Lightroom: improve control over reverse-geocoded Location metadata

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LR 4.1rc2 under Windows 7 x64

The reverse-geocoding function of LR4 is a great feature and a potential time-saver, yet it can lead to some minor disasters.

Specifically, there is currently no way to "stabilize" the location metadata that has been automatically filled by LR (displayed in gray italics). Editing any value by hand e.g. a misspelled City name, leads to all other fields (Country, State, Sublocation) being emptied - problematic when filters are effective on these fields, as the photo suddenly disappears and end up with partly missing location info.

Possible remedies: when location info has been automatically filled by LR :
- provide (only in such a case) a checkbox offering to "keep these values", so they can from then on be appear as 'normal' metadata, and be edited as such without some tricky behaviour
or
- make these auto-filled values separate from each other, allowing to edit one without discarding all the others. That would also allow the reverse-geocoding feature to work with any photo which has *some* location fields empty, not only those which have *all* (that is: Reverse-geocoding would always fill missing values, yet keeping any user-defined ones - let's assume photographers know better than Google where they have been shooting...)

My preference would rather go to the first solution, as it appears to give more control without making the inner workings of reverse-geocoding too complex.
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Chris Packrat

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Posted 6 years ago

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Chris Packrat

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E.g. :

took a few shots of the beautiful Earth during a flight. Knowing the GPS coordinates, I enter them in the GPS field.

Reverse-geocoding now informs me (in hard-to-read gray italics) that I was flying over Country:"Estonia" Province:"Pärnu County" (ahem, Estonians don't use the word 'county') City:"Vändra vald", Sublocation: (blank).

Let's edit 'Pärnu county' to 'Pärnu maakond' or simply 'Pärnu'. I click in the metadata field, oh wait, can't edit the value, it disappeared! Alrighty, let's type it by hand then. Speak of a time-saving feature. OK, 'Pärnu', validate with Enter...

» Oh no, my photo now has the right State/Province as I entered it, but no known country or city anymore...

Have to find the photo again in the library (damn' filters) then clean my hand-entered State/Province value so that reverse-geocoded fields get filled again. Alas, I'll have to live with this ugly 'Pärnu County' that I can't change without messing all the rest.

Now, the 'Sublocation' field was left empty by Adobe's dumb geocoding feature; let's type something in there: "onboard a Boeing 747" and validate.

» Oh no, my photo now has a clever Sublocation info, but City, State/Province and Country are blank !

Hey Adobe, want to drive your customers nuts ? ;)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Similar complaints:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

As a clumsy workaround, you can first “commit” the italicized location fields by clicking on their label (e.g. click on “Country”). This records them permanently in the metadata, and you can then edit them without fear of them disappearing on you.

Interestingly, if you don’t have an active filter on a location field, then the italicized location fields aren’t cleared as you edit them until you select another image.
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Chris Packrat

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Thanks for the workaround; not perfect but that will do.

Minor problem still persisting: no way to get rid of the auto-filled ISO country code though.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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To get rid of the ISO country code: Click on one or more of the location labels except "ISO Country Code" to commit them. Then select another photo, then select this photo again -- you'll see that ISO Country Code no longer contains an uncommitted (italicized) value.
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Dennis Gaida

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In LR4 it is possible to have reverse geocoded address information suggested for locations.

However to save these suggestions a click on each respective suggestion for country, country code, city and state is needed.

Please add an option to always accept these suggestions. My workflow should be: Click on image, click on location on map. Done.

Right now it is: click on image, click on location on map, click on country code, choose suggestion, click on city, choose suggestion, click on state, choose suggestion, click on country, choose suggestion. Done.

If there are more than one suggestions the first match could be chosen and only *after* it has been automatically applied I could change it by clicking on the respective metadata label and choose another suggestion or manually edit it.

See this post for my initial question: http://forums.adobe.com/message/43218...

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: Enable automatic accepting of reverse geocoding suggestions.
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MakiS

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After reverse-geocoding 15,000 photos from their gps data I've all their location field's filled. BUT they cannot be saved/committed unless I do each specific location by manually selecting it. Does anyone - Adobe, even - know how to commit greyed/italic/uncommitted location data en-mass? I seriously can't believe you can automate this aspect but cannot automate the committing of the data!

