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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Finding Places

Based on the last exercise, you can now find photos according to who is in them. Wouldn’t it be just as nice to find photos based on where you took them? In iPhoto, you can map each photo’s location within mere feet of where you were standing.

Places view uses GPS information to automatically identify where photos were taken; or if GPS isn’t available on your camera, you can add your own location information by tagging the photo with a country, state, city, or point of interest. iPhoto instantly gives you a list of locations to choose from.

Viewing GPS-Tagged Images in Places

You can now buy cameras with built-in GPS capabilities. These cameras will save the location where each picture was taken, just as transparently as they save the picture’s date. If you own an iPhone, you already have a GPS-equipped camera that works with the iPhoto Places view.

In the Places view, a map shows where all of your photos were taken. If your pictures have GPS information already embedded, the entire process is done for you.

  1. In the Source list, select Places.

    The viewing area changes to show a map of the world. The red pins on the map indicate where photos in your library were taken.

  2. Drag the map to the left to view Europe.

  3. Click the red pin in central Italy.


    When you click a pin, a label appears showing the name of the location.

  4. Click the arrow to the right of the pin’s name. The viewing area shows the photos taken in Rome.

  5. Click the Info button to display the Info pane.

    The Info pane shows the precise location of each photo in a small map pane.

  6. Click the Map button to return to the Places view.


    You can see a more detailed map of an area by dragging the Zoom slider, or choosing from the pop-up menus at the top of the map.

  7. Choose States > Hawaii.


    The map zooms in to view only those pins located in Hawaii. The pins identify locations on different islands.

  8. To see all of your pinned photos, click Show Photos.


    Instead of seeing only one pin’s photos, you can now see the photos from all the pins currently displayed on the map.

  9. Click the Info button, then select the first photo in the viewing area. The map updates to show you the location of the selected photo.

  10. Click the last photo in the viewing area.

    The map updates again. The title at the top of the map reads “USS Arizona Memorial” because iPhoto not only identifies the city or town you are in, it can also locate points of interest.

When photos include GPS information, the location information is saved with the photo as longitude and latitude. Instead of showing you the longitude and latitude values, iPhoto calculates the region, city, and point of interest that those numbers correspond to and displays that information. But what if you are using a camera without GPS? Even then, it doesn’t take much more than a few clicks to put those photos on the map.

Assigning a Location in Places

Even without GPS data, you can add pictures and entire events to your Places view.

  1. To add a location for an entire event, in the Source list, select Events.

  2. Click once to select The Krupps Family event.


    The event highlights with a yellow outline. The photos in this event have no GPS information. Instead of assigning a location for each photo, you can assign a location to the entire event.

  3. Click the Info button to open the Info pane, if necessary.

    The Info pane map is empty. The easiest way to add a location is to add it to an entire event.

  4. Above the Info pane’s map, click “Assign a Place,” and type California. iPhoto searches for California and provides a list of locations that match.

  5. Select the first item in the list: California, United States. The entire event and all the photos in it are now represented by the single pin you just placed.

  6. To display the entire state of California, click the Zoom Out (–) button to zoom out on the map.

  7. In the Source list, select Places to open Places view.

  8. From the pop-up menus, choose Countries > United States.


The map zooms in to show Nevada, Hawaii, and California only because no photos in this Library were taken farther east within the United States. If your library is small or you have some photos you would like to locate more precisely, you can select those individual photos and follow the preceding steps to assign them to more specific locations.

Moving a Pin

When you assign a location for pictures or events, iPhoto places the pin at the center of the location. That’s acceptable if you are at the Eiffel Tower, but not so great when you assign Alaska. Rather than choosing the dead center of a large area, you can move a pin to an exact location in just a few simple steps.

  1. In the Source list, select Events, and then double-click the Mediterranean Vacation event.

  2. Scroll down and select the photo of the goats on the hillside.

  3. Click the Info button to open the Info pane, if necessary.

    Like the Krupps event, this picture has no location information, but we know it was taken in Montenegro.

  4. Above the Info pane’s map, click “Assign a Place,” and type Montenegro.

  5. Select Montenegro, the first item in the list, to assign the location.


    To be more precise, you can move the pin to show exactly where this photo was taken.

  6. Triple-click the Zoom Out (–) button to get a wider view of the entire country.

  7. Click the red pin and hold down the mouse button until the pin lifts up. Then drag down the pin until it is near the little inlet near the Croatian border.

