Accurately & Easily Record Time & Location

For years, boats racing up-river events have been required to record and submit their finish times. While everyone tries to do this accurately, writing down a time as you finish isn’t always easy, there can be recording errors, and not infrequently, there are errors in submitted times. But there is a very easy and accurate means to capture your time and location — anytime, anywhere.

Almost all modern smart phones include a built in GPS that can tag the location of a photo; similarly, the time, based on the cellular network, is tagged to the photo. Thus, just taking a photo, records the time and location, but if you point your camera at the start or finish mark, you can also prove where you were with respect to that mark.

To tag photos you take with their GPS location, known as geo-tagging:

  • On an iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Camera > [Select] While Using the App.
  • On an Android phone, turn camera on > click on settings icon (top left) > switch “location tags” to “on”.

For example, the EXIF info for the photo below shows that it was taken 2019-06-11 at 18:57:32, at a lat/long of 45.36713°, -75.81698°, which is shown to the right, or below, in Google Maps.

Finish photo Finish Photo Location on Google Maps

So, for a simple, easy and accurate means of recording your start and/or finish times, set-up your phone as described above. When submitting photos along with your start/finish times, include photos as email attachments; do NOT edit the photos before sending, as most edits will wipe the EXIF information.

Different photo viewing Apps display information in different ways, but Irfanview is a powerful, free, graphics viewing application for Windows that allows users to view a photo’s EXIF info, and easily displays the photo’s time to the second, and allows display of the photo’s GPS coordinates in Google Maps and other applications. EXIF Viewer is an iPhone App that provides similar functionality.

Another option that some racers like to use for recording and timing their races is the free Race Qs App. With proper GPS coordinates of the start and finish lines, this can yield a remarkably accurate record of a boat’s start and finish times. Be aware that all GPS Apps can drain your battery faster than normal.

Page updated: 2021-06-06.

Update log
2020-06-26, HM: Added Page created.
2020-07-29, HM: Added update log, notes about submitting photos, and reference to RaceQs.

2021-06-05, HM: Minor editorial updates. Added reference to EXIF Viewer App.

NOTE: Update the publish date and time when updating page.

Page maintained by H. Morrin.