I HAVE NEVER had an easier way of snapping and saving photos than with my Nokia N70 cameraphone and Zonetag. The Nokia phone takes two megapixel images. But what is more important is that I can upload the images in a press of a button on the phone. It's so simple, so dependable, so sorted--for Nokia Series 60 phone users. In fact, the ease of use will probably cost me dearly when the end-of-month mobile phone bill drops like a thud through the letterbox. That will be the only negative result of the two weeks I have played with using zone tags on my cameraphone images.
Setting up Zonetag on my Series 60 Nokia phone meant I had to ignore the line that said the software would work only in the States. In fact, the software doesn't mind if you run it in New York or New Ross. It gets better data when in the USA where people like Tom Coates have already snapped dozens of interesting photos. (Where is Russ Beattie's?) It worked fine for me during a two-week stay in New York and Pennsylvania and it has continued working without snag in Ireland. That's important to me because Zonetag gives me more than automatic metadata for my images. Zonetag gets my images up and onto Flickr in a simple two-click upload.
If you're a cameraphone junkie, you snap more than three photos a day with your phone. Sending them anywhere means searching for the photos, launching your MMS, and then sending them to friends. With Zonetag, you just click and send.
If you let Zonetag do its thing, it will automatically tag your photos with the location, based on the mobile phone tower, in which they were taken. Irish telephone masts are relatively unknown at the moment but as the Zonetag community updates the city and county of the tower, Zonetag can then map the cell tower to the location. This is happening in Ireland at the moment.
Zonetag does not label and upload on its own. You have to tell Zonetag to launch, otherwise all you have is a standard cameraphone. The program does not convert your phone into a tracking device. When using Zonetag to upload images, you can specify on your phone who sees each photo you upload. You can also choose if you want location tags added to each photo. Plus, you can tag your photos on your cameraphone as you take them.
Zonetag needs strong signal coverage to embed its location data on the images it pushes up to Flickr. If you shoot your picture in an area with weak mobile phone coverage, your upload to Flickr will sit and wait for a stronger signal. But that happens in the backgound without bothering you. That's handy--especially if you want to snap and salvo five or six cameraphone images in one go.
Zonetag is at http://zonetag.research.yahoo.com/ and it has a very helpful Flickr discussion group led by Mor Naaman and some very interesting Flickr photos. This blog post is the editor's cut of an item set to run in The Irish Examiner on 14 April 2006.
Tiernan O'Toole -- "Tips on how to use Flickr and your cameraphone"
Richard Wray -- "Mobile group in talks to create TV Link for citizen journalists" in The Media Guardian, April 10, 2006.
Ben Goldacre -- "How I stalked my girlfriend"