How To: Geotag your iPhoto pictures

I like to catalog my pictures in iPhoto by event and location. It's not only helpful as a reference, but it allows me to make cool travel photo maps online at Flickr or in Google Earth. For example, here's my geotag map from Flickr.

Since iPhoto doesn't offer a native interface for adding geotags to pictures (although some use this hack — !not recommended!), here's a quick and easy way to add location information and geotag your pictures in iPhoto, using Google Earth.

How to add GPS coordinates (geotag) via Google Earth

  • Download and install Google Earth.
  • Download Craig Stanton's Geotagger (free) and install it. (Tip: If you are going to tag photos often, drag this to your dock once installed)
  • Download and install from Goolge Earth crosshairs by Stefan Geens of Oogle Earth fame. This will allow you to select a location with much better accuracy. The location at the center of the crosshairs is what will be written into your images.
  • Open Google Earth and center the map on the area with which you wish to associate the photo(s).
  • Open iPhoto and drag the photo(s) for tagging onto Geotagger's icon. (Again, it is handy to have it in the dock.)
  • Geotagger will launch, write the geotags, and quit.

That's it! Now your photos have geotags written into the exif information. These geotag properties are retained by the picture, so they will automatically be recognized by Flickr and other tools that honor geotags.

TIP #1: You can't confirm the geotags within iPhoto, but you can drag the photo from iPhoto to Preview in the Dock and use Command-I to see the geotag information under "GPS PROPERTIES" on the DETAILS panel.

TIP #2: This method works from anywhere, so you don't need to be using iPhoto to geotag your pictures. You can tag your photos directly from your memory card as long as you can read/write.

TIP #3: Once the geotags are set, you can import your pictures into Google Earth using Craig Stanton's cool iPhotoToGoogleEarth plugin. Once your photos are saved in Google Earth format (kmz), you can share them with your buddies who have Google Earth and they will see your pictures right where you took 'em.

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