’t feel like reading about ID3 tags. Instead, I’ve got a solution worked out that is ugly, inelegent and largely Frankensteinian but is also simple and fast. Here’s how it works:

With Google Earth open and an iTunes track playing, I [use QuickSilver to] call up an AppleScript .app with the following code in it.


This will all be pretty obvious and obviously uses the Google Earth AppleScript support that Craig Stanton has put to work so well with GeoTagger and that was possibly first mentioned at OgleEarth. This shows up in the form of the GetViewInfo call, which pulls in coordinate pairs that later get dropped into a string that gets written to an existing kml file.

The peculiar part is perhaps the call to a perl script (just after the opening of the Terminal tell) that deletes the “/Document” and “/kml” closing tags at the bottom of the .kml file that were written by the previous tagging procedure.


So when this application runs, it takes the artist, album, track name, and track file path from the current iTunes track, the current Google Earth coordinates, and writes it all into that kml file. Obviously, if you haven’t manually positioned your Earth over the place you want to ascribe to your music file, you’re going to tag it with some random place on earth.

But why?
I guess because in part I spend a lot more time with music than with photos and while there is a lot less implicit geography in music files than in photos, I still like the idea of placing the music in its proper geospace. You could argue this, of course: every song had to be recorded somewhere, I am choosing not to tag based on the location of the recording. It just says a lot less about the song than do the locations mentioned, alluded to, described, or otherwise present in the text. This works out especially well for artists that tend to use a lot of geography in their songs. Tom Waits, The Kinks, Johnny Cash, even Leonard Cohen (though his are usually not so obvious within the songs themselves).

Anyway, it is painfully rudimentary, for sure; and if anyone wants to improve on it and make a legitimate software, let me know when it’s done. My guess is that a lazy ape could do better. My hope would be that this ape would add some contextualizing information (a dot in the middle of Kansas refers to all of Kansas for Casiotone for the Painfully Alone’s “Jeanne, if You’re Ever in Portland” or a very specific lat/long? Same goes for Portland in that same song.) A little jacket art wouldn’t hurt, either.




MetaCarta is Where It’s At

Filed under: Alternative GIS, Data Processing and Conversion, Geotagging — geoLibro @ 4:06 am

MetaCarta’s GeoTagger apparently does excellent, impressive, cool work on unstructured documents. The result of its awesomeness is geotagged xml with which one can do whatever one pleases. Make sense? I spoke to a sales rep from MetaCarta at the Indianapolis “What’s New with ArcGIS 9.2” seminar about GeoTagger and grilled him about what could be done. Not too many specifics from that, but then I got a call from the great MetaCarta themselves since I expressed interest. Unless they’re mean-spirited liars, GeoTagger does do natural language processing and does put out very useful xml and does handle versioned data and does include user-specified structured data (think MySQL tables) and does…do more still.

But today’s post is a leech off of Fantom Planet’s post about another slick product built on top of GeoTagger. It’s PageMapper, and you can think of it as a more invasive, more thorough GeoTagThings. Sounds like it’s a little lab-y still, but have you built such a system?


If You Have Google Earth Pro, Open It…

Filed under: Geographic Exploration Systems, GES — geoLibro @ 2:13 am

…Because the Movie Recorder and Shapefile Import tools have been made operable even for those who didn’t pay for it. OgleEarth’s RSS feed just announced it, and sure enough it’s true. You can even see a cap of a movie I just made below. And the shapefile import works, but so does importing a previously-rectified .tif (not rectified within Google Earth, but in ArcMap. See that one below, too.



MetaCarta Must be Where It’s At

Filed under: Alternative GIS, Geotagging, GISUI (GIS User Interfaces) — geoLibro @ 3:53 pm

So the most innovative GIS company extant today really is MetaCarta. Their GTS (Geographic Text Search) makes me very jealous and rue the day I didn’t somehow learn how to develop computer applications and run a GIS company and then think to combine both of them. It’s built on what they call a Geographic Reference Engine, which uses natural language processing to identify geographic references and their contexts within existing text documents. The output is legible from within Google Earth and ArcMap, but my guess is that it could be made to be read by almost anything that’s hip these days.

This is a big deal, if not in practice (I don’t know anybody who has purchased and/or used their GTS), then certainly as a proof-of-implementation that should be of interest to those institutions who are collecting massive amounts of text content electronically and then developing interfaces and other connectors. Say, like, Purdue University Libraries’ Distributed Institutional Repository.

MetaCarta also made GeoTagger, which is essentially a geocoder of existing text collections that outputs xml for use in other contexts.

Anyway, on to the buried lead:
FantomPlanet notes that MetaCarta now has posted an online georeferencing utility that allows anybody with an electronic, unreferenced map document to reference it to its proper place on earth using a series of user-selected control points. There are copyright considerations here, of course (uploading anything means anybody can use it), but at its simplest it’s further proof that MetaCarta gets what’s happening: geospatial information is infiltrating. It’s becoming a common point of access, a common perspective from which we access our documents of any kind. So we’re not imagining, we’re seeing our world of information become mapped, and become accessible by using those maps as interfaces. Not even analysis, which seems like the hangup for so long. That is, GIS for so long was a tool for analysis and data visualization. Now it’s a user interface as well, and librarians who have an interest in normalizing and logicalizing (uh, “to make logical”?) access to information should be pleased. I am, if you take “pleased” to mean “jealous.”


Google Maps and iPhoto (Yawn)

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoLibro @ 12:52 am

So everyone is aflutter about the Google Maps/iPhoto integration recently discovered within the iPhoto package. Ed Parsons discusses it, as does OgleEarth, and MactelChat. There’s even a MAKE entry that points to a YouTube how-to video. Oh, and the obligatory Digg entry. Let me spare you the trouble of visiting this last one:

1stParty: Good job, Apple.
2ndParty: <sarcasm>Well if Apple did it, it must be good.</sarcasm>
3rdParty: Can we not do this, please?
4thParty: Why don’t you both just use Ubuntu?

…and so on.

Anyway, it seems like weak news to me. Maybe it’s a harbinger of big things to come, but if everybody was already using Craig Stanton’s Geotagger or GPS Photo Linker you may be so busy tagging your photos and emailing shareable kmzs that you can’t bring yourself to care about a little gray button.

Besides, do people still care about Google Maps? They’re so…flat.

Blog at