Digital photos have come to all but replace traditional ones, and with the benefit of the computer, these photos can contain a lot more than just the image. EXIF metadata is standard, and it can be used for all kinds of purposes, one of which is keeping track of when and where the photo was taken. Fortunately, while GPS positioning is still uncommon in cameras, this information can be attached to the photos in a number of different ways. Unfortunately, if the GPS information isn't handled by the camera, you have to find some way to get the information there, but luckily, there are programs such as HoudahGeo which make the task quite easy.What it does
HoudahGeo is a program that helps you get GPS information into the EXIF metadata found in digital photos. The information can come either from GPS devices or it can even be introduced by hand, but this programs makes both tasks easy and fast.Working with it
HoudahGeo works with projects, which are groups of photos. How exactly you structure them is irrelevant and can be done either in sessions, or by theme or other events. In fact, you cannot even bother with such projects if you don't wish to, but there are certain advantages to doing so.
Adding photos into a project can be done either by importing them from other photo management applications such as iPhoto or Aperture, or by importing the files themselves from the Finder. While importing from the aforementioned programs seems the most logical step for those who use them, there are issues however with the way the images and the EXIF metadata is handled that make it better to use HoudahGeo before the images
are imported into any other application. Unfortunately, these issues are within iPhoto and Aperture so there is nothing that HoudahGeo can do.
Once you have the images ready, it's time to add the GPS information. Whether you have the data from a device or a file, this step is very straightforward and intuitive. For the first two options, the accuracy of the information depends a lot on the clocks of both the device used to gather the GPS information and the camera's clock that lets the program know when they were taken. If there are any differences between the two clocks, the information will be inaccurate, and if the clocks are not consistent throughout the entire project, things will become really garbled, so care must be taken. Fortunately, HoudahGeo gives you the option to resolve any issues when you get started by letting you specify any time differences between the two clocks and set the appropriate time zones that may have come into play.
In case you are manually editing the GPS info, things are quite different. The program will present you with a Google Maps interface that lets you navigate to the location where the image was taken. Despite only being a link to the Google service, HoudahGeo is just as fast and a bit easier to use than the direct service. The same interface can be used to check the GPS information gathered from a device or file as well as fine tune it.
Once all the information for the images is in place, you can finish up by exporting the information back to the EXIF tags of the photos or by exporting it to a Google Earth file.
Using Google Earth, you can create a very nice presentation with the images, as well as show the path traveled while taking them. This can be either used to make serious presentations like showing houses available for sale in an area and the distances from them to major locations nearby, or for having a vivid visual representation of a trip taken with the family.Definitely a Mac program
You can tell from a glance that HoudahGeo is a program made from Macs. From the easy to use and intuitive workflow to the well designed interface, everything is a pleasure. The toolbar at the top of the window is groped into three stages, for each step of the process and the icons are representative. All the additional windows needed flow out of the main one and there is no clutter whatsoever. Even if you've never used such a program before, and you have no idea what a GPS is, you can still use this application to its full potential, without even needing to read the manual.The Good
Easy to use and very visually appealing, it makes adding GPS information to your photos a pleasant task, regardless of how you do it. The Bad
The interaction between iPhoto, Aperture and this program is something that the user should really be aware of from the beginning. While it is not HoudahGeo's fault, the program should present a warning the first time you try to import images to get the message across.The Truth
This is a great little program that easily juggles quite a big task, especially for those who do not have any GPS information to do the grunt work for them. If you are looking to get GPS information into your images the Mac way, you can't go wrong with it.
Here are some screenshots, click to enlarge: