How to Add Geo-tags to Multiple Photos Taken During A Hike

I wrote in an earlier post about taking a reference photo on my iPhone 5 to capture the geo-metadata not being recorded by my Canon 60D DSLR.  Now I’ve taken the next step and am using my iPhone 5 to geo-tag many DSLR photos taken at different locations in a single operation.The method uses the iPhone to capture a GPS track, then uses a desktop software utility to transfer the geo-locations from the track to the photos based on the timestamps.  Here are the steps:

  1. Sync the clock on the DSLR to that of my iPhone.  I was able to do this to within a few seconds, which is fine for this procedure.
  2. Create a GPS track during the hike. I used the Motion-X GPS app on my iPhone to record a track while I hiked and took pictures with my DSLR.  (The app was on sale for $0.99 in June 2013.)
  3. Merge the track with the photos.  Back at my desk, I used Motion-X to email the track file*  to my Mac.  Using GPSPhotoLinker to do the merge was pretty straight forward once I played with the interface a bit. I pointed it to the track file I had saved from my email to my Mac and to the folder of RAW (.CR2) photos from my hike, pushed the button, and the photos were all tagged with what appears to be the correct geo-tags for latitude/longitude/altitude.  (No direction, but that makes sense.)

My app/smartphone combo does NOT require wireless or data service to record a GPS track.  In fact, I turn these services off so the phone is not wasting battery life hunting for those signals, which probably aren’t available in the backcountry anyway.

* The GPS app actually creates and sends the track in two formats: a .kmz file and a .gpx file. I was familiar with a .kmz file from my work with Google Earth and was able to the .kmz file to see my track on Google Earth.  It was good thing Motion-X also extracted the .gpx file because the software to merge the track with the photos, GPSPhotoLinker,  would only reference the .gpx file.

Testing Motion-X GPS HD on the iPad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *