Hikers have long known the benefits that packing a GPS device can bring, but the technology is also adding a new dimension to photography.

A GPS receiver is now standard issue on smartphones with built-in high-quality cameras, but many dedicated digital compact and SLR cameras now have the necessary electronics to ‘geotag’ photos with GPS coordinates, too.

The obvious advantage of adding GPS location data to a digital photograph is that not only do you know the exact spot a particular photo was taken, but you can also pinpoint it on a map. Many photo-management applications and online services now have this feature built-in and automatically read GPS data when new photos are added — iPhoto for Mac OS does, for example, as do Picasa and Flickr.

A full explanation of the hardware and software required to exploit geotagging with digital photography is too long to cover here, but Gadling.com has a great breakdown that includes a list of GPS-enabled digital camera, add-on GPS receivers and compatible software for Windows PCs and Macs.