Yesterday, took advantage of my morning energy, & trains running as a normal friday, to go to Welwyn North. Why? Because every weekday, the train passed over the Welwyn Viaduct, over a picturesque landscape of fields, horses, streams, trees, etc. Wanted to go and check it out, but without the hour travel time on weekends. It was very nice, peaceful and naturally well-balanced – the viaduct looms over everything but also melds in with the landscape really nicely (compare this victorian effort with, say, Twyford Down). Came back after a couple of hours exhausted but happy, and did little else for rest of the day.

By coincidence, Google launched My Google Maps (yet more mirroring of the physical world in some mist-shrouded hard drive in California) so instead of just adding the photos to flickr, wanted to create a “personalised, annotated, customised map using Google Maps” of it, to much “fifth level techie” ribaldry from Lisa.

I use Picasa for organising photos, which is also Google, so thought it would be a case of geotagging the pictures in Google Earth & slapping them online, right?

Well, all Picasa users know it doesn’t touch the photos, it stores your actions on them (e.g. rotating etc.) on a seperate file. But when when you add geotags, it modifies the picture directly. But doesn’t change the last modified date of the file. Hmm. Nor does Windows or Paint Shop Pro seem to display geo tags in file information. So cue 10 minutes of “how does it know it’s geotagged?” headscratching.

Nor does flickr recognise geotags unless you tell it to at http://www.flickr.com/account/geo/exif . And there’s no way to tell Google My Maps “take these photos & work with them”. Even from Picasa. And lastly, Google’s pictures of Hertfordshire are rather poor, so all my geotags are out & I ended up re-doing them in flickr anyway, which is now attached to non-primary data And Is Bad.

So in summary: this is the aborted “needs more features” Google Map, and this is the flickr set, with nice map & everything. It’s uncommon to see google playing catch-up these days.

  1. Welwyn viaduct

    I did the same thing myself. Having travelled over the viaduct every day for a year I sneaked out of a Welwyn-based conference and explored the world below the bridge. Posh, isn’t it?
    I have it on good authority that Pauline Collins and John Alderton own the biggest house on the east side.


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