Aperture 2 tip: Add coordinate metadata to referenced photos

The following is an Aperture 2 for Mac georeferencing tip, so it’s not useful to everyone…

Aperture 2 is a great piece of software, though one thing that is lacking is support for georeferencing tools: If you let Aperture manage your photos, there is no way (yet) to update EXIF coordinate metadata once you’ve imported those photos.

Presumably, this is about to change. Aperture 2.1, an update released yesterday, comes with a greatly expanded plug-in architecture, one that should enable developers to build tools that can directly alter the EXIF metadata of managed photos.

However, if you keep your photos in a separate location somewhere and only have Aperture reference them (as opposed to manage them, where they get swallowed up in Aperture’s library) then you are in luck. If you alter the EXIF metadata of a referenced photograph, Aperture instantly knows about it.

Try this: Import some non-georeferenced photographs into a new project, making sure to “Store files: In their current location”. Select one. Note that the “Show on Map” option is grayed out.


(Alternatively, if you’ve edited the metadata views to add Latitude and Longitude, you’ll see they’re empty.)

Now switch back to the Finder, and use a georeferencing tool to add coordinate metadata to the original photograph file. In my case, I started up Google Earth, zoomed in on the location where the photo was taken, and then dragged the photo to Craig Stanton’s Geotagger.

Switch back to Aperture 2.1. You’ll notice the photograph’s coordinate metadata fields are now filled in, and the “Show on Map” menu item now works, sending you to a view in Google Maps. Most important, however, is that if you now export your photos to a geosavvy photo sharing site like Flickr, the metadata gets put to work seamlessly, without any further intermediate steps.

Alas, I’ve been letting Aperture manage my photos, so the above doesn’t help me much — I’m going to hold out for a plug-in. But if your workflow involves referenced photos, then you’re all set:-)

2 thoughts on “Aperture 2 tip: Add coordinate metadata to referenced photos”

  1. Have you made an attempt to inform the Aperture dev team about this? As an Aperture user I am both happy with the overall application, and disappointed that they have been sluggish on adding and expanding some basic features. This kind of thing is a good example. Their snail-like response time in adding support for new DSLR’s is another and they probably lost more ground to Lightroom than they would like to admit, just based on the chatroom ire over that one problem. Thanks for the interesting stuff, as usual.

  2. In case you haven’t since found it. Maperture is the plugin you’ve been waiting for to edit geodata from Aperture.

    This is a good tip though. I use Maperture, but it doesn’t support things like TIFFs that I might have stitched into panoramas, so I’ll try your suggestion.

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