Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Photos, Places Wanted

Finally released.
But is it ready?
I have a sort of love/hate relationship with iPhoto. It can do some wonderful things. It you want to turn your photos into books, cards, or calendars, it’s a great thing. On the other hand, with the number of photos I’ve jammed into it, it’s incredibly slow. Leaving it open never seems to be a good idea. It’s also a real pain to open and close it. The problem is that, over the years, I have added tens to thousands of photos to it. My iPhoto library is, after I trimmed it down a bit, just a mere 215 GB.

I knew that someday Apple would come out with a successor to iPhoto, or at least a total reworking of the application (just as they did with the iWork apps, which have gone through this a couple times). I was anticipating Photos for OSX. I was delighted that it was included in the Yosemite Beta program. Every times there was an update to the beta of OS 10.10.3, the first thing I would do was to open Photos and see if the ability to geotag photos had appeared in this update. Now with the full release version, I know that I’m going to have to wait for a future release. Alas, that means that I’m going to be sticking with iPhoto for a while longer.

Photos taken with my iPhone come to my computer with the data of where they were taken; they are already geotagged. My regular camera isn’t quite so smart. In order to arrange things, I (when I have a moment) add the geographical data to my photos. I do this even though the Places section of iPhoto seems to be slower and wonkier than Faces. Damn. Still, it’s a help.

It sees location data, but…
Like almost everything else in iPhoto, geotagging doesn’t alter the EXIF data in the photo, but just makes a notation in a database record pointing to the file. Same with cropping or recoloring. You can always undo it, because you haven’t touched the original file. Of course that means that I’ve geotagged thousands of photos (with thousands more left untagged) for which the location data is locked in my iPhoto database. (Although oddly enough, one of the photos I imported from iPhoto into Photos came with its after-the-fact geotagging. Most did not.) Even when I make the move to Photos, I’m not going to be making a clean start.

But I can’t move to Photos until I can continue my endless spare time project of geotagging photos. And that’s not going to happen yet, because while Photos can read existing geotagging data, it doesn’t yet give users a way to add it. Photos help does say that
If your camera has GPS capability (as iPhone does), or you’ve added GPS information to your photos, Photos can automatically display your photos on a map.
…how can you put it there?
All well and good, except this version of Photos doesn’t have the capability the iPhoto has had for years. Admittedly, there are utilities out there that would allow me to add location data to my photos outside of one of these programs, but that’s not a great way of doing things. I’m confident that it will come back, and hopefully soon. As a beta tester, one of the applications on my Mac is Feedback Assistant. When I look at submitting feedback reports on Photos, I see that one of the categories upon which I can comment is “Places.” Currently, there’s no Places group in Photos that anyone could comment on (though I have been tempted to comment on Places with “not available”).

I remain patient. I like Photos. It has some real advantages over the antiquated iPhoto. And someday soon, it will do everything I need. Apple, please update Photos so I can geotag my pictures.
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