Monday, October 7, 2013

Geo-tagging Pictures in iPhoto

One of the features of iPhoto is the ability to identify where a picture was taken. Once you have tagged your photos with the geographic location, the "Places" tab under "Library", selectable from the left panel in iPhoto, provides a world-wide map of where your pictures were taken. This map can be displayed in three different modes by choosing a button in the upper right corner of the map display. One shows the geographic boundaries and a topographical display in "Terrain" mode, one is a satellite display in "Satellite" mode, or finally a "hybrid" of the two which takes the satellite display and imposes country boundaries on it.


A pin identifies the location where you have taken any pictures that have been tagged with the geographic information about where they were taken. When you hoover your cursor over a pin, a label appears with the name of the place. If you click on the arrowhead to the right of the label, all of the tagged pictures taken at that location appear in the main window. You get back to the map by clicking the "Map" button in the upper left corner of that window.

You can focus on a particular part of the world by clicking on the drop-down lists that appear in the upper left corner of the map window. The drop-down that appears lists alphabetically all of the countries, states, cities, and places that you have identified when tagging your pictures.

When you focus on a location, such as a country, the number of pins displayed can increase because locations can be identified in more detail. If you were to select a country in which you only visited one city, the map will automatically zoom in to that city and display all the places in the city where you took a picture that has been tagged.

So How Do Your Pictures Get Tagged?

Pictures taken with your portable Apple device such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, that have Location Services turned on, are automatically tagged with the GPS coordinates when the picture is taken. Many new cameras have GPS built in. It is also possible to get SSD memory cards for cameras that have GPS built-in so photos are automatically tagged when they are saved to the card.

If you don't have that capability, or if you accidentally had Location Services turned off on your Apple device, or your camera, for whatever reason, was not able to communicate with a GPS satellite when your picture was taken, you may have to tag your photos with the GPS information manually. To do this you make use of Google Maps.

Create a Bookmarklet For Your Browser

The first thing you should do is create a bookmarklet which you will use when identifying a location in Google Maps.

In your favorite browser, choose to add a bookmark. You will want to locate this bookmark so it appears along with the others that appear above your main browser window. In Apple Safari and in Google Chrome, that location is called the "Bookmarks Bar". When adding the bookmark, type a short name for it such as "GPS". Then for the address, where you ordinarily add a URL, enter the following javascript:


Make sure you have saved this bookmark and that it appears with the name you gave it along with your other favorite bookmarks above the main browser window.


In iPhoto, select the picture you want to tag. Then click on the "Info" button along the bottom right of the iPhoto window. One of the items that appears at the bottom of the Info panel is a map. If the picture hasn't been tagged with a location, the map is a grey map of the world with a field above the map in which appear the words, "Assign a Place . . ."

Assign a Place

You can just type in that field the name of the place where the picture was taken. If you have other pictures with that name assigned, the name will appear at the top of a list from which you can select. Otherwise, a Google search for the place is performed. If the place you are looking for appears on the list that is displayed, you can simply select it. A map will be displayed with a pin suggesting a location where the picture was taken.

If you hoover your cursor over the map, a plus and minus sign will appear at the bottom which you can click to zoom in or out of the map. Also you are able to choose "Terrain", Satellite" or "Hybrid" for the type of map you want to display. There is also an icon to the right of the plus and minus signs, which when clicked, will cause the pin on the map to be centered in the window.


You may find that by zooming in, and moving the map around, you are able to locate where you were when the picture was taken. You can move the pin to the location on the map by grabbing the pin by clicking on the pin, holding the mouse button down until the cursor turns into a clenched hand, and dragging the pin to the location.

When performing the Google search for the location, if you type in an address for the name of a prominent structure such as the Eiffel Tower or Mount Rushmore, the pin will land on the structure. You may be satisfied with identifying the location of the picture to be that landmark. However, when taking a picture with a camera with GPS or an Apple devise, the location tagged is the location of the camera, not the location of the subject of the picture. For consistency and accuracy, the location of the camera is the location I prefer to use when tagging my pictures.

Again, you may be satisfied with simply moving the pin on the map in iPhoto to the approximate location where you were standing when you took the picture.

