Using iPhoto’s Places without a GPS-enabled camera

Rob Griffiths
24 June, 2009
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iPhoto ’09’s Places feature lets you organise and view photos by location. If you’ve got a newer higher-end digital camera, it may make this process painless—if the camera has a GPS chip, then iPhoto will read the GPS data when you import your pictures. But if you don’t have a GPS-enabled camera, the process of assigning a place for every photo can be really time consuming.

But if you also carry an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3G S (and to some extent, a first generation iPhone) in addition to your digital camera, you can greatly ease the task of assigning places. When you’re about to start taking a bunch of pictures on your digital camera, first take one on your iPhone 3G/3G S. The iPhone will tag the photo with the GPS location. If you’re using a first-generation iPhone, it will attempt to set the location using cell tower triangulation and nearby Wi-Fi antennas.

After taking your location-establishing shot with the iPhone, start snapping with your digital camera. Repeat this process each time you move to a new location.

When you get back home, import the images from both the iPhone and your digital camera into iPhoto ’09. Within the event containing your iPhone photos, select the image that correlates to your first location and press the small “i” icon to confirm that a location was recorded with the photo. Assuming it was, click Done, then press Command-C to copy the location.

Now select all the digital camera pictures taken at that same location, Control-click on one of the selected photos, and choose Paste Location from the pop-up menu. Presto, just like that, the location info from the iPhone image is assigned to all of the selected photos. Repeat this process for each location at which you snapped photos, and you’ll quickly have very accurate (assuming you have an iPhone 3G/3G S, and were in a spot with good GPS coverage) location information for all your snapped photos.

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