Saturday, July 14, 2007

Geotagging Photos: GPSPhotoLinker, GPSBabel, Reveal

Ah yes, my favorite topic of late...geotagging photos.

These are my favorite programs for the geotagging process:

Software(all free):

  • GPSPhotoLinker - individual or batch addition of lat/long/alt data to photos from GPS tracks, waypoints, or manually.
  • GPSBabel - Open source geodata conversion software. Easily convert between the different formats that GPS units and various map software (google earth for instance) spits out.
  • Reveal - Simple program for viewing photo exif data quickly.

Click here for my geotagging workflow.

Useful Mac Keystrokes


⌃ eject shutdown
⌘ ⌃ eject reboot NOW
⌘ ⌂ 3 screenshot
⌘ ⌂ 4 area screenshot
⌘ ⌥ esc force quit
⌘ ⌥ 8 zoom on

esc: spell checks (see more)
⌃F2 Get to menu
%/ close close all

hold f12 eject
⌘⌥ d hide dock

⌘⌃ d lookup in dictionary

⌘ drag drag behind dialog
⌘ dockdrop drop onto app

⌘⌥ pillbox customize
⌘⌂G Go to folder

⌥ drag select columns

⌘L Location Bar (url)
⌘K Net Search bar

⌘⌥ ⌘⌃ ⌘⌥⌃⌂

List of Keyboard Shortcuts

I moved from PC to Mac -- and I am a big giant computer geek with massively ingrained protocols amassed over 15+ years of PC use -- and I couldn't be happier. I had to rebuild my sis-in-laws dell notebook OS the other day, and all I could think during the 8+ hours to get the system going and the drivers installed and the 6-10 trips through windows update to get the OS locked down was how glad I was for switching.

Some resources:

A few transition tips: A few great apps:
  • Quicksilver is like the greatest thing evar. Install now. At some later point go through some tutorials
  • Growl for system notifications
  • VLC for video playback is good, enough that I don't miss Zoom Player
  • Azureus or Transmission for BitTorrent
  • TVShows to Torrent-Subscribe to a TV show
  • Chicken of the VNC / Remote Desktop Connection (from MS) for VNC/Windows Terminal remote control. Enable Apple Remote desktop, set up DynDNS, and poke a hole through all your router/firewalls for TCP ports 5800&5900. If you're not comfortable leaving remote access on permanently, see but note that you have to restart to get a conxn.
  • DynDNS widget (hit F12 then "get more widgets") for DynDNS
  • Cyberduck for graphical FTP
  • Cog is like a winamp for mac if you need "just play this one damn mp3 I don't need the awesome power of teh iTunes"
  • Corripio can help with cover-arting your music, but is a work in progress
  • Mozy for remote backup
  • FlickrExport
Here are a few things that windows does better than mac:
  • VERY IMPORTANT: when you copy a directory over another directory,it does not "match and overwrite moved files, leaving unmatched files alone" as do windows and unix. It overwrites, irreversibly, the target directory.
    • Specifically, this means that if you are copying/moving adirectory, and the copy fails halfway through, you CANNOT just drag the directory over again. You have to move the CONTENTS of the old into the new, then delete the old container.
  • NTFS and NFS shares are NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME on the mac. Sharesdon't appear seamlessly in the filesystem, and can cause problems if they are unavailable (because, say, the remote machine is off). Sharity helps a lot with the mounting, but there are architectural issues I hope to hell are fixed in 10.5 leopard. Sharepoints makes sharing OUT your system fairly easy.
If you're the triple-threat Unix type,
  • follow instructions to install X.11, developer tools, and THENfink. I'd go to the fink homepage and do what they tell you. Do this even if you don't program; the dev tools have many useful utilities.
  • Enable SSH in the Sharing sys prefs panel.
  • more resources
  • You may run into some keyboard / clipboard issues. Make sure"Enable Keyboard Shortcuts" is checked on's preferences: it enables cmd-C to copy AND clipboard autopaste. Also install the fink autocutsel package. Missing meta-X in emacs is a problem; I remapped to alt-control-X but I haven't retrained yet. You can also use X config to make the command key your meta key, but you'll have to do so on your other unices as well.
  • Consider moving your home dir: (but CAREFULLY)
  • To make invisible:
    • $ setfile -a V syncflip.txt
    • To make visible:
    • $ setfile -a v syncflip.txt
  • to show/hide invisible files in the finder:
    • $ defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
    • $ killall finder
  • mdls is metadata ls.


Simple name, great looking 2D scientific plots. I haven't used Origin that much but I imagine this as a light weight and free alternative to that program. I've used it for plotting research data with great results but I don't demand much from a plotting program.

The UI takes a little bit of getting used to because it works in a little bit non-intuitive way, but it's worth the effort.


Igor Pro is kick-awesome.

But it is by no means free. It's like maple, only it makes better plots.


Hopefully you all have started using Quicksilver by this point. I use it mainly as a file/folder/application launcher and I'm completely addicted to its ease of use.

Although it can be used as a simple launcher it's capable of so much more. It can be configured with triggers and actions that allow it to do just about anything. Merlin Mann is a huge proponent of workflow management in Quicksilver and you can find him at

Quicksilver Site:

The first blog post

I talked with flip about starting a favorite mac applications blog and he thought it was a good idea. So many times I come across cool applications that I want to share with you guys but forget to mention when you're around.

The blog is just for us physics mac people to share the software that we've come across and really like. It could be freeware or commercial, science or art related, whatever. Feel free to invite other mac users you know who find cool software to add their favorites.

Feel free to change the look as you see fit and remember to add labels to your post so we can search for specific software later on.