How to geotag your photos in an automated way

Posted on by Wim Mostmans
Satelite view with GEO tags

For a long time I’ve been looking for a good way to geotag my photos. Preferably this workflow would work well with my current photo workflow.

I was already playing around with the ViewRanger app (available for Android and iOS) when I noticed today that it’s also possible to track your position and store it as GPX on Dropbox. Feel free to use the app that works for you. If you app can store GPX logs on Dropbox it’s compatible with this workflow.

Now it was a matter of finding a way to update my raw files EXIF GPS position based on these GPX files. Turns out that exiftool which I already had installed has the capability to exactly do this.

For example running following command would update all GPS locations of the images in folder images using the mylog.gpx file.

exiftool -geotag mylog.gpx /images

I wanted a somewhat more automated way of doing this so I’ve written a bash script that would find all GPX files that start with log and update all my albums in my Dropbox. At the moment I run this manually but I will automate this using a cron or so later on.


DIR="$( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" && pwd )"
DROPBOX_DIR=$(dirname "$DIR")

for gpx in $GPX_DIR/log-*.gpx; do
    for album in $PHOTO_DIR/*; do
        if [ -d "${album}" ]; then
            OUTPUT=$(exiftool -overwrite_original -geotag="$gpx" "$album" 2> /dev/null)
            if [[ $OUTPUT != *"0 image files updated"* ]]; then
                ALBUM_NAME=$(basename $album)
                GPX_NAME=$(basename $gpx)
                echo "updated $album using $GPX_NAME"

The reason I prefer to prefix my track file using log is because I also store a list of hike and mountain bike trails in the same Dropbox folder. This way it’s easier to see the difference between the different types of GPX files. This name convention will also speed up the above script because it will ignore irrelevant files.

One last thing that I’ve been thinking about doing is moving the GPX log file to the photo album folder. This way you will have all your raw files and the route that you walked to take all these pictures in one place.

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Wim Mostmans

About Wim Mostmans

Freelance full stack developer and Co-founder of the Employee Advocacy platform Ambassify, with a general interest for web technologies and electronics.

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