Geotagging Photos – My Workflow – Part 1

In my recent post (Don’t) forget the time, I talked about the advantages to synchronize your cameras internal clock. Today I will start a small tutorial and show how I geotag my photos. I bet this workflow can easily transferred to any other equipment and software than that I make use of. Anyway this tutorial shows you the steps and on what you need to pay attention.

This is my equipment and these are the tools that I use:

Enable track recording on your GPS

The first part of this tutorial is about how to set up the track recording at the GPD (Garmin Oregon). The goal is to get the most precise geo position into the photos. To achieve this you need to set up your GPS to use a time record method with a fast interval to track the geo position.


First step is to power on your Oregon and wait until it shows the default menu, then choose “Setup” and then “Tracks”.


At the “Track” menu you need to change the record method to time to get the second option “Interval” be displayed. Please choose one second for the interval. With this settings the Oregon will record its geo position every second. Don’t worry the Oregon has enough memory to save tracks for many days even weeks. Make sure you enabled recording at the “Track Log” menu as well.


To assign a GPS log entry to your photo you need to have the most up to date time set in your camera and with that in your EXIF data of your photos. The key is that the GPS log entry and the photo will match via the time stamp code of both the photo and the log entry. Unfortunately when I sync the time of my camera, I learned that the camera shows already a difference for a few seconds after a few hours, even after syncing with my computer and if the computer already had a wrong time set the difference is much bigger. The easiest way to get all aligned is to shoot a photo that shows the exact time of your GPS device. The Oregon does not show a clock that contains seconds out of the box, which is obviously essential for geotagging photos. But here is how to set up your Garmin Oregon to show a clock including the seconds.

Set up a clock display on you GPS containing seconds

With the Oregon you start again from the main menu and choose “Trip Computer”.

The “Trip Computer” has some presets which can be choosen they are called “Profiles”. The display you will get on the next screen may vary from the one I show (Recreational) here and you might want to change your profile to one that provide 6 or less small data fields, to follow the next steps. At the display of the “Trip Computer” please press the magnifier icon on the right lower corner, to get the bigger data fields to be displayed (something like on the next screen shot will appear).


When you press one of the big fields like “Dist to Dest” you get a new dialog like the on the right screen. Search for the button labeled “Time of Day” and press it.


Finally the display should look like something on the left screen now, a big data field showing the clock including the seconds. This is the screen I take a photo of each time I start a session or a hike. Sometimes during the day I will return to this screen and take another photo of the screen, just to be able to double check my alignments that I will make in one of my next steps are correct (I will describe how to do so in one of my next posts). Now all is set up so far for the GPS. You can start taking photos, even regardless of the internal camera clock – why? If you take a photo of the GPS devices time, you have the exact time the photo was taken. The next topic is how to get this time into your photos EXIF data. You will need something like Aperture and HoudahGeo to get all aligned and synced. How to do that? See it in one of my next postings.


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Geotagging Photos – My Workflow – Part 1 — 4 Comments

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