Capturing GPS Tracklogs for use in Lightroom

You can record tracklogs with many GPS enabled devices. It has never been easier than today where nearly all smart phones have this feature built-in.
Tracklogs store the location, time and altitude info in form of these entries:

  • 46.72012-0830T16:58:34.959Z

The time is recorded in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the elevation in meters.

Capturing Tracklogs

We show how to capture tracklogs with the iPhone 4S + Geotag Photos Pro app

Sync your Camera Time Settings (crucial step)

Before you start tracking you should sync the camera clocks with your GPS device(s). Geotag Photos Pro has the extra option to show the iPhone's time. You also can just use the time on your GPS device.

If the time on your camera and your GPS device are not very close you lose precision in matching the tracklog to your photos.

Using Geotag Photos Pro on the iPhone

Set the tracking precision

Why would you want to use a lower precision like "Every 30 seconds" or even "Every 5 minutes"? This has all to do with battery life. Longer intervals use less power.

• In a car you would probably best use a power adapter to keep the iPhone powered.
• For aerials we always use the max precision
• If you walk 30 seconds to 5 minutes should be fine

We also set the "Minimal Position Change" to 10 yards to get smoother tracklogs. Not sure if it may cost more battery life.

Name the tracklog

 We use the seemingly generic name "New1" to have the name ready for the next recording. Normally we would use names like "20120830_Aerials" which would mean a tracklog recorded at 8/30/2012.

Start Tracking

Stay at a place where you can see the sky (means the unit can see the satellites). Hit the REC button and wait till the GPS locks onto the satellites. We then keep the iPhone in our pockets.

Stop Tracking

When you finish your trip stop recording by hitting the REC button again. Now you can see the tracklog on your screen.

If you did not change the tracklog name before the next recording your tracklog may contain multiple tracks, which can be selected in Lightroom later.

Copy tracklogs to your Computer

We copy the data via iTunes to our Mac/PC. The logs are in the Geotag Photos Pro app data section. You can also email it to yourself directly from the app, which I find easier than having to sync with iTunes. Emailing the tracklog does not require registration.

Learn more about Lightroom from our e-books:

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: car trackers
    outbackphoto - News - Capturing GPS Tracklogs for use in Lightroom
  • Response
    Response: Speaking of
    outbackphoto - News - Capturing GPS Tracklogs for use in Lightroom
  • Response
    outbackphoto - News - Capturing GPS Tracklogs for use in Lightroom

Reader Comments (1)

Good article
In yellow stone this spring i just made way points at every place i took images.
I used an older etrex vista.
When i got back i was able to use the images time and compare them to that days way points.
You need to remember that sometimes gps will give you weird info.
during 1 hike it gave me a 12000 avg mph.
take a look at Jeffrey Friedl's blog post "Informal GPS Logger Test: iPhone 4s GPS is Shockingly Good"

10-16-2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd Pouso

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Sigma DP2 Merrill Field Report | Main | DPReview Interview - Phil Molyneux, President Sony Electronics »