Photography

Geotagging in every conceivable way, with perks: HoudahGeo 5

HoudahGeo 5 is a geolocation app for photos. It has several features that allow you to tag your images with geographical metadata in a number of ways – no GPS tracker needed, even. And it has a helpful interface.

HoudahGeo 5 can import images directly from your camera. If you use that feature, the app opens automatically when a camera or memory card is connected. A big time saver is that you can save your geodata and location names for quick access later on by assigning images to favourite locations and apply coordinates and location names. That also enables you later to view these places in, for example, Google Street View.

HoudahGeo supports a lot of methods to geotag your images, even if you don’t have access to a GPS tracker. The lack of a tracker only becomes a problem when you want to really track a series of photos, but even then the app lets you batch process photos that were taken the same day, in the same area, etc.

To make this GPS-less geolocation possible, HoudahGeo supports two crucial features. The “clock photo”, which is a photo of which you know the exact time and time zone. all you need to do is enter the time it was taken and set the corresponding time zone information in HoudahGeo.

Another feature that is supported is the use of QR-codes generated by the “GPS4CAM” smartphone app. In this case, even tracking logs are automatically imported and you can let GPS4CAM handle the geocoding. If you don’t, HoudahGeo will geocode using the imported track log.

Version 5 allows you to publish images, geographical information and thumbnail images to Dropbox via KML data, export to Google Earth, to a web server, locally directly to the image’s EXIF data or an XMP file. On a Mojave system, you should be able to notify Photos as well, but as I don’t use Apple’s editor, I can’t tell how well that works.

Reverse geocoding can be done in several languages. Reverse geocoding is the process of deriving location names from GPS coordinates, which in other apps would be automatically entered in English. With HoudahGeo 5 you can get those place names entered in English, German, French or Spanish. Reverse geocoding uses an online database from Apple or OpenCage. These two are pretty accurate. There’s also a locally downloaded database managed by HoudahGeo itself, but that one managed to misname my locality for one that is 2km off.

With drag-and-drop geocoding you can also drag images from the image list to the app’s built-in map and drop them at the location where they were taken.

Finally, HoudahGeo 5 features improved map search functions, a new keyword editor and metadata information on location and information on copyright.

Conclusion

I use Photo Mechanic for cataloguing my images and that app has built-in geolocation support in that it is capable of extracting all GPS information available in the EXIF data or in a XMP sidecar file. However, it does not support any of the advanced features you will find in HoudahGeo, such as reverse lookups or the pinning of photos on a map.

Using HoudahGeo together with Photo Mechanic, therefore, is a boon, especially if you export to EXIF before ingesting.

There’s another geotagging app, Smart GPS Sync by a German developer. I reviewed it in 2016. Trust me when I say HoudahGeo is vastly superior. It’s also much more user-friendly.

HoudahGeo 5 retails at €44 and is available directly from the vendor’s website.