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: Auto/en-mass commit/save reverse-geocoded location metadata.
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Thomas Geist

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Write Reverse Geocoding suggestions into xmp + make permanent easily

As mentioned, Lightroom only exports reverse geocoding suggestions if the option is checked in the catalog settings.
I can see no reason why LR does not also write them out into the image file or its xmp sidecar when "Save Metadata to File" is chosen. At least it should be an option.

It does write this data, if it was made permanent fist by clicking on the filed titles ("Sublocation", "City" etc.) and then selecting the first entry in the appearing pop-up. But this can be a tedious process if it needs to be done to multiple images with different location data ( appears in the fields).

There should be a button "Make Reverse Geocoding suggestions permanent" as others requested.

Lastly, there is some weird behavior with the ISO Country Code field. If it was once filled out manually, then gets deleted and the image is either exported or metadata is saved to the file, the old ISO Country Code value will still be there (can be seen in Photo Mechanic).
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kurka666

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I would say this is more or less a must
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Rob Cole

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I don't know much about this stuff, so please forgive if I'm not even close, but maybe

http://regex.info/blog/2008-10-29/979

would help

?
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kurka666

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Thanks Rob - I just tested it and it seems to work fine. I would appreciate if Adobe could fix LR, but meanwhile I'll use the plugin from Jeffrey Friedl.
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Paul Benjamin

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Any news on that issue?
As much as I value Mr Friedl's plugins, it seems overkill having to install a separate plugin only to save IPTC metadata. Something that LR definitely *can* do.

btw: it's feasible through command line utilities... although far from straightforward (sqlite3 to grab the info from the catalog by parsing tables/values to convert to city/country/etc. strings + exiftool to write these strings back to files + 'Read metadata from files' to reimport that metadata into LR)
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hursey

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Bueller? Bueller? Come on guys... Without being able to quickly and easily commit to the location information... whats the point of providing it?
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Reinard Schmitz

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Lightroom obviously did a reverse geocoding. But the data are in dark grey, can't be edited (only overwritten) and are not written to the jpg file. Other software (Media Pro, e.g.) does it without problems. The date are read by Lightroom afterwards and then they are in white letters and can be edited. Any ideas?

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Paul Benjamin

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3 years later, the merry folks at Adobe still haven't a clue as to how to write metadata back to files...
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Reinard Schmitz

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Obviously they refuse a solution....
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Reinard Schmitz

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I cannot understand why adobe refuses to remove this bug! And it's not the only one...
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Larry Memmott

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Yeah, why can't this be fixed? I keep thinking that the next version of lightroom will allow us to quickly and easily confirm the data, which we could then (of course) edit at will. There seems to be no advantage to the "grey" data, to me.
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Reinard Schmitz

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I found that the lastest version of LR fixed the problem – but not always. I am still observing and investigating as I get new photos to tag in LR.

Most of my photos are tagged outside of LR.
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Reinard Schmitz

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There is still a problem with geocoding. Sometimes it work in LR sometime with the plugin from Jeffrey Friedl. But the best way is to use an app outside of LR and sync all folders after that is done. Not really elegant, but it works :-(
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Larry Memmott

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Thanks, Richard. You are right, and I have done that before (GeoSetter does the trick), but I continue to be surprised the Lightroom, all these years on, can't fix what is seemingly a very easy problem.
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Robert Meier

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I downloaded the latest trial version yesterday and spent hours trying to figure out how to write the reverse geocoded location to the files. Nothing worked. How can this be done for thousand of images at a time?

This is such a basic function that certainly after 5 years this issue has been fixed. I am still on iView/MediaPro but would like to switch to LR if they can finally fix some of the issues incl. this one.
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john beardsworth

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What you have to do is select a group of images that have the same value in a field - eg Lancashire is in State. Then click the label "State" and you'll see Lancashire is listed as an option. Choosing this writes the value directly into the field, and it would be saved to xmp.

Where this fails is if you have many images with different reverse-geotagged values in State. You have to select all the Lancashire ones, then the Yorkshire, then the..... And that's just for the State field. What's needed is a simple command Save All Reverse-Geotagged Values to IPTC Field.

