Lightroom: Latitude/longitude search wildly inaccurate in Map module

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Hi,

Lightroom 4 beta seems great so far (I'm an LR3 user), but the maps feature (which I'm most excited about) exhibits perplexing behaviour when searching for a specific lat/long in non-urban areas.

Repro steps:

  1. Paste the following lat/long (-27.033813,153.465791) into the maps.google.com UI and search. Google maps places 2 markers on the map:

  2. a green arrow showing the actual position (a helipad on Moreton Island, Australia)

  3. a red blob showing the nearest house (in a resort on the same island but 18 kilometres away).

  4. Paste the same lat/long into the Lightroom 4 beta "maps" module search and note that LR4beta is treating the nearest house as the result, not the actual lat/long (i.e. the helipad).



Note that repeating these steps for an urban lat/long (e.g. the position of your house) produces very accurate results.

This may be a limitation with the google maps API, but it is an unexpected (and unwanted behaviour). Entering a lat/long should take you to that spot, not to some house in the 'nearest' town (which in australia can be a few hours drive away).
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jaysenmarais

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Posted 8 years ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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This obviously impacts wilderness locations, e.g. 37.101, -118.733.
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Jim Endersby

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My camera, a Sony a55 has built in GPS. When I take a look at the photos in Lr4, it places most of them in the centre of the town I live in, which is nowhere near where I live (and where the photos were taken). Bizarrely though, other pics are placed not merely at the local science park but in the precise building where they were shot.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Another person trips over this, but in the central part of a city:

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/960400...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Stephen Bay

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There appears to be a bug in the lightroom map module when you enter GPS coordinates in the search box. For example, if you put in 44.498656,-118.639716 you get taken to a spot that is about 500m off of what google maps is reporting.

BTW the process for reporting a lightroom bug is incredibly cumbersome. I was directed to this site, had to create an account, then had to find where to post the issue, etc.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: GPS coordinates differ from Google Maps (BUG).
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Q.

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LR 4.1 RC2, fresh Windows 7 x64 installation.

HOW TO REPRODUCE:

In the map module, trying to create a 'Location' at specific coordinates:

- place focus on the location Searchbox
- input coordinates (as given by maps.google.com): 30.832783, 111.109783‎
- LR complains that they are not found, even if these are perfectly valid coordinates
- input coordinates again (still as given by maps.google.com): +30° 49' 58.02", +111° 6' 35.22"
- LR accepts these now and creates an orange icon at "334 Yiling Road [...]" which is plain wrong. The true coordinates refer to a steep slope with no road at all, as can be seen in the field or on Google Maps.

RESULT : LR places the icon about one mile (!!!) NNW of the user-input coordinates. Note that in some cases, the error can reach as much as 15 miles.

HYPOTHESIS :
It appears Adobe Lightroom forbids creating a user-defined location outside of populated areas (town/village) or road addresses. This is a no-go for any serious wildlife photographer wanting to georeference his/her work, who sometimes has to venture several dozens of meters away from cities and motorways.

FIX (?) :
To define a location at the right place, one should create the location at the wrong place, exit Lightroom, go to the 'Lightroom Settings\Locations' directory, manually edit the related .lrtemplate to input the correct coordinates (this time, in decimal degrees format, although LR supposedly does not understand them...) then relaunch Lightroom.

>> Not sure if such a weird behaviour is rather a bug or some intended feature, but it makes geolocating one's photos with relatively good precision (let's say: at the kilometric level) a pain-in-the-back.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: Map module does not allow geolocation at precise coordinates.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Copied from the merged thread:

There are three separate issues here:

1. As Steve just pointed out, Google Maps shows both the exact coordinates and the nearest named entity, but LR just shows the nearest named entity. Please see these other feedback threads for more details:

2. LR 4.1 RC2 doesn't allow coordinates of the form "30.832783, 111.109783‎" to be entered into a photo's GPS field in the Metadata panel. You have to add compass directions, e.g. "30.832783N, 111.109783E‎". See this thread:

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

Please add your vote to it.

3. In Internet Explorer, selecting and copying the text "30.832783, 111.109783‎" from your post in this thread results in a Windows clipboard containing an invalid character at the end. Pasting that clipboard into Google Maps results in the error message "We could not understand the location 30.832783, 111.109783‎". Pasting that clipboard into the LR 4 Map search box results in a similar error message. Weird bug in IE.
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Andreas Renz

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Same issue.
And I would say it's not the only one in terms of poor gmaps integration.
see also: http://forums.adobe.com/message/53521...

Kind of a (nerve-racking ) workaround is to enter the GPS data in the photo meta data directly after using the full-blown gmaps in a browser version
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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This bug still exists in LR CC 2015 / 6.
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Styrbjörn Ryd

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LIGHTROOM: Strange coordinate difference on map.

