Upload gpx track to geotag photos

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other: mobile+website

URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant:
iNaturalist upload observations screen
This tutorial/discussion: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/geotagging-photos

Description of need:

Need is described best in the discussion in geotagging photos tutorial in iNaturalist forum, but the assumption there is that you should use commercial paid products to add geo tags to observations caught in DSLR cameras.
Observations should have location to be marked as research grade.

Feature request details:

I suppose allowing user to attach gpx file to observations uploads (from both website and mobile). Adding a button that will allow it.

This ability advantages:

  1. Completing the upload process much quicker
  2. No need of commercial paid software such as lightroom to geotag DSLR photos
  3. Easy implementation (I’ve done something simple myself in JavaScript and can donate the code)
  4. Raised awareness to the option of quick geotagging (because every user that uploads observations sees that option)
  5. It is lightweight and can be done offline (without network access).
  6. Much more observations would have location.
  7. Optionally you can group photos to observations automatically if every photo has time and location, but this is another idea for feature request - I can suggest it separately. (This will speed up observations upload more).

Is there any general discussion about revamping the upload screen/process in the future?

there is no such assumption. the tutorial itself clearly says:

in the discussion in that thread, people mention plenty of free products. the first 3 posts from non-staff community members mention a product from the camera maker, an open source photo processing software, and an open source command line EXIF utility.

i really don’t think the iNat website needs to support this feature, given that there are many existing ways to handle this. it makes more sense to geotag your actual photo files than to geotag only the copies you upload to iNat.


Thank you for your comment.
Are there any free tools for mac? Are there any free tools that don’t involve installations?
Personally I have no problem with cli tools but not all observers are tech savvy to this level…

I think that outside civil science platforms such as iNaturalist, people that travel in nature don’t have an incentive to geotag their photos, at most they will save the files in a directory with the place name or mention the general area in facebook.

For iNaturalist however location is crucial I think.
As I mentioned it can also boost the upload process at all and make more people contribute their observations to iNaturalist.

the open source photo processing application and EXIF utility are both available for Mac, and I’m sure there are many other options available.

the app from the camera maker is probably installed on iOS or Android.

why does it matter if you need to install an application or not? it’s better to install a trusted application than to run a webpage with Javascript code with many dependencies, any of which could change at any moment.

i don’t understand what you’re saying here. if someone is going to the trouble of making a GPX track, then they’re already very aware of geolocations.


I’d say there is no reason not to have this feature, but feel it’s less urgent than many other things people are asking for. There is really no need for “paid software”, there are many tools for this - I use for example the free Exiftool (which has easy Windows and MacOS installs, but it’s gonna work on basically every system you can imagine).

One thing that would need to be considered is time zones and time offsets. I have to say that I am still a bit confused as to what time information is actually stored by my camera and by my logger software in my phone - and sometimes I have to set up offsets when running exiftool to make it match correctly.

the reason is that someone has to develop and maintain it. if someone wants to make a third-party tool to do this, that’s fine, but it seems unnecessary to make this part of iNaturalist itself.


It’s very not straight forward as for my experience, but I will try some of the tools you’ve suggested.

Of course a better solution from users point of view would be to record the track in iNaturalist while observing but this will cost in much more complicated development.

I’ve explained in a geotagging tutorial comment that there’s an issue getting more people to contribute observations for iNaturalist because the upload process of many (dozens) observations in a day is slow, even from website (but especially for iOS app).

The local reality here in Israel is that each biological field has a distinct app for observations, one for butterflies, one for sharks, ebird for birds… Some reasons related to the upload process (tracking of realtime location, missing fields…). I guess that in other countries there is a divide in apps too. So I think that a broader discussion of upload process is essential.

Let me disagree on that :slightly_smiling_face:
Accessibility of webpages is a huge benefit. JavaScript dependencies could be hardcocoded (at least versions), whereas environment and operating system environments changes (or application upgrades) can break any app…

I use darktable on my Mac to geotag all my photos with a gpx track, and tag them, before uploading them to iNat. That’s free and works well.

Personally I’m not seeing this as a priority feature for iNaturalist. (What I would like is some way to geotag and tag sound files in a way that is accepted by the iNat uploader.)


11 posts were merged into an existing topic: Geotagging Photos

I’m going to close this. I understand the desire for this and think it would be useful, but there are many available free tools for people who record GPX files and use dedicated cameras, which I suspect are small minority of users.

This topic was automatically closed after 17 hours. New replies are no longer allowed.