Navigate with GPS by Taking a Picture!

Photo of our location for purposes of navigating thereThat’s right! Take a picture of a place you need to return to. Take that picture with a smartphone that has the GPS tagging feature turned on. Now, when you need to return, you can view the picture, see the GPS location and navigate back. Pretty slick.  Here’s the details:

  1. I used a Samsung Galaxy S5. This should work with any type of Android device as long as you have Google Maps version 9.21 or higher. It does not seem to work on an iPhone … yet.
  2. I used Google Photos to view the photo
  3. Before taking the picture, be sure you have the Location Tags (aka Geotags) turned ON in your camera’s settings. I leave mine on all the time.
  4. Now, when you take a picture, view it using Google Photos and tap the i (for Information) you should see a map with a marker.
  5. Tap the map marker and it will open Google Maps, then tap the Blue car button and it will navigate to the place where the photo was taken.

If you are an RVer – this is SO useful! For a long time now, we’ve been teaching people about the ability to save a location with a star in Google Maps, then you can navigate back to the star at any time. I still use this technique, but my Google Maps is getting to be covered with stars! This method of using a picture and navigating to it is great for situations like yesterday. We were staying at a large RV park for only one night, we really didn’t have a feel for the directions within the park at all. So, I took a picture of our motorhome on our site. Then, after going out to dinner, I opened the picture (using Google Photos) tapped the i, then tapped the map and we were getting directions back to our exact site. It would be really useful if you’re trying to return to a boondocking site in the middle of nowhere!

  • App: Google Maps and Google Photos
  • Author: Google
  • Cost: $0
  • Platform: This feature only works on Android right now

Some tutorial videos related to this topic:

  1. Episode 74 of What Does This Button Do – at timeline mark 24:50: Navigate to a Picture
  2. 403. Google Maps – Saving a Location with a Star
  3. 419.Google Navigation – Add a Stop

Also our What Does This Button Do? Episode 15: GeoLocating Photos, Waze app