Photo wandering and the art of geotagging

For the last two years, I have been on a somewhat of a passive quest to find the ultimate Geotagging solution. Geotagging for those not in the know is when you add the actual geographic location of your photos to the EXIF data. This is usually in the form of latitude and longitude but it can be a simple as adding the city and neighborhood to the location area of the IPTC. For years I have simply kept this info all in my head and well, after half a million photos and eight years later, I have to admit that I am starting to forget. So cluttered and tried brain please exit stage left because this is where geotagging gets a chance to show the audience what it can do. This isn’t a new thing either, the spot for GPS co-ordinates has been a field in the EXIF data forever, but there is a big difference between available and widely usable.

Now there are many different ways to go about geotagging your photos. Methods ranging from getting home, and opening all your photos in some sort of EXIF editor, and painstakingly copying and pasting your best guess at the Lat & Lon’s from Google Earth/Maps, all the way up to buying crazy fancy cameras that have built in GPS and will auto tag the photo as you take it.  To me these all seemed to be either an overly expensive or overly time consuming solutions, especially when my brain seemed to be doing quite well at it. This is where the programmers come in.  Some one thought hey why not take the path info that was marked out by a GPS (your trail of breadcrumbs) and then simply take the coordinates that correspond with the photo timestamps and apply those as it location data? Genius!!

Well not quite.  I would seem that writing this EXIF data to Jpeg files is a lot easier then to vender specific and proprietary RAW files.  The only programs that I could find would happily tag jpg files but my Raw files were left out.  I thought about many solutions like shooting Raw + jpg and storing the jpg as a reference file to even thinking about shooting jpg. but for the most part i just kept waiting for a program to deal with Raw, and I found it. (for mac)

GPSPhotoLinker is fairly robust Geotagging software that of course has no problem dealing with raw files.

Simple instructions are you wander around with some sort of gps tracking unit on you.  For better accuracy make sure that your camera time is set to the same as the GPS time. You can use just about any GPS you can think of because the program reads all the standard path track files.  I started using my 10 year old serial Gamin GPS but there is a fair amount of monkeying to get the information of my old unit, so i have started using my iPhone and a program called path tracker.  Not as accurate as a good gps unit, but it generally is close enough.

So basically I take the tracks from an everyday photo wander that my gps or iPhone laid out…

I load them up into GPSPhotoLinker on the left and then I load a number of photos on the right and i can tell it go for it.  there is ways to fine tune your tagging info like use the closest point in time or distance to the last photo or average all the data.  You can do a lot to make sure that your photos are as correct as the path data.  You can also manually add gps data to either single photos or batches of pho


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