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by Chris Taylor

When in unfamiliar areas, I like to geotag photos I take so I can later see where they were taken. I use Irfanview as my image viewer. If there is location information in the EXIF info, it adds a button Show in Google Earth. With a click, I can see, within about 10 metres, where I took the photo.

My point-and-shoot Canon SX260 has a built-in GPS; my main camera (Nikon D750) doesn’t. Sometimes I take a photo with the SX260 just to have a record of the location and then switch to my D750. But the photos taken with the D750 remained untagged.

In order to record location information directly on the D750, I bought an add-on GPS receiver. Unfortunately, I have to plug it into the data port on the camera, precluding use by my remote shutter release. Also, the cable sticks out to the side, where it bumps against my hip when I use my sling strap. I damaged one cable this way.

In my quest to find a simpler way to geotag photos, I went looking for an Android app that would automatically transfer GPS data from my phone to my D750 when photos are taken. I couldn’t find one, but I found one that comes close: gps4cam.

You tell gps4cam to start a “trip” and the app starts recording location information at a user-defined interval. You can also force it to record a location immediately by shaking the phone.

When you tell gps4cam to stop the trip, it displays a QR code on screen which contains location information recorded since the trip start. You take a photo of that code with the camera you used to take the photos during your trip. If there are too many location captures to record in a single QR code, gps4cam will automatically generate multiple codes. Be sure to take a photo of all of them for any given trip.

You can record multiple trips and you can name trips in the app to more easily keep track of them. They use minimal space on the phone and can be deleted as soon as you complete the following step.

When you get to a computer, transfer the images – including those of QR codes - to a location on the computer. With the free desktop version of gps4cam, scan the directory containing the images. It automagically embeds the location information into the EXIF info of photos taken during the trip.

Because the GPS signal is time-coded, gps4cam can detect if your camera clock was set wrong and correct the time stamp in the photos. The only rule you have to follow is to not change the time on the camera between the start and end of a trip. Let gps4cam correct the times later.

gps4cam can geotag JPeg, TIFF, and RAW images.

I used gps4cam on a recent trip to Norway, Iceland and Scotland. I had a few instances where gps4cam inexplicably didn’t add correct GPS info to batches of photos. It usually came down to all photos that were taken at a single location. But, by and large, it did an admirable job of ensuring most of the photos I took with my Nikon D750 were geotagged correctly.

Bottom Line:

gps4cam: $4 for Android or iOS
Desktop software: free for Windows and MacOS

Originally published: October 2019

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