- Geotag
  - Geosync
  - Geotime
Writing Geolocation
CSV File Format
Inverse Geotagging
  - Creating GPX log
  - Creating KML file

Geotagging with ExifTool

The ExifTool geotagging feature adds GPS tags to images based on data from a GPS track log file. The GPS track log file is loaded, and linear interpolation is used to determine the GPS position at the time of the image, then the following tags are written to the image (if the corresponding information is available):

GPSLatitude     GPSLongitude       GPSAltitude          CameraElevationAngle
GPSLatitudeRef  GPSLongitudeRef    GPSAltitudeRef       GPSDateStamp
GPSTrack        GPSSpeed           GPSImgDirection      GPSTimeStamp
GPSTrackRef     GPSSpeedRef        GPSImgDirectionRef   GPSPitch
GPSCoordinates  AmbientTemperature GPSHPositioningError GPSRoll
Note: GPSPitch and GPSRoll are not standard tags, and must be user-defined. GPSCoordinates is written to the preferred QuickTime group when writing QuickTime-format files.

Currently supported GPS track log file formats:


Geotagging is accomplished in ExifTool through the use of three special write-only Extra tags: Geotag, Geosync and Geotime.


The Geotag tag is used to define the GPS track log data. The geotagging feature is activated by assigning the name of a track log file to this tag. As an example, the following command line adds GPS tags to all images in the "/Users/Phil/Pictures" directory based on GPS positions stored in the track log file "track.log" in the current directory:

exiftool -geotag=track.log /Users/Phil/Pictures

For convenience (and to make this feature more prominent in the documentation), the exiftool application also provides a -geotag option, so this command is equivalent to the one above:

exiftool -geotag track.log /Users/Phil/Pictures

Multiple GPS log files may be loaded simultaneously by using more than one -geotag option or -geotag= assignment in the same command, or by using wildcards in the filename argument of the -geotag option. This allows batch processing of images spanning different tracks with a single command. When using wildcards the argument may need to be quoted on some systems to prevent shell globbing, but note that wildcards are not supported with the -geotag= syntax. See the examples below.

Deleting the Geotag tag (with -geotag=) causes the GPS tags written by the -geotag feature to be deleted.

A special feature allows writing of only GPS date/time tags when there is no position available by specifying a log file name of "DATETIMEONLY" (all capitals).

Programmers: You may write either a GPS log file name or the GPS log data as the value for Geotag. If the value contains a newline or a null byte it is assumed to be data, otherwise it is taken as a file name.


The Geosync tag is needed only when the image timestamps are not properly synchronized with GPS time. The value written to Geosync may take a number of different forms, but the basic format is that of a simple time difference which is added to Geotime before interpolating the GPS position in the track log. This time difference may be of the form "SS", "MM:SS", "HH:MM:SS" or "DD HH:MM:SS" (where SS=seconds, MM=minutes, HH=hours and DD=days), and a leading "+" or "-" may be added for positive or negative differences (positive if the GPS time was ahead of the camera clock). Fractional seconds are allowed (eg. "").

For example, "-geosync=-1:20" specifies that synchronization with GPS time is achieved by subtracting 1 minute and 20 seconds from the Geotime value. See the Time Synchronization Tip below for more details.

Note that a single decimal value is interpreted as seconds when written to Geosync. This is different from of other date/time shift values where a single value is normally taken as hours.

The Geosync value may also be specified using 3 different formats which provide a GPS time and a corresponding camera clock time. While these formats may be used for a simple (constant) time synchronization offset, they are necessary when performing a clock drift correction (with multiple synchronization points), and are described below.

Camera clock drift correction:

A more advanced Geosync feature allows the GPS time and the image time to be specified together, facilitating a time drift correction if more than one synchronization point is provided. For this, the value written to Geosync takes one of the following forms:

FILE Both GPS and image timestamps are extracted from the specified file. eg) -geosync=image.jpg
GPSTIME@FILEGPS time is taken from the Geosync value and the image timestamp is extracted from the specified file. eg) -geosync="12:58:05@image.jpg"
GPSTIME@IMGTIMEBoth GPS and image timestamps are taken from the Geosync value. eg) -geosync="12:58:05@2010:01:02 12:25:26"

The values of GPSTIME and IMGTIME specified on the command line may contain a date, but it is not necessary.


  1. If either the GPS or the image timestamp does not contain a date, the two timestamps are assumed to be on days which place them within 12 hours of each other.
  2. If neither the GPS nor the image timestamps contain a date, this synchronization point may only be used for constant time offset (ie. no time drift correction will be applied).
  3. Both the GPS and the image times are assumed to be local unless another timezone is specified (unless taken from GPSTimeStamp which is UTC).
  4. Both the GPS and the image time values may contain decimal seconds.
  5. The applied value of the time drift correction is calculated from a piecewise linear interpolation/extrapolation between the synchronization points if more than one Geosync value is defined.
  6. When extracting from file, timestamps are taken from the first available of the following tags:


The Geotime tag specifies the point in time for which the GPS position is calculated (by interpolating between fixes in the GPS track log). Unless a group is specified, exiftool writes the generated tags to the default groups. If a value for Geotime is not given, it is taken from unformatted value of DateTimeOriginal for each image (as if "-Geotime<DateTimeOriginal#" had been specified), but the value may be copied from any other date/time tag or set directly from a date/time string.

If the date/time tag does not include a timezone then one may be added (eg. "-Geotime<${CreateDate}-05:00"), otherwise the local system time is assumed. Decimal seconds are supported in the time value.

By default, in image files GPS tags are created in EXIF and the corresponding XMP tags are updated in only if they already exist. In QuickTime-format files the XMP tags are created by default as well as writing QuickTime:GPSCoordinates in the preferred location. However, an EXIF, XMP or QuickTime group name may be specified to force writing only to the specified location. For example, writing XMP:Geotime or EXIF:Geotime will write the generated GPS tags only to XMP or EXIF respectively. Note that when written to XMP, the GPSLatitudeRef and GPSLongitudeRef tags are not used, and the XMP GPSDateTime tag is written instead of the separate EXIF GPSDateStamp and GPSTimeStamp tags. Using QuickTime:Geotime disables writing of XMP tags to QuickTime-format files creates the GPSPosition tag in the preferred QuickTime location (ItemList by default), but ItemList:Geotime, UserData:Geotime or Keys:Geotime may be specified to write to a specific location.

See the Examples section below for sample command lines illustrating various aspects of the geotagging feature.

Programmers: Note that Geotime must always be specified when geotagging via the API (the default value of DateTimeOriginal# is implemented by the application). Also, Geotime must be set after both Geotag and Geosync (the exiftool application reorders the assignments to ensure this).

Writing Geolocation Tags while Geotagging

Geolocation city, state/province and country tags may be written automatically based on the geotagged GPS position by setting the Geolocate tag to "geotag". For example:

exiftool -geotag track.gpx -geolocate=geotag c:\images

See the "While geotagging" section of the Geolocation page for more information.

ExifTool CSV Log File Format

ExifTool supports input log files in CSV format with the first row containing headings in the form of ExifTool tag names or descriptions. Valid column headings are:

Column HeadingDescription
GPSDateTimeDate and time in standard EXIF format, or other format specified by the -d option if used.
Time is assumed to be in UTC unless the values contain another time zone
GPSDateStampDate in standard EXIF format
GPSTimeStampTime in EXIF format. UTC is assumed unless the values include a time zone
GPSLatitudeLatitude in flexible ExifTool format (see FAQ 14)
GPSLongitudeLongitude in flexible ExifTool format (see FAQ 14)
GPSLatitudeRefString beginning with "S" for southern coordinates (used only if GPSLatitude isn't signed or doesn't specify hemisphere)
GPSLongitudeRefString beginning with "W" for western coordinates (used only if GPSLongitude isn't signed or doesn't specify hemisphere)
GPSAltitudeAltitude in meters relative to sea level (negative for below sea level)
GPSSpeedSpeed in knots, or specified units if "(km/h)", "(mph)" or "(m/s)" appears in heading
GPSTrackCompass heading in degrees true
GPSImgDirectionCamera compass direction in degrees true
GPSPitch or
Pitch angle in degrees with positive pitch upwards
GPSRollRoll angle in degrees

Required columns are GPSDateTime (or GPSDateStamp and GPSTimeStamp), GPSLatitude and GPSLongitude. All other columns are optional, and unrecognized columns are ignored.


