When I upload geotagged photos, they don't upload date/time data

Platform: Android 5.1, Google Photos

In the time I’ve been in iNaturalist, I usually had to manually add in location data for observations from memory, which would mean locations were often inaccurate.
Recently, I changed my camera app’s settings to collect location data (geotag) for photos. Sure enough, when I uploaded some photos it showed their location data, but the date and time didn’t transfer over. I could bring back the data and time by disabling location data again.

I usually take pictures with my phone’s camera, Open Camera: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.sourceforge.opencamera&hl=en
The photos are transferred to Google Photos. To avoid hassling with Google’s wacky policies, I download the photos onto my computer and then upload them back onto iNaturalist.

I did some investigating and looked at the data of downloaded images before and after the change. Here’s image data from an image before I enabled location data:

This is image data from after I enabled location data:

From there it’s obvious the metadata for both time and location are stored in the geotagged photo, and that there’s likely a problem in the upload process to iNaturalist itself. My first suspicion was that maybe the “GPSDateStamp” and “Datetime” fields (which display the same information) were creating conflict, but the other image also had multiple date and time instances as well.

I don’t know whether this is specific to this version of Android or the certain camera app, but if all else fails I can always work with another app or something.

Can you please send some of these photos to help@inaturalist.org so we can test them out?

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I’ve sent these photos to that email with 2 of the photos in question, + two control photos. As of now, I am awaiting a response.

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I was able to replicate the issue with your photos, thanks for sending them.

However, on my Pixel 3a, running Android 11, I downloaded Open Camera (version 1.48.2) and took two photos, one without access to location, then one with access to my location. Both are automatically backed up to Google Photos, and I downloaded those photos to my computer then uploaded them to iNat. Both showed correct time and date, and the one with location data showed a correct location.

What version of Open Camera do you have? How do the photos to Google Photos? Looking at the photos you sent with Preview on my Mac, the ones with location data have no EXIF section in their info:



I’d be surprised if this is an iNat issue, my guess is that something weird is going on in Open Photo or during one of the steps between taking the photo and getting it to your computer.

I’ve checked my version of Open Camera and realized it wasn’t up to date. I updated it and the problem has completely disappeared; both location and time and information was transferred.
I’m not exactly sure what solved the problem, but I think my app was just out of date (my device was quite old) and I hadn’t updated the camera app until now. Thanks for the help!