Since When Is Geotagging A Bad Thing?
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Since When Is Geotagging A BAD Thing?

Adding your location to Instagram photos or checking in on Facebook has been practiced for a while now? So why isn't it the right thing to do?

Since When Is Geotagging A BAD Thing?
Brandon Thomison

Like many other 20 somethings, I love adventuring and exploring. Visiting every state and National Park are in the Top 10 on my bucket list. I follow WAY too many "vanlife" accounts on Instagram and my biggest dream is to spend my life traveling the world. So, naturally, when I post about my adventures on social media, I add my location so family and friends can see where I have been traveling to. I spend a lot of time looking where my friends are traveling as well and can be found researching my next road trip or trip abroad. I never thought about the implications of geotagging until quite recently.

So what, exactly, is geotagging? According to techopedia, geotagging is "the process of adding geographical information to various media in the form of metadata." It is when you add your location to an Instagram pic or some similar form of letting social media know your whereabouts. Geotagging does have some perks, however. It makes it easier to arrange your photos, helps friends see where you've been, and share with a community your likes and interests. But, as I thought more and more about this issue, I had to find out; was it worth it?

Through some googling, I found that most people have been concerned with geotagging because of stalkers or internet safety concerns. Many people write about the dangers of stalkers knowing your favorite places that you frequent or burglars knowing when you aren't home. There is even some concern that friends may know if you lie about where you're going that night or similar situations. My largest concern, however, has been brought to light by a recent conversation that I was having with a friend. I was talking about my backpacking trip and plans to visit a National Park during my upcoming vacation in California. We were discussing the pictures from the trip and joking about getting some good ones for the 'gram and he brought up the problem of geotagging. This was the first time I had ever thought of it as an issue, and not just something fun to add to a picture.

In recent years, geotagging has actually become a pretty big issue for nature, National Parks, and keeping private areas more sacred. The more that people visit these places and add their geotag, the more popular they become. Just like I have seen with Glacier National Park, a place I visit regularly because it is so close to my home, the number of tourists and visitors increases hugely every single year. If you have ever been there in the summer, you also might understand that it has become a headache to even park for hiking and the Visitor Centers get full very fast. Many of these outdoor places aren't meant to handle such crowds and are at risk of being ruined by the increasing use of their lands and resources.

Don't get me wrong, I am not looking to hoard all of nature's wonder to myself, but I believe that we should work a little harder to protect these beautiful places. Rather than adding a specific location of a lake, waterfall, or special beautiful place, maybe it's better to add a more general location. It could help keep these secret and precious places beautiful and protected.

Documenting your adventures is a fun thing to do and it's no secret that National Parks or Wilderness Areas exist. But before you add a geotag to your next pic, maybe you should think twice. I for one will be much more aware and conscious of how my actions on social media can impact the world around me.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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