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  Enable the hidden iPhoto Google Maps geotagging feature
By javester
10-03-2006
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UPDATE: New version of InfoPanel.nib file is now available that doesn't break Keywords. Thanks heaps IntrepidAntipodean!!!

Following up on our recent iPhoto geotagging discovery, we poked further still and found a way to enable the hidden feature.

By slightly modifying the InfoPanel.nib file inside the iPhoto bundle, we were able to unhide the Show button next to the GPS fields.

How to do it?

If you have XCode installed:
  1. Right-click on iPhoto and select Show Package Contents.
  2. Go to the Contents/Resources/English.lproj folder. (For our non-English speaking readers, just open the appropriate lproj folder - Spanish.lproj, German.lproj, French.lproj, etc. Hmmm... did I just give English instructions to our non-English audience?!? At least I tried...)
  3. Make a duplicate of the file InfoPanel.nib by right-clicking on it and selecting Duplicate.
  4. Double-click the original InfoPanel.nib file. This will open Interface Builder.
  5. Go to the Tools menu and select Show Inspector.
  6. Go to the Exposure tab.
  7. Click on the Show button next to the GPS fields.
  8. Go to the Edit menu and select Duplicate
  9. Ctrl-click on the new Show button and drag it to blue translucent box named File's Owner
  10. In the Inspector an action called ShowGPS: should be highlighted. Click on the Connect button.
  11. Save the modified InfoPanel.nib file and fire up iPhoto.

Otherwise, if you don't have XCode or you just can't be bothered with the 11-step DIY above, you can just download the modified InfoPanel.nib file here.

Just be sure to backup the original one since the modification page "breaks" the Keyword checkboxes.

You may need to select Show Info twice the first time around, but if you have GPS information in your pictures, you'll see that clicking on the Show button fires up your default browser with Google Maps showing the location.

WARNING:
Once you're finished playing around with this hack, we highly encourage restoring the original InfoPanel.nib file. Even though the latest version by IntrepidAntipodean doesn't seem to break anything, we bear no responsibility if you inadvertently loose any data. You've been warned.
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  #1 (permalink)  
javester on 10-04-2006, 12:05 PM
Some folks are wondering why Google Maps points to location offshore...

Well, that's not my fault and I think its because of a disconnect between Google Maps and Google Earth.

I used Google Earth for the Mac to get the coordinates, and then handcoded in the GPS info using ExifTools.

For some reason, the Google Earth coords point to a location offshore in Google Maps.

Maybe, that's one reason why Apple and Google decided that this feature is not ready for primetime.
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  #2 (permalink)  
IntrepidAntipodean on 10-04-2006, 01:15 PM
Arrow Easier Geotagging

If you want a simple way to tag your images you should checkout my Geotagger (http://craig.stanton.net.nz/software/Geotagger.html). Drop your images onto it and it'll grab the location that Google Earth (V4 only) is looking at. It does work with photos that are in iPhoto, but iPhoto doesn't notice the changes (it must have that stuff cached somewhere), so I recommend tagging your pictures before adding them to iPhoto.
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  #3 (permalink)  
javester on 10-04-2006, 05:10 PM
Why Google Maps marked the location offshore.. (Classic GIGO)

Actually, after double checking the GPS coords, its iPhoto that has a problem.

I entered the coordinates in 38 deg 55' 55.23" N, 74 deg 57' 32.48" W with an altitude of 2 metres using ExifTools, and iPhoto somehow mangled the coordinates to 38.00 deg 55.00' 1.47 N 74 deg 57.00' 1.76.00" W, Altitude 1 metre when I imported it.



The coords on the left are the ones I manually entered with ExifTools. The one on the right is what iPhoto displayed.

Right off the bat, the altitude was just wrong.

Also, the way iPhoto displays the GPS coordinates is a giveaway that the GPS code is still in a rough state - the GPS coords all have decimal points, which is a geographic coordinate no-no.

According to the Google Earth User Guide, there are three widely acception GPS notation conventions:
  • Decimal Degrees (DDD) In this notation, decimal precision is set in the degree coordinate. For example, 49.11675953666N.
  • Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds (DMS). In this notation, decimal precision is set in the seconds coordinate. For example, 49 7'20.06"N.
  • Degrees, Minutes with Decimal Seconds (DMM) In this notation, decimal precision is set in the minutes coordinate. For example, 49 7.0055722"N. (Here, 20.06 seconds above is divided by 3600 to get the decimal minute value for 20.06 seconds.)

