Geotagging my photos

Sunday, July 26th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

For a long time now I have been using the map within Flickr to locate the photos that I have uploaded.

Since I bought a GPS unit I have taken it on long rides as well as some other journeys to allow me to follow a route and to track where I have been.

In the back of my mind I was aware that you can add GPS information to the EXIF data of images, but it wasn’t until a talk and presentation on geotagging last Tuesday at the camera club that I finally put them together for geotagging.

So, from this point on, I am going to attempt to geotag as many of my photos as I can where the location is appropriate (eg it isn’t for model shots of lego). For photo walks or camera club outings this means that I will have my GPS unit in the top of my camera bag. While for events such as Web Standards Group which is at a fixed location, I will add the location of the venue to the EXIF data instead of just in Flickr.

So how do I actually add the location?

I already use exiftool to sort my images into date based directories and to shift the dates if needed, so one initial thought was to write my own program.

No, first I would see what free programs were available. So over the past few days I have been looking at the first few programs I found: GPicSync, Geotag and PhotoMapper. I also came across gpsPhoto.pl which I will keep in mind if I write my own program as it is in perl, but I’m not looking at a command line tool yet.

  • GPicSync worked, but was slow and didn’t give a preview before writing to the files and generating a KML file
  • Geotag was fast and allowed me to preview before writing to the files. It also allowed me to tweak the time offset of the photos within the program, but I would still prefer to sync the files with GPS time first.
  • PhotoMapper was also fast and it provides a preview using Google Maps within the program before modifying the files. Unfortunately it only appears to support JPG, I also need support for RAW files.

I will keep looking at different programs until I am clear on how to fit geotagging into my workflow and which program will best do that.

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