Geotagging photographs with gps4cam

QR Code by Big Dadoo
QR Code, a photo by Big Dadoo on Flickr.

I’ve spent a good part of the last day of Christmas holidays playing around with the computer. Well, not so much playing as learning some new stuff in Lightroom 3, which triggered exploring a whole bunch of other stuff, mainly around GPS, geotagging and the iPhone. You see, Lightroom exposes the GPS metadata of a picture and there is a small little arrow next to the GPS coordinates that launches a Google Map of where that photograph was taken. Similarly, geotagged photos sent to photo sharing sites like Flickr use this GPS info to put your photo on the map.

While iPhone photographs are self-geotagging (GPS coordinates can be automatically associated with the picture when it’s taken) my other cameras, like the Canon 7D, can’t do this on their own. It is possible to geotag photos from DLSRs like the Canon 7D and store that information as part of the image but there are quite a few different approaches and hardware/software options to get the job done.

After a little googling around and reviewing a number of approaches, I settled on gps4cam, an iPhone app, to help me get the job done. Primary criteria were low cost, after all this is the post-Christams period, it had to be easy to use, preferably self contained, not requiring yet another online service and be easy to use in my Lightroom workflow.

The 2D bar code in the picture is my 1st test of gps4cam and it contains GPS locations sampled on a 5 minute interval of my afternoon photo shoot expedition to Whittier Park. At the end of your “photo trip” you export the GPS information from the iPhone and it produces one or more 2D bar codes, which you simple photograph and add to the photos that you’re planning to geotag. The photos are then processed with the gps4cam desktop software. It looks at your photos and finds the 2D barcode info and extracts the GPS data and then inserts the appropriate GPS data into the appropriate photo, it’s simple “magic”!. The nice part is that you don’t need to synchronize the clock on the iPhone with the clock on the camera, which is what a lot of other solutions require when using a GPX file to attach the GPS info to a photo.

So far, I’m quite pleased with the gps4cam software and I’m looking forward to testing it out on a longer photo shooting expedition.

2 thoughts on “Geotagging photographs with gps4cam”

  1. What is your workflow after starting to use gps4cam? Do you run the desktop app to geotag the images right on the SD card, or import the images to lightroom first & _then_ geotag via the gps4cam desktop app?

  2. Hi Ali, I used the gps4cam desktop app to geotag the images directly on the SD card and then imported into Lightroom as per usual. The GPS data then shows up in the metadata panel. I must admit that I backed up the images on the card 1st to the mac, just in case something went wrong. I suspect after a few more uses of gps4cam that I’ll probably start skipping the backup step.

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