This week end , a nice user of PhotoLocations asked me how to make his pictures from the iPhone appear on the "Places" tab of the iPad Photos App. It is easy as a piece of cake, if all your pictures are already geocoded.
But for most people they're not.
Let's see the different options you have. First let's start with the most occurring situation: you have pictures on your PC (windows or Mac) that have been taken with your point and shoot or SLR Camera. You don't have any special gizmo. In that case, you need to geotag all your pictures by hand. There are different options for you:
- iPhoto'09 on the Mac or Aperture 3 let's you select a place and add the geo information inside your pictures.
- Lightroom from Adobe let's you do the same kind of thing, in a more basic way (no map, no geocoding): you need to the coordinates of the picture. The Map is available through a plugin, maybe. I'll leave that to you as a homework./
- HoudahGeo on the Mac, a very nice way to geo tag your pictures.
- JetPhotoSoft seems to be the recommended software on Windows, but I don't know for sure, so I'll let the comments open so readers can give their feedback.
All these desktop apps allow you to select one or more pictures, set their location and voilà! your pictures are geo tagged.
If you have many photos and many different locations, the best solution is to have a record of your movements and geo code your pictures from a GPX file. You can create a GPX file from GPSRecorder, my very first iPhone app.
If you use an iPhone 3 or 3GS to take your pictures, by default they must be geotagged, if you have accepted to let the app know your location. No need to add the geotag. What can happen is that the geotag is off by several thousand meters, or you want to add more metadata, or you want to use pictures from other sources and geotag them. That's why I made PhotoLocations, but the geotag is only a second feature less important than metadata. It seems that the use of that app will change with the next version of the iPhoneOS, after reading the announcement of the Beta, and the fact that a technology called ImageIO is now available to us iPhone developpers.
Anyway, when you import your pictures to your desktop, the geotag stays in there.
So now you have a bunch of Pictures on your destop computer with geotags. How do you sort them in the "Places" of your iPad Photos App? The answer is simple: you don't, IT'S MAGICAL.
Make sure that the import settings you decide in iTunes point to a folder or a data source (iPhoto, Aperture) where each picture has its geotag inside it, and iTunes will take care of reading the info and putting it in its database for fast display.
So if for example some of your pictures are not at the right place, or do not appear where they should appear, go back to the source, the file itself and check that you have the geo information. On a Mac, checking is easy: open in Preview, and open the 'info' menu. If there is geo data in your picture, you will see a GPS tab. On Windows, I don't know any more, but I think Microsoft makes that info directly available in the info of the file.
Here are some info I discovered from tests and other users. Matt Farrugia of Bitwink reported that his test of the Camera Connection Kit import of a picture taken with his iPhone put that picture directly in the Places tab. That's very good news for a lot of people. Makes life easier.
Less good news is the fact that if a developer tries to copy a file to the DCIM folder of the iPad, this picture's geotag is not analyzed by the photos app yet. I mean if you copy by brute force. Hopefully that will change soon.