Adding GPS Coordinates to Photos’ EXIF data in OS X

As I mentioned in my last post, my Garmin eTrex Legend HCx has no real way to talk to my OS X laptop, where I do all of my photo processing. Since my Nikon D70s doesn’t support attaching a GPS to the camera and using it to embed GPS data in the EXIF tags, the fact that the USB connection on my Legend HCx wouldn’t be compatible with doing that is moot.

So, for a multitude of reasons, I can’t easily put my lattitude, longitude and elevation into my photos. The camera doesn’t support it, the GPS doesn’t support it and Garmin doesn’t support OS X. Luckily though, I’m not the only one that wants to do this. My friend Gowtham informed me of an application called GPSPhotoLinker which uses track logs to find the appropriate coordinates and enter that data into the photo’s EXIF data. (Track logs being a log stored by most GPS receivers containing information about longitude, latitude and elevation with a timestamp.)

Since my GPSr allows me to save these track logs to the microSD card I have installed, I can simply use a card reader to pull the logs. (Fear not though, the program claims to support pulling them off the device over USB.) Once I have the log on my machine, I simply load it into the program via the button at the top of the screen.


After that, load the photos. Upon going to the batch menu, you’ll be presented with some options. You can tell the program to ignore images with location data already in the EXIF tags (which I recommend) and set tolerances for how close a track point must be to the timestamp in the photo’s EXIF data. You can also set it to link to the nearest track point or a time-weighted average point.

GPSPhotoLinker - Batch menu

Once you’re done, simply push the “Batch save to photos” button and sit back while you wait.

7 thoughts on “Adding GPS Coordinates to Photos’ EXIF data in OS X

  1. Very nifty, I think we’d talked about this before so I’m glad you found a solution. I was wondering how it knew where you took the photo, but the timestamp bit makes perfect sense. Like our radios here, if you want things to work all nice and happy like, you set them to GPS time before missions. I’d probably do the same with my camera and GPS. Cool find, I’ll be downloading it soon.

  2. Actually, my GPS has a timezone offset that I can set so it will match local time on my camera.

  3. nice to see that you got this thing to work – wish my gps thingy came with removable media but it’s been doing it’s job.


  4. What an excellent program! But, I wonder, does anyone know if there is any similar program for windows? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Can you connect a digital camera to a laptop (specifically a tablet pc, which will be used on power stations and offshore platforms) and get some form of software that automatically writes extra data into the exif?

    The system would be very similar to the normal gps/camera set up, except instead of writing coordinates, you will be writing valve or line numbers into the exif.

    Ideally, you would be in a database, where you enter a load of daat about the valve/pipeline, then press “capture image” and use the digital camera to take a photo and automatically enter it into the database.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  6. I see know reason why you couldn’t. There are plenty of tools out there that will allow you to write into the EXIF data. What you’re planning would require a programmer to pull it all together and build a functional application though.

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