Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 brings a new Map Module to the game that allows you to easily geotag your photos. You can geotag photos by using a reference photo that already contains location info (say one from your iPhone), you can manually drag photos onto the map, or you can use a GPX log to match your photos to. Of course if the photos already have location info in them then Lightroom will use that info as well.
What’s a GPX Log?
A GPX log contains an entry with the date, time, elevation, longitude and latitude for each time your location changes (see sample below). The idea is that if your photos are taken within the same time frame as the log entries then applications like Lightroom 4 can extract the location info from the GPX Log and insert this info into the photos that are matching the date and time. It’s a simple concept and one that’s been around for years. Your iPhone has a GPS chip in it. With GeoTag Photos Pro you can take advantage of your iPhone (iPad or iPod touch) knowing where you are and then have it create this log for you.
How does it work?
GPX Log file example above
Since this process greatly depends on your camera being set to the same time zone/time/date as your iPhone, the App does a great job in showing you a display of exactly what to set your camera’s date/time setting to. Once you’ve done this important step all you have to do is create a new log and tap the record button. Once you tap the record button the App will start logging your location updates. By default the App is set to record your changes every 2 minutes or every 50 yards. I found this setting not to be accurate enough for my taste. I changed the setting to “Continuous” and every 10 yards. Of course this will use more battery power of your iDevice, but the difference in battery drain during my tests was insignificant. When you’re done with your shooting you tap the Stop button. At that point you can email the log to yourself or send it to iTunes for a wired transfer to your computer. The log is pretty small so I always just email it.
The Map Module in Lightroom 4
Once I got back to my computer I imported my RAW shots from my Nikon D7000, converted them to DNG (Not necessary, but I like DNG), and then imported the GPX log file that I created with GeoTag Photos Pro. It plotted a very precise route including the locations where I was inside a building.
Next I just used the AutoTag Photos command and like magic it auto tagged my selected photos and placed them on the map along the route.
The Bottom Line
I LOVE geotagging my photos and while I’ve got a variety of different GPS modules that connected directly to my Nikon DSLRs, it’s nice knowing that my iPhone becomes a wireless GPS module for any camera and I always have it with me. As far as the App goes, it works very well. I would make a couple of UI suggestions to the developer. The 1st one is to put the Camera Date/Time settings button right on the main screen instead of having to drill down to in the settings. The second one is to put the Email log button right on the main screen too. There is room for both of these and since I use them every time it would be nice not having to drill down to find them. Otherwise, this App does exactly what it’s supposed to do and makes a nice compliment for the NEW Lightroom 4.
You can also get it for Android here.