1. Geotag all images in the "c:\images" directory from position information in a GPS track log ("c:\gps logs\track.log"). Since the Geotime time is not specified, the value of DateTimeOriginal# is used. Local system time is assumed unless DateTimeOriginal# contains a timezone:

exiftool -geotag "c:\gps logs\track.log" c:\images

2. Geotag all images in directory "dir" from the GPS positions in "track.log" (in the current directory), for a camera clock that was running 25 seconds slower than the GPS clock:

exiftool -geotag track.log -geosync=+25 dir

3. Geotag an image with the GPS position for a specific time:

exiftool -geotag t.log -geotime="2009:04:02 13:41:12-05:00" a.jpg

4. Geotag all images in directory "dir" with XMP tags instead of EXIF tags, based on the image CreateDate:

exiftool -geotag log.gpx "-xmp:geotime<createdate" dir

5. Geotag images in "dir" using CreateDate with the specified timezone. If CreateDate already contained a timezone, then the timezone specified on the command line is ignored. (Note that in Windows, double quotes (") must be used instead of single quotes (') around the -geotime argument in the next 2 commands):

exiftool -geotag a.log '-geotime<${createdate}+01:00' dir

6. Geotag images for which the camera clock was set to UTC (+00:00), using the time from DateTimeOriginal:

exiftool -geotag trk.gpx '-geotime<${DateTimeOriginal}+00:00' dir

7. Delete GPS tags which were added by the geotag feature. (Note that this does not remove all GPS tags -- to do this instead use -gps:all=):

exiftool -geotag= a.jpg

8. Delete XMP GPS tags which were added by the geotag feature:

exiftool -xmp:geotag= a.jpg

9. Geotag an image with XMP tags, using the time from DateTimeOriginal:

exiftool -xmp:geotag=track.log a.jpg

10. Combine multiple track logs and geotag an entire directory tree of images:

exiftool -geotag a.log -geotag b.log -r dir

11. Use wildcards to load multiple track files (the quotes are necessary for most operating systems to prevent filename expansion):

exiftool -geotag "logs/*.log" dir

12. Geotag from a sub-second date/time value with a sub-second time synchronization (only possible if the EXIF sub-second time stamps are available):

exiftool -Geotag a.log -Geosync=+13.42 "-Geotime<SubSecDateTimeOriginal" dir

13. Geotag images with a piecewise linear time drift correction using the GPS time synchronization from three already-geotagged images:

exiftool -geotag a.log -geosync=1.jpg -geosync=2.jpg -geosync=3.jpg dir

14. Geotag MP4 videos by writing Keys:GPSCoordinates (add -api QuickTimeUTC to this command if CreateDate in your videos is UTC):

exiftool -geotag a.log "-keys:geotime<createdate" -ext MP4 dir

15. Geotag images in EXIF by DateTimeOriginal and videos in UserData by CreateDate:

exiftool -geotag a.log "-exif:geotime<datetimeoriginal" "-userdata:geotime<createdate" dir


Geotagging may be configured via the following ExifTool options. These options may be set using either the -api option of the command-line application, the Options() function of the API, or the %Image::ExifTool::UserDefined::Options hash of the config file. (See the sample config file for details about how to use the config file.)

GeoMaxIntSecs Maximum interpolation time in seconds for geotagging. Geotagging is treated as an extrapolation if the Geotime value lies between two fixes in the same track which are separated by a number of seconds greater than this. Otherwise, the coordinates are calculated as a linear interpolation between the nearest fixes on either side of the Geotime value. Set to 0 to disable interpolation and use the coordinates of the nearest fix instead (provided it is within GeoMaxExtSecs, otherwise geotagging fails). A floating point number 1800
GeoMaxExtSecs Maximum extrapolation time in seconds for geotagging. Geotagging fails if the Geotime value lies outside a GPS track by a number of seconds greater than this. Otherwise, the coordinates of the nearest fix are taken. A floating point number 1800
GeoMaxHDOP Maximum Horizontal (2D) Dilution Of Precision for geotagging. GPS fixes are ignored if the HDOP is greater than this. A floating point number, or undef to disable undef
GeoMaxPDOP Maximum Position (3D) Dilution Of Precision for geotagging. GPS fixes are ignored if the PDOP is greater than this. A floating point number, or undef to disable undef
GeoMinSats Minimum number of satellites for geotagging. GPS fixes are ignored if the number of acquired satellites is less than this. A positive integer, or undef to disable undef
GeoSpeedRef Reference units for writing GPSSpeed when geotagging.
Kk or km/h= km/h
Mm or mph= mph
(anything else)= knots


ExifTool reads orientation information from the PTNTHPR sentence generated by some Honeywell digital compasses. This is a proprietary NMEA sentence which contains information about heading, pitch and roll angles. When this information is available, the heading is written to GPSImgDirection (and GPSImgDirectionRef is set to "T"), and pitch to CameraElevationAngle, but no standard tag exists for roll. Regardless, ExifTool attempts to write GPSRoll (and GPSPitch). For these tags to be written, appropriate user-defined tags must be created. Below is a simple config file which defines the necessary EXIF GPS tags. Corresponding XMP-exif tags may also be created. See the config file documentation for more information.

%Image::ExifTool::UserDefined = (
    'Image::ExifTool::GPS::Main' => {
        0xd000 => {
            Name => 'GPSPitch',
            Writable => 'rational64s',
        0xd001 => {
            Name => 'GPSRoll',
            Writable => 'rational64s',
1; #end


1. "No track points found in GPS file"

If you see the above message, either exiftool does not yet support your track log file format, or your track log does not contain the necessary position/timestamp information. For instance, in KML files each Placemark must contain a TimeStamp. If you believe your track log contains the necessary information, please send me a sample file and I will add support for this format.

2. "No writable tags set" or "0 image files updated"

If you see these without any other warning messages, it is likely that Geotime didn't get set properly.
Be sure that the necessary date/time tag exists in your image for copying to Geotime. Unless otherwise specified, the required tag is DateTimeOriginal. The following command may be used to list the names and values of all available date/time tags in an image:
exiftool -s -time:all image.jpg
Even if there is no metadata in the image you may be able to set Geotime from the filesystem modification date for the image (which will appear as FileModifyDate in the output of the above command). In this case you may also want to include the -P option to preserve the original value of FileModifyDate:
exiftool -geotag track.gpx "-geotime<filemodifydate" -P image.jpg
Without the -P option, FileModifyDate is set to the current date/time when the file is rewritten.

3. "Warning: Time is too far before track in File:Geotime (ValueConvInv)"

If you see a warning like this, you may have a time zone problem, or a time synchronization issue. Keep in mind that GPS times are in UTC, but the camera times are typically in your local time zone.
To see more details about what ExifTool is doing, try adding the -v2 option to your command. You should then see messages like this if the GPS track log was loaded successfully:
Loaded 372 points from GPS track log file 'my_track.log'
  GPS track start: 2009:03:30 19:45:25 UTC
  GPS track end:   2009:04:03 11:16:04 UTC
If the number of points loaded and start/end times seem reasonable, then the problem is likely in the time synchronization. Also printed will be the UTC time for the image:
  Geotime value:   2009:04:03 10:57:01 UTC (local timezone is -05:00)
The "Geotime value" must lie within 1/2 hour of a valid GPS fix in the track log for a position to be calculated. (1/2 hour is the default, but this can be configured via the geotagging Options.) The time calibration relies on proper synchronization between the GPS time and your camera's clock. If a timezone is not specified, the local system time zone (as set by the shell's TZ environment variable) is printed in the above message and used to convert the Geotime value to UTC. You should specify the timezone for Geotime if your images were taken in a different timezone (see Examples above). If the camera clock was wrong, the Geosync tag may be used to apply a time correction, or the ExifTool time shift feature may be used to adjust the image times before geotagging -- see the Time Synchronization tip below for examples.


