Photo GPS Extract 8.0

Introduction to Photo GPS Extract 8

For the past months I have worked intensively on a new version of Photo GPS Extract. This new version contains over TWO HUNDRED bugfixes and new features. The new version isn't finished yet and contains some minor bugs, but you can E-mail me if you desperately want a test version :-). The features below are NEW features. See the existing features.

Google Limitations

First the bad news: Google made their Google Maps a paid product. They will ask a monthly payment based on usage. They give you a monthly free credit of 200 dollar. With this credit you can allow up to 28,000 map loads each month. Since the Photo GPS Extract is a completely free software application I am obliged to set a daily limitation of 800 map loads to avoid getting bills from Google. I have no idea about the current daily usage of this program, but I think the daily map loads are way above 800.

The new version of the program has been optimized to reduced the number of map loads. Unfortunately I also had to remove some features that Google would now charge for as well. The lookup of addresses and elevations are no longer possible, unless you create your own Google API key and enter it into the program. You will be needing a credit card to create an account, but for personal limited use it won't cost you a penny.

Another consequence of Google's new strategy is that the program will need to load the HTML file with the Google Map from this website, rather than from your local hard drive.

It is possible this nice software will be needing sponsors to stay alive. Here I wasn't thinking about getting any money, but rather finding people who are prepared to generate a limited API key on their own Google-account and/or set-up a mirror HTML page on their own website so the traffic can be spread.

Increased Performance

First of all the performance of the reading of photo metadata has increased astronomically. Reading EXIF metadata from photos is now over 5 TIMES FASTER than with previous versions of the program. So maps can load faster and the batch extractor performs its job much faster.

Improved Settings Screen

I redesigned the settings screen because it became hard to find a specific setting. The tab pages are gone and you now see a nice list with all settings-groups. You can even search for a setting by name, so the program will automatically jump to the right settings-group.

Rename Tool

The Batch Extractor, a tool to extract certain metadata from a collection of photos, now has a new feature: the rename tool. This tool allows you to rename the collection of photos according to a pattern you can define. The most obvious application would be to renumbering the pictures according your own naming method:

Of course the rename feature is waaay more powerful than that. You can create a pattern with variables, which are fields from the Exif metadata. So the renamer tool will extract data from the Exif and put it into the filename.

One cool feature is you can also set one photo as the reference photo. There is a variable that allows you to include the distance between the current photo and this reference photo.

The following screenshot show an example on how you can use this tool to append the ISO speed and distance from the reference photo (indicated with a flag in the list) to a filename. In case you might wonder what the {distanceFromReference:0} means: the parameter :0 instructs the program to round the distances to 0 decimals.

New Layout

The program has a better look with icons in the menus. It also has a graphical Photo Navigator. It is a bar with a preview of all opened photos that appear on the left side of the screen. The photo navigator allows you to jump quickly between pictures.

You can right click a picture to show a popup with all possible options. You can also select multiple pictures and right-click them. Now you will get some nice options like calculate the total time span between the pictures, or creating a chart with an elevation-plot over time.

I have received many requests for this feature and now it is finally introduced: You are now also able to double click a marker to see a popup-dialog with a preview photo and some details from the Exif:

New Marker Right-Click Options

When right-clicking a photo you will get a context menu with some very nice new features and tools:

Photo Database

The Photo Database is a very cool new feature. It allows you to create an index of all photos in a certain folder. Once indexed you can easily find any picture from Photo GPS Extract.

You can call the database from the FILE menu. Here you can search the database for all files or folders with a specific name. The following example shows a search on WATERLOO:

But there is also a more exiting feature that uses the database: You can draw a shape, either a circle or a rectangle, on the map and the program will search the database for ALL pictures that were ever made at that location. The search works almost INSTANTLY. You can move or adjust the size of the selection and the search results will be updated INSTANTLY. A search in my database with 35000+ photos takes no more than 66 milliseconds.

