I am hoping to find a more efficient way to create a a photo location map that is used for my job. We take photos (anywhere from 20 to 100+) while outside in the field and back in the office we must create a map with the photo number and an arrow showing the direction the photo was taken. (I have attached an example to show what I am referring to).

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I was wondering if anyone had an idea for a better way to go about this?

Currently we must create a text box for each photo # and place that on the map in layout view, and then place an arrow shape and rotate the direction, also in layout view.

We just recently started using Collector for ArcGIS so there is a possibility of having geotagged photos in the future. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

  • 1
    Does your photo metadata contain the orientation (angle) of the photo? – Dan C Nov 30 '17 at 14:51
  • Right now we are taking photos with a digital camera and marking on a printed aerial map their location. Then we place text and arrows at each location within arc map. I know there is an option to use Collector to take photos, at the moment I am unsure what data is included when that is done. – J. Myers Nov 30 '17 at 15:39
  • Did you find any software that does so ? Phones now capture azimuth. May be taking 2 photos, one with your reflex and one with your phone can be handled to cross those data in the office. – César Arquero Aug 8 '20 at 8:15

Since your using ArcMap, look in the toolbox, under Data Management, Photos, there is "GeoTagged Photos to Points". It needs a GeoDatabase to use but reads a folder of images and creates a point featureclass. Photo Direction is also captured, along with X,Y,Z attributes.

  • I apologize if this is a silly question, but I am new to using collector. If we take photos through the collector app, are they automatically geotagged with the information needed for your instructions? Or is there another step in the process? – J. Myers Nov 30 '17 at 15:37
  • They should be but I'm not a collector user. I know from cell phones they are. – Bill Chappell Nov 30 '17 at 15:54
  • Oh perfect, we use collector on an iPad so that should work out, thanks! I'll have to do a test to see. – J. Myers Nov 30 '17 at 16:00
  • I got it to work with some iPhone photos as a test, thanks so much! – J. Myers Nov 30 '17 at 16:32

You can also do this in about 12 seconds with Global Mapper. Drag all of your images into the main screen to create point features, including IMG_DIR, and then export out as a .shp

I'm going to keep recommending Global Mapper for this stuff until ESRI gets their &%^# together. The amount of steps involved with this kind of stuff when using ESRI is disgusting.


You need the azimuth information in the photos, I do not know the arc collector but there are some apps that record this information, like "Kaml - Camera for Google Earth" and "Geopaparazzi".

To display the photos in the direction from which they were taken, you can create a table with the azimuth information and then create a categorized map using the direction arrows instead of colors. For example, azimuth photos between 10 degrees and 20 degrees are displayed with an arrow in that direction.

his question may help you: Data defined symbol rotation for a categorized renderer

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