Lightroom Classic 8: Does not display exif for image direction

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  • (Edited)
There is an exif GPSImgDirection for the direction the camera lens was oriented to when taking the shot (where pointed; distinct from bearing which would be direction of travel). Many cameras can record this with accuracy in degrees.

But images imported into Classic do not display this information in the "Direction" section of EXIF in the Metadata Panel. Indeed, if one enters say "52.1" in Lr itself then Lr will change value to "South-west," leaving no number.

So it is unclear to me what "Direction" represents, and whether it really corresponds to any known exif tag. And Lr is clearly not reading existing information correctly.
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robgendreau

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Posted 3 weeks ago

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Alan Harper

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I've had that question too, but have never spent time to figure it out.

It turns out that there is a GPSImgDirection and a GPSTrack field. The first is the direction the camera is pointing, the second is the direction that the camera is traveling. They can be either magnetic or true. They are stored as a ratio, and are supposed to be between 0 and 359.99.

It appears that Lightroom is programmed to clip this number to the eight "Cardinal and Primary InterCardinal" directions. For instance, a photo that I stored as "NW" has the value exif:GPSImgDirection="450000/10000".

I guess that this means that Lightroom won't store any numbers more accurate than ±45°, and I suspect (but did not test whether) it will overwrite more accurate values.

If you are shooting raw, and your camera stores this data, you might see one value in the raw file and another in the xmp sidecar file, so at least Lightroom won't erase any value that your camera recorded.

Hope this helps.
(Edited)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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To build on Alan's reply, LR reads EXIF:GPSImgDirection correctly and stores it in the catalog -- it just maps it to the 8 compass directions when displaying it, as Alan described.  Don't know what the product manager was thinking when this was implemented...

The numeric value is available via the plugin SDK.  I checked the usual suspects, and only my Any Filter lets you access the field (for searching).  I couldn't find any plugin that displays the numeric value (including Any Filter).  

The Geoencoding Support plugin provides a custom Metadata panel that shows GPSTrack but, inexplicably, not GPSImgDirection:



You might ask the author to add GPSImgDirection -- he's very responsive, and it take him just a few minutes of programming.

As long as you don't change the field in the Metadata panel, LR will preserve its original value even when you do Metadata > Save Metadata To File.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Also, I've changed this to a feature request ("Idea"), since it's pretty clear LR is currently operating as designed.
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robgendreau

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Well, no.

I have thousands of images with the correct exif info in the DNG or in a sidecar and Lr has NOT populated this data into its database, not in numerical nor in textual format. "Direction" remains blank.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Please upload one of these photos to Dropbox or similar and post the sharing link here, and I'll put it under the microscope. 

In my catalog, I've got 783 photos that ExifTool shows having EXIF:GPSImgDirection, and the Any Filter plugin shows all 783 with a numeric value in the catalog.  I've sampled a couple of dozen, and they all show a compass direction in Metadata > Location > Direction.  

So it would be good to narrow down what's going wrong with your catalog.
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Alan Harper

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I made the request regarding the metadata panel. Jeffrey's Data Explorer plugin allows you to categorize your photos into Adobe's bins (North, North-East, etc).

Thanks for the clarification, John.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Jeffrey's Data Explorer plugin allows you to categorize your photos into Adobe's bins (North, North-East, etc)."

Technically, that's because the plugin is calling photo:getFormattedMetadata() rather than photo:getRawMetadata() (which is what Any Filter does).  The Search Replace Transfer plugin almost has the capability of exposing GPSImgDirection, but it uses the formatted value rather than the raw value.
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robgendreau

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I can view it using the old Rob Cole exifmeta plugin, as modified here: https://github.com/DaveBurns/ExifMeta

Thanks for the info.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Just because ExifTool can read it doesn't mean LR can. If you upload a sample, I can hopefully narrow down the bug into an actionable bug report for Adobe.
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robgendreau

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Note that noted above Bridge does read and show the proper direction info, and in numerical format, but as "3405/100".

The problem occurs with DNGs out of two Pentax cameras (and the info shows correctly from those in Bridge). I've left a Pentax DNG here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dinq6k0fmhgr4i5/AABvSb9lR3yxLm7KBM1AXCPga?dl=0

I looked at iPhone DNGs, and Lr DOES pick up the direction info, but of course converts it to "South-West" etc (and exif shows that as 142.3789673, just to be precise :).

So far then it seems the issue is with the Pentax DNGs and of course the stupid "North-West" conversion.

But hey, I should be happy it isn't rounding off my actual GPS coordinates to "Nearby" or "Over the Hill and Through the Woods."

Thanks tons for you help.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Note that noted above Bridge does read and show the proper direction info, and in numerical format, but as "3405/100"."

Bridge is showing you the internal EXIF representation, which is a rational number (numerator / denominator).   Not sure why it doesn't do the division, since likely 99.9% of users don't care about the internal representation.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Hmm, my LR 8.1 shows Direction: North-East for IMGP8913.DNG, on both Windows and Mac:



That suggests the problem is specific to your configuration or catalog.

Are you running 8.1 or an earlier version?  LR 8.1 fixed a bug where Altitude was getting overwritten by address lookup -- perhaps that same bug was overwriting Direction (just a guess).

If you're interested in narrowing this down for Adobe (likely the only way they'll likely fix the problem), I think the next step is to create a new catalog and import one of the problem photos.  That will identify whether the problem is specific to your one catalog or to your LR configuration.
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robgendreau

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Thanks for testing. Using 8.1, and it does appear to be isolated to my main catalog; doesn't occur (except for the conversion to text) on my laptop catalog.

Gonna be a drag trying to figure out why that's happening...add it to the NY resolution list I guess.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Does the problem occur when you import a never-before-imported photo into your main catalog in 8.1?  I'm wondering if the now-fixed bug with Altitude also polluted some of your photos.

Reviewing the bug report, it appears to have been introduced in 7.3 - 7.5:
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/-an-internal-error-has-occurred-0-attempt-to-...

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robgendreau

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Yes, that seems to be it!

First tests show that new DNGs import with the Direction field used (again, as text), and a re-read of metadata of old files will populate it correctly.

Thanks SO much!

So now all we need is for Adobe to preserve the numerals instead of cardinal directions. Although I wonder if the motive was for text-based searching, given the hyphen.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You might post a new "idea" topic for requesting that GPSImageDirection be displayed numerically.  This topic is too cluttered now.
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robgendreau

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I posted the idea to switch to numerical image direction values instead of text here: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-classic-display-image-direction-in-...