A new feature in Windows Live Photo Gallery beta is geotagging. With GPS receivers even showing up in cameras, tagging pictures with the location where they were taken is becoming increasingly popular. If you have pictures that were geotagged in the camera or some other way, Photo Gallery shows the location in the Tag and caption pane on the right. This pane is turned on or off on the View tab. Photo Gallery displays thumbnails organized in many way, including “Geotag”, the picture location. Just right-click an empty spot in the main gallery window and select Group by – Geotag.
The thumbnails are then nicely organized by location as illustrated here. In the metadata of the picture file, the location is stored as the geographic coordinates. Photo Gallery translates that information into the location address as shown above.
For most locations this works very well. The address of the park where the goose was photographed is actually 225, not 251 as shown above, a minor “mislocation”. In some cases Photo Gallery cannot determine the address and then it shows just the city or even just the state.
You can do the geotagging by entering the full address where the picture was taken. Just select the thumbnail and in the Tag and caption pane under the Geotag label, click Add geotag A text entry field opens so you can type in the address. There will be a dropdown menu to permit selecting a previously entered address, so this process is very easy – if you know the address.
There are many places that I take pictures, in parks, on beaches, in streets and places in cities, where I just have no idea what the address is. What do you do if you don’t know the address and want to locate the picture accurately, not just by city or state?
Easy, locate the place on a map. Just click the Map, , button. Oops – they forgot the Map button! Maybe it wasn’t ready for the beta, surely it will be in the final edition. Microsoft has all the pieces, so let’s just imagine how it will work. You can simulate this just like I did by downloading Microsoft Pro Photo Tools – it’s free. And it does a beautiful job. I don’t know why Microsoft hides this gem, which they call “Tools for the passionate photographer”. It has been around for years and allows adding all kinds of metadata to photos. See my post Metadata: Geotagging and More with Microsoft Pro Photo Tools.
When you download and install this application, it will show up in the Photo Gallery Create tab under More tools. Unfortunately it will not launch from here. Pity.
So you have to launch it on its own. When Pro Photo Tools opens it shows a big inviting area on the right with the words “Drop photos here”.
Just select the thumbnails in Photo Gallery and drag them over to this window.
Click Map Browse and Bing maps, with all its marvelous features, comes up and shows the location of the photos as pins in the map. Point to a pin and you see a small thumbnail (or several when the location was marked as the same). Take a look at these screen shots:
Note the pins in the map in the left illustration. Note how you can even see your photo in the Bing Bird’s eye view, and, of course, Aerial view is also available. To mark the location of a photo using Pro Photo Tools, load the photos into the Thumbnails pane, then drag them unto the precise location on the map, one or more at a time. You can also drag them into Aerial view to accurately locate where the picture was taken. My guess is that this is how Photo Gallery in its finished form will work. In the meantime, the tools are there for your enjoyment.