Sunday (20-January-2013) — New Jersey

Technology: Geo-Tagging Image Metadata.

I really like the ability to have GPS data imbedded within the metadata of my images. It helps me remember exactly where I took the image, and especially now with Google Maps and Bing Map be able to zoom in from a satellite image. For a few years I had been using various Solmeta GPS devices that plugged into the 10-pin adapter on Nikon camera bodies. Unfortunately, during a winter photography workshop in Yosemite the device managed to short out the electronics in my brand new Nikon D3x. Ouch. The camera had to be sent back to Nikon to be repaired, and because the failure was caused by a non-Nikon device the repair was not covered under warranty. Since then I have been wary of attaching a GPS device directly to the camera.

The solution since then was to add GPS location data to the image metadata after downloading the images to my computer. I have a Garmin Rino 530Cx device that I used to record GPS tracking information. Many smart phones can do the same thing. You just need to be able to download the GPS tracking information, and extract the time-based location data. You do need to make sure that the clock in the camera is relatively accurate (including time-zone and daylight savings adjustment). You can then compare the time that an image was taken with the GPS location and add the location to the metadata. Doing this one image at a time, however takes too long.

The current versions of Nikon View NX2 and Lightroom 4 have a feature where the GPS metadata can be added to many images. I prefer using View NX2 because the information can be added to the RAW image files (as well as JPG and TIFF image files). With Lightroom 4, the GPS data is added to a sidecar file for proprietary RAW images — although the data is added directly to JPG, TIFF, PSD, and DNG image files.

The process to add GPS location data to image metadata within View NX2 is as follows. (1) Select the files to update (limited to 500 images at a time). (2) From the Edit tab, select Log Matching — OK the GeoTag message.


(3) Add the *.GPX file that contains the GPS log data for the time period that the images were taken. [Other supported GPS log files include *.nmea, *.nma, and *.log. There is also an option to correct for differences between camera time and GPS time if you didn’t synchronize the time between the camera and GPS before hand.] (4) The program will then compare the image time with the GPS log file and place an x next to the images that will be updated. If there was GPS data in the image files, the new data will be shown in Red. (5) Select Save — Yes to overwrite the GPS data.


After updating the GPS location metadata in the image files, I need to update the database catalogs in Lightroom: (1) Library – Select the image files to be updated (2) Metadata – Read metadata from file [Note that this will overwrite any metadata added since the image file had been added to the Lightroom Catalog.]

Within Media One Pro, updating the image database is a little bit different: (1) Within the Organize Panel Window (clt-5) Select the images to update (2) From the Action Tab select Rebuild Item (ctl-B). One could write a script to do this.

One gotcha that I ran into is that even though the current version of View NX2 (2.7.1 64 bit) was updated to handle Nikon 1 V2 Raw files, if the metadata for these files is updated with GPS data as described above, the updated file is no longer recognized by View NX2. For now that is not a problem for me since I am using the Nikon GPS attachment with the Nikon 1 V2 camera.

One other note, you do need to be connected to the internet to use these features since there is a strong connection to Google Maps.

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer updating images in My Image of the Day Photoblog, and My eBird (with images of nearly 450 bird species). hope post COVID-19 to be a world traveler again. My interests include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, sky, and seascapes, travel, and astrophotography. I look for unique ways of viewing the world and presenting my images. I have traveled to over 55 countries in six continents, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on home renovation and expansion of a wildflower garden/meadow.

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