jarhtmd 10:37am, 31 October 2011
Help! I've gone brain-dead again. To all those who have helped me previously, please bear with me again.

I just returned from a 25-day African wildlife photo safari. I've previously used my GPS device & GeoSetter only for single local outings . . . 1 folder of images & 1 GPX file (w/o time adjustments). This time I recorded GPS data for some days on the trip & some days I did not. I downloaded all the files (GPX & JPG) upon returning home. I've successfully tagged a few files, but have again found myself lost in the tagging process.

Three (3) separate time zones are involved. I synced my cameras on London time (1st zone encountered). Early in the trip I discovered that my (el cheapo, brand-x) GPS device does not read the time from the satellites (that seems elementary to me, but I have to manually set the time.). So I took a photo of the GPS display showing the time. My reasoning was that I could later determine the adjustment using the photo and its EXIF data. That hasn't worked very well. So far I've only worked with a few days worth of data. Some files are tagged (presumably correctly) & I've been able to manually tag others by visually selecting locations on GeoSetter's map. It has been much more labor intensive (& frustrating) than it should be.

The GPS in the photo shows 2:20:35am. The EXIF data (using PhotoshopCS3) shows 2011-10-05T07:20:35-04:00.

I saved individual GPX files, as well as all in a ITM file (which I've never heard of). In GeoSetter I've tried "Syncronize with Data File" & "Syncronize with a Directory containing Data Files" along with various other settings, the last of which was "Use Local Windows Settings" with a -5:00:00 adjustment. This tagged some files (presumably correctly), but failed on others that were clearly on the track.

I would appreciate so much if anyone has guidance for me about the GeoSetter settings that I should use. If necessary e-mail screen captures. I need all the help that I can get.

I usually create cookbook instructions for myself to "do this, then this, then this, etc", especially for infrequently performed tasks. I need instructions for GeoSetter (& the geotagging process in general).
SpiritwoodPix 10 years ago
I'd recommend using a tool to shift your recorded GPS data by the amount of time necessary to be in synch with your camera. In your example, the GPS time is behind by 5 hours. Using GPSBabel (free download), the following command line will shift all tracks to be five hours later:

gpsbabel -t -i gpx -f in.gpx -x track,move=+5h -o gpx -F out.gpx

This will give you a new track file (out.gpx) from your original date (in.gpx) so the process is non-destructive. You could then use the "out.gpx" data in GeoSetter.

GPSBabel's command line interface is a bit obscure, but it is fairly well documented with examples.
IrenicRhonda Posted 10 years ago. Edited by IrenicRhonda (member) 10 years ago
GeoSetter will timeshift the date taken for you

I'm not at my own computer at the moment but it is under the menu where you synchronise the geodata, "Syncronize with a Directory containing Data Files", at the bottom. There are boxes to +/- days, hours.... right down to seconds. Once you've found the right menu it's easy as pie.

If you haven't succeeded by the weekend, post back and I'll make some screen shots of GeoSetter. Though it sounds like you were doing the right things.

Did you select all the photos you wanted to do in a batch. If only some worked it might be better to try smaller batches in case you are choking memory

You don't need more software
Buckeye. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Buckeye. (moderator) 10 years ago
After trying lots of things, my tool of choice for bulk time-shifting (also for bulk photo-downloading and for bulk file-renaming) is FastStone Image Viewer (free) - select: Tools > Change timestamp. It's also a v good image-viewer. (As Rhonda says, you can time-shift easily in Geosetter too.)
Priscilla Turner 10 years ago
ExifPro will time-shift in batches too.
tarmo888 10 years ago
I have shifted time on my photos with ExifTool GUI, works great!
jarhtmd 10 years ago
Thanks, everyone, for your replies. I haven't yet returned to my geotagging tasks because I'm in the 1st days after my return from the trip & have a host of catch-up things to do at home, as well as all of the photo-related tasks from the trip (and otherwise) . . . sorting, deleting, geotagging . . . And everything needs to be done immediately . . . so much to do & so little time.

