Today’s Question: In response to your answer about adding GPS metadata by dragging photos to the map [in Lightroom Classic], isn’t it also possible to use a smartphone to record GPS data and add it to photos?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can use a smartphone app to record a track log during a photography outing, and then synchronize that track log with the photos in Lightroom Classic to add location metadata to the images.
More Detail: The easiest way to add GPS metadata to your photos is to capture those photos with a camera that has a GPS receiver. With this approach your photos will have GPS information added to metadata automatically, so the photos will simply appear on the map in Lightroom Classic with no additional effort.
As noted in a previous answer, it is also possible to drag photos to the map in order to add location information to metadata. However, recording a track log makes that task even easier when you’re using a camera that doesn’t have a built-in GPS receiver or an attached accessory device.
Some GPS navigators and similar devices have the ability to record a track log. You can also use a smartphone app for this purpose. For the iPhone I use an app called GPS Tracks (https://timgrey.me/gpstracks). For Android users I’ve tested an app called A-GPS Tracker (https://timgrey.me/gpstracker) and found it to work well.
The process of using a track log to add GPS coordinates to the metadata for photos is relatively straightforward. You record the track log in the GPX format (not the KML format) and then I recommend saving that track log in the same folder with the photos it corresponds to.
In the Map module in Lightroom Classic you then select the photos on the filmstrip that relate to the track log, click the track log button on the toolbar below the map, and choose “Load Tracklog” from the popup menu. With the track log loaded and the photos selected, click the track log button again and choose “Auto-Tag Selected Photos”.
The capture time for the photos will be synchronized with the time from the track log, so that GPS coordinates can be determined and added to the metadata for each photo.