Some months back Martin Evening had used a number of
images from my photo shoot in Antarctica to illustrate an article he
wrote on the subject of GPS and Google Maps for
LightroomNews. Martin's excellent article should provide
sufficient information on how Lightroom handles GPS data in photos, etc
but I've included a couple of screenshots to whet your appetite for the
possibilities this feature offers.
Before travelling to Antarctica I had borrowed a
Sony GPS-1 GPS recording device. Other than basic setup info I
had no idea as to how it worked or if it even would work where I was
going. I also didn't make a fuss about having it with me because with
my luck it would likely have failed. Anyway, I used it when we landed
in the Falkland Islands and again on South Georgia.
Click image for larger view
It wasn't until I returned home that I was able to
convert and embed the data into the XMP sidecar file for each photo
file. The software I used for this was
to convert the Sony data to GPX and
GPS PhotoLinker to write the track data into my files. I'm sure
that there are many alternatives, and those more familiar with GPS
tagging will no doubt know quicker and/or easier ways.
Tip: Lightroom does not allow direct input
or in-line editing of GPS data, in fact the GPS fields only appear in
the metadata panel when you've selected an image that has GPS data
If GPS data is found during photo import Lightroom may
display one or more fields (e.g. GPS, Altitude, etc) in the EXIF panel
of some metadata panels. An action arrow is placed on the right side of
the GPS Longitude & Latitude field, pressing the action arrow will
automatically, subject to you being connected to the internet, open
your web browser at the Google Maps page for this location. Use the
Google Map controls to zoom and navigate your way around. Anyway,
without boring you any more with details; I've included an example
screenshot from Google Earth. This next screenshot shows a satellite
view of Stromness Harbour, South Georgia, which is the same
location depicted above.
Click image for larger view
My experience of GPS tagging of images is fairly
limited but given how successful it was during the trip, especially on
the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, I expect that it will
eventually take over from the voice annotation feature on my Canon 1DM2
- Wow, hold on a minute...
Lightroom 1.1 supports voice annotations, that is to
say it will import any ".wav" files that it finds on your
flashcard, i.e. so long as their name matches with the photos, they
will then appear in the "All" and "Location" metadata panels
against the field name "Audio File". I've known for along time
that Lightroom would import such files as sidecars, but up until
now they were ignored. To find that Lightroom 1.1 can also use them is
very welcome, but how did I go through a complete beta cycle without
being aware of this new feature?
It was certainly discussed, but I don't recall any
explicit statement to say that audio file support was to be included.
The following screenshot shows how the audio file appears in the
metadata panel. Clicking on the action button (right pointing arrow)
plays the wav file associated with the photo.
Audio File Support - voice annotations are in!
OK, I still haven't answered the question as to how I
missed the inclusion of this feature in Lightroom 1.1 update...
I normally only record very basic info along with the
first photo at any particular location, this way I don't end up filling
the flashcard with gibberish about where I am and what it is I'm
shooting. My normal workflow is to convert my photos to DNG when
importing them into Lightroom, at the same time copying the CR2
files to a backup disk. Since Lightroom 1.0 could not use the ".wav"
file my normal practice was to delete the ".wav" file that gets copied
to the same folder as the DNG files (a copy still stays with the CR2
files). No ".wav" file means no audio file field in the metadata panel
- that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ;-) Today (30 June) I decided
to re-import some CR2 raw files from the South Georgia segment of my
photo shoot to the South Atlantic and Antarctica. It was only
whilst capturing the screenshots to illustrate above section on GPS
tagging that I spotted the new field, clicked the button and the words
"11th February 07 Stromness whaling station" boomed out of my speakers.
I subsequently discovered that whilst DNG does not yet
support embedding of audio files the sidecar wav files can coexist
alongside the DNG and will be picked up by Lightroom.
Audio sidecar files can coexist with DNG
Tip: Some cameras that otherwise support
voice annotation of photos do not use the same file name for both the
photo and annotation (my Canon PowerShot Pro1 falls into this
category). If you find that this is the case for your camera you'll
have to manually copy all of the files (photos and .wav files) to
your hard disk, rename the .wav files to match the photos (don't
change the extension). Once this process is completed import the
photos into Lightroom, the .wav files will be imported as sidecars .
Lightroom 1.1 just keeps getting better... I wonder
what else I missed?
Remember Rule 5 - Enjoy!