Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2

Microsoft has beat me to it.

Just when I started to spend some more time on my open source GeoTagging tool, Microsoft releases their free GeoTagging tool called Microsoft Pro Photo Tools. I think they were concerned about the competition and wanted to get their tool out before mine 😉

Microsoft Pro Photo Tools

I have only had a short time to play around with the tool but it seems to do what they claim it will do. The interface is not intuitive and it took me a while to understand how to make it do what I wanted, but I did eventually tag a set of test photos from a recent vacation (using a GPS track log).

It appears that it can do what my GeoTagger can do, and more, but I’m not sure it is enough to make me stop development. My GeoTagger is simpler and doesn’t have as many features, but I like that. It is intended to have only one feature – geotagging photos. I do like some of the features of the Pro Photo Toos interface and I may borrow them for my tool.

I like the time adjust tool. While placing the images on the GPS track it allows you to adjust the position by moving a “time” slider left or right in minute or hour increments. This is handy if the photos were taken in a different time zone or if the camera was set to the wrong time (forget to adjust for Daylight Savings?). It is interactive and visual. Rather than trying to remember what time zone the camera was set to, you can visually see where each of the images will be placed. If the location looks wrong then move the slider left or right until a few of the images appear in the correct location. This probably indicates that you have the correct time adjustments and it will apply to all the images.

One feature I didn’t expect, but think could be useful is the “Get location text” button. It will fill in the address, city, region, country from just the GPS coordinates. Trying this on some photos taken at Disneyworld’s Epcot Center gave me addresses like “Journey Into Imagination” which is the attraction near the photo. I’m not sure where in the EXIF header that data would be saved, but still cool.

A huge plus is that it doesn’t mess up the exif data like the WWMX tools. Below are the diffs from exiftool of an image before and after GeoTagging it with MPPT. I’m not quite sure why the thumbnail is so different between the two, but the other differences seem reasonable and relatively minor.


exiftool -r -g1 -w .txt *.JPG
diff *.txt


< Warning : [minor] Adjusted MakerNotes base by 4202 5c4 < File Name : IMG_4911.JPG --- > File Name : IMG_4911_original.JPG
< File Modification Date/Time : 2008:05:03 04:23:37 --- > File Modification Date/Time : 2008:05:03 05:08:45
< Exif Byte Order : Big-endian (Motorola) --- > Exif Byte Order : Little-endian (Intel)
< Offset Schema : 4202 186,187d183 < ---- GPS ---- < GPS Date Stamp : 2008:03:07 190,197c186,187 < Thumbnail Offset : 13746 < Thumbnail Length : 5354 < ---- XMP-exif ---- < GPS Time Stamp : 2008:03:07 07:43:43 < ---- XMP-xmp ---- < Creatortool : Microsoft Pro Photo Tools < ---- XMP-tiff ---- < Software : Microsoft Pro Photo Tools --- > Thumbnail Offset : 9728
> Thumbnail Length : 9253
< GPS Date/Time : 2008:03:07 2008:03:07 07:43:43 < GPS Latitude : 28 deg 23' 3.16" N < GPS Latitude Ref : North < GPS Longitude : 81 deg 32' 12.22" W < GPS Longitude Ref : West < GPS Position : 28 deg 23' 3.16" N, 81 deg 32' 12.22" W 213c197 < Thumbnail Image : (Binary data 5354 bytes, use -b option to extract) --- > Thumbnail Image : (Binary data 9253 bytes, use -b option to extract)

The Good

  • It is much faster and easier to use than the old tools.
  • It has an interactive map (not available with wwmx).
  • It seems to retain all the existing Exif data in the photos I tested after GeoTagging.
  • The time adjust tool
  • “Get location text” – is a button that will fill in the address, city, region, country from just the GPS coordinates. Trying this on some photos taken at Disneyworld’s Epcot Center gave me addresses like “Journey Into Imagination” which is the attraction near the photo.

The Bad

  • Ugly interface – harder to use than I expected with a tool from Microsoft.
  • It seems a bit “alpha” in the interface and the way the buttons are organized. Like someone put all the buttons that were needed randomly around the screen.
  • The geotagging process itself was very confusing. I would select an image, and click “Place Images” which would select all the images, show me one pin on the map, and if I clicked anywhere before clicking “Done” it would move the selected image to the end of the list and remove the pin.

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2 thoughts on “Microsoft Pro Photo Tools

  • Chris

    Microsofts photo tool doesn’t install on Vista 64. As soon as you goto install it gives an error message. Yet another poor Microsoft tool.