I love taking photos with my phone. There are so many benefits to using a smartphone for photography that it’s basically a no-brainer (and worth the small sacrifice in quality, in my opinion). One of those benefits is the ability to geo-tag your photos, which adds location coordinates to the EXIF data stored in the image file, so that you can easily track the exact location that you took your favorite photo. The other benefit, of course, is the ability to instantly upload your photos to share with your friends, without having to offload to a PC or anything.
While these two benefits are great, together, they potentially pose a problem, especially for privacy-cautious photographers. While the majority of my online life is available for all to see, I do have some specific rules about what I share – one of those is that I don’t share my home address. Of course, it’s readily available to anyone with a phonebook, and a determined individual could quickly find it through public means, but I don’t share my home address via social, at least not as freely as I share pretty much anything else.
My phone is set to automatically geo-tag photos with my location. To combat this when I’m at home, I use an app for Android called Locale (I’ve written about it before) to automatically disable the location services on my phone whenever I’m within a small radius of my home. This way, I don’t have to worry about it (as much).
Today, Flickr made enforcing that limit even easier, especially for folks that don’t have an Android-powered smartphone or don’t want to tinker with Locale. Their new ‘geofences‘ feature allows you to specify a number of locations that are ‘safe zones’ for your photos. If one of your photos’ location is within one of your geofences, the location will automatically not be shown on Flickr. You can specify exceptions, such as your Friends or Family list on Flickr, which is nice.
It’s a simple feature, but one that’s definitely welcome. Do you geo-tag your photos, and if so, is location privacy a concern for you? Do Flickr’s geofences feature help you feel comfortable sharing photos?