Geotagging: How To Geotag Photos Using Picasa & Google Earth

Google PicasaPicasa 3 has been out for awhile and has lots of fun new features. Today, I’ll look at geotagging.

Say, you’re cruising through some thumbnails in Picasa.

Picasa Geotagging

And it suddenly occurs to you that you’d like to add co-ordinates to them.  You can select one or many and click Tools/Geotag/Geotag for Google Earth (or the blue Geotag globe at the bottom of the screen) and it will open directly into Google Earth (assuming you have it installed.)

In the box in the upper left, type in the location of the picture(s) including street address if you have one and click the Search button.  When you’re at your location, adjust the map so the cross-hairs are right on your target and click Geotag or Geotag All.  That’s all there is to it.

Geotag Photos Using Picasa & Google Earth

Once you’ve geotagged a picture, you can go back to Google Earth anytime in the future and see your thumbnail at its right location by clicking on Tools/Geotag/View in Google Earth.  It will also show your other geotagged pictures in the area of the map you’re looking at.

If you go back to Picasa, right-click on a thumbnail and click Properties, you’ll see the co-ordinates near the end of the list.

Here’s the neat part:  These co-ordinates will also show up in other software.  Of the software on my computer, so far, I find it works with Adobe Elements and ACDSee Pro.  What this means is that if you do it once you don’t have to repeat the process.

The photo metadata in Adobe Elements will also show co-ordinates that have already been put there by PicasaAdobe Elements works with Yahoo! Maps.  The map sits in a sidebar of the Organizer with zoom tools. You can right-click on a photo that already has co-ordinates, choose ‘Show on Map’ and it will place a pin there.  What you can also do is drag and drop a photo onto the map or right-click on a thumbnail and choose ‘Place on Map’.  This will bring up a box where you type in the address.

Photo Location on Map, Adobe Photoshop Elements

It will find the location, add the co-ordinates to your metadata, plot it on the map and immediately navigate to the location where it’s pinned on the map. You can do this with one picture at a time or many. Since I had Picasa open at the same time I notice it was immediately updating there as well. In Adobe Elements, it will show you if you have more than one picture at the same location.

Photo Location, Adobe Photoshop Elements

Then you have the option of sharing your maps.  You can create a Flash Photo Gallery to upload to a website or upload to Flickr.

In ACDSee Pro, latitude and longitude show up under GPS in EXIF information. I don’t see any way of getting it in there directly, but if it’s already embedded using other software it will show up.  On JPGs.

GPS Co-ordinates, ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

I like Picasa because it’s directly connected to Google Maps. You can zoom in almost to street level and place your pin within feet of your desired location. You can add as many pictures as you want, Export to Google Earth File and send it to anyone who can also open it with Google Earth.  It helps to put your photos in context because they’re overlaid on a map. When you’ve geotagged several pictures in the same location, clicking on the top one will create a display like this:

Geotagged Photos, Google Earth

As you click on individual thumbnails they will come up in larger view. The one caveat about Picasa, though, is that it only works with JPGs. Although it seems to work with TIFFs, i.e. will let you add tags and GPS information, it does not translate to other software.

For this reason it would be better to work with Adobe Elements even though the maps aren’t as much fun or as forgiving. It won’t let you search a location by co-ordinates. It has to be an address even if you don’t have one. I would guess there are better options overall in Photoshop or Lightroom.

OK, now for the bad news.  I hoped Legacy could import co-ordinates along with importing pictures but, alas, it’s not there yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *