Mar 26 2012

Lightroom 4 and Geotagging with My Tracks

Published by at 5:00 pm under Photography, Software

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Jesus trailsI have been using Lightroom 4 since the first day they released it in beta. One of the features I was excited about was the new Map module. I am fairly meticulous about organizing and tagging all my photos. This is a major reason why I love Lightroom. It excels at that. The thing that I have had to do manually (since both my Canon 5D2 and Canon S95 don’t have GPS logging) is geotag my photos when I upload them to Flickr. It is tedious and at times very difficult when I can’t remember the exact spot I was at when I shot the photo.

Since Lightroom 4 has made it easier to geotag your photos, I decided to give it a try. In order to make this work, I had to find a way to track and import my GPS data for my photos. I should note that Lightroom only supports GPX files. After trying a bunch of GPS tracking apps on my phone and testing a bunch of desktop that exported to GPX when it was necessary, I was disappointed that most of the software out there did not work well with Lightroom. The last app I tried was My Tracks by Google. I forgot that they made one. I wish I tried it first because it works perfectly with Lightroom.

I tested it out yesterday when I was shooting along the Mississippi River. There is only one thing to remember before you start using My Tracks. You should make sure your phone has an accurate reading from your GPS signal. Acquiring your location takes time if it’s a cold start. I turned on my GPS a few minutes before I got to my destination to give my phone plenty of time to lock onto my location. After My Tracks has a good read on you, just start recording and then begin taking photos. One last thing to be aware of, you should check to see if your camera’s time is set correctly. Lightroom syncs your photos to the GPS data with that time. You can correct this by setting a time offset after you imported everything, but you’ll save yourself a possible headache if you just check the time beforehand. After everything your GPS data and your photos are in Lightroom, it can sync them up with a few clicks. It saves the location data into your photos as metadata so when you upload them to Flickr, Flickr will recognize and map them for you. You can check out the photos that I tested it with on my Flickr.

If you have any questions about this whole process, leave a comment below or you can ask me at @JavaJunky.


5 responses so far

  • Buglady

    Thanks so much!!!! Big help!

  • http://about.me/javajunky JavaJunky

    I’m glad this helped!

  • http://seeing-things.net Roland

    Thanks for this tip. I’m looking for a gps logging solution to use with LR4

  • http://about.me/javajunky JavaJunky

    You’re welcome.

  • Ambroos

    I’m going to try this! A good way to find the right offset in time is by shooting a photo of your phone’s clock (with seconds) when you start shooting. Easy to adjust if you can just compare the EXIF with what’s on the photo!