Understanding Location Information And Digital Photos

Those of you who have read my previous 3 blogs will have gained an understanding on the basics of location security, as shown in the first blog. The second showed how some apps will automatically opt you into location services and the third explains how applications can “scrape” your social media posts into other applications.

This final blog introduces the concepts about how location data is stored when you take a picture with either a digital camera or a phone. Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) data is the data about a photo – what time it was taken, what kind of camera was used and the serial number associated with it.

There are dozens of photo sharing apps on the market; some will strip out the EXIF data when you post a photo, others, much like flickr, give you the option to upload location information when you publish the photo.

This is example EXIF data from a picture taken of Westminster Cathedral:

Lens Model - iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2

GPS Latitude Ref - North

GPS Latitude - 51 deg 29' 48.46"

GPS Longitude Ref - West

GPS Longitude - 0 deg 8' 25.42"

GPS Altitude Ref - Above Sea Level

GPS Altitude - 7.893009119 m

GPS Time Stamp - 11:15:15.99

GPS Speed Ref - km/h

GPS Speed - 0

That’s the potential here. It’s not necessarily the information from a single photo, however, when multiple photos are correlated, a vast amount of data is available for analysis. For more information on borwell’s big data solutions contact us.

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