We recently went to listen to Peter Slingsby of Slingsby Maps fame. I was interested to hear what kind of technology he employed in the making of the fabulous new “Hike the Cederberg” maps. He mentioned using a GPS-enabled camera. I am currently lucky enough to be testing the Garmin Oregon 650t which has an 8MP camera onboard, so I have first-hand experience of how useful a tool that can be. If you do not have one, here is the answer to your geo-locating problems!

I do not have a GPS enabled camera at my disposal. Such cameras are available, and of course most smartphones can be set up to geotag photos taken with the camera, but the GPS function drains the battery life.

GeoSetter is free Windows-based software that allows you to synchronize the timestamp data of your digital photos with the position data from your GPS track data.

Please note that the timestamp I am talking about is not the time-stamp overlay that most digital cameras allow you to display on your photos, but the Exif data in the image file (on Windows this can be viewed by right-clicking the image in Windows and selecting the “Properties” and then viewing the “Details” tab, or loading the image into an application that can read and display such Exif data like Picasa).

It works is like this:

  1. You go for a walk / hike / run with some kind of GPS recording device. In my case this is usually my Garmin Forerunner 910XT
  2. You take photos with your digital camera
  3. You download the photos to a folder on your computer
  4. You download the GPS track in .GPX format (see my post on GPS file formats) and save the file in the same folder as the images (not required but easier)
  5. Open GeoSetter
  6. Open the folder of images with GeoSetter: Images » Open Folder
    1. GeoSetter automatically searches for the GPX file and loads the data
    2. you will see the track overlaid on the Map
    3. if you double-click an image in GeoSetter, you will see all its data in a pop-up — note that (unless you have camera with GPS) there is no data on the Location tab
  7. Select which images you want to geotag:
    1. Select 1 image: click on it
    2. Select multiple images: hold down the Ctrl key & click
    3. Select all images: Images » Select All (Ctrl + A)
  8. Then select Images » Synchronize with GPS Data Files…
  9. The markers will appear on the map for each photo located and the photos thumbnails will be pink
  10. Double click on a photo that was located and a pop-up will appear with all the details of the photo. On the Location tab you will see that there is now Longitude, Latitude and Altitude values
  11. If you select File » Exit you will be asked if you want to save data; if you select yes:
    1. a set of backup image files will be created (_original is added to the filename of each image when creating these “backups”)
    2. the GPS data will be embedded in the images’ Exif data

If some of the photos in your folder do not correspond to the GPS track, they will not be highlighted, and no data will be added.


Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

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