In need of a new geotagging tool

Monday, July 25th, 2022 at 8:08 pm

In my previous post I mentioned that I had a problem with geotagging the CR3 files from my new camera, this is that story…

I geotag most of my photos, both so that I have a record of where it was taken and so that when I share the photos (such as to Flickr) that others can also see where they were taken. Part of my trip planning is opening up the Flickr map to the areas I am going to and doing a search.

When I started geotagging the map module in Lightroom wasn’t that good, while I understand that it is a lot better now I still want to geotag before I load the photos into Lightroom so I can be sure that the files themselves are tagged, not just locations stored in the Lightroom catalog.

Two tools have served me well:

  • gpsPhoto.pl – a commandline tool written in Perl (which I know quite well) to geotag the image files based on a GPX track
  • GeoSetter – a free windows program that I like for manually placing images on a map or correcting the location when the GPX track isn’t quite right (eg like it does when the GPS signal reflects off tall buildings)

gpsPhoto.pl is working perfectly, it is Geosetter where there are some problems. The program hasn’t been updated in a number of years and while it still works the Google Map is covered by a “For development purposes only” watermark. The more recent and relevant issue to me is that being old it does not have support for the CR3 format that the R6 uses. Because of this I spent around three hours looking for a replacement for Geosetter that supported CR3 files. It turns out there are very few free options and I couldn’t get any of them to work. The most promising one specifically listed support for CR3 files, but then all I could get it to recognise were JPG files, it didn’t even support CR2.

In the end I was able to geotag the photos I took at the MSTEC National Steam Centre and while it was a workaround it is possibly also an indicator of what my new process might have to be.

I had 350 images to manually geotag and I could have taken the easy way out of using exiftool to tag them all with a single location (eg the front gate), this is the workaround I came up with:

  • temporarily load all the CR3 files into Lightroom
  • export them all as JPG with the same names
  • use Geosetter to tag all of the JPG files
  • run a script that copies the GPS tags from a JPG (eg IMG1234.jpg) to the corresponding CR3 (eg IMG1234.CR3)
  • sort the tagged CR3 files into their date/time based folder and sync into Lightroom

This worked and means that for now (possibly forever…) I have changed the R6 to save both JPG and CR3 images, using the JPG for the geotagging and then only storing the CR3 files long term. Although gpsPhoto.pl will happly geotag the CR3 files, I will still tag the JPG files first because I use Geosetter to confirm (and fix) their locations.

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