Adding GPS to Metadata


Today’s Question: I know you have said that if you take a picture with your iPhone you can add GPS coordinates to your Lightroom entries. I have found that if you use Google Maps to find where you took a picture and do a mouse click you can get the GPS coordinates and they are in the format Lightroom likes. A simple copy and paste will get it done. Clearly I am not doing this for all images but there are images I would like to have listed on the Maps module and this seems to be straightforward, simple and fast compared with other things I have tried.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Actually, there is a faster and easier way to accomplish this right inside of Lightroom. The Map module in Lightroom actually makes use of Google Maps. You can locate a position on the map in the Map module, and then drag and drop a photo (or multiple selected photos at once) from the Filmstrip onto the map, and the GPS coordinates will be added to metadata for those photos.

More Detail: There are, of course, a variety of ways you can add photos to the map in Lightroom’s Map module. But in all cases, adding photos to the map really just means adding GPS coordinates to the metadata for the photos.

If photos are captured with a camera that includes GPS capabilities, those photos will have GPS coordinates automatically embedded in metadata. That, in turn, means the photos will appear on the map in the Map module within Lightroom.

You can also capture a reference photo with a GPS-enabled device such as a smartphone, and then use that reference photo to help you locate map positions for other photos captured without the benefit of built-in GPS. This is a subject I addressed in the article “Location Snapshots” in the August 2012 issue of Pixology magazine.

In addition, you can record a GPS track log with a variety of different devices (including a smartphone) and then synchronize that track log to your photos within Lightroom to add GPS coordinates to the images.

And, as noted above, you can simply drag-and-drop one or more photos onto the map from the Filmstrip in Lightroom in order to add the photos to the map, and add GPS coordinates to metadata in the meantime.

The map in Lightroom also includes the option to switch between a road map and satellite view, which can also be helpful for locating specific positions on the map.