I think my problem is unfamiliarity with GeoSetter (& forgetfulness). I have time-adjusted in that program before; and it was simple enough . . . once I figured out which boxes to check, etc. My 1st attempts (this time) have been with small batches of 200 or less.

As I understand from the replies (I haven't yet investigated) the EXIF data in the image files can be changed via the software(s) mentioned. While I can visualize situations where I would want to change that data . . . incorrect date/time setting in the camera(s), for example . . . I prefer (in this case) to leave the EXIF times unchanged. Actually changing would result in things like sunsets showing times around noon.
Buckeye. 10 years ago
'Actually changing would result in things like sunsets showing times around noon.
In that case, I'm afraid you've lost me. I assumed you wanted (ultimately) to change the time stamped on the photo so that it becomes the correct local time at the time you took the photo. If, as an intermediate stage, you need the time stamped on the photo to match the time registered by your tracklog, then change it to that, do your geotagging, then change it again to give you true local time on your photo. The two points I suspect you are missing are:
1. A change in a photo's EXIF time isn't a once-and-forever thing: you can change it as many times as you like.
2. Times in the tracklog and the photo's time must both be set according to the same time-zone or geotagging will be wrong. Which time-zone that is, or however much it varies from a given time-zone is irelevant - as long as they are the same.
jarhtmd 10 years ago
. . . The camera time stamps are correct. The GPX file times are wrong. I know that GeoSetter will apply an adjustment (GPX file time +5 hours = camera time). For some reason I can't make that work. In "Time Adjustment", 'Use Local Windows Settings" with +5 (or -5) does not work & I can't determine which settings to use. "Use Time Zone" with various settings hasn't worked either. I been able (by various means) to see the plotted track & I know (by various means) which photos were taken along that track, but I can't get them to match.
Buckeye. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Buckeye. (moderator) 10 years ago
If, for some reason, you can't manage to get Geosetter to make the appropriate adjustment as part of the geotagging process, then:
1. Change the EXIF time on all the photos so that it matches the tracklog (should be the work of seconds - ish; see above).
2. Do the geotagging.
3. Change the EXIF time on the photos back to what it was.
IrenicRhonda Posted 10 years ago. Edited by IrenicRhonda (member) 10 years ago
You can tell GeoSetter what time zone images were taken in, is that what you want? Either on an individual basis or in batches. Otherwise GeoSetter will assume you are in home (default) timezone

(Again not sure what menu, the PC I'm using right now, not my own, doesn't have GeoSetter installed)
jarhtmd 10 years ago
You can tell GeoSetter what time zone images were taken in, is that what you want?

I guess that is what I want. The GPX files have my home time zone (New York city time). The pic files have London time from camera.
IrenicRhonda Posted 10 years ago. Edited by IrenicRhonda (member) 10 years ago
jarhtmd wrote
The GPX files have my home time zone (
Are you sure? Are you quite sure they are not UTC?GMT?

And that you didn't tell GeoSetter in the early days that your home is the default timezone to use?
jarhtmd Posted 10 years ago. Edited by jarhtmd (member) 10 years ago
Early in my trip I discovered that the GPS was not displaying the correct time, so I took a photo of the GPS display showing the time (2:20:35am). The EXIF data for that file (via PhotoshopCS3) shows 2011-10-05T07:20:35-04:00.

The GPS instructions say the time can be converted to local time. Apparently I did that when I 1st got the device (thinking that it meant "local" according to the coordinates).

I'm not sure now what I might have told GeoSetter in the early days. In fact, I don't know (now) how to set GeoSetter's default timezone. I thought GeoSetter's +/- DD HH MM SS adjustment would bring all that into sync.