Lightroom use Google Maps.
Then I wonder why, when I search the coordinate 61°0'22" N 15°11'20" E (caught from the "real" Google Maps) in Lightroom it acctualy place them at the coordinates 61°0'37" N 15°12'12" E? Not far away but still very wrong.
It don ́t seem to be so with other coordinates.

Regards
Björn
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Someone else just tripped over this bug: https://forums.adobe.com/message/8073843
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Lewis Kemper

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Please fix this Geotagging bug. Not only is it inconvenient but it is also dangerous. I am writing a guide and Lightroom (adobe) is taking my readers from the safety of a parking lot and placing them on a highway. NOT COOL!
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Benjamin Warde, Employee

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Official Response
I'm not able to reproduce this issue using the coordinates from the original poster (Lightroom correctly places me at the helicopter pad). I am, however, able to reproduce the bug using the coordinates from Styrbjörn (Lightroom and Google maps produce different results).

I'll report this issue to the engineers. In the meantime, let's just cross our fingers and hope that Lewis's readers are smart enough to stay out of moving traffic, no matter what we may suggest. ;-)

-Ben
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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These coordinates also show the issue: 37.386683, -122.266930
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Benjamin Warde, Employee

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I'm not able to reproduce the problem using those coordinates, John. Lightroom and Google maps give me exactly the same result.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Very curious. Just now I pasted them into the search boxes of LR maps and Google maps, and they came out a couple hundred feet apart, as shown in the screenshots in my post from a couple of days ago: https://forums.adobe.com/message/8073843. I wonder what accounts for the difference? (CC 2015.1.1 / OS X 10.10.5)
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wintermute314

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Adding location by dragging phot to map highly inaccurate.

Dragging a photo to a place in map module places photo in wrong location.
No longer possible to add location to a photo this way in Lightroom CC.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Accidentally merged into wrong topic. Breaking out to merge into the correct one

Please reference the new conversation here: Issue with Map Module in HiDPI
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Calvin Hilton

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom mapping issues.

There are a number of "anomalies" with Lightroom's handling of lat/log coordinates in the Map module.

1. If lat/long is entered in the search box in this format: 44.3015 N 110.7337 W, Lightroom doesn't object to the format but doesn't return the correct position. With this example, it returns a location 12 miles away from the correct location.

If exactly the same thing is entered in the metadata GPS field the photo is geotagged correctly and LR will position the map correctly when the photo is selected.

2. If I search on 44°41'33" N 110°44'07" W, LR positions me to a point near Artist's Paint Pots in Yellowstone. If I reduce the longitude by only 1" (44°41'33" N 110°44'06" W which should position ever so slightly to the east) LR positions me to a point 16.5 miles to the south-south-east of the original point. The true distance between the two points is only about 73 feet.

If I try the same two points using Google Maps in my browser, I get the correct results

3. Some points entered in this format: 44.46049, -110.82882 work correctly and some don't. 44.46049, -110.82882 doesn't but -33.840663, 151.071579 does. 44.46049, -110.82882 is the location of Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone. LR search returns what appears to be a favorite point (when it doesn't work correctly) many miles away. -33.840663, 151.071579 is in Sydney, Australia.
4. The default lat/long format is 44°27'31" N 110°49'50" W but the simpler 44 27 31 N 11049 50 W will return the same result, at least with this example.

LR developers should ensure that if a particular coordinate format doesn't work, the user is told that it doesn't work and not just return a wrong location.

A format that works in the metadata GPS field should also work in the search field.

It's not that hard to handle variations of the N44.46049 W110.82882 format and allow for flexible entry, e.g. with or without things like "N", "W", ",", "-" and spaces positioned before or after the decimal values.

My testing was done with LR 6.1. OS Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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When you enter coordinates into the search box of the LR Map module, it shows the location of the nearest named entity (town, street, creek, mountain, etc.). I think this one bug accounts for all the wierdness you were observing.
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Calvin Hilton

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That's an interesting theory but without knowing what other named entities might be closer to what I'm searching for it's impossible to confirm.

I'm assuming that if anything in Yellowstone is a named entity, Old Faithful is and that's what I was searching for when I entered N44.46049 W110.82882. LR returned a point many miles away that's labeled incorrectly Mystic Falls on the map. The incorrect labeling appears to also be a problem with Google Maps in a browser. Mystic Falls is really miles away from Old Faithful but in the opposite direction.

Bottom line: Adobe can make the search work at least as well as a lat/long entered in metadata does.

Maybe I'll forget about using search and just use GPS in metadata for my searching since it works better, at least until Adobe fixes search.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"That's an interesting theory but without knowing what other named entities might be closer to what I'm searching for it's impossible to confirm."

If you read through the other posts in this thread, you'll see that lots of others have experienced very similar symptoms over the past four years and that it's been confirmed these symptoms are caused by the LR Map module showing a nearby named entity when you enter coordinates in the LR Map search box. (The formats of the coordinates have nothing to do with the issue.)

