How to Import and Display Geotagged Photos on QGIS to Validate Various Land Parcel Surveys

Have you ever wondered how to connect all of your geotagged photos of land parcel survey (or other surveys) to GIS in a straightforward way? If you did not know the answer, then we were on the same page. Before using QGIS, I frequently import photos using ArcGIS which is way too complicated for beginners since it only imports geotagged photos into points. Longitude, latitude, and altitude are not displayed automatically. Additionally, exhibiting added photos on ArcGIS display windows is a pain in the ass. It does not equip with the ability to show added photos with a single click.

QGIS, on the other hand, with its new plugin allows users to import geotagged photos and to exhibit imported photos on QGIS display windows with a simple single click. It also directly provides information of longitude, latitude, north position, and azimuth. Importing geotagged photos and managing them is a pretty simple task in QGIS even for beginners. You only need to install a plugin called “Import Photos”. In accordance with the developer, the data output of imported geotagged photos is geoJSON. A geoJSON point file will be created which will contain the name of the picture, its directory, the date and time taken, altitude, longitude, latitude, azimuth, north and camera maker and model. The plug-in doesn’t need any third party applications to work.

Why importing and displaying geotagged photos is a critical task (at least in my field of work) is owing to the fact that it is beneficial in such related fields: land parcel survey validation, land use survey, building a survey, zoning plan work, etc. In the future, artificial intelligence will do just fine in validating land parcel survey utilizing existing base map and geotagged photo survey. Even so, the technology is not ubiquitously in existence at the moment. The best way to validate land parcel survey is by comparing land parcel data in GIS with updated geotagged photos. As an example, vector data (2012) of a land parcel shows a vacant land. In 2017, the land parcel was converted into an industrial building. To validate this, a survey yielding geotagged photos needs to be imported to a GIS application along with display it in ease.

Without further due, here is the way to import and to display geotagged photos of a survey on QGIS:

  1. I assume you have QGIS installed. Install import photo plugin. Plugins > Manage & Install Plugin. Write “import” or “photo” (without quote mark) in the search tab. You will find “ImportPhotos” plugin. Click install plugin.

    QGIS ImportPhotos Plugin


  2. A new menu will appear under plugin menu, named ImportPhotos, containing import photos and click photo.

    ImportPhotos Menu


  3. Click import photos menu. Locate folder of geotagged photos you want to import. Next step is locating output folder. Click Ok.

    ImportPhotos Input and Output Location


  4. A geoJSON point layer will appear on the layer windows, consisting data of imported photos: the name of the picture; its directory; the date and time took; altitude; longitude; latitude; azimuth; north; and camera maker and model. In case you can’t locate the area of the photos, just right click on the layer and zoom to layer.

    Imported Geotagged Photos

    geoJSON Attribute Table


  5. Try to displaying an imported photo on display windows by clicking on a photo using click photos button.

    A Photo Displayed on QGIS

If you have further question or suggestion, please leave comments below!

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