I’m sure you have heard the stories about stolen camera and phones being traced by photos posted on facebook or twitter. They all have the element of a luck discovery in their stories, something that might be very hard to rely on when its your camera that has gone missing. Now there is a service called stolencamerafinder, which tackles the problem in a little more analytical fashion. They look for the embedded serial number of your camera within the EXIF metadata header of jpeg files. Unfortunately cameraphone generally don’t embed a unique serial number and are thus not supported (but I did notice one phone in their support list is the IPhone4s). Also most version of RAW don’t fully support EXIF style metadata and are therefore not supported either. The website has a few great success stories including Xander’s Canon (shown here)
Its also an example of a good open source project to I hope it is totally legit and wish the project well. You can even help out their data collection with a chrome extension and/or running a flickr scraper.
The important step, if your camera is lost or stolen, is to report it on their site, free membership give you one camera search, as well as using the free photo search. Professionally photographers and companies with a lot of photographic gear might see the benefit in Pro or Business membership.