With the old Google Maps, it was very easy to confirm this -- when you searched for coordinates, Google Maps would show you two markers, one for the exact coordinates and one for the named entity. That named entity corresponded with what the LR Map module would show you.

With the new Google Maps, you have to do a little extra work to confirm. First, paste "44°41'33" N 110°44'07" W" into the LR Map search box, which will result in this location:

Next, paste the same coordinates into the Google Maps search box, which will result in Google showing you the exact location with a red marker:

(That location is different than the one shown by LR Map.) Next, click on the red marker, and then in the white box that appears at the bottom, next to "Park County", click on the blue diamond with a white arrow in it:

This will open Google Directions, with the end point a nearby named entity:

Note that this nearby named entity is the same location as that displayed by LR Map for those coordinates.

Here's the LR Map results, the Google Maps results, and the Google Directions results for "-33.840663, 151.071579":




And for "44 27 31 N 110 49 50 W":




Sometimes, LR Map picks a different nearby named entity than Google Directions. For example, for "44.3015 N 110.7337 W", LR Map picks Mystic Falls, while Google Directions picks Loop Trail. As another example, for "44.46049, -110.82882", LR Map again picks Mystic Falls, while Google Directions picks Loop Trail (a different point on Loop Trail than in the previous example).

I believe this difference arises because LR Map is using the Google Maps API that's made available to third-party apps, whereas Google Directions is almost certainly using an internal API that is somewhat different in behavior.

Nevertheless, these examples confirm the cause of the behavior you're seeing: When you enter coordinates into LR Map's search box, LR is showing you the location of a nearby named entity, rather than the exact location.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Also, beware that Google Maps may show different people different results, depending from which country they're invoking Google Maps. I'm invoking Google Maps and LR Map from California, US.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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And finally, Adobe has recently acknowledged this four-year-old bug: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh.... But that doesn't necessarily mean it will get fixed soon.
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Calvin Hilton

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LR Search isn't even consistent. Sometimes, if I've selected a geotagged photo but repositioned the map manually and enter a search value the search "works" (with the usual limitations), sometimes (entering the exact same search value) it repositions to the metadata location not what I searched on.

Back to the Old Faithful example. N44.46049° W110.82893° is very close to the geyser. LR search repositions to the Loop Trail, more than 300 feet away to the west. OK. I don't understand why Old Faithful geyser wouldn't be selected instead or even Split Cone geyser (see below) both of which are closer than the trail.

If I reduce the longitude value by only 1/100000 of a degree (N44.46049° W110.82892°) I'm repositioned again to the mislabeled Mystic Falls, many miles away, east of the geyser. N44.46049° W110.82892° is just as close to the Loop Trail as N44.46049° W110.82893° at a slightly different point on the trail.

I can force LR to position to Old Faithful geyser by searching for N44.46049° W110.82810° which is more than 200 feet TO THE EAST of N44.46049° W110.82892° so it makes no sense to me why LR would skip over what it apparently knows is a named entity, Old Faithful geyser, and instead position to the mislabeled Mystic Falls but position correctly if I enter a lat/long even farther away to the east.

By tweaking lat/long (e.g. N44.46049° W110.82840°) I can also get LR to position on Split Cone geyser (another known entity) which LR says is between the trail and OF geyser.

At least in Yellowstone and I suspect many other locations, search is of very limited use, to say the least. When I search with a lat/long and specify 1/100000 degree accuracy I don't want to be positioned on a point many miles away.

Given how long LR has had problems handling search correctly I'm not expecting Adobe to fix it any time soon.

Maybe they could just add a disclaimer or warning to users who expect it work properly even given it's insistence on positioning to a known entity.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Google Maps is the one picking the named entities for given coordinates. I would guess it has a complicated set of heuristics designed for giving directions (by car, by walking), and those heuristics probably are not as well-tuned for less-populated areas.

The bug is not that the heuristically chosen named entity is sometimes wildly wrong; rather, LR should just be showing the exact coordinates, not a "nearby" named entity. Google Maps can do this, and it would be straightforward for LR to do it too -- LR is just misusing the Google Maps API.
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Calvin Hilton

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I'd agree with this statement:

...LR should just be showing the exact coordinates, not a "nearby" named entity. Google Maps can do this, and it would be straightforward for LR to do it too -- LR is just misusing the Google Maps API.

except for "nearby" unless "nearby" means possibly miles farther away from closer named entities.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I can no longer reproduce this behavior in CC 2015.10 / OS X 10.12.3.  I tried these coordinates from previous posts in this topic:

-27.033813, 153.465791
37.101, -118.733
 44.498656,-118.639716 
30.832783, 111.109783
48.918326,11.409075
-33.840663, 151.071579
 N44.46049° W110.82893°

In all, when I paste them into Google Maps search box and into the LR Map search box, the displayed markers are at identical locations.

I'm marking this topic as "solved"; but if someone encounters a counter-example, please post!