Gathan Beaga

removing GPS data from a photo

One thing I noticed about photos taken with the iPhone is that they all get automatically tagged with GPS location data.

The exception to this – and this will need verification – is that photos taken while the phone is attached to Wi-Fi rather than the cellular network for some reason seem to lack the GPS data. (One strange thing: the tagged raw photos show a GPS co-ordinate somewhere in the North Pacific – i.e., East/West and North/South have been reversed. However, Flickr certainly seemed to find the right spot on the map here in Wellington. Weird.)

This automatic geotagging is pretty cool, except for those times when you most certainly don’t want that meta-data there.

calm Evan's BayFor example, this morning I took a photo out the window of my sister-in-law’s house in Hataitai with the intention of posting it to Flickr. There’s no reason why I should publicise this location, particularly not without asking her permission first. Her privacy should be respected. So I needed to scrub that data before upload.

I wish I could say I found an easy way to do this. Unfortunately I couldn’t.

What I did was download a set of command-line tools called EXIFTool. I figured out the command to use was the following:

macbook$ exiftool -GPSLatitudeRef= -GPSLongitudeRef= -GPSLatitude= -GPSLongitude= -GPSPosition= IMG_0007.JPG

The “GPSPosition” part might not be needed, YMMV. If I need to use this often I should try and package up an AppleScript droplet to make it easier.

On the other hand if anyone knows an easier way please let me know1.

1 Update 2008-09-27 – as it happens the new version (6.2, released just in the last week) of GraphicConverter, the quite wonderful MacOS shareware app for image manipulation, now has the ability to edit and delete GPS data from photos. Sorted!