Monday, October 24, 2011

Step by Step: GPS tagging Photos and creating PhotoWalk in Google Maps and Picasa

Step by Step: GPS tagging Photos and creating PhotoWalk in Google Maps and Picasa.

  1. Synchronise the time between your camera and GPS. To display the exact time on my Android phone I use TM World Clock (free). I never change the timezone on my camera. Later we allow for timezone offset between camera time and UTC. The more accurate the time on your camera, the more accurate the geo-location will be.

  2. Create a GPS log where you've been - I use MyTracks (free) on Android
  3. Export the GPS log twice: to GPX and to KML. Call the file something like gpslog.kml / gpslog.gpx

    Press the triangle bottom right to bring up the MyTracks menu

    select Write to SD card, and then press "save a GPX file"

    Repeat to create a KML file

  4. Copy these file to your computer. I use Bluetooth, while USB and email works fine as well. If using Bluetooth or USB then the two files are in the MyTracks directory on the SD card/

  5. Apply the GPS data to your photos - I use GPSPhotoLinker (free) from Its at this point that you apply the UTC offset. If you are away from your home timezone, or DST applies then deselect 'use system time zone'.

    Click 'Load Tracks' and load your GPX from MyTracks

    Drag and drop your photos into the right hand window. Then switch to 'batch' and press 'batch save to photos'.
  6. When applying GPS data the date/time stamps on your files will change. I find this annoying so I fix the date / time stamps by using jhead (free) from
    The command is

    /path/to/jhead -ft *.JPG

    and / or

    /path/to/jhead -ft *.jpg

    ie the command is case sensitive
  7. Import / upload to Picasaweb using either Picasa desktop app or the uploader into a new album.
  8. Fire up a browser, navigate to the photos in Picasaweb, and download the KML by clicking "view in Google Earth". When this file has downloaded you need to manually add a .kml at the end. Call the file something like photomap.kml
  9. Goto to and click My Places because we need to upload the Picasaweb KML to My Places
  10. Go to Google Maps eg , and select MyPlaces

  11. Click "Create Map" and then click "Import". Upload your KML file from Picasaweb ie photomap.kml.

  12. You'll find some junk in the description section, which you can delete and put in your own description
  13. Click "Import" again.

  14. This time upload the GPS track from your logger ie gpslog.kml.
  15. After a few moments processing, the track will overlay with the photos
  16. Click "done" and set sharing options.


Adrian said...

I rode my bicycle around the lake of Zug and used the occasion to try out GPS tagging (this means to add GPS-Information to photos, so they can easily be shown on Maps). I wanted to visualize my trip and my photos I had taken on that trip, so I evaluated websites like flickr, to see, how well the support geotagging.

Unknown said...

Flickr don't really do GPS as far as I can remember. There may be some websites that specialise in photo mapping / tracking, though I find Google's Picasaweb and Maps to work well.

Ciaran Sheehan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ciaran said...

This seems rather long-winded.

And say I was out on a five-hour walk and I took 600 photos, how would I know which GPS log to attach to photo #374 and which to attach to #375? How does the GPS logger 'know' when a photo has been taken?

Unknown said...

Well, this one process works on ALL your photos at once, and its only tedious if you've never done it before, which is why I show every single small step :-)

I think you would find manually tagging 600 photos more tedious! And how would you remember the exact location for every single one?

The way the logger 'knows' is that it doesn't - you sync your camera to the same time as the logger, and the logger takes a note of the GPS every few seconds. Then the software matches the time stamp of the photo to the time of a GPS point.


previouslysilent said...

your link to jhead is bad.

I'd be interested in an updated post suggesting how to do geotagging when your main computer is running linux.

Unknown said...

stay tuned... in the meantime check out Part 4 of Divorcing Apple:

Unknown said...

Here you go: