Microsoft Pro Photo Tools Decimal Separator Problem

June 15th 2008 GPS Windows

Today I've taken my new hand-held GPS device for a test run. It did its job pretty well but the real challenge started afterwards when I tried geotagging the photos I've taken. I decided to use Microsoft Pro Photo Tools which have just been released with geotagging as its main feature. Downloading the track data from the GPS device with Garmin MapSource software was quick and simple. But the problems started soon afterwards. MapSource can only export track data in its proprietary format GDB which can't be used in Microsoft Pro Photo Tools.

GPSBabel came to the rescue. This free tool can probably convert files between any two existing GPS formats, at least judging from its list of supported formats. I used it to convert my data to the GPX XML format only to find out that Microsoft Pro Photo Tools have problems with it. Converting to NMEA or KML instead didn't help either. Fortunately the latter returned a strange error, which put me on the right track:

Degrees must be between 0 and 90, found degree 46298501

Of course there was no such value in the KML file so I correctly deduced that the decimal separator was to blame.

The value in the file was 46.298501 but the Slovenian regional settings have comma as the decimal separator therefore the value was misinterpreted. Temporarily changing the decimal separator to dot solved the problem - the track was successfully imported immediately afterwards. This issue won't keep me from using this otherwise very useful tool with a really nice feature set. It could even fix the mismatching time settings between my GPS unit and the camera with a single setting. I just hope they address this bug soon so that I won't have to change my regional settings every time I use the program.

The only thing I still have to figure out is why the geotags somehow lost resolution when I uploaded the photos from Picasa to Picasa Web Albums. I just fixed them manually and decided to address the issue next time. Any tips are welcome.

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