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Photo Catalog

The geotagging functionality available within mobile phones and cameras can be used to create geotagged (also called geocoded) photographs. The Photo Catalog feature allows these photographs to be added to an engineering project to convey better design intent and provide additional detail to existing conditions.

The Photo Catalog does not store the photos. Instead, it simply stores references to existing saved photos. It connects to the photographs using reference links to the file path or URL. Photos can be referenced from the following sources:

  • Computer local hard drive
  • Network drive

The Photo Catalog will then reference the file path or URL associated with the photograph.

Geotagged Photos

Photos can be geotagged with the following information:

  • Geographic location (Lat, Long)
  • Elevation (optional)

In addition, the following information can be imbedded into the photograph:

  • Date and time
  • Photo direction (i.e., rotation angle)
  • Text title
  • Text description

Geotagged PhotoExample of a geotagged photo

Photo Catalog Panel

CivilGEO software has a dedicated section for Photo Catalog in the Map Explorer panel. Click on the Photo Catalog panel to expand.
Photo Catalog Panel

Photo Preview Window

This window allows the user to preview the photo before referencing it onto the Map View. It will update with the photo selected by the user within the data grid.
Photo Preview Window

Referenced Photos Table

This data grid lists all the photos that have been referenced in the project. It lists each photo’s title and description. It also contains a symbol (crosshair symbol) to indicate if the photo is georeferenced or not. The user can edit the photo’s title and description within the data grid.
Referenced Photos TableClicking on a row within the data grid causes the Photo Preview window to update with the corresponding photo. Double clicking on the index column data row will cause the software to jump to the photo location on the Map View.

Crosshair Symbol

The Crosshair symbol indicates if the photo is georeferenced or not. If the symbol is green, then the photo is georeferenced. If the symbol is dark grey, then the photo is not georeferenced.
Crosshair Symbol

Photo Title

The photo title is displayed here. This title string is cropped to the available display space. If the photo does not have a title, then it has a default title of Photo ## where ## represents a photo count.
Photo Title

Add Photos

Follow the steps given below to select one or more photos to reference in the Photo Catalog.

  1. Click on the Add Photos button at the top of the Photo Catalog.
    Add Photos
  2. The Add Photos dialog box will be displayed.
    Add Photos Dialog Box_1
  3. Click on the [Browse] button located at the upper right-hand corner of the dialog box.
    Browse Button
    The [Browse] button allows the user to:

    • Load all the photos contained in a folder
    • Select multiple photos to be loaded
    • Select a previously created Photo Catalog that contains referenced photos
      Note that the available file types that are supported are standard image formats used for photos. In addition, the dialog box lists the Photo Catalog file extension.
  4. The selected photos will then be added to the photo listing contained in the Add Photos dialog box.
    Add Photos Dialog Box_2Note that both geotagged and non-geotagged photos can be loaded.
  5. When the user browses and selects a Photo Catalog, then the Path entry contains the photo catalog file name, and the file listing contains the photos that are contained in the Photo Catalog.
    Add Photos Dialog Box_3
  6. Once the photos have been selected, click the [OK] button to close the Add Photos dialog box and add the photos to the Photo Catalog listing.
  7. Alternatively, the user can drag and drop photos into the Photo Catalog panel using Windows File Explorer, at which point the software will then add them to the Photo Catalog listing.
    Photo Catalog Drag and Drop

Export Photo Catalog

The Export Photo Catalog command allows the user to export out the referenced photos to a photo catalog file.
Export Photo CatalogClicking the Export Photo Catalog button causes the software to display an Export Photo Catalog dialog box, allowing the user to export the Photo Catalog to be used in another project.
Export Photo Catalog Dialog BoxNote that the photo catalog will be saved with a *.pcxml file extension.

Photo Catalog Options

The Photo Catalog Options command allows the user to customize how the photo locations are represented on the Map View.
Photo Catalog OptionsClicking the Photo Catalog Options command causes the software to display the Photo Catalog Options dialog box.
Photo Catalog Options Dialog BoxThe Photo Catalog Options dialog box allows the user to configure the photo marker symbol type and size to be displayed on the Map View. The user can click on the drop-down combo box from the Photo marker symbol entry to choose from multiple marker symbols. Below are some of the marker symbols that our software provides.
Photo Marker SymbolWhen the user opens the Symbol Selector dialog box, the page containing the last selected symbol (highlighted) will be displayed.
Symbol Selector Dialog Box

Photo Marker Symbol Display Visibility

The photo marker symbols are only displayed on the Map View at specific zoom levels, similar to how the software displays model element entities.

If the Map View is zoomed out too far, then the photo marker symbols are not displayed on the Map View.

Displaying Photos on Map View

Hovering the mouse cursor over a photo marker symbol on the Map View will cause a pop-up dialog box to show up over the marker symbol which displays the photo.
Displaying Photos on Map View

Highlighting Photo Markers on Map View

The user can multi-select photos from the Photo Catalog data grid and the software will highlight the corresponding photo marker symbols on the Map View.
Highlighting Photo Markers on Map View

Rotating a Photo Marker to Define Photo View Direction

The software allows the user to rotate the photo marker on the Map View to define the photo view direction. The photo marker symbol must be unlocked to rotate it on the Map View.