I just had a "brilliant" idea that I should have tried very early in this confusion. Working with just that 1 photo of the device (for which I know the location & both times), trial & error shouldn't take too long to find the correct adjustment.
Buckeye. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Buckeye. (moderator) 10 years ago
I suspect you're making this far more complicated than it needs to be. If I understand you right, the difference between your tracklog-time (02.20 on your test pic) and photo-time (07.20 for the same pic) is 5 hrs exactly. This is the only information you need to geotag correctly: time-zones are irrelevant. So just use this as your adjustment value - either in step 1 of my suggested procedure above, or in the process of geotagging with Geosetter.
jarhtmd Posted 10 years ago. Edited by jarhtmd (member) 10 years ago
My idea turned out to be not so brilliant. You are absolutely right . . . this has become far more complicated than it should be. I seem to have a special talent for complicating things. Somebody once defined stupidity as repeating the same test & expecting different results. I can't seem to repeat the same test & get the SAME results.

I really prefer to only use GeoSetter. It supposedly has all the functions that I need, so I don't want to further complicate matters by trying to learn new software. I can't seem to get consistent results from GeoSetter alone. Unknown to me settings change (in the same execution of the software). For instance, I sometimes find "Synchronize with Data File" unchecked (after I checked); sometimes the track is shown on the map & sometimes not.

How do I:
1) "look back" to see what settings worked (or didn't work)? If it worked, I would like to save a screen capture of the settings. When I return to the map it is not always the same (Synchronize . . . might be unchecked, for instance).
2) Save settings to use as defaults (until changed)?
3) Show/hide track?
4) Untag files (remove coordinates) within GeoSetter?

I tested using -5 hours . . . the wrong location on the right track was found.
I tested again using 0 hours (no adjustment) . . . the SAME wrong location on the right track was found. Obviously, some setting(s) was changed (accidentally/automatically?).

I wanted to post the wrong "found" coordinates and the correct "manual" coordinates, but I couldn't get the manual to "stick". Then the track disappeared from the map, so I couldn't find the correct location again.
jarhtmd 10 years ago
More complications . . .

per Windows Explorer . . . GeoSetter has changed the time-taken. That, obviously, has been preventing me from successfully repeating tests. Are there settings (default or otherwise) that I might have unknowingly overridden? I only want GeoSetter to add (or change) coordinates.

. . . is there a way to send attachments via FlickrMail? If so, would it be ok for me to send you my "control" image (that visually shows the GPS device time & has the correct EXIF time) along with my track(GPX) file? And would you please then send me the correct adjustment settings (preferably screen captures)? I only want GeoSetter to add coordinates . . . nothing else.

Thanks again to everyone who has replied.
jarhtmd 10 years ago
I hate to beat a dead horse . . . but I really need help. I can't get correct results from GeoSetter.

I ran tests using a photo (visually) showing the GPS time to be 6 hours earlier than camera time and another photo taken 20 minutes later at the same location. Of course, I told GeoSetter to adjust the time by -6 hours. That seems simple enough, but GeoSetter assigned coordinates miles apart.

I ran tests using 2 other photos, each showing a sign identifying the place & with its coordinates. When the photos were taken, I verified that the GPS coordinates from my device matched those shown on the signs. GeoSetter assigned incorrect coordinates.

In all these tests GeoSetter changed the time-taken for the photos.
Buckeye. 10 years ago
i suspect your logger has been working only intermittently, ie losing its signal sporadically. I don't know what else could give you the erratic results you're getting.
I understood you earlier to say that your time offset was 5 hrs. I'm not clear why you're now saying (I think) that it's 6 hrs.
I would also check that, in the 'Synchronize with GPS Data' dialog, you still have selected 'Use Local Windows Settings' and 'Interpolated' (both are defaults).
jarhtmd 10 years ago
It may well be that my logger was working only sparatically, but wouldn't that just cause some files to not be tagged (by GeoSetter) because there were no coordinates for the time(s) it wasn't logging?

The offset is actually 6 hrs. I earlier said 5 hrs because GeoSetter had modified the time taken by 1 hr, earlier when I thought it was tagged correctly. I did not discover that error until later. The 6 hours comes from the original file (photo of logger showing time).

Yes, I have selected 'Use Local Windows Settings' and 'Interpolated'.

