If you have a digital camera that lacks GPS support, Point4Pic is a Windows Phone app that could come in handy. The app tracks your movements as you are out taking photos and with the help of a desktop application, geotags your photos.
Your trip data is backed-up on your OneDrive account and while the process isn't very complicated, there is a slight learning curve. In the end, your photographic journey will be mapped out within the app and your images tagged with the location and altitude of where you snapped the pic. Overall, I can see Point4Pic being a useful Windows Phone app if you need to geotag your photos. You just need a little patience as you learn your way around things.
The layout of the Windows Phone app includes pages that will display a map of your current location, a history of all your trips and a home page where you will start/stop your trips. You will also find buttons at the bottom of Point4Pic's main pages to access the app's settings and view the credit's page. Settings are minimal with options to add the app to your Windows Phone lockscreen and reset the local database.
Once you are ready to start your photo shoot, just tap the Start Button on Point4Pic's home page. From there all you need to do is pocket your Windows Phone and concentrate on taking pictures. When you are finished with your photo trip, return to the Point4Pic app and stop the tracker. The app will give you three options to consider; stop and save, stop and discard and resume the tracking.
If you stop and save the trip, you can give the trip a specific name (e.g. Trip to Beach, Hiking the Andes, etc.) and Point4Pic will generate a QR Code that you will need to photograph from your digital camera. Point4Pic recommends you take 1-2 photos of the QR Code.
From there all you need to do is transfer the image files to your Windows PC, run the desktop application (you can find it here) and tell the application where to find the image files on your PC. Point4Pic will then retrieve the tracking file from your OneDrive account based on the QR Code you took a picture of and geotag those image files with the GPS location and altitude within the file's EXIF.
While the process is very simple and straightforward, there are a few restrictions with Point4Pic.
- The app will not work on RAW image files (JPEGs only for now).
- The app will only run in the background for about four hours before shutting down.
- The app may have issues reading the QR Code. I found it best to shoot three or four images of the QR code. This will help ensure the code is in focus so the desktop app can read it. If you still have issues with the app recognizing the QR code, you can manually identify the code.
Additionally, Point4Pic filters positions by fifty meters to avoid duplicate GPS points. You will need to move more than fifty meters to record positions. If your photo shoots are brief and you aren't moving more than fifty meters, you can shake your phone to force the app to record a new position.
In testing Point4Pic, while the interface isn't overly difficult it does feel a little cumbersome. I also had a bit of trouble getting the app to tag my image files. Some of the issues were pilot error (for the first test I shot in RAW format), but others were due to boundaries within the app. With the help of the developer, we discovered my test sessions were too brief and the app wasn't recording enough GPS points. A few shakes of the phone did the trick and geotags found their way to my image files.
Overall, I found Point4Pic to be a Windows Phone app with potential, but it really needs a tutorial or help section to walk users through things and troubleshoot issues. The developer was responsive and helpful, but it would be more convenient to have a help/how-to section within the app.
Point4Pic isn't going appeal to everyone and if your camera is already decked out with GPS support, you likely will not have the need the Windows Phone app. However, if you are shooting with a digital camera that lacks GPS support and you have the need to map or geotag your images, Point4Pic is a photography app worth checking out.
Point4Pic is a free Windows Phone app and remember, you'll need to download and install the desktop companion app to let Point4Pic do its thing.