Follow the steps below to rotate a photo marker on the Map View:

  1. From the Map View, right-click on the desired photo marker and select Graphic Edit from the displayed context menu.
    Graphic Edit
  2. Using the mouse cursor, select the rotation handle of the photo marker and rotate the photo to the desired direction.
    Rotating Photo Marker

Missing Referenced Photo

If the user clicks on a photo marker symbol from the Photo Catalog and the defined photo is not available (i.e., missing), an informational message “Defined photo not found” is displayed where the photo is normally displayed.
Missing Referenced Photo

Hiding and Showing Photo Marker Symbols on Map View

The Show / Hide Photo Markers button controls the visibility of the photo marker symbols on the Map View. It toggles from ON and OFF, with ON as the default setting. However, the software remembers this setting at a project level. Therefore, if multiple projects are loaded, each project can have its own photo marker display setting.
Hiding and Showing Photo Marker Symbols on Map View

Lock and Unlocking Photo Markers

The Lock / Unlock Photo Markers command locks and unlocks the position of photo marker symbols on the Map View.
Lock and Unlocking Photo MarkersInitially, the photo marker symbol positions are locked on the Map View. However, unlocking the photo markers allows the user to:

  • Move a photo symbol on the Map View by clicking and dragging it about
  • Rotate a photo marker on the Map View to define the photo view direction using the right-click context menu Graphic Edit command

When the Photo Catalog panel is collapsed, the photo marker symbols are automatically locked and cannot be moved about on the Map View.

The locations of the photo marker symbols can be moved without unlocking them by using the Photo Details dialog box.

Jump To Photo Marker

The Jump To Photo Marker command causes the software to jump to the selected photo location on the Map View.
Jump To Photo MarkerClicking on the Jump To Photo Marker command also causes the Map View to be centered over the selected photo at an equivalent zoom level. For example, if the Map View is already at a zoom level when displaying the photo marker symbols, then the zoom level remains unchanged. However, if the Map View is zoomed out too far to display the photo marker symbols, then the Map View is zoomed into a zoom level that causes the photo marker symbols to be displayed and the photo marker symbol to be centered on the display.

If the selected photo is not georeferenced, then this command is disabled (i.e., grayed out).

Photo Details

The Photo Details command allows the user to see more information for each photo.
Photo DetailsClicking the Photo Details command will display the Photo Details dialog box.
Photo Details Dialog Box_1Alternatively, the user can also click on the photo in the Photo Catalog to display the corresponding Photo Details dialog box.
Photo Details Dialog Box_2The Photo Details dialog box allows the user to interact with the photos in a modeless, resizable dialog box, showing additional details about the photo as well as seeing a higher-resolution, larger version of the photo. This dialog box is tied to the current project. Switching between projects causes the dialog box to disappear and reappear, depending upon its view state for each project. When the user navigates the photos from the Photo Details dialog box, then the software will also redirect the user to the corresponding image on the Map View.

The Photo Details dialog box provides a [Pick] button, allowing the user to change the Map View location of the corresponding photo marker displayed on the Map View. Updating the location of the photo marker on the Map View also updates the latitude and longitude location detailed in the Photo Details dialog box.

The Photo Details dialog box can run independent of whether the Photo Catalog is displayed.

If there are no photos loaded and the user requests to display the Photo Details dialog box, then the following informational dialog box is displayed.
Informational Dialog Box

The left and right arrows adjacent to the displayed photo allow the user to navigate backward and forward through the referenced photos. When viewing the first or last photo within the list, the corresponding navigation arrow is disabled (i.e., grayed out).
Navigate Forward and BackwardNote that in both the Photo Catalog and the Photo Details dialog box, pressing Ctrl+Shift+N will move the view to the Next photo, and pressing Ctrl+Shift+P will move the view to the Previous photo. In the Photo Details dialog box, clicking on the Keyboard’s left and right arrow keys will cause the software to move backward and forward through the referenced photos.

Capturing Current Google Street View and Adding to the Photo Catalog

The Google Street View command allows the user to add the current Google Street View image to Photo Catalog as photos. Clicking on the camera icon, as shown below, will automatically store the current Google Street View image in a folder named “Photos” contained in the project folder. When capturing this photo, the photo name will automatically be created. Additional information that can be retrieved from that Google Street location, such as address, can be stored as metadata with the photo.

The geolocation and camera direction will also be stored, and the photo will be added to the Photo Catalog.
Capturing Current Google Street View and Adding to the Photo CatalogNote that the project needs to be saved before running the capture image command.

Georeferencing Photos to the Map View

Many times, photos taken at a development or construction site are not georeferenced. However, there is great value to georeferencing these photos for context and design review.

Follow the steps given below to georeference a photo:

  1. Add the non-georeferenced photo(s) to the Photo Catalog using the Add Photos command, as described earlier in this article.
  2. From the Referenced Photos Table, click on the photo entry and then drag and drop the photo onto the Map View at the correct location. A photo marker will be placed there.
    Georeferencing Photos to the Map View
  3. If the Photo Catalog is unlocked, you can fine tune the location of the photo marker by clicking and dragging the photo marker to the precise location.

Alternatively, the user can display the Photo Details dialog box and georeference the photo using the [Pick] command.

If you need any further assistance, feel free to contact our technical support team. They will be glad to assist you.

About the Author Chris Maeder

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