1. Time Synchronization

One way to accurately synchronize your images with GPS time is to take a picture of the time displayed on your GPS unit while you are out shooting. Then after you download your images you can use this image to synchronize the image timestamps for geotagging. This is done by using an image viewer to read the time from the GPS display in the image, and exiftool to extract DateTimeOriginal from the file. For example, if the time in the GPS display reads 19:32:21 UTC and DateTimeOriginal is 14:31:49, then for this image the camera clock was 32 seconds slow (assuming that the timezone of the camera clock was -05:00). There are various ways to use this time synchronization to improve your geotagging accuracy:
A) Use the Geosync tag to specify the time difference while geotagging. Using this technique the existing image timestamps will not be corrected, but the GPSTimeStamp tag created by the geotagging process will contain the correct GPS time:
exiftool -geosync=+00:00:32 -geotag my_gps.log C:\Images
or equivalently,
exiftool -geosync=19:32:21Z@14:31:49-05:00 -geotag my_gps.log C:\Images
(Note that this technique may also be used for a more advanced time drift correction. See the Geosync section above for details)
B) First fix the image timestamps by shifting them to synchronize with GPS time, then geotag using the corrected timestamps:
exiftool -alldates+=00:00:32 C:\Images
exiftool -geotag my_gps.log C:\Images
C) Do both in the same command:
exiftool -alldates+=00:00:32 -geosync=+00:00:32 -geotag my_gps.log C:\Images
The examples above assume that your track log file (my_gps.log) is in the current directory, that the images were downloaded to the C:\Images directory, and that the computer and camera clocks are in the same timezone.

Inverse Geotagging

ExifTool also has the ability to create a GPS track file from a series of geotagged images. The -p option may be used to output files in any number of formats. This section gives examples for creating GPX and KML output files from a set of geotagged images, or from a geotagged video file. (But note that the -ee3 option must be added to the commands below to extract the full track from a video file.)

Creating a GPX track log

The following print format file may be used to generate a GPX track log from one or more geotagged images:

# File:         gpx.fmt
# Description:  Example ExifTool print format file to generate a GPX track log
# Usage:        exiftool -p gpx.fmt -ee3 FILE [...] > out.gpx
# Requires:     ExifTool version 10.49 or later
# Revisions:    2010/02/05 - P. Harvey created
#               2018/01/04 - PH Added IF to be sure position exists
#               2018/01/06 - PH Use DateFmt function instead of -d option
#               2019/10/24 - PH Preserve sub-seconds in GPSDateTime value
# Notes:     1) Input file(s) must contain GPSLatitude and GPSLongitude.
#            2) The -ee3 option is to extract the full track from video files.
#            3) The -fileOrder option may be used to control the order of the
#               generated track points when processing multiple files.
#[HEAD]<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
#[HEAD]<gpx version="1.0"
#[HEAD] creator="ExifTool $ExifToolVersion"
#[HEAD] xmlns:xsi=""
#[HEAD] xmlns=""
#[HEAD] xsi:schemaLocation="">
#[IF]  $gpslatitude $gpslongitude
#[BODY]<trkpt lat="$gpslatitude#" lon="$gpslongitude#">
#[BODY]  <ele>$gpsaltitude#</ele>
#[BODY]  <time>${gpsdatetime#;my ($ss)=/\.\d+/g;DateFmt("%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%SZ");s/Z/${ss}Z/ if $ss}</time>

This example assumes that the GPSLatitude, GPSLongitude, GPSAltitude and GPSDateTime tags are all available in each processed FILE. Warnings will be generated for missing tags. The output GPX format will invalid if any GPSLatitude or GPSLongitude tags are missing, but will be OK for missing GPSAltitude or GPSDateTime tags.

