iPhoto, Geotagging, GPS and the Mac: A Post-Macworld Roundup

For our purposes, the big news from Macworld earlier this month was iPhoto ’09’s built-in geotagging. iPhoto is not the first application to support geotagging, but it’s the first to provide a compelling answer to the question of what geotagging is good for. That, plus its near-ubiquity on the Mac platform, will do a lot to spread support for location data in photos.

iPhoto '09 screenshot (Apple) iPhoto uses location data as a searching and sorting tool, which is far more involved, and useful, than simply plotting a photo on a map. In a nice touch, it also can create travel maps for its printed photo book service based on the photos’ geotags. It supports both manual geotagging — dropping a pin, entering an address — and GPS-enabled digital cameras like the Nikon Coolpix P6000 (previously), smartphones with built-in cameras and GPS, or digital SLRs with attached GPS units like the Nikon GP-1 (previously). GPS loggers — external geotagging solutions that sync GPS tracklogs with photo timestamps — are not, I think directly supported; you have to run through that process to embed the coordinates into the EXIF data before importing the photos into iPhoto.

More coverage of iPhoto ’09: Macworld, Richard’s Tech Reviews, Ed Parsons, CNet.

I now have a Nikon GP-1, but I won’t likely be testing it with the new iPhoto: I switched from iPhoto to Aperture earlier this month (which was untimely, considering, but I got it for Christmas). For those of us who use Aperture or Lightroom, Stefan provides a roundup of new or updated geotagging plugins. I just installed Maperture today, so I may have something to report at some point; note that Aperture does have support for lat/long information in image EXIF data and can generate a map if you poke around in the features (which I’m still learning about — 700-page manual).

Other news this month involving GPS on the Mac: Macworld — the magazine, not the conference — has reviews of Garmin’s RoadTrip 2.0 trip planning software as well as MacGPSPro 8.3 (previous versions of which have been mentioned here before, most recently here). Two Ask MetaFilter questions about using GPS on the Mac: one about using .gpx files, one about using an old Garmin GPS. And, for those who like to futz with the command line, Seth describes how he got the GPSd daemon working under OS X (via Make: Blog).