As I stated in my last post, I also have a couple of photos of signs which show the coordinates of the locations. I visually compared the sign information (when the photos were shot) with the logger displayed coordinates. Yet GeoSetter set different coordinates.
Buckeye. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Buckeye. (moderator) 10 years ago
Well maybe it's the interpolation, affecting photos taken when your logger wasnt logging, that's the problem. Try deselecting that. Interpolation (between known locations) will often give you an acceptable approximation, but, if you're moving about a lot when the logger's not working, it could easily be way out.
You should be able to tell from your tracklog if the misplaced photos coincide with periods of non-logging. If they do, and if interpolation isn't appropriate because you were moving about too much, you'll have to tag those manually.
jarhtmd 10 years ago
I can understand that interpolation might sometimes give "confusing" results, probably depending largely upon when & for how long the logger wasn't logging.

But . . . for 2 (I earlier said 3, but may be mistaken about 1) specific photos I know the logger was working.

One photo shows the time being displayed on the logger (therefore, the logger was working). That's the photo that I compared the logger time with EXIF to determine the logger was -6 hrs.

The other photo is of a sign "Cape of Good Hope the most south-western point of the African continent 18-28-26 East 34-21-25 South". Immediately after taking the photo, I checked the logger, which was working. The logger coordinates and those shown on the sign matched exactly, yet GeoSetter set S34-13-48.63, E18-28-17.23.

I'm still totally confused about how/why GeoSetter changed the "time taken" for these (and other) files. Does GeoSetter always do that when adjusting time? If nothing else, I'd like to understand how this works.

Maybe the bottom line for all this is that in the future I'll have to insure that the logger & cameras are synced exactly to the same time. That way no adjustment will be needed.

I guess I'll just have to manually tag (incorrectly) . . . only 1 location for each game reserve that I visited.
Buckeye. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Buckeye. (moderator) 10 years ago
'One photo shows the time being displayed on the logger (therefore, the logger was working).'
I wouldn't assume that. It may have been dispalying an internal clock even tho it was not getting an adequate GPS signal. Loggers normaly have some indication (lights/whatever) that they are or are not receiving a signal. As I said, your only retrospective way of knowing whether or not your logger was logging at a given moment is to examine the tracklog, either by displaying it on the map or by opening it in a text editor and looking at the raw data.
If you are getting occasional photos that are located wrongly even tho you know that a) they are time-stamped/-adjusted correctly and b) the tracklog includes data for that/those time period/s, then either there are errors in the logging data (but you should be able to see this easily by looking for wayward glitches in the map display of the tracklog) or Geosetter is misbehaving sporadically. (I'm assuming that your mis-located photos appear on the map well away from the logger track which Geosetter displays on the map.)
If you're right that Geosetter has changed the EXIF time on your photos (all of them, or only the mislocated ones?), I don't know why it's doing it. There's no reason for that to happen if you use the Synchronize dialog alone: calculations are made as part of the syncing process - there's no need for the photo's time/date EXIF data to be changed. You need to check that you've not been inadvertently changing the time by using Image > Edit Data > Date... but, other than that, all I can suggest is that you go back to your original un-Geosettered copies of the problem photos and start afresh with them.
You're certainly right that the (fairly/theoretically) problem-free way of doing it is to have your logger/camera synced from the outset. My own preference is to sync them before departure for a foreign trip, using the logger's syncing software and with the PC's own clock set to that of the time-zone you're going to. That way, there are no time-zone adjustments to be made at any stage.
jarhtmd 10 years ago
I did not know that GPX files were readable via a text editor. That being the case, it may be possible to change the times so that they match the camera times. That will be tedious & require very careful attention, but easier (for me) than learning new software for revising the JPG EXIF data (& then changing back after tagging).
Buckeye. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Buckeye. (moderator) 10 years ago
Nooo! On no account change the times in your tracklog! I can't see that that benefits you in any way - and would take you a century. Changing EXIF times on photos is immeasurably easier.
Your first course of action should be to investigate whether or not your mis-located photos coincide with periods when your logger wasn't logging - as I described above.
jarhtmd 10 years ago
There seems to be so many quirks (most, if not all caused by me) in this particular exercise of tagging these particular images from this particular trip that I need to slow down; back up; take several deep breaths; take a fresh look at the whole situation & start anew.

I've been unable to devote my full attention to this. There's just so much that I don't know &/or understand. Basic, plain-vanilla geotagging seems so simple, but becomes complicated (to me) when "special" factors are introduced. Fixing one seems to create another. I seem to have a knack for introducing "special" factors.

What seems simple to others is often anything but simple to me. Software that's "so simple, even a cave man can do it" (from a US TV commercial) sometimes isn't so simple for me; GeoSetter, for example, or EXIF editing tools. Lots of things are simple when you know how, but next to impossible when you don't know how.

Of course, I work on copies (never originals) when testing something new. To me the idea of modifying logger times seems perfectly logical. I've got many 1000's of image files. Photography has been my hobby for years. I'm very new to geotagging. My inclination is to change the logger files (if possible). With a good text editor it's easy to globally change "T13:" to "T19:" (+6hrs), for instance. Granted, it wouldn't be click, click, click & it's done, but seems to be as "logical" an approach as editing the EXIF data. If 2 values must agree, then 1 of them must be changed, even if only temporarily adjusted. I know how to use my text editor. I don't know how to use an EXIF "editor".

I think I'll let this tagging problem sit for a while. I have a ton of work to do reviewing the images involved. Hopefully, I'll be able to return to this task & solve my problems or at least learn enough that I won't make the same mistakes in the future.
SpiritwoodPix 10 years ago
I'm with Jarhtmd on this one Buckeye; I would much rather manipulate the logger file than make alterations to the EXIF data. I have several GPS devices, and make use of included SW to filter logged data: for example, Garmin's MapSource (which came with my car GPS) has easy-to-use filtering to compress logged files in various ways.

As well, log files can be converted (GPS Visualizer) to any number of formats, so if you use Excel, you can import the converted data and use functions to do your own editing and filtering.

You can get a sense of how variable your logger is by leaving it in a single location for a while, then analyzing the log. Typically, the average location will be very accurate, but you'll see lots of points clustered around the actual spot. Different devices will have more or less spread to the cluster coverage: in a test with friends, three GPS devices came up with quite dissimilar patterns even though they all were laying on a park table together at the same time. This helps explain why a given photo might be geotagged with a location that is noticeably off compared to other photos taken moments apart -- i.e. the logger data closest to the exact EXIF time may have been a fuzzy point that should be averaged out.

Jarhtmd: why not just use the logger as a general guide to get you reasonably close to where you shot the photos, then use the map window to find the location and geotag the pictures? This technology is good, and getting better, but you can waste a lot of time trying to get accuracy that may not be very important. When the new EU satellites come onstream the data loggers will be much more accurate and (hopefully) the tools will have matured more too.
Buckeye. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Buckeye. (moderator) 10 years ago
Yes, if you're a whizz at Excel, I'm sure you could:
1. Import to Excel,
2. Write yourself a Visual Basic macro to alter every data-point (which is a time in hrs+min+secs, not a simple number) by a fixed amount (or maybe Excel has a function to do that if you can find it),
3. Export/convert it back from Excel to a tracklog format,
4. Geotag photos from tracklog.
But why you should do that, using s/w that isn't explicitly designed for it, when you can do the entire process in one hit using s/w that is designed for it (and normally works v well)... I can't imagine.
My suggestion to change and then revert the EXIF data was made purely as a workaround in the event of J being unable to get Geosetter to make a time adjustment (which it should do easily) - and, even as a workaround, it has to be easier to do (using simple dedicated software) than using complex and generalized s/w (or hours/days/weeks of manual editing) to adapt tracklog files.
You make a good point about the v occasional erraticness/imprecision of loggers, but I suspect that J's problems stem rather from periods with an absence of data (which J still seems not yet to have investigated, let alone eliminated), in which case his only recourse is manual geotagging for the photos affected - after he's gone back to his original files and had another go with Geosetter from scratch.
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