Using absolute-altitude vs clamped-to-ground

The problem with my standard method for geotagging photos for a flight in Google Earth is that they’ll be shown at an altitude of 0m, stuck to the ground, rather than in mid-air on your flight-path.  This is pretty easy to fix - because a KML file is an editable text (XML) file, and a KMZ file is just a zip-file containing the KML along with the photos.  You can find out more about KML files from Google or Wikipedia.

  1. Create KMZ: Follow the geotagging process to generate a folder in Google Earth containing track-log and photos, then save it as a KMZ file to your desktop.
  2. Extract KML: Unzip the KMZ file (I use 7-zip), and extract the KML file at the top to your desktop
  3. Set absolute: Open the KML file in a text editor (such as textpad), and do a search/replace to change ‘<coordinates>’ to ‘<altitudeMode>absolute</altitudeMode><coordinates>’.
  4. Update KML in KMZ: Save the KML file, and re-insert it back into the KMZ file using 7-zip.

Then all you need to do from here is to load the file back into Google Earth to check your handiwork.

Note that if you’re grabbing a KML file from Google Picasa Online, all of the photo altitudes will be set to 0 regardless of the altitude in the photo.  If you want to run this process for online images, you’ll have to edit the KML file to put the altitudes back in.  Compare it with a file generated by GeoSetter, and you’l work out where to insert the relevant data (hint - the coordinates go x,y,altitude).

Grab the kmz file for here, or preview it full screen here