Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Digital Photography

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Using Places to Put Pictures on a Map

You can now buy cameras with built-in or optional GPS capabilities. GPS-equipped cameras will record where you shot each picture, just as transparently as they capture EXIF metadata. If you own an iPhone 3G or newer, you already have a GPS-equipped camera. The built-in iPhone GPS hardware tags each photograph with location data.

The Aperture Places feature uses that GPS data to help you organize, filter, and find your images.

Viewing GPS-Tagged Images in Places

With Places, you can view all your GPS-tagged images on a map, or only those from a selected project. Let’s start by viewing all the GPS-tagged images for all your projects.

  1. In the Library inspector, select Places.

    The viewer is replaced by a map view with a filmstrip view. You see only the images in the library that are currently tagged with location data. The red pins on the map indicate where photos were taken. You can change the style of your map to show a satellite, road, or default terrain view.

  2. Click the Road button to change the Places map to a different style.
  3. Place the pointer over the red pin on the West Coast of the US.
  4. Click the arrow to the right of the pin’s location label.

    The map scales to view only those images associated with the selected pin.

    The filmstrip view applies the Filter HUD to filter out images that are not located in the San Francisco Bay area. You’ll need to clear that filter before you can view other images.

  5. Clear the filmstrip view’s search field by clicking the Reset button (the X to the right).

    You can use the Path Navigator pop-up menus at the top of the Places view to quickly jump between locations. Let’s view the pictures that were taken in Tasmania.

  6. From the Path Navigator pop-up menus, choose States/Provinces > Tasmania.

    Another way to zoom in to the map is to draw a selection rectangle around an area.

  7. Hold down the Command key and draw a selection rectangle around the pin to the southeast of Hobart, Tasmania. The map zooms in to the area defined by the selection rectangle.
  8. In the lower right of the map, click the bottom Tasmania pin. The pin turns yellow. The two photos taken in that area are highlighted in the filmstrip view.
  9. Click the arrow on the right of the Tasmania pin’s location label to zoom in.
  10. Click the first image in the filmstrip view, SJH180120108.


    The pin’s location label appears, showing which pin represents the selected image. If you are interested only in location metadata in a selected project, you can use the Places button in the toolbar.

  11. In the Library inspector, select the iPhone Images project.
  12. In the toolbar, click the Places button to view the Places map for this project.

Clicking the Places button in the Library inspector shows all the locations for every project. Clicking the Places button in the toolbar shows only the locations in the selected project. The functionality is the same regardless of which view you are using.

Assigning Locations

Even without a GPS-equipped camera or iPhone, you can use Places to assign a location to a photo by dragging photos to the map.

  1. In the Library inspector, select the Around San Francisco project.
  2. Select the first rhino image, IMG_2277.
  3. Shift-click the chimpanzee image to the right, IMG_2623, to select six images.
  4. In the Places search field, type San Francisco Zoo. The San Francisco Zoo appears in the list.
  5. In the list, choose San Francisco Zoo.
  6. Click Assign Location. The selected images are now assigned to the San Francisco Zoo. Each image that you selected in the filmstrip view now has a red pin attached to it.

    You can also drop images onto the map and Aperture will attempt to find a local place of interest.

  7. In the filmstrip view, select the first four images, starting with the skulls and ending with the butterfly. These images were taken at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.
  8. On the Zoom slider, click the Zoom Out button (minus sign) four times, or until you can see Golden Gate Park at the top of the map.
  9. Hold down the Command key and draw a selection rectangle around the right half of the park to zoom in to that area on the map.
  10. In the map, locate the California Academy of Sciences, and then drag the four selected images onto the gray rectangle or text that marks the academy.
  11. In the dialog that appears, click Done.

    Aperture assigns those images to that map location, and also identifies the location as the California Academy of Sciences.

Assigning a Location to a Project

Although it’s handy to assign individual photos to specific locations, when you have a large library of images without GPS metadata, you probably don’t have the time to assign a location to each photo. A quick way to benefit from Places is to assign an entire project to a location.

  1. In the Library inspector, select Projects.
  2. Place your pointer over the San Diego Zoo project and click the Info button to view the Info dialog.
  3. Click Assign Location to open the Location dialog.
  4. In the search field, type San Diego Zoo.
  5. In the list that appears, choose San Diego Zoo.
  6. Click Assign to link all the images in the project to the San Diego Zoo location.
  7. Close the Info dialog.

Adding an Unknown Location to the Places Database

When Aperture can identify your photo location, using Places is very easy; but what happens when the Aperture location database doesn’t know your location? Let’s find out.

  1. In the Library inspector, select the Bhutan project, and then in the Browser, select the first image.
  2. Press Command-A to select all the images.
  3. In the toolbar, click the Places button.
  4. Triple-click in the Places search field to select all the current text, and type Bhutan.

    Not surprisingly, the list of places isn’t long, so you’ll need to add your own. When Aperture doesn’t have location information in its database, it does what we all do: it uses a search engine. You can find obscure locations and even addresses by using Assign Location.

  5. Choose Metadata > Assign Location. This should look a little familiar. It’s the same Location window you saw when you clicked the Assign Location button on the project Info dialog.
  6. In the search field, type Punakha, which is the town in Bhutan where these photos were taken.
  7. Select Punakha in the Google Results.

