GeoTagging