EXIF is so 2002, we need new standards

Exchangeable Image File Format, or EXIF as we popularly know it, is a specification for file formats of images, video, audio etc. files. The images and video that we see around us and click on our digital cameras or mobile phones contain EXIF tags that specify various information about the shooting conditions of the image, geolocation etc.

Unfortunately, the latest specifications, EXIF 2.2, were defined with almost no extensibility in mind. Common frustrations, from an open data lover or a community mappers’ point of view, are that it is not possible to (a) associate geolocation with each frame of a video, (b) associate accelerometer/gyroscope readings with the images/videos, (c) capture timezone information along with the timestamps, (d) associate additional data such as temperature, digital compass, wifi, cell tower data with images/videos. The whole list is far more than these few, but these are most glaring shortcomings from my point of view.

It is the collective responsibility of all online services like WIkimedia Commons, Flickr, Pinterest, Picasa, Facebook, Youtube etc. as well as camera and phone manufacturers to push for and collectively formulate a new version of the standard, so as to make sure the future generations don’t miss out on the conditions under which we shot, what we shot..

One thought on “EXIF is so 2002, we need new standards

  1. Sound strange to me, sounds like – track everything you can track. Even track your blood pressure in every frame of your video and if you can, you also should track heart rate and brain activity. Track every organic compound around, track every mobile phone, track, track, track…

    Or just push the button and take beautiful photo instead.

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