However, if, for example, you are doing genealogy research and are taking pictures of markers in a graveyard, exact location is very important. With GPS these days, accuracy can be within a few feet, depending on conditions.

This is where our bookmarklet comes into play.

Using the Bookmarklet

The first thing to do is to bring up your browser and, using Google Maps, find the location where you were when you took the picture. Take advantage of Street View and the photos that have been uploaded to Google Maps to determine that location with as much accuracy as you desire.

Center map Once you have identified the location, with the cursor pointing to that location, right-click or control-click your mouse. A contextual menu will appear, and one of the items on the menu is "Center Map Here". Select that item. You will see the map shift so the location you are interested in is centered in the browser window.

Now click on the bookmarklet you created above the browser window. A small window will appear which contains the GPS coordinates of the location in the center of the map.

Copy those coordinates. Go over to iPhoto and paste them in the "Assign a Place . . ." field above the map in the Info panel. iPhoto will place a pin on the map at those coordinates.

You can leave the GPS coordinates as the name of the place if you wish. Otherwise, you can type over the GPS coordinates with a place name of your choice. You will then be able to use this same place name for all other photos you took at that location.

It takes time and some work to get your photos geo-tagged. I am happy that I was able to take the time to make the effort. It is rewarding to be able to choose a location on the map in iPhoto and see all the photos you took when you were there.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Solution to a Scanning Problem

From previous blogs (See: Scanning problem with new HP Officejet) you know that I have an HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus All-in-One Printer. One day when I was scanning something that was very dark I noticed that there was a new vertical line about ¼” wide that was lighter than the rest of the background in my scan.

I immediately went to the Hewlett-Packard website to find out what solutions might be available for this problem. The web page to start from is here. It easier to enter your product number than try to wend your way through the model names and numbers to get to your particular printer.


Officejet Pro 8600 Once there, I clicked on the link indicating that I wanted to Solve a Problem. Then I clicked on the link for scanning. Finally, I clicked on the link pertaining to vertical bands, lines, or streaks in copies, faxes, or scans. Some of the things that were recommended were to clean the glass, clean the cover, and also unplug the printer and plug it back in.

Once I had done the troubleshooting that the website recommended, my next solution was to use the form on the website to send an email to Hewlett-Packard’s support. To get there I clicked on the Support link. On this page you are given four choices: self-help, e-mail HP, Call HP, and Interact online with HP. I selected the "e-mail HP" choice.

A short while later I got an email in my inbox indicating that the email I had sent to Hewlett-Packard has been bounced. Apparently, there were problems with the address to which it was sent or something. So HP’s web-based email for problem solving did not work for me.

So the next day I used the telephone and called Hewlett-Packard support. I got a very nice person who understood when I told him that I had gone through the troubleshooting steps. He took me to the next troubleshooting step which was not presented on the website. He wanted to know if the printer was plugged directly into a wall outlet. I said no. So he asked me to do that. This meant I had to move the printer off its normal location and carry it across the room to a wall outlet.

Once I had done that and the printer was warmed up, he asked me to just simply copy something. I found something dark to lay on the glass and copy it. When I looked at the results, the light bar was gone!

I didn’t understand why plugging it into the wall would make any difference. He explained that there are surge protectors inside the printer and therefore, you do not need to have it plugged into a power surge protector. In fact, doing so can rob the printer of sufficient power, which can result in a bad scan.

Problem Solved?

So after hanging up, I moved my printer back to its normal location and after some manipulation had unplugged it from the power strip and plugged it into an extension cord instead.

The next day when I had something dark to scan the light streak was back!

I called Hewlett Packard support back and got someone else, but they were able to pull up my records and see what the history was on this printer.

I told him that I had plugged the printer into an extension cord since the regular cord that comes with the printer would not reach the wall. He asked me if anything else was plugged into the extension cord and I said yes. So he asked me to unplug the other items from the extension cord. That did the trick. The bottom line is, you have to have the power coming directly into the printer with nothing else there. It has to have the full power coming out of the wall. Now that I’ve had it pounded into my head what I needed to do, I haven’t had any more problems with light streaks in my scans.