Re: digitally tagging height

This is my response to this post in Sanjay’s blog. I originally wrote this as a comment, but before I pressed “Submit” button, I thought that it would be better to have it here, with all the crosslinks.

Sanjay noticed that pictures like the one of Maxim on his birthday are a cool new way of saving height measurements. That is instead of using old ways of pen, rule, and wall. He regrets only that there is no date and time information on the picture.

Well, that’s not a problem at all, my dear friend! Most of the modern digital cameras save a lot of meta information in the image file. With right tools that information is trivial to extract (Google search for “EXIF”).

I put a bit more thought into the idea and realized that it can actually be much more fun. With data and time of the image available from the image file itself, we are missing only one bit for a complete picture – the age of a child. Since there is no automatic way of getting it, a human interaction is necessary.

And where there is human interaction, there is social interaction. Flickr comes to mind. Consider this for a moment:

Parents make pictures of their kids against a height meter. Then, they upload these images to Flickr. Then, they tag these images with three tags. One tag for the age of the child, say “age14month” or “age2years”. One tag for the height itself, say “76cm” or “132cm”. And one additional tag to make these pictures easy to find, say “kidsgrow”. Maybe an image pool or user group would be a better way of goind about it.

With setup like this, there is a central location, where all such images are stored (backup). People can then easily find all pictures of their own kids, as well as other kids of the same age or the same height.

There are also a whole bunch of third-party applications that can utilize data from Flickr, like, for example, fd’s Flickr Toys.

How do you like the sound of that?

6 thoughts on “Re: digitally tagging height”


  1. sounds cool! I would personally prefer a timestamp as part of the picture itself, either or some kind of a digital overlay -- or a set up (like a calendar/clock) which is also fun. This would eliminate the dependency on the image viewer’s capacity to read any exif info, and even have a paper print that has the complete info.

    I haven’t used flickr much (I guess I’m lagging a bit in the digital age 8O -- I vaguely remember it being included in some list of new century stuff you’d put up in some other entry)

    But this line…

    With data and time of the image available from the image file itself, we are missing only one bit for a complete picture -- the age of a child.

    …brings to mind an interesting possibility:

    Maybe its already there, a software which stored the dates of birth against peoples names. And for each photo, suppose we were to just enter tags having peoples names* it would generate the age as a hovering text that we could place somewhere in the picture (or it just appears at a pre-configured location, or appears in an extra border added to the image).

    *of course, one step further would be face recognition which added the tag automatically, but then that’s kind of an overkill for a simple application ;) -- unless one already has some high end software like Virage’s Videologger where its already inbuilt.


  2. Wrt …suppose we were to just enter tags having peoples names* it would generate the age as a hovering text…

    instead of hovering text etc involving image manipulation, it could instead simply generate more tags like the examples mentioned above -- which it could be added as flickr tags… who knows… maybe flickr has this in a future version ;)

  3. I would personally prefer a timestamp as part of the picture itself, either or some kind of a digital overlay -- or a set up (like a calendar/clock) which is also fun. This would eliminate the dependency on the image viewer’s capacity to read any exif info, and even have a paper print that has the complete info.

    There are many tools that can add a watermark (I think that’s the term) with timestamp from the image EXIF info. This is a part of image postprocessing. Maybe some cameras can do it automatically too. Or will do so in the near future. In the meantime, Flickr supports the display of EXIF data.

    But image printing is a valid point.

    I haven’t used flickr much

    Sanjay, you are seriously missing out on a world of fun! :)

    Maybe its already there, a software which stored the dates of birth against peoples names.

    Nah… too much confusion. People’s names are not unique. There are so many John Smiths and Average Joes that finding the right one would be a real pain.

    Also there is an issue of privacy. Some people wouldn’t like their names associated with pictures on the public Internet. Having just pictures might be OK though, especially at the website like Flickr, where are so many of them, that one can almost feel securely lost in the noise of the Web.

    I still like the idea of age tagging more. It’s so simple, yet so powerful! :)

    who knows… maybe flickr has this in a future version

    The beauty of Flickr, as well as so many other modern web applications, is that it provides an API, which you can use to develop your own application. There is no need to wait for Flickr anymore. :)


  4. about missing flickr -- yeah I have an idea of what its about and know theres a lot more to it than that, just that my mom already’s yelling at me for over-internetting and there’s simply no bandwidth at the moment for flickring as well :mrgreen:

    Wrt name tags, I was referring more to software that refers to a personal database (or tags defined only within a user’s profile) -- that refer only to his own photos.

    Amazing that flickr provides an API as well, some day I could actually implement these things! 8)


  5. heh heh! Didnt know I’d get into this already! :mrgreen:

    Now I’m going through all the flickr posts in your blog! :D I’d overestimated the (human) bandwidth required, with the upload tool its just right click and Send to Flickr! 8)

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