Lightroom 4 Review
The Map module leverages GPS data with none other than Google Maps to provide visual location information for your images. If your camera records GPS information, using Maps requires minimal effort. Select the geo-tagged image(s) in the filmstrip and the map automatically updates to show the location at which the image was captured. You can also import GPX tracklog data and have images automatically tagged based on date/time stamps. Once tagged, a metadata panel displays the GPS coordinates for the selected image and the map provides road, satellite, hybrid and terrain views. You can zoom in far enough to see cars on the street.
|The Map module provides a visual reference of all of the locations for which your images have been tagged. Each orange pin displays the number of images tagged with that location.|
Smartphones aside, few photographers at this point are capturing GPS data with their images. To this end, Lightroom makes the way that most of us will begin using the Map module - by manually geo-tagging our images - a relatively simple affair.
With images selected in the Filmstrip, you can type in an address or location, just as you would in the web browser version of Google Maps (note that an Internet connection is required). A yellow search result marker is then placed on the map at that location. You can tag images with location data by dragging and dropping them from the Filmstrip anywhere on the map or by right-clicking a location on the map and setting the selected images to that location. An image pin denoting the number of images tagged with those specific GPS coordinates is then placed on the map.
|You can find a location simply by typing into the Map module's search bar.||Using the map's zoom slider you can control the precision of the geo-tag for your images.|
Once you've dropped images onto the map, Lightroom automatically fills in the appropriate coordinates in the GPS metadata field. Additionaly, you can enable Lightroom to use reverse geocoding whereby it attempts - via the Google Maps engine - to fill in neighborhood, City, State, and Country information automatically based on the GPS coordinates. This feature can save a lot of typing if you're placing pins on urban cities or popular destinations. Obviously, in more remote locales, reverse geocoding will not be as accurate. This feature does involve the transfer of specific data from your computer to Google's servers. You can enable/disable the feature at any time via the Catalog Settings preferences.
Searching by location
While there's no denying the satisfaction of marking a map with all of the places you have photographed over the years, the real pleasure comes after you've tagged your images. That's because you can use the map as a search tool. Clicking on an image marker automatically makes a selection in the Filmstrip of images matching the GPS data. In addition, a small image window pops up, allowing you to scroll through thumbnails of the entire set of selected images.
|Each image shown in thumbnail view becomes the 'most selected' image in the Filmstrip, allowing you to go straight to the Develop or Print modules with that image populating the main image window.|
You can create saved locations (shown below) which makes adding future images to those same coordinates fast and easy. Perhaps of equal importance though is that you can set a saved location as private.
|The Private option is checked for this saved location. When exporting images associated with this saved location, none of the location data will included with the exported version.|