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Tech Tip: Map Your Photos With a Desktop Computer

Q. Now that I have learned how to geotag photos on my iPhone, how can I assign locations to photos in my desktop photo library that don’t already contain location information?

A. Even if you have photos on your computer that were not taken on a smartphone or other GPS-enabled camera that embeds geographical coordinates into the files, you can add the location information manually. GPS coordinates, along with other technical details about the image, are stored in the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) data that accompanies a JPEG photo file.


GeoPhoto for Windows allows you to add location information to a photo by placing it on a map. Credit The New York Times

To add location information, you just need to edit the picture’s EXIF data. Most programs start this task by presenting you with a searchable map on the screen. You click or drag photos to a specific location on that map to geotag them. Once you pin the picture to the map and save it, the location information is added to the file. (Be careful with pictures you want to share publicly, though, as strangers may be able to physically locate your home and family members by using geotagged personal photos.)

Depending on the software installed on your computer, you may already have programs to geotag your pictures. For instance, the Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop Elements applications for Windows and Mac have tools for adding location information to pictures.

The current version of the Photos program that comes with the Mac operating system can assign locations to pictures, too. Just open the photo to edit it, click the Get Info icon in the toolbar and enter an address in the Assign a Location field.

If you do not already have a program with a geotag function, you should be able to find an inexpensive utility in the Windows Store or the Mac App Store. Pixel Planet and GeoPhoto are two of the available options for Windows 10, while Photo GeoTag and ExifChanger are two possibilities from the Mac App Store. Other programs — like GeoSetter for older versions of Windows or HoudahGeo for Mac — can be found around the web.

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NYT > Technology

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