Categories: Cat News

Cat Photos – GPS – Metadata – EXIF – Your Privacy

Cat Location

The above picture is of the area around Richmond Park, London, where I live. My cat is not listed, thankfully. However, the Florida, USA, guy who created a website showing the location of cats has now expanded the number of cats to about 1 million. There is a genuine risk for people who upload their cat photos to the internet of losing their privacy.

If the location of their cat becomes public knowledge then so is the photographer’s location. Naturally, the same rule applies to photographs of anything they take.

GPS (Global Positioning System) is accurate to about 10-50 feet (3 to 15 metres), approx. 95% of the time depending on the conditions and quality of equipment.

This implies that someone using the cat location website could locate a person’s home through a picture of their cat taken by the home owner. This is an invasion of privacy and the person who set up the website is making that point. It would seem to me that if there is a cat thief in the area this website would help.

Many breeders of purebred cats like to keep their exact location private. I disagree with this because a buyer needs to visit the place. However, the breeders may be revealing their location inadvertently.

Use Camera Settings

It pays to check camera settings and to turn off the GPS element if you want to protect your location.

Deleting Metadata

You can strip metadata from the image using online websites. The best known is Yahoo’s Smush.it™. Another is View and Remove EXIF online.

EXIF Data Files

A while ago I wrote about the way modern cameras and smart phones invisibly embed within the photo a ton of information including where it was taken. This information is called metadata and it is stored in an image file formatted in a certain way: EXIF (Exchangeable image file format).

All modern digital cameras create metadata but not all have the GPS facility to add the location. The photo I took of Gabriel contains this sort of information – see below. When a digital photo is edited the editing software adds its own information and removes the camera-inserted metadata, as I understand it. The GPS function is turned off on the camera I use.

Example EXIF file (it is long to make a point – there is a lot of info) skim it if you wish

  • Make – SONY
  • Orientation – Rotate 90 CW
  • X-Resolution – 350 dpi
  • Y-Resolution – 350 dpi
  • Software – DSC-HX20V v1.00
  • Date and Time (Modified) – 2014:11:18 11:42:03
  • YCbCr Positioning – Co-sited
  • ISO Speed – 800
  • Sensitivity Type – Recommended Exposure Index
  • Recommended Exposure Index – 800
  • Exif Version – 0230
  • Date and Time (Original) – 2014:11:18 11:42:03
  • Date and Time (Digitized) – 2014:11:18 11:42:03
  • Components Configuration – Y, Cb, Cr, –
  • Compressed Bits Per Pixel – 1
  • Brightness Value – 3.16953125
  • Exposure Bias – +0.7 EV
  • Max Aperture Value – 5.0
  • Metering Mode – Multi-segment
  • Light Source – Unknown
  • Flashpix Version – 0100
  • Color Space – sRGB
  • File Source – Digital Camera
  • Scene Type – Directly photographed
  • Custom Rendered – Normal
  • Exposure Mode – Auto
  • White Balance – Auto
  • Digital Zoom Ratio – 1
  • Scene Capture Type – Standard
  • Contrast – Normal
  • Saturation – Normal
  • Sharpness – Normal
  • Lens Info – 4.45-89mm f/3.2-5.8
  • Rating – 0
  • Contrast – 0
  • Brightness – 0
  • Long Exposure Noise Reduction – On (unused)
  • HDR – Off; Uncorrected image
  • Face Info Offset – 94
  • Sony Date Time – 2014:11:18 11:42:03
  • Sony Image Height – 1944
  • Sony Image Width – 2592
  • Faces Detected – 0
  • Face Info Length – 37
  • Meta Version – DC7303320222000
  • Creative Style – Standard
  • Scene Mode – Auto
  • Zone Matching – ISO Setting Used
  • Dynamic Range Optimizer – Standard
  • Image Stabilization – On
  • Preview Image Size – 1440×1080
  • Flash Exposure Comp – 0
  • Multi Frame Noise Reduction – Off
  • Picture Effect – Off
  • Soft Skin Effect – Off
  • Macro – Off
  • Exposure Mode – Superior Auto
  • AFIlluminator – Off
  • JPEGQuality – Standard
  • Flash Level – Normal
  • Release Mode – Normal
  • Sequence Number – Single
  • Anti- Blur – On (Shooting)
  • Focus Mode – AF-S
  • High ISONoise Reduction2 – Normal
  • Intelligent Auto – On
  • White Balance – Auto
  • Sequence Image Number – 4
  • Sequence File Number – 1
  • Release Mode2 – Continuous – Anti-Motion Blur, Hand-held Twilight
  • Shot Number Since Power Up – 4
  • Sequence Length – 4 shots
  • Camera Orientation – Rotate 90 CW
  • Quality2 – JPEG
  • Ambient Temperature – 24 C
  • AFArea Mode – Multi
  • Camera Temperature – 26 C
  • Release Mode3 – Normal
  • Stops Above Base ISO – 3.0
  • Brightness Value – 3.16953125
  • HDRSetting – Off
  • Picture Effect2 – Off
  • Metering Mode – Multi-segment
  • WB_ RGBLevels – 520 256 541
  • Interop Index – R98 – DCF basic file (sRGB)
  • Interop Version – 0100
  • Print IMVersion – 0300
  • Compression – JPEG (old-style)
  • Make – SONY
  • Orientation – Rotate 90 CW
  • Software – DSC-HX20V v1.00
  • Modify Date – 2014:11:18 11:42:03
  • Thumbnail Offset – 39150
  • Thumbnail Length – 9636
  • MPFVersion – 0100
  • Number Of Images – 2
  • MPImage Flags – Representative image, Dependent parent image
  • MPImage Format – JPEG
  • MPImage Type – Baseline MP Primary Image
  • MPImage Length – 956417
  • MPImage Start – 0
  • Dependent Image1 Entry Number – 2
  • Dependent Image2 Entry Number – 0
  • MPImage Flags – Dependent child image
  • MPImage Format – JPEG
  • MPImage Type – Large Thumbnail (full HD equivalent)
  • MPImage Length – 350304
  • MPImage Start – 958464
  • Dependent Image1 Entry Number – 0
  • Dependent Image2 Entry Number – 0
  • Camera ID – 72157629868832697
  • Camera Type – Point and Shoot
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Do tigers fight each other?

Yes, sometimes tigers do fight each other at times of flux and tension. The most…

4 hours ago

Stranger in Japan ate cat food for two months without realising it!

This is an amusing story from Reddit.com in which a person honestly admits his or…

10 hours ago

Andrew Lloyd Webber is wrong to criticise the movie version of “Cats” the musical

It's all over the news, Andrew Lloyd Webber criticising the movie version of his "Cats"…

13 hours ago

Presence of mother during socialisation of kittens can be a positive or negative influence

This is a quick note and no more because there is not a lot of…

14 hours ago

Cat flap robots: another type of lockdown is required during the coronavirus pandemic

The "other type of lockdown" that I'm referring to is a mentality because the cyber…

15 hours ago

Don’t blame cats for destroying wildlife – shaky logic is leading to moral panic

Are cats really to blame for the worldwide loss of biodiversity? Dzurag/iStock via Getty Images…

1 day ago