Note that the order of track points in the output GPX file will be the same as the order of processing the input files, which may not be chronological depending on how the files are named. The -fileOrder option may be used to force processing of files in a particular order. For example, the following command processes files in order of increasing GPSDateTime:

exiftool -fileOrder gpsdatetime -p gpx.fmt /Users/Phil/Pictures > out.gpx

Since no directory was specified for gpx.fmt, this file must exist in the current directory when the above command is executed. (If the gpx.fmt file can't be found then the -p argument is interpreted as a string instead of a file name, and the text "gpx.fmt" is sent to the output, which isn't what we want.)

The -if option may be added to ensure that only files containing GPS information are processed. For example, the following command creates "out.gpx" in the current directory from all pictures containing GPSDateTime information in directory "pics" and its sub-directories:

exiftool -r -if '$gpsdatetime' -fileOrder gpsdatetime -p gpx.fmt pics > out.gpx

Note: In Windows, double quotes (") must be used instead of single quotes (') around the -if argument above.

The "fmt_files" directory of the full exiftool distribution contains this sample format file ("gpx.fmt") as well as a sample which creates GPX waypoints with pictures ("gpx_wpt.fmt").

Creating a Google Earth KML file

Below is an example of a print format file which generates a Google Earth KML file from a collection of geotagged images. This example uses the SECT feature added in ExifTool 10.41 to divide the placemarks into folders based on directory name:

# File:         kml.fmt
# Description:  Example ExifTool print format file for generating a
#               Google Earth KML file from a collection of geotagged images
# Usage:        exiftool -p kml.fmt -r DIR [...] > out.kml
# Requires:     ExifTool version 10.41 or later
# Revisions:    2010/02/05 - P. Harvey created
#               2013/02/05 - PH Fixed camera icon to work with new Google Earth
#               2017/02/02 - PH Organize into folders based on file directory
#               2018/01/04 - PH Added IF to be sure position exists
#               2020/01/11 - F. Kotov Limited image preview size to 500px
# Notes:     1) Input files must contain GPSLatitude and GPSLongitude.
#            2) Add the -ee3 option to extract the full track from video files.
#            3) For Google Earth to be able to find the images, the input
#               images must be specified using relative paths, and "out.kml"
#               must stay in the same directory as where the command was run.
#            4) Google Earth is picky about the case of the image file extension,
#               and may not be able to display the image if an upper-case
#               extension is used.
#            5) The -fileOrder option may be used to control the order of the
#               generated placemarks when processing multiple files.
#[HEAD]<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
#[HEAD]<kml xmlns="">
#[HEAD]  <Document>
#[HEAD]    <name>My Photos</name>
#[HEAD]    <open>1</open>
#[HEAD]    <Style id="Photo">
#[HEAD]      <IconStyle>
#[HEAD]        <Icon>
#[HEAD]          <href></href>
#[HEAD]          <scale>1.0</scale>
#[HEAD]        </Icon>
#[HEAD]      </IconStyle>
#[HEAD]    </Style>
#[SECT]    <Folder>
#[SECT]      <name>$main:directory</name>
#[SECT]      <open>0</open>
#[IF]  $gpslatitude $gpslongitude
#[BODY]      <Placemark>
#[BODY]        <description><![CDATA[<img src='$main:directory/$main:filename'
#[BODY]          style='max-width:500px;max-height:500px;'> ]]>
#[BODY]        </description>
#[BODY]        <Snippet/>
#[BODY]        <name>$filename</name>
#[BODY]        <styleUrl>#Photo</styleUrl>
#[BODY]        <Point>
#[BODY]          <altitudeMode>clampedToGround</altitudeMode>
#[BODY]          <coordinates>$gpslongitude#,$gpslatitude#,0</coordinates>
#[BODY]        </Point>
#[BODY]      </Placemark>
#[ENDS]    </Folder>
#[TAIL]  </Document>

This example file is included in the "fmt_files" directory of the full ExifTool distribution. See this forum post for more useful tips about creating KML files.

Created Apr 2, 2009
Last revised Apr 23, 2024

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