Thursday, February 12, 2009

Geotagging, Creating Location Aware Digital Images!

How to leverage your iPhone to geotag (add GPS location data to digital images taken with your point & shoot or dSLR [note: the iPhone 3G automatically geotags images taken with the iPhone]) your digital photos and save yourself $100.

  • Install a GPS datalogger application on your iPhone 3G, I can recommend using "Trails" ($2.99). The data logger is used to create a GPS track of your movement, placing the data into a GPX file.

  • Make sure to sync your camera's clock to the date & time on your iPhone.

  • Launch the datalogger on your iPhone, the iPhone will have to remain in "awake" mode to track your movements, I suggest shutting down wifi, 3G and dimming the screen brightness to save battery life if you are planning to shoot for several hours.

  • If you are using "Trails" touch the "+" to create a new track, place your iPhone in your pocket and...

  • Start shooting digital images as you normally would, you can pause and re-start datalogging at anytime. Keep in mind, as long as Trails is logging your location to a track and you are simultaneously taking photos, the GPS data can then be synched up to your images.

  • When you are done shooting, halt your GPS tracking in Trails and email the resulting track file (GPX) to yourself.

  • The last step is to sync the GPX file with your digital images, resulting in location aware digital images. There are a few applications out there, HoudahGEO ($30) is very popular, I use Maperture Pro beta (currently $0) as a plugin for Apple Aperture. If you are an Aperture user, I recommend using Maperture Pro as it fits in nicely with Aperture workflow, you import your images (RAW or jpeg) as you normally would, then you select the images that you want to geotag. Then launch the Mapeture Pro plugin and drop the GPX file onto the Maperture Pro interface... and presto your images are updated with location information. No need for a separate $100 GPS data logger.

  • In conclusion: 3 easy steps... 1. TRACK (iPhone 3G with Trails) -> 2. SHOOT images(your camera) -> 3. Sync GPS data to Images (HoudahGEO or Maperture Pro).

What can you do with you location aware digital images? With Aperture or iPhoto you can display your images on a google map and sort/organize by location. Additionally, there are a number of photo sharing web sites that support displaying geotagged images on a map such as Picasa Web Albums, Smugmug, Flickr and Panoramio.


Übermind said...

Maperture Pro BETA 1.1.8 is now available for download! Go to, take it for a spin, and tell us what you think.

Anonymous said...

Now, we are very pleased to announce the release of Maperture Pro, our most sophisticated and feature rich plug-in to date.

So, go to, take it for a spin, and tell us what you think.


The Übermind Team

Maperture Pro

Plug-in Details:

• Version: 1.2
• Post Date: 05/13/2009
• File Size: 15.7 MB

Minimum System Requirements:

• Aperture 2
• Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard
• Safari
• Internet Connection

Feature List:

• Add or update global positioning system (GPS) data to your digital
• Altitude automatically computed and added to your images
• Import GPS Tracklog data files (GPX, KML, LOG, NMEA & TCX)
• Reverse Geocode location information
• Copy, Paste, Remove & Show Location menu options
• Add custom Keyword(s) to geotagged images
• Location Bookmarks



Frequently Asked Questions:

Location aware photos, just a few clicks away

Chris said...

My GeoLogTag iPhone app is specifically made for geotagging photos taken with any digital camera (2900+ models supported).

Übermind said...

Maperture Pro 1.2.6 release & new GPS export bug workaround...
We have just released version 1.2.6 and has seen many improvements with stability, image formats, geo-data and multi-thread issues. Give it a spin and let us know what you think over at We'd love to hear how you think we could improve it!

And there is now a workaround to this issue in Aperture so that all geotagged information from Maperture Pro will be exported with your images. It seems though you must be running the most up to date version of Aperture for this to work properly, currently 2.1.4. After geotagging via Maperture Pro, quit Aperture and force a rebuild of the library by holding Command + Option when re-launching. Aperture then seems to sync all the newly added GPS information to it's master metadata library, solving the problem. You can now edit your images and export with all the EXIF & IPTC metadata intact. You would need to repeat this step after adding new geotags which you would like to export.


Honzik said...

Hi, I'm using geotag photos -, its realy easy to use and working great for me!