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8 easy tipps about adding GPS details to your photos

Robin Ochs Robin Ochs in Tips & Tricks
19.06.2019 · 6 min read

Wether you want to share your images here on Locationscout and on other platforms like Instagram or if it’s just for yourself to find the locations of your nicest shots again, geo-data can be very helpful. So here are 8 easy tipps about adding GPS details to your photos.

When using a smartphone for your photography, GPS tagging is not a big issue because it will be done by the device automatically. Be sure that the location service in your smartphone isn’t disabled.
However, most of you are probably using a true camera with a bigger sensor and a nice lens to achieve the best possible quality. Some of these cameras already have a GPS receiver inside and others can be connected to your smartphone to get the GPS data from the phone. Receiving GPS data from the phone can be annoying and some onboard GPS receivers are very battery consuming. If you have the same experience or possibly a camera system without any GPS function, I would like to list several ways to record GPS data and then introduce you to one little tool to write that GPS-Data into your images (JPG and RAW).

Important note: For all options please set your camera clock as accurate as possible.

If you linger at one location

When you plan a photo shooting at a special location to shoot that single perfect photo or maybe a complete series of photos, you can just shoot one extra photo with your smartphone and the GPS data of your location is stored in that separate smartphone photo.

If you do a medium length photowalk

If you are en route in a more or less plain landscape and your tour is not longer than a few hours, I recommend to use a smartphone app which can record GPS data and save that data into a .gpx file. One example is "MyTracks" but I am sure that there are more options available. When starting the logging in that app, every few seconds the software will create an entry with a time stamp and the current GPS position and adds that entry to the .gpx file. So as long as you are shooting and the app is logging there will be an entry in that .gpx file which is very close or equal with the time stamp of your photo (thats why it is so important to set the clock in your camera very precise). As soon as your environment gets hilly the GPS antenna of your smartphone could not be the best option and the logger records inexact GPS data. That’s why you may want to read the next paragraph. Furthermore GPS logging on a smartphone is battery consuming, so if you plan a longer tour I would recommend a separate battery pack for charging your smartphone.

If you are on an extended hiking tour in a mountainous landscape

On longer tours in a hilly environment logging with a smartphone could not be the best option. On the one hand GPS logging discharges your battery very fast and you may need your phone on your tour and on the other hand the GPS antenna in many phones is not the best. Clothes, trees and hills decrease the GPS signal so the position data will be imprecise or the signal will be entirely lost. For this cases I recommend a dedicated GPS navigation device. They are made for outdoor activity and next to GPS logging you have a reliable source for your current position when you lost your track. I have a Garmin Dakota 20, but other devices which can record geo-data into .gpx files probably work the same way. My device works around 8 hours with two standard batteries which you can change when you are on a longer trip. Furthermore the antenna is strong enough when I just put it into an outer pocket of my backpack (GPS don’t need any visible contact to the satellite). It is not needed to set the clock in that device because the precise time will be transmitted with the GPS data from the satellite (UTC).

What’s if you forgot to record any GPS track or photo with GPS?

Thanks to the satellite images in Google maps in most cases it is easy to find out where you have been as long as you remind your trip. After finding your location you can find out the exact GPS data by right-click -> What’s here. Thats painstacking work and time consuming but in case thats your single chance it could be worth the effort.

How to store the GPS-Tags into your photos

Now you have saved a lot of geo-data including time stamps but how to combine and store them into your photos? At this point I would like to recommend the small but effective Picture Instruments tool Smart GPS Sync. The software can combine smartphone photos as well as .gpx tracks with your camera photos and store the geo-data into the photos of your camera - even RAW. You just have to load photos and GPS information and the software can bulk process all images and GPS-data belonging together with one klick. To see how exactly this works, you can watch the following video:

Why tagging images BEFORE importing them into Lightroom?

In case you recorded a .gpx track, you can also import this track into Lightroom and assign several images to that track. But there is a big disadvantage: Photos and GPS data will remain separated. They are only connected in Lightroom. So if you either want to import the photos into another RAW converter at a later time or send them to someone else who is also using Lightroom, you have to find and send the corresponding .gpx track as well and do the assigning process again. Sure, there is a function in Lightroom to store Metadata into the images but if you are dealing with RAWs, Lightroom creates a separate .xmp files containing the GPS tags next to each RAW file. This means that you always have to hold togehter images and .xmp files when you move or forward them. If you decide to work with Smart GPS Sync, all GPS tags will be saved into the images - even RAW - and after tagging you can import them into Lightroom or any other RAW converter or image editing software and your geo-data is save (as long as you don’t use any software which deletes geo-data)

Deleting GPS tags from photos

In some cases you may want to keep the location secret from your customers. With Smart GPS Sync you can delete all GPS Tags from a bunch of images with one click. In any case I recommend to duplicate your originals before doing this.

What’s if your camera clock was wrong or when you forgot to involve the time zone?

Having the right camera time is essential for geotagging so I recommend to check your camera clock from time to time. But just in case you forgot it or your battery was empty and because of this your camera clock was reset, there is another small Picture Instruments tool called Time Fix. After finding out how many hours, minutes or seconds your camera clock is shifted from real time, you can easily enter this shift into the software, load all affected photos and correct their time stamp with one single click.

Special offer for Locationscout.net users

If you are now curious about our Smart GPS Sync and Time Fix software, you can just go to the products website and download a free 14 days trial. The trial versions are fully functional and not limited in any other matter than the period of 14 days.

As Manuel and me are friends since several years and I think an easy GPS tagging solution can help a lot of people here to tag their photos before uploading them to Locationscout, so I feel obliged to offer you a special discount of 33% when buying through one of the following links:

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