Using Aperture 3’s Places

Using Aperture 3’s Places

A Guest Post by Chris Folsom.

One of the great new features of Aperture 3 (get an upgrade from previous versions here) is the ability to add location data to photos and then display those photos on a map based on where they were taken. While similar features were previously available from plug-ins and add-ons, none of them handled geotagging as easily and elegantly as the native Aperture 3 Places system does now.

Getting Started

To enable the Places view in Aperture, simply click the Places button near the upper-right hand corner of the photo browser.

aperture-3-viewplaces.

Doing so will display a map in the upper window where you normally view photos. The map is contextual to whatever project or album you are currently viewing. If the selected album or project doesn’t have any map data, it will default to a world map. If there is location data, a map will be displayed for those specific areas.

Adding Location information to your photos

Chances are, unless you were already using a geotagging plug-in, most of your photos won’t show up in Places. The one exception might be photos taken with a GPS equipped smartphone (such as the iPhone). The GPS data added to those photos will appear in Aperture 3 without any additional work.

But what about other non-GPS equipped cameras? Aperture 3 gives us a few options…

The first option is to open the Places view and do a search for a particular location. For this example, I’ll search for Fort Worden State Park in Washington State where I took some photographs a couple of years ago. I didn’t have a GPS device with me at the time but I would still like my photos to appear on the Places map.

aperture-3-places-fortworden

?As I am typing, Aperture 3 presents me with a couple of location options and Fort Worden is on the list. Selecting it will immediately zoom the map in on that area. Now it is a simple matter of dragging the photos to the area on the map where they were taken. It isn’t quite as accurate as having true location data, but it is an easy solution for when a GPS isn’t available.

If you do have a GPS logger, Aperture will work with that too. If you aren’t familiar with GPS logging devices, they are small systems that can be clipped to a belt or camera bag and will track your location as you move around. Alternatively, if you own an iPhone you can download an app like GeoLogTag which will provide the same functionality on your phone. After the GPS logger has captured some data, it will create a text file that can be imported into Aperture 3.

The importing process is fairly easy. Highlight the project you wish to geotag and then switch to the Places view. Click the “GPS” button and then “Import GPS Track”. Find the GPS file on your computer and click “Choose Track File”.

aperture-3-places-import-track

The location data will show up as a blue line on the map. Drag one of your photos to the line and you’ll be asked if you want Aperture 3 to assign locations to the photos. Click the “Assign Locations” button and the GPS log will be matched up with photos based on their timestamps. Now the location data is imbedded in the image files themselves, even if you export them out of Aperture. This is a very handy feature for sites like Flickr that allow you to show location data on your photos.

aperture-3-places-assign-location

?One other note worth mentioning… if you turn your GPS logging device on and off multiple times during one trip (to save battery life, for example), you may end up with more than one track file imbedded in a GPX file. To select these different tracks, click on the “GPS” button and then “Tracks and Waypoints”. You’ll be given a list of the track files included in the GPX file. You may have to go through multiple tracks to get all of your photos tagged.

aperture-3-places-tracks

I hope this helps you get the most out of a very cool new feature in Aperture 3. I know it is something I will be using a lot more of in the future.

Chris Folsom is a photographer based in Baltimore, MD. You can view more of his photos at Flickr or follow his photographic endeavors on Twitter.

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