This function is so cool I literally played with it for hours. I can set it to a very narrow spot (like to a bridge) and you will get to see all images that were ever taken from that bridge. No matter when and no matter what folder the images are in.

This feature is currently limited to index a single folder and its subfolders on your computer. If there would be a high demand to index multiple rootfolders as well, I will consider adding this feature.

Physical Measuring Tool

The physical measuring tool is an advanced tool that allows you to perform measurements on pictures. This tool has so many features it could be a complete application on its own.

The tool asks you to specify the distance between you and a remote subject that is visible in the picture. Afterwards you are able to perform measurements on that remote object by setting and dragging measuring lines. This transmission tower in Belgium has a height of 300 meters. The true height almost corresponds exactly with the measured height by this tool:

A VERY cool feature is that you can overlay reference objects on the photo, at a specified distance. Here is a simulation of what the mighty Saturn V rocket would look like if it were standing next to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. It seems almost twice as high and this corresponds with the actual dimensions of this rocket.

A more serious application would be to simulate what a new planned wind turbine would look like in your neighbourhood, on a known distance from your home.

The reference objects can actually be dragged around the screen and be set to any distance. So you could use this tool to simulate how a Saturn V rocket would look like in the back of your garden :-). Last but not least, you can even run a simulation on them. This tool actually allows you to launch the Saturn V rocket with a specific speed. Don't expect sounds or flames, but the rocket will start moving when you hit the button.

The tool can also calculate and visualize the position of the sun on a picture. Here is a sample from a sunset above the channel between France and England. The calculated position of the sun corresponds almost exactly with the position of the sun on the photo. This feature could be used to calculate when the sun would be at an interesting position to take a certain photo.

The tool also has features that can be used for completely other applications. You could even use it to analyze screenshots from a dashcam video (as long as you know the technical specifications from the dashcam, like the used field-of-view). A regular car has an average width of approximately 1.8 meters. So, you can set two markers to a car before you and tell the program "this is 1.8 meters". The program will then tell you the distance between your dashcam and this car before you.

The program also allows you to help measuring the speed of other vehicles. For this you would have to load a screenshot of the dashcam two times. The exact time difference between the two still images should be known (preferably expressed in frames). Then the program can help you calculating how much the vehicle moved in the given time frame, relative to your own speed. Here is an example where I used the built-in calculator to calculate the speed of speeding car. He advanced from 8.7 meters from the dashcal to 22.7 meters in a time period of 20 frames. The program calculated his relative speed to be 74.5 km/h. The dashcam vehicle in the photo was doing 94 km/h so the speeder rode roughly 170 km/h.

Although this program was not written for this purpose, it can also be used to measure objects by "calibrating" the markers to a known scale that was visible on the picture. The program calculated the height of my smartphone to be 13.5 cm, which is correct.

Photo GPS Position Locator tool

The Photo GPS Position Locator tool allows you to mark the position of a certain GPS coordinate on a picture. The locations can either be entered manually, or can come from a loaded GPX track. The photo below was taken from the Eifel tower towards the Arc De Triomphe. I then entered the GPS coordinates of the Arc De Triompe. The program indicated the correct location.

The tool also allows you to put labels on the map at the pointed locations. This allows you to create a picture like the one below very easily:

ExifTool Scripts

The program now can also generate ExifTool scripts. Photo GPS Extract itself doesn't write any information to your pictures, but it optionally allows you to let an external program called 'ExifTool' write changes to your pictures. I have been experimenting with allowing ExifTool write as a background process of Photo GPS Extract but the result was very buggy.

This new feature will allow you to create a single script that, once generated, can be double clicked from Windows Explorer and then writes all the changes to your photos.

Note: to protect your valuable photos I chose to use a reputed external tool to write changes to the photos, rather than trying to write the Exif data my selves. Writing metadata can be very tricky.

Write Google Earth KMZ Files

Photo GPS Extract 8 is able to create KMZ files for Google Earth. These are files where the pictures are embedded inside the KMZ. So you can now easily share all information with other people.