    By selecting any location under the Google results, you can edit the location pin placement and the broader area associated with the location. A blue circle appears on the map that roughly identifies the area of the Punakha Dzongkhag (Fortress). Although this location is roughly where these photos were taken, the images were actually shot over a much wider area than just the fortress. Rather than be too specific, let’s modify this pin to associate it with a more general area.

  8. Click the Zoom slider’s Zoom Out button three times and then drag the map up until the town of Wangdue Phodrang appears at the bottom of the map.
  9. Use the center circle and the blue arrows at the right side of the circle to highlight the map as shown.

    The blue circle represents the area that you will mark as the district of Punakha. Because locations can’t always be represented as a single dot, Aperture allows you to assign a wider area to a given location.

    The last thing you’ll do is name this area more generally, as the town of Punakha is not only the Punakha Fortress.

  10. At the bottom of the Assign Location dialog, in the Place Name field, type Punakha District and then press Tab.
  11. Click Assign.

    Your nine photos are now assigned to a wider area in the town of Punakha, Bhutan.

Removing a Photo from a Location

You’ve been doing well, but you just hit a small bump. You discover that The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is in Paro Bhutan, not Punakha. How did you miss that one? You’ll want to move those three photos from Punakha to the correct location of Paro.

  1. Press Command-Shift-A to deselect all the images in the Browser.
  2. In the Browser, select the three Tiger’s Nest images.
  3. From the Action pop-up menu, choose Remove Locations to remove the red location badges from the Tiger’s Nest thumbnails in the Browser.
  4. On the Zoom slider, click the Zoom Out button, and drag the map to the right until you see the town of Paro on the left side of the map.
  5. Drag the three Tiger’s Nest images to the area above Paro. Click Done.

    The pin and photos are assigned to Paro District. Aperture knows that this location is within the district of Paro, but that’s as much as it knows. Fortunately, it’s easy to get more specific.

  6. Control-click (or right-click) the pin, and from the shortcut menu, choose New Place for Photos.
  7. In the Place Name field, type Tiger’s Nest, press Tab, and click Add Place.

    You’ve successfully moved the 300-year-old monastery 90 miles to its correct location. Well, at least you’ve moved the three photos of the 300-year-old monastery to their correct location and added the location’s name.

Assigning a Location in the Info Inspector

You don’t always need to view such a large map when assigning an image location. You can do it within the Info inspector. It’s not as swanky in appearance, but it gets the job done efficiently.

  1. Click the Split View button, so you can see the Viewer and the filmstrip view.
  2. Select the Around San Francisco project.
  3. In the filmstrip view, select the last image, IMG_3332. This photo of the famous painted ladies of San Francisco should be assigned to Alamo Square.
  4. In the Inspector pane, click the Info tab.
  5. In the Info inspector, click the Show Map button at the bottom of the inspector. There’s no location metadata assigned to this photo, so let’s add it.
  6. In the Location field, type Alamo Square.
  7. In the list that appears, select Alamo Square.
  8. Click the Assign Location button (checkmark) to confirm the location.

The photo now has the location marked as Alamo Square in San Francisco, but it’s not as precise as you might like it. In the next exercise, you’ll move it.

Moving a Pin

When Aperture assigns a location for images without GPS data, it places the pin in the center of that location. Having taken the picture, you probably have a more exact knowledge of where you were. You can move a pin to match exactly where a photo was taken with just a few simple steps.

  1. In the toolbar, click the Places button.

    Aperture places this photo in the center of Alamo Square. The picture was actually taken at the southeast corner of the park near Steiner and Hayes Streets, so you’ll move the pin.

  2. On the map, click the Alamo Square pin.
  3. On the Zoom slider, click the Zoom button (plus sign) three or four times.
  4. In the lower left of the Maps dialog, click the Move Pins button.

    The pin turns purple, and a dialog appears.

  5. Drag the pin to the lower-right corner of Alamo Square.
  6. In the dialog, click Done to confirm its new location.

Being able to move a pin to the precise location where the photo was taken makes Places just as valuable for the photos in your library that lack GPS data, which is probably most of them.

Importing GPS Track Files

You aren’t limited to assigning locations manually or taking pictures only with your iPhone. You can get location data for your images in other ways, such as using a small handheld GPS receiver that can continuously capture location data and save it as a track log in GPX format. If you don’t want to carry a separate GPS device, certain iPhone apps do the same thing. Path Tracker is one such app that can record and save your iPhone location data as a GPS track log that you can add to Aperture.

  1. In the Library inspector, select the Around San Francisco project, if necessary.
  2. In the toolbar, click the Places button, if necessary.
  3. From the GPS pop-up menu below the map, choose Import GPS Track.
  4. Navigate to APTS Aperture book files > Lessons > Lesson04.
  5. Select San Francisco GPS Track.gpx, and click the Choose Track File button to import the track log.

    With the track log imported, you can see the path that was taken during the time the photographs were shot. The track log includes timestamps that are recorded every few seconds. Because your photos have times associated with them, Aperture can match times and locations for perfect placement of each photo.

    Since many of your photos in the Browser already have locations assigned, it would be easier if you could just view the images without location data.

  6. Clear the Browser’s search field first, then click the Show Unplaced Images button.
  7. In the Browser, select the first image of the cable car, IMG_2660.
  8. Zoom in and reposition the map if necessary to focus on the lower right of the GPS track. Drag the image onto the starting point of the track log. You can find the starting point by dragging the image over the track path and dropping when the label says 14 hrs 0 minutes.
  9. From the dialog that appears, choose Assign Location. Each photo is placed along the track according to the time it was taken.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account