How do I ensure exact location accuracy?

For those who use a camera rather than a phone to take pictures, what tool do you use to ensure the location is precise?

If this question has already been asked, my apologies, and please post link in the responses.

I just go off of memory. In most cases I’m close enough where it doesn’t really matter if I’m off by a couple yards


Bring your smartphone and record gps (possibly add to that a programm that can add gps info to your camra shots), use an actual tracker, use bigger accuracy if you can’t remember the actual location.


I use a camera without a GPS capability. So I use two methods. The first is memory, as said above, aided by photos of signs and other distinctive sights that I photo purely as landmarks. The other is a GPS unit that I keep in the car and sometimes I carry with me.

I also apply as wide an “accuracy” circle around the reported location as seems appropriate. Although tight accuracy is great if accurate, even an accuracy of +/- a few kilometers is tiny compared to the size of the world.


When hiking I take pictures of the trail or road especially of curves in the path or of landmarks I might be able to find using Google Maps.


For some reason on iPhone, we have to take 3 photos sometimes to get an accurate and refined geotag.

If you scroll up on the photo, you can add a caption, on which you can enter notes to remind you what camera photo’s location you are geotagging

Scrolling up is also how you access the map and geotag of the photo. Click on the address (bottom left of the map) and apple maps will open with your coordinates. You can press and hold on the coordinates to copy them

I do mark location manually as well using Maps and my memory. To help this method a bit I use my private WhatsApp-Chat with myself (generally great for all kinds of notes and reminders) and send me locations of certain things I photographed with a note. So I will have some precise locations from my trip… however, this method only works if you at all have a signal (not always the case on my trips in the paramo for example)

I use a hand-held GPS device from Garmin, and then use the day’s track to tag the photos with their free software. (I assume a 5-meter accuracy when I’m using it – I worked that out when I accidentally left it in the car for a while, and then checked the track.)


i think you can avoid this by opening up your map app and getting your current location before taking a photo.

sometimes, even if i’m using a camera that isn’t capturing coordinates, i’ll pull out the phone and take another photo, and load that with my camera photos. or if i took a photo of, say, a bee using my camera, i’ll use the phone to take the flower photo, and then i’ll just take the location from the flower photo and use it for the the bee, too.

another variation of this is to use the iNaturalist app, and create observations with locations but no photos after you take your photos. later, you can merge your camera photos and app observations one way or another.


My camera lets me record my location every so often via a phone app and then geotag the photos all at once.

It needs the two to have their time synced, so I imagine it works by comparing datestamps and the nearest location to a datestamp - I’m sure there’d be a way to do that manually (and presumably there’s desktop software to automate it with the “Date taken” in exif and that list of locations).

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Depending on your camera make and model you may be able to purchase an inexpensive external GPS module. The only downside is that they can be a little easy to break if you tend to be rough on your gear. I used one similar to this before I managed to break it.

Thank you for this suggestion. We will try this!

Wow, another new idea to try. Thanks

I use the satellite map layer. If I’m in question I’ll open Google Earth Pro and look around in more detail, sometimes scanning back and forth through images from different years to see which shows the detail best.

My spatial memory is generally pretty good, and my map reading skills have had decades of practical use, so a satellite image often provides enough extra recall that I’m generally able to pin-point a location to within a few meters, or tens of meters.

I never use the basic street map view, there isn’t nearly enough detail for that to be useful, and in some countries (such as China) it is deliberately offset from the standard global projection system, so the satellite view is far more reliable.


I made a tutorial for this method (which I also use).

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I use the Android app GPXLogger on my phone combined with GPicSync software on my computer. I start the GPXLogger app to record my trek (I have it set to record my location every 30 seconds or so) and then, at home, I move the file that it creates from the phone to the computer then sync my pics with the locations using GPicSync software on my computer (it ties pics with locations based on the timestamp). You have to make sure your camera’s time is synchronized with your phone’s time.

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I think in maps?

Maybe not quite that literally; but I do have detailed mental maps, both of large-scale regions and of places where I have been, and when I bring up the Google map to set the location of an observation, it just kinda jumps out at me where I was on it at different time points.

Before everybody had GPS all the time, asking for directions could be counterproductive. I’d rather hand someone a paper and pencil and request that they draw me a map of how to get there. If they don’t have the spatial skills to do that, then they couldn’t have given me directions I could follow anyway.

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I use the technique described by pfau_tarleton and it works just fine. I personally use Locus Maps on the smartphone and Geosetter (or Lightroom) on the PC, but there are a whole lot of options available.

Made all the difference when we could default to satellite view on the map!
Zoom in … follow the trail …
I will be doing that for this week’s hike, as usual.

(Or cheat, a hiking companion uses the app and I can copypasta her location for my obs)

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You can also try to uploading the photos soon after you took them so that the location’s fresher in your memory. And as other have mentioned, you can:

  • Broaden the accuracy radius of the map marker.
  • Use a satellite layer and landmarks.
  • Know the name of the location.

I also use a camera so there’s no GPS capability. I have found that most of the time, the above suggestions work. Only when the satellite images are old do I have issues.

But check back with the satelite map, if it is really marked on the map in the right spot. Just had this issue with last weeks hike to a waterfall that was marked on the map about 1,5 kilometer away from the right spot… only realized, because the river was somewhere else and was able to find it one the map then :-)

It for sure is easier when the upload does not happen to much later then the excursion