Tagging Reinvented

How it works

picurl is a management application for distributed photo collections. It focuses on standard-based, storage independent photo tagging. picurl is written in Python and is available for Windows and Linux. But let’s see how it works in reality:

Step 1: Define your photo stores

First, you define photo stores in picurl, telling the program where you saved your photos. A photo store can be any device/media or service that saves/hosts your photos. To be more precise, picurl currently supports hard disks, removeable devices and media (USB-stick, mobile hard drives, CD-Rs and DVDs), HTTP and FTP servers plus the photosharing service Flickr (Picasa support is under development) as stores for your photos.

Step 2: Super-Fast-Indexing

After entering one little shell command, picurl indexes your photo stores. during this process, picurl looks for photos on your stores and saves a miniature version (thumbnail) of each photo to your user directory. picurl only requests a tiny fraction of the actual image data for generating thumbnails, so indexing is rather fast in most cases.

Step 3: Metadata conversion (done automatically)

This step makes picurl unique: picurl doesn’t just write the thumbnail to disk, it also includes the image metadata from the original photo. If you index photos from a photosharing service like Flickr, all tags and other flickr metadata are exported to the thumbnail too. The great deal about this: when you download photos from flickr.com, “proprietary” metadata like flickr tags normally gets lost. picurl preserves this information and converts it to standard EXIF/IPTC data, so that a wide range of applications (e.g. Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom, Apple Aperture) can read it. But how does this help you?
picurl also saves the URL of the source image in the thumbnail and turns it into a visual bookmark: when you want to download the original image, simply pass the thumbnail(s) to picurl. No need to remember cryptic URLs of photo galleries.
For the Photo-Geeks among you: picurl doesn’t rely on the presence of thumbnails/metadata in the source photo (EXIF/IPTC headers), it can also obtain this data from other sources (e.g. APIs, filesystem, HTML scraping…)

Step 4: Enjoy unlimited possibilities

Now you have a complete, yet minimum-sized offline version of your distributed photo collection… and unlimited possibilies:

  1. Browse your collection in Windows Explorer or IrfanView and right-click’n download the photos you want.
  2. Inspect the contents of ALL your photo stores at a glace with picurl’s powerful HTML Interface – you don’t need to insert your photo DVDs or connect to the internet for that.
  3. Run powerful, SQL-like Queries on your photo collection to find all images you took on your exciting Barcelona trip with your OLYMPUS 740Z cam.
  4. Send your friend Brian a best-of collection of his portraits within a small zip file – and let him decide what he wants to download.

Because of its standard-based approach, picurl can teamplay with many other image editors, photo management apps, file managers or other tools. We will continuosly update our tutorial section to give you more examples.


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