Three ways to make your Mac more location-savvy

Several new system-level tools have come out during the past month that enhance the Mac’s savviness in dealing with GIS- and georeferenced files.

GISLook & GISMeta: If you use Mac OS X 10.5 then you’re probably hooked on Cover Flow and especially Quick Look, two very fast ways of previewing the contents of files. Not all file formats are supported natively, however. GISLook & GISMeta is a free (donationware) utility that adds support for Shapefiles, ArcInfo files and a whole range of raster grid filetypes, including USGS DEM files. Install it, and suddenly Shapefiles will look like this on the Mac, with no further effort on your part:


Quick Look works similarly. Installing this is a no-brainer.

GPS-Info CMM 1.1: This contextual-menu tool lets you do all sorts of things with images that have location coordinates embedded in their EXIF metadata. Version 1.0 was reviewed back in May, but now version 1.1 carries a set a new features. Developer Norbert M. Doerner lists them:

  • The IPTC fields city, state, and country are being displayed, if they are contained in the photo
  • The Reveal in Google Earth command now “flies” Google Earth to the GPS coordinate, and also uses the tilt, azimuth, and distance embedded in the photo for the display
  • The GPS coordinate can now also be exported into a KML file
  • Added SmugMug and WikiMapia to the list
  • Google Maps now sets a marker with the name of the photo on the exact GPS location

Supporting tilt and azimuth settings is definitely beyond the call of duty.

GPS2Aperture: I’ve been waiting for a tool that lets me set or edit the location coordinates of the EXIF metadata of master image files in Apple’s Aperture library. Until now, the conventional wisdom has been that it’s not possible, as Aperture’s API doesn’t allow altering master images by outside applications. GPS2Aperture takes a different tack, making judicious use of OS X’s built-in scripting tools, and suddenly you can edit EXIF data, setting the location to your view in Google Earth. GPS2Aperture is free, beta, and looks like this:


A paid premium version is underway which will let you automatically tag photos from GPS log files — much like HoudahGeo and GPS Photo Linker, but with the added bonus that you can do it within Aperture. (Note, GPS2Aperture is not an Aperture plugin but a separate small application.)

3 thoughts on “Three ways to make your Mac more location-savvy”

  1. Yes, welcome back Stefan. Hope you whirlwind trip around Europe was a good one.

  2. Hi Stefan,

    Just to let you and your readers know that GPS2Aperture Lite is out of beta. It’s temporarily changed to only tag referenced files but that will be changing as part of the process of finishing off the pro version.


    P.S. I’m also looking for beta testers for the pro version… ;-)

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