But do remember that reverse-geotagged values do get written to files exported from Lightroom.
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Reinard Schmitz

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There is still a problem with geocoding. Sometimes it work in LR sometime with the plugin from Jeffrey Friedl. But the best way is to use an app outside of LR and sync all folders after that is done. Not really elegant, but it works :-(
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Reinard Schmitz

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It's indeed incredible. But in the moment LR gives me the best overview over my pictures. So I stay...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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There are now two plugins for working around this deficiency in LR:

- The Geoencoding Support plugin is the best solution for those who spend a lot of time tagging their photos with locations: http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-good...

- For those who wish to stick with LR's geoencoding, my Any Tag plugin now has commands for finding and committing the locations automatically added by LR (in gray font): http://www.johnrellis.com/lightroom/a...
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Larry Memmott

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John,

Thanks for the response. I had used Jeffrey's, but hadn't found your plugin. Been trying again with both. I tried your plug-in the other day, and it seemed to be working. Today I tried Jeffrey's again, geoencoding from a track log, and it did geoencode, but the data was stored in gray text, just like Lightroom! So, then I tried to commit the data with your plug-in, and I got an error. I've tried several times (including closing Lightroom and opening it again), but I always get a failure message. Any idea what this might be?
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That's not good. Please contact me at my support email address: http://www.johnrellis.com/lightroom/a...
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rob m

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom 5: problems with GeoTagging and Committing.

I am using LR5 and enabled reverse geocoding. The images that have the GPS coordinates automatically get the city, state and country. They are in italic gray. When selecting Metadata->Save Metadata to File it is actually NOT written to the file. In order for this to work I first need to click on the label for City and select the city, click on the label for State/Province to select the State/Province, click on the label for Country and select the country, click on the label ISO Country Code and select the ISO Country Code and THEN select "Save Metadata to File". This is extremely inefficient

We need a one-click solution so that we can commit ALL the reverse GeoTag information for ALL THE SELECTED IMAGES.
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Jens Koopmann

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Can't use uncommitted location values in Book module.

Its still not added. For example, if u want to put geodata in a photobook it only recognizes comitted values. There is a workaround for exported pictures as described above and also search recognises uncommitted values, but the book module doesnt. A fix would be very much welcomed.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Lightroom 5: problems with GeoTagging and Committing.
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Anders Blomqvist

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This is still a problem - immediately when editing one field in one of a group of photos all other geolocation metadata disappears - very annoying.
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kurka

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled There is no way to commit location fields on multiple photos in LR5.

Having many photos shot at several locations, I would like to change the country name on all of them. This is not possible in LR as if I change the country, the rest of the fields are gone. This clearly must be a bug?

The uncomitted fields can not be copied, not be saved, not be exported and not be accessed via the API.
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Dirk Schäfer

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I would simply like to accept all suggestions of LR locations. I made 4.000 Pictures in Burma and I'm not willig to edit each picture :-(
(Edited)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I agree that it's a big design misfeature. As a workaround, see the Commit Locations command of the Any Tag plugin.  That command is free to use.
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Dirk Schäfer

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Hi John,
thank you for your tip. I checked "Any Tag" and JF's Geoencoding Support and both works well.
(Edited)
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SuperPete

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LR4 > LR5: location metadata retrieved with reverse geo-encoding can no longer be....

Hi, when exporting or renaming photos in LR5, there is the possibility to use metadata from the photos to create filenames. It's also possible to use location metadata retrieved through the reverse geo-encoding function. Well, it should be and used to be. This worked fine in Lightroom 4 but no longer in LR5 (since LR5 was out, and now with 5.3 it still doesn't work). City, Country and ISO country code were retrieved from google, but cannot be used when creating file names at export or batch renaming in the library. I have all the options checked in the catalog prefs under the metadata tab. It's not a major thing but inconvenient when I want to use it when exporting landscapes, etc
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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This problem behavior is present in LR CC 2015.8 / 6.8 too.  The problem occurs with the "unconfirmed" locations that are in grey italics (Windows) or unreadable dark grey (Mac) -- though such locations are exported, they can't be used in file renaming templates.

Several workarounds to this bad design (see the previous posts for details):

- Commit each field in each photo individually.
- Use the free Any Tag command to batch-confirm the locations.
- Don't use LR for geotagging -- use Geosetter or some other program that's better thought out.
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SuperPete

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Thanks! Been awhile to get a reply until now as my topic got merged with another one. Workarounds 1 and 3 I know, the first not being useful for 100,000 photos, the Any Tag cmd I didn't know and seems the most easy and interesting. I'll try it out this weekend.