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Thread started 10 Nov 2013 (Sunday) 04:36
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(Quick) guide to Geotagging your photos using Android phone, GeoLog and Lightroom

 
broadcast_techie
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Nov 10, 2013 04:36 |  #1

Scroll down a bit to get to the actual geotagging workflow, it seems I've rambled on a bit...

I thought I'd write up this quick guide about geotagging photos as I finally have a workflow which suits myself and may be of use to one or two of you out there...

I am obsessed with metadata but am crap at remembering names / keywords etc. I've always sorted my photos by date and now have about 10 years worth of photos organised this way. (not to get off topic, but if I'd understood the true value of backups when I was a teenager I'd also have the pre-2000 photos from mis-formatted drives and stolen laptops - seriously just buy a couple of hard disks and back up your photos!)

Anyway, I digress. As well as photo date I realised years ago that place was also important. It's hard work applying keywords / tags to photos, especially after a three week holiday when you can't remember what happened in the first week - yes you have the photos to remind you, but if you don't record any other detail all you are left with is the photo without context.
Previous generations understood the importance of metadata by penciling the names / places on the back of prints - we take millions of photos these days, but rarely record useful notes.

Over the last few years I've tried a number of solutions with varying success...

GPS Logging

First thing is to capture your GPS location as you take photos. If you're lucky enough to own one of the new cameras with GPS built in then I believe you have it already taken care for you.

Originally I bought a reasonably priced logger from eBay (~£50) which has 16MB memory and the battery lasts about 7 hours. Yes this works, but most days last longer than 7 hours, especially when walking about a city getting in as many sights as possible. Also the memory soon fills up, logging at a decent level gets you a day and a half at most before it fills up...
As well as having an awful memory for places I'd often forget to switch it on / off at the right times.

This put me off for a few years, but once smartphones came along I tried a few different apps again; there are a number out there and in someways the best one I've used is Google's My Tracks. It's simple and accurate and allows easy sharing of tracks (at the end of the day you'll need to get it onto your computer...). Chances are you take your phone everywhere already so there's no need to carry a separate logger.

My Tracks is great, but again you need to remember to start / stop your tracks as appropriate. If you can cope with this then great, use it.

For me I've found that Chainfire's GeoLog (external link) is the best app. Chainfire also makes the brilliant DSLR remote app for Android.

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GeoLog runs continuously in the background (I know I know, draining battery - but actually I've not noticed any real problems) and adapts the logging to your current activity. See http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthr​ead.php?t=2386317 (external link) for full details about how it works. There are a number of different profiles to choose from - I leave it on Low Power / Slow, but if I'm out shooting change it to one of the Photo Walk profiles, or if I'm going somewhere special then one of the High Accuracy profiles. You'll need to experiment to find what suits you, but it's good to know that if I head out shooting and forget to change the profile it's still logging something and will give you a reasonable track.

Exporting the log is the next step. As GeoLog is running all the time you'll need to select a start / end date and time to extract a track for where you've been. This gets saved to your SD card as geolog.gpx. You can also save KML for playing in Google Earth etc..

Sadly this step isn't great, but it works for me - depending on your setup you may have an easier way of getting the log from the phone to your computer...
Turns out I've found an easier way, see the post below. (will rewrite this post later)


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IMAGE: http://s24.postimg.org/bdnewnasl/2013_11_10_10_07_03.png
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I then use an app called Astro File Manager (external link) to browse to the file and Share it with Google Drive. This way the log is uploaded to my Drive account and immediately appears on my laptop.

Lightroom tagging

IMAGE: http://s8.postimg.org/e71uv0o5x/13_copenhagen_lrcat_Adobe_Photoshop_Lightroom.png
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photo sharing (external link)

Now it's just a case of going into Lightroom's map module and loading the geolog.gpx file, and auto-tagging your photos. This is done using the Tracklog menu (under the Map menu on the menubar). The screenshot above shows an example from the end of our trip to Copenhagen. Only discovered GeoLog on the last day of the trip, was using My Tracks up until then.

I hope that helps someone, geotagging photos used to be only available to those who could afford expensive loggers, but now anyone with a smartphone can geotag all their photos!

If anyone wants any more details then please let me know, this is the first time I've written such a guide.



  
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broadcast_techie
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Feb 01, 2014 09:19 |  #2

Further to this I've found a nice shortcut which eliminates the upload to Google Drive step...

BitTorrent Sync is a free application for your desktop and phone which allows very quick syncing of files between devices on the same network.
Link to the mobile app: http://www.bittorrent.​com/sync/get-started/mobile (external link)

First install the application on your computer and phone and establish a sync partnership on the /storage/sdcard0/GeoLo​g folder (your device may vary slightly) to a folder on your computer.

Now after you export the log in GeoLog as a GPX file, when your phone and computer are on, BitTorrent Sync will copy the files to your computer in the background.

From here you can load the log in Lightroom as before.

One important point:
Ensure the Store deleted items in SyncArchive is disabled for this folder otherwise you will fill your drive with backups of the GeoLog log file!

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(Quick) guide to Geotagging your photos using Android phone, GeoLog and Lightroom
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