Notice that only the last figure in each convention has decimal precision. You simply can't have decimal precision for all the units. It just doesn't make sense.

In addition, I suspect iPhoto's GPS conversion logic has some NSDecimal rounding/precision problems, most probably, the part that reads EXIF tags, since it properly created the DD version (38.917075, -74.950489) which it passed to Google Maps (and GM properly rendered. GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out)

Just to be sure, I also double-checked ExifTools to see if it was encoding the GPS EXIF data properly. I downloaded the free Opanda Exif Viewer and it confirmed ExifTools' GPS encoding.

It's a legitimate bug since the GPS fields in the InfoPanel are not hidden unlike the Google Map linking button.

I'll also try to see if I can enter the GPS EXIF tags with Aperture 1.5 when I pass by the Apple Store later.
Last edited by javester : 10-04-2006 at 08:07 PM.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unregistered on 10-04-2006, 07:23 PM
iPhoto 6.0.5

Is it possible just to edit or add some strings in the xml based .plist preference file rather than modifying program files? (com.apple.iPhoto.plist)
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  #5 (permalink)  
javester on 10-04-2006, 08:05 PM
Believe me I tried. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I tried all kinds of permutations and combinations of ShowGPS, ShowMaps, EnableGPS, EnableMaps, etc. etc. to no effect

I even hunted for a plist preference key with a Hex Editor and I couldn't find anything in the iPhoto executable.

Hopefully, somebody out there gets inspired by this discovery and finds the right preference setting.
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  #6 (permalink)  
IntrepidAntipodean on 10-05-2006, 04:23 AM
Lightbulb wrong format

Quote:
Originally Posted by javester View Post
Actually, after double checking the GPS coords, its iPhoto that has a problem.

I entered the coordinates in 38 deg 55' 55.23" N, 74 deg 57' 32.48" W with an altitude of 2 metres using ExifTools, and iPhoto somehow mangled the coordinates to 38.00 deg 55.00' 1.47 N 74 deg 57.00' 1.76.00" W, Altitude 1 metre when I imported it.

That's a very different style to all the GPS encoding I have seen in Exifs, and I do this a lot. I would enter the following

GPS Latitude Ref : N
GPS Latitude : 38/1 55/1 5523/100
GPS Longitude Ref : W
GPS Longitude : 74/1 57/1 3248/100

I don't know why the Exif wants the degrees, minutes and seconds as rational numbers but they do so you have to conform. And the Ref ones only expect one letter. Try entering it as I have written above and you'll see that iPhoto will then display the numbers you're expecting.
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  #7 (permalink)  
IntrepidAntipodean on 10-05-2006, 04:53 AM
Righto, I tested it and the formatting was the problem, entering the data as above produces this.





I also took the liberty of making a new InfoNib that doesn't break the Keywords boxes. What I've done is create a new button and tied that to the same action that the other one was tied to. But this new one is never hidden by iPhoto. You can get it here mactel20061005_InfoPanel.nib.zip
Last edited by javester : 10-05-2006 at 07:29 AM.
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  #8 (permalink)  
javester on 10-05-2006, 08:13 AM
Wow! Good call IntrepidAntipodean!

My bad on the iPhoto Lat/Lon non-bug . You see, I'm a GPS EXIF hacking newbie.

But the cosmetic issue of decimals for all the units is still valid, right?

Also, what about the Altitude? I entered 2m Above Sea Level and iPhoto still displays 1m.

And thanks heaps for the new InfoPanel.nib!!!
Last edited by javester : 10-05-2006 at 08:21 AM.
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  #9 (permalink)  
IntrepidAntipodean on 10-05-2006, 12:44 PM
There may be a bug in iPhoto for the altitude. I have some pics that are tagged from a plane flight, and when run through my iPhoto plugin they come out at the right height, but when looking at the Photo Info window, they still show 1m

Yes you're right on the decimal display thing. It doesn't make sense to show 55.00 degrees if it then specifies the minutes
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