  8. Release the mouse button to drop the pin at the new location.

    Dropping the pin while the map is so far zoomed out was not very precise. You can zoom in to the map to more specifically identify the location.

  9. Triple-click the Zoom In button (+) to get a closer view of the area.

  10. Refine the pin’s position so it sits over the town of Kotor.


With the pin set correctly, you can assign other photos taken in that area to the same location.

Copying a Location to Other Photos

The quickest way to set a photo location is to copy and paste the location from another photo taken at the same place.

  1. Click the Mediterranean Vacation button to return to the Events view with all the photos.

  2. Select the goat photo to which you assigned the Kotor location, and choose Edit > Copy.

  3. From the row above, select the photo of the ship entering the port of Kotor, Montenegro.

  4. Shift-click the photo of the ice cream store in the row below the goats.

  5. Choose Edit > Paste Location.

    The location you copied from the goats is added to all the selected photos, which you can then view using Places or in the Info pane.

Removing a Pin

Occasionally, when setting locations in groups as you just did, you may end up placing a photo incorrectly. For instance, say you placed an ice cream shop in Montenegro when it was actually located someplace else. In that case, you’ll want to remove the incorrect location before it causes an international incident.

  1. Still viewing the Mediterranean Vacation photos, double-click the ice cream store photo from the previous exercise. (Yes, it is upside down. You’ll deal with that in an upcoming lesson.)

  2. Click the Info button to open the Info pane, if necessary.

  3. Double-click the location name above the map to highlight it.

  4. Click the X that appears to the right of the name.

  5. Double-click the ice cream store photo to view all of the photos in the event.

    The location name field is cleared, and the map disappears from the Info pane.

Changing a Location Name

The name that iPhoto assigns to a location is customizable. For instance, if you take a picture at your friend’s house, iPhoto will locate the house correctly, but you will probably want to call it “Giuseppe’s House,” rather than 1234 Elm St. The same problem exists with the Mediterranean vacation photos. iPhoto has generically called the location Montenegro, but in this exercise you’ll more specifically identify it as the Gulf of Kotor.

  1. Select the goats photo again, and in the Info pane, click the pin on the map to display the Location Name pop-up menu.

  2. Double-click the name “Montenegro” to select it for editing.

  3. Type Gulf of Kotor, and then click the checkmark to confirm the new name of the pin.


    The nice thing about copying this location, as you did earlier, is that when you change the location name for the goats photo, other photos with the same location also update.

  4. Double-click the goat photo to see all the photos in the event.

  5. Click to select the photo of the ship pulling into the Gulf of Kotor. Notice that each photo is updated to show the change in location name.

Managing Places

When you are identifying an area such as a gulf or a national park, a single pin can’t always represent a large location accurately. For any name you enter as a customized location, iPhoto allows you to set the area represented by that pin as part of the pin’s location. Any subsequent photos taken within that area will be assigned the correct location.

  1. Select the goats photo.

  2. Click the Info button to close the Info pane.

  3. Choose Window > Manage My Places.

    The Manage My Places window shows the pin for the currently selected photo. The purple circle around the pin represents the location’s area.

    The circle should be large enough to encompass all of the places nearby where you are likely to snap a picture, so it should be made larger. In this case, it should cover the entire gulf.

  4. Click the Zoom Out button (–) six times.

  5. Drag out the circle’s handles to increase its size and encircle the entire gulf area.

  6. Click Done to close the Manage My Places window.

You’ve now created an enlarged area for the Gulf of Kotor. Next time you enter a new custom name for a pin, you can use the Manage My Places window to refine the area around it. The more precise you are in configuring Places, the more effectively the feature will help you find photos.

Creating a Smart Album from a Map

Now that you have tagged your photos with location information, you can create geography-based Smart Albums.

  1. In the Source list, select Places.

  2. Drag the Zoom slider and pan the map to view just the three pins located in Italy (Hint: it’s the one that looks like a boot).

  3. Click the Smart Album button.


    A new Smart Album named Italy is created in the Source list.

  4. In the Source list, select the new Italy Smart Album.

    The viewing area displays the photos from that Smart Album. The Info pane shows the map that defined which photos are included in the Smart Album.

  5. Click the Info button to view the Info pane and the map for the photos in the Smart Album.

In the future, when you add any images to your library from your annual summers in Italy, the new photos will automatically be added to that Smart Album.

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