Wildlife Photographers: Scrub Your GPS Data 

Wildlife Photographers: Scrub Your GPS Data 

In a recent series about people, technology, and nature, Vice highlighted the growing problem of poachers who are using photographer’s GPS data to locate, harass, and kill rare animal species. In the US, one of the more prevalently poached species is the rattlesnake, a species that is almost exclusively North American.

The article, released earlier this week, highlights the extreme measures that preservationists and scientists are having to take in order to keep poachers away from at-risk animals. One of the main methods poachers are beginning to use is Instagram, scanning photographer’s posts for any indication of where the photo may have been taken. In addition to GPS data, poachers are also looking for any type of recognizable landmark in order to locate where a new habitat may exist. 

Luckily, most major social media platforms already scrub EXIF data automatically from photos, but someone determined enough can still trace photos back to photographer’s personal websites or portfolios where the EXIF data may still exist.

In an era where technology makes seemingly anything readily available and at our fingertips, it may be time for photographers to exercise even more caution when protecting the locations and subjects of their photos.

You can read the entire Vice article here.

Lead image by Pixabay user Hans, used under Creative Commons.

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43 Comments

Neville Ross's picture

This is why I'd rather use a film SLR to take a picture of wildlife, instead.

Really? That's the reason?

Neville Ross's picture

It's as good enough a reason as any. Not everything has to be done with digital cameras.

You don't need a reason at all. That one just doesn't make sense since you can easily exclude location data.

Neville Ross's picture

Not everybody needs to have the latest gear to take pictures, buttercup/creampuff. Maybe if you weren't so obsessed with the latest gear, you'd realize that.

BTW, a picture I took using a film camera a while ago:

"Not everybody needs to have the latest gear to take pictures"

Sure, but that's not what you originally said.

Just out of curiosity, is that a scan from a print?

Neville Ross's picture

It's an actual picture I took a few years ago with a film camera (Pentax Super Program) and film (Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO) while having a walk down Jarvis Street near the St. Lawrence Market here in Toronto, put onto a CD-ROM.

Scan the film and edit it yourself and you'll get much better quality.

Neville Ross's picture

I have no interest in buying a film scanner, sir. I like my methods all the same.

Benjamin Quarles's picture

Bahahah!! Dying....this is one of the most hilarious trolls I've seen in a while.

Neville Ross's picture

And you're the biggest asshole I've seen in a while, but who's counting?

'Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were the typical photographer of today obsessed with the latest gear. But, I repeat myself.'

After Mark Twain (1835 -1910)

You're switching arguments after the fact. You're the one who appears to be obsessed with not being wrong. You misspoke. There's nothing wrong with that. Let's move on, shall we?

Neville Ross's picture

And you want to oppose me 'just because'. But, in doing so, you're being an asshole (and no, I DON'T care about what skills as a photographer you have that might be better than mine.)

No, not at all. I'm not trying to oppose you but, yes, I'm being a kind of a jerk. I just didn't understand your reasoning and, having clarified yourself, I think we're in total agreement.
Photographic skills are meaningless. We all start knowing nothing and die, never knowing as much as we would like. :-)
I'm sorry we got off on the wrong foot.
Friends?

makes totally sense

A poor reason since the simple act of copying an image is simple enough to do.

Neville Ross's picture

Since you can make copies of pictures when you develop film and then scan them using a scanner, it is a good idea to use film.

So in the end you end up with no location data with either. So then explain to me why shooting film is better than digital for that ability?

Neville Ross's picture

Why are people like you so against film photography, especially when I or others mention it?

I'm against misinformation and fallacies regarding any topic.

I think you'll now be the first person that I send a complaint about.

Donna Macauley's picture

That's why I never post location when I photograph wildlife or landscapes. I also don't want a camera with GPS capabilites, so I use old gear.

Neville Ross's picture

Smart man. And if you use film, you can just develop the picture and then scan it using a scanner-no EXIF data at all.

And that process takes a lot less time than excluding location information. :-/

Moreover, noone will see your valuable camera model information and won’t be able to trace you to steal it from you. That’s the reason I never publish photos on Internet.

Good idea. I know of a guy who has a Nikon D810 and a Nikkor 70-200 and lives in Geneva. I'll be visiting his house some night. I'll leave his X-T1 and Sigma lenses, though, since they're not worth anything. ;-)

Don't hurt my insurance company, they are good evil :)

Neville Ross's picture

I'm sorry, but that's not much help to most people, and as I said before, you can post pix on the 'Net the old-fashioned way, by taking pictures with a film camera, developing the photos, and then scanning in the pictures to your computer and then post said pics on the 'net.

Why would you scan prints rather than negatives? Scanning prints yields poor quality.

Neville Ross's picture

Not everybody wants to (or can afford) a film scanner, sir.