myTracks is an application for efficient handling of GPS tracks. Nevertheless, it provides powerful geotagging features. The handling of photos in myTracks may be a little bit different than in other application. Therefore this chapter explains how photos are handled by myTracks.

Photos belong to track points

In any case, a photo in myTracks belongs to exactly one track point. I.e. there cannot exist a photo without a corresponding track point. If you import photos from iPhoto or any other application myTracks searches for a matching track and searches the nearest track point within that track. The photo is then associated with this track point. You can see the number of associated photos in the list of track points. If you edit a track, e.g. because your GPS logger did an inaccurate job, the positions of the associated photos are moved accordingly.

When dragging & dropping photos to myTracks or when using the camera symbol in the lower left corner of the main window myTracks automatically identifies a matching track based on the time of the photo. If you want to import photos to a certain track select that track first and then click the camera button with the plus sign below the list of photos.

The position of the photos

As already explained, photos in myTracks always belong to track points. Therefore, myTracks also knows the exposure position of each photo. But these positions shall also be published to other application. Two workflows have to be differentiated:

  1. Writing to EXIF tags: The exposure position of a photo can be written to the corresponding photo file, e.g. to the JPEG file. This step is never done automatically by myTracks. You always have to click the red geotagging button below the list of photos. If one or more photos are selected only those GPS EXIF tags are written. If all or no photos are selected the tags are written into all photo files.
  2. Writing to iPhoto database: iPhoto 09 only checks the GPS EXIF tags of a photo file during the import of the photo. If the EXIF tags are written to the file later iPhoto does not recognize this. This is because iPhoto uses an own database to store the exposure positions of photos. This is why myTracks directly updates the exposure positions within the iPhoto database (technically using AppleScript). Each time you import a photo to myTracks, regardless whether from iPhoto itself or from any other application, myTracks checks whether this photo is handled by iPhoto and updates the exposure position within the iPhoto database immediately. If you edit a track later and the position of a photo has moved due to this editing you can instruct myTracks to also update the position in the iPhoto database. You can do that by clicking onto the red geotagging button below the list of photos. This feature does not only write EXIF tags to the files but also updates the iPhoto database.
    The synchronization with the iPhoto database does only make sense if you manage your photos using iPhoto. Thus, you can switch off this behavior. Open the preferences dialog an set iPhoto Mode to Only synchronize if iPhoto is running.

Location information

In the list of photos you will find five columns displaying location information: City, Place, Province, State, Country and ISO Country Code. This information is loaded automatically from the internet. The service geonames.org is used for that. myTracks performs this loading in the background. Thus, directly after importing new photos to myTracks this columns may be empty. If you click on the track later the information will probably be available and shown accordingly. The location information of already visited locations is stored locally and is also available when being offline.

In some cases the results of geonames.org may be unsuitable. In this case you can edit the location information manually. Select one or more photos first. Then click the camera-with-pencil button. In the following dialog you can edit the information. If you close the dialog the data is associated with the selected photos and is also stored in the local cache. The manually edited location information is always preferred versus the data of geonames.org.

The location information can also be written to the IPTC and XMP tags of your photo files. After clicking the red geotagging button select Update location information in the upcoming dialog.

iPhoto has it's own database for location information that cannot be modified by external applications such as myTracks. Therefore it is not possible to transfer the location information from myTracks to iPhoto. myTracks will only transfer the GPS coordinates to iPhoto.

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