Forum : Technical Preview

Get all your questions answered about our latest Photosynth Technical Preview.

Topic: Showing location with geo co-ordinates

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Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
I may be missing something, but I do not see a map location with the synths I have uploaded already.
Joscelin -- if you uploaded photos with Lat/Long in the EXIF, then we should be showing you a map. If you did this and are not seeing it, please give us the URL of an example synth. We'll investigate
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
All my photos include EXIF geo co-ordinates. The only ones which did not, were those of Laantje van Hilhorst and I have added them with EXIF Tools. So, pick any of my gallery.
Also, I had a look at recent synths of David-Photosynth-Team and a few others. No map either.
PhotosynthTeam (Over 1 year ago)
I've just dug into this issue, and here's where we stand: Until our update on March 4th we were not warning people about geotags in their EXIF, and we were not removing those geotags upon upload. Hence, people could inadvertently upload the location of their homes, which is a significant privacy risk.

With our March 4th update we now warn people, and allow them to remove the geotags before uploading. We also had to scrub geo-data from *previously* uploaded synths. 

So, geodata from your previously uploaded synths has been deleted. Anything you upload from now on will not have geodata deleted unless you choose to do so, and we'll be provding a tool for you to edit the geotag of a synth. I know this is inconvenient for you and I apologize about this. 

In the short term you can do this with Henri's Chrome extension, but we'll providing a tool for the masses soon.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
@PhotosynthTeam. You are out of your mind! You introduce a preview, telling that including geo tags will later on publish them on the map. So, I have not worried about that and have submitted 180+ synths. Now your are telling me that you have deleted all the geo co-ordinate tags and leave me to clean this up, tool or not.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Moreover, I am sure that there were more encouragements, likely on this forum, to include geo co-ordinates with the promise for map publication later on. Everyone here knows, that one should not include geo-tagging, if it is considered to be privacy sensitive. I request you restore my synths as I have submitted them.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Ordinarily I might have reminded Joscelin that we are beta testers for the newest version of Photosynth and so to not be surprised if the results are not final, etc.

In Joscelin's defense, however, Page 6 of the 'Expert Shooting Guide' does encourage Technical Preview users to "[not] strip any GPS data from photos of any synth you would like to display on a map in the future".


I can understand that you have to do what is legally required by Microsoft policy but perhaps it would have been better to simply leave the geotags unpublished but not deleted and given users the ability to go into the synth editor and make the geotag public. In Joscelin's case, I'm sure it would have been helpful to be able to publish geotags en masse rather than individually.

Just for the record, please note that Joscelin has reported GPS-related auto-geotagging bugs in Photosynth 1 in years past + not seen any real reply or response from the team.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Thank you Nate.

In communications of the Photosynth Team about this preview, it was not called a beta, the impression has been created all the time that things would roll forward and nothing would be lost.

But, to be honest, I was irritated prior to this. I feel it is maltreatment of preview participants not to notify them of a roll forward in advance. Especially if this might cause issues.

As Photosynth is a Microsoft service linked to each users Microsoft account, it would have been easy to send all preview users an email and remind them to withdraw synths they might feel privacy sensitive instead of deleting user data without the user's consent.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
More... The preview does not accept synths from the current app. So, all material here was taken with traditional cameras. How many of these are equipped with gps sensors? All who have contributed material with gps data are very much aware of that, because they have either deliberately bought a gps equipped camera or added gps data afterwards. I feel the situation was assessed very poorly.
Joscelin.Trouwborst (Over 1 year ago)
Yes, I do remember my reports about auto-geotagging with Photosynth 1. I was not the only one reporting gps issues. I have been a Google Maps contributor for Trinidad, Cuba since 2012. What I have learned is that satellite imagery is a projection and may be misaligned, which may result in misalignment of map features as well as Photosynths. Most likely my reports concerned auto-geopositioning for Curaçao. A problem is that Bing Maps i.e. Nokia Here has no presence here. Imagery is better now, but in the past imagery was so poor that manual alignment was difficult too. But, Maps should be properly aligned with geo-coordinates, which would enable proper auto positioning of synths.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
I don't want to derail this conversation. I'd like to hear reasoning back from Photosynth's people.

As a side note, though, just because Microsoft usees the word "Preview" instead of the word "Beta" as they did in the past doesn't mean that they don't refer to the same state of software development. 

In recent years, Microsoft is working to put things in natural language instead of computer jargon that would make non-techies feel like they didn't understand what was meant.

The word "preview" conveys that we are getting early access to something that is not finished. You can look at the Windows 8 'Developer Preview', 'Conumer Preview', etc. to know that they mean the same thing as earlier years would have called 'Windows 8 Alpha' or 'Windows 8.1 Beta 1' or 'Beta 2'.

We can see that the new site is not fully built yet + the apps are not yet ready (at least not ported equally to all launch platforms) so for me it goes without saying that we're beta testers.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
You have a fair point about most point and shoot cameras or even DSLRs not having GPS positioning on board, but even though people (outside of Microsoft employees, anyway) weren't using the Photosynth 2014 Technical Preview apps to shoot new synths, plenty of people may have taken pictures with their mobile phone or tablet, nearly all of which have the (usually default) option to embed GPS coordinates in the EXIF data. 

What percentage of photos submitted to the Preview came from such devices? I don't know. 

I can understand that Microsoft needs to take action which protects the physical safety of their users (including Microsoft employees), not to mention avoiding lawsuits against Microsoft for exposing locations of people's homes or places of work, but I will agree that deleting the location off of thousands of a user's own photos, without warning or our consent, feels like the wrong solution as well - beta status or otherwise.
PhotosynthTeam (11 months ago)
Joscelin -- we definitely should have reached out to you and exempted your account from the GPS data deletion. I apologize for that. You are the only person in our community who has uploaded more than a handful of new style Photosynths with GPS, so even though the number of people inconvenienced here is very low, you were very inconvenienced. Sorry.

David Gedye.
@David and Team. Thanks for the apologies, it heals.
@PhotosynthTeam. Nate reminded about earlier auto positioning problems. 
Some days ago Nokia released its new Here Maps app for Win 8. On both this Here Maps and Bing Maps beta app, my location (using desktop) is wrong by KM, not by Meters, while Google Maps is almost correct on the spot. I take all are using the Windows locator platform. This means that Bing/Nokia Maps has this as an issue here on Curaçao. The Photosynths 1 back then were also on Curaçao. My 1000+ frames in France in 2010, including for Photosynths, may have the same or another issue. I never solved that. In those days I was using a Microsoft tool for EXIF editing that was using Bing Maps. Those pics in France showed some 50 km off.

Anyway, you have a geo auto-positioning issue at hand that is not a Photosynth problem, but a maps problem. As Bing Maps is based on Nokia material, you might face a problem difficult to resolve and that is affecting Photosynth.
PhotosynthTeam (11 months ago)
Thanks for reminding us of that issue.
@PhotosynthTeam. Good news, a resynth to include geotag and have auto positioning shows a near perfect position. The map needs some work still. ;-)

@David. What am I supposed to do with all my other synths that have lost their geotags?
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