Geotagging Across Asia
Boom! Almost two months after returning from my trip on the Trans-Mongolian Railway, I have completed a major milestone in my post-trip ritual: I’ve geotagged all 2000+ photographs I took on the trip! By hand!
Fun fact: Mongolians don’t believe in addresses. Even in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, street names and numbers are a new thing, and only formalized for the most major avenues. But outside of the city, even if you knew the name of the settlement you were passing through… good luck finding it on any maps!
This one was pretty easy, since it was the only body of water we passed on the train in Mongolia.
Mapping things out really gave me a sense of scale for the journey. It was interesting to see how far we roamed around – on foot and on horseback – while we were staying with a Nomad family in the mountains.
Some were relatively easy to pin down based on landmarks – once you could narrow down the search radius. This was a tiny underpass in the middle of the Taiga.
There are markers every kilometre, counting down the distance to Moscow. I took a lot of photographs of them, thinking I would be able to look them up later and pinpoint my location. Turns out, if there is a magical Trans-Siberian milestone database… I can’t find it! So, now I have a bunch of useless photographs of signs with numbers on them.
Strangely, I actually enjoy tracking everything down by hand because it becomes a bit of a treasure hunt; a way to re-discover the journey. It also gives a sense of space and physical context to the places that I’ve travelled through.
You put it all together and…