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Embedding geotags in master photo and video using Aperture

2830 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Dec 30, 2013 7:13 AM by Andreas Yankopolus RSS
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richjhowell Calculating status...
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Mar 21, 2012 3:52 AM

My iPhone 4 geotags photo and video, as does my handy (Canon) compact camera. Photos store the geo information in the EXIF data I believe, and a bit of research suggests the geo information in the videos is stored in the actual H.264 video rather than the 'container'.


To my question.

I have a library of photos from the last couple of years taken with a different camera that I would like to retrospectively (and I appreciate quite roughly - e.g. by city) geotag. I'm a bit of a stickler for information management and I want these geotags embedded in the master images and videos.


I have found Aperture, even when I ask it to, does not do this. It seems to hold the geo information I add in its library file, but if I look at the master through a different piece of software it doesn't see the geotag.

A workaround is to geotag an image and then export the master, and the exported version will have the geotag embedded.


I have no workaround for video files - geotags work within Aperture (again presumably stored in the library's database file) but won't stick on the master video whatever I try. I believe this could be because some of my old videos are in formats that don't support the geo metadata. I plan to try converting to an .m4v with h.264 video, that I hope can then accept embedded geo data. The old videos are fairly poor quality anyway, so i'm not precious about running them through a converter, if i can get the metadata added properly as a result! (They are so old that many can't even hold basic metadata such as 'date taken', which I also want to add!).


So, any advice would be appreciated.

Can I get Aperture to embed geotags into masters (I use a referenced library if that matters) without the need to export then re-import?

Can it do the same for video, and if so what video formats can accept this metadata?




Aperture 3, Mac OS X (10.7.3), Mac Mini
  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    Hello Rich,

    no solution - sorry; only a work-around:

    I do two things to ensure my masters are geotagged as well:

    • For new imports, I do the geocoding before I import into Aperture.
    • For older images, that need geotags, I send them to an external editor that can add geotags; I use GraphicConverter for that; I bought it for other reasons, but it can add geotags as well. Since Aperture sends a new master to the exernal editor, you have essentially the same behaviour as when you are exporting your image.
    • And yes, you certainly should make sure the masters are geotagged as well - it is so easy to forget, that only the versions carry the tags - I made that mistake several times.


    Video? no idea ...




  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,745 points)

    You can download a free trial of Graphic Converter to explore the possibilities.


    I guess I don't understand what you have to write the data back to the Master while you're still in the Aperture ecosystem. It's available to the shot, and if you're moving out of the Aperture ecosystem then you'll be exporting anyway, no?







  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    Rich, if you are considering to buy a program just for geotagging newly taken pictures, then look at Jet Photo Studio or Geotagalog first. Both are cheaper than Graphic Converter, and it is very easy to match your images to imported GPS tracks or to point to a location on the map and to assign the coordinates to a set of selected images at once. Jet Photo Studio is what I am using now to tag my images prior to importing to Aperture, and it works well with raw images.


    Graphic Converter I use for single, already imported images that are missing GPS tags. GraphicConverter uses GoogleEarth for geotagging. You can assign the position that is currently selected in Google Earth to the image you are editing in GraphicConverter. It is not a workflow I would recommend for large collections of images. It is quite a lot of work and error prone.


    If you are familiar with commandline tools, you may give exiftool a try:

         ExifTool by Phil Harvey:


    If I remember correctly, you can assign exif to videos with it, but I am not sure about it.



  • Lt.Tuvok Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    I use the GPS settings in the metadata views. After that I write the IPTC data to the master photos. When I export the masters all metadata is included as well.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)



    It's available to the shot, and if you're moving out of the Aperture ecosystem then you'll be exporting anyway, no?


    There is one pitfall with that approach: If you create a new version from the master, this new version will not be geocoded, if the geotags are only contained in the version and not in the master as well.


    You always have to stamp the metadata to the the new version to preserve the geotags; that is why I like to be sure that the geocoding is embedded in the master image files.





    P.S.: A version (left) and a new "version from master" in "Places" View: the version is geocoded, the new version from master not - no pin


  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    A follow up:

    Just looked again at the exiftool documentation:


    exiftool indeed supports various video formats and raw formats, see the introduction of the documentation. If you plan to use it, you could write an automator workflow that hides the terminal commands inside a "run shell script" action.

  • burdell1 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    isn't there a way to add the the gps info to the IPTC info that is written to the originals? I assumed that Aperture 3 would be able to update the originals (or masters) with the geotag data (without using any other supplement program, but i guess i was wrong. However, is there a way to change the default IPTC data so that the original photos can be updated with the gps information?

  • burdell1 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)


  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)


    Just read the thread - nothing has changed since the last posts, sorry.

  • michaelzoradi Calculating status...

    Hey Rich, Léonie, everyone else from this thread,


    I came across this post earlier today... Rich's initial post was exactly the same question I was asking!  I was wondering what solution/workflow you ended up proceeding with?  I'm concerned about imbeding my original images with the proper metadata and would love to hear how it worked out with GraphicConverter and if you ever found a solution for working with video.


    Thanks in advance for your help!



  • didole Calculating status...



    I am using "HoudahGeo" for this purpose. It is the only tool I have found that can add location information to both the master AND the version(s) from a GPX file to an image in an Aperture (or Lightroom) library. No need to export/import from Aperture, or to add Geotags to the master before importing.


    I strongly recommend this app - the UI is a little bit strange, but it's fullfilling the purpose.

  • michaelzoradi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the respond and suggestion!  I'll check out HoudahGeo... looks like it could be super helpful!! 


    One question... Does it only allow you to add GPS info from a GPX file... OR can you also add coordinates for the center of Paris France (for example) to a bunch of photos that you don't have a GPX file for but you know were taken in Paris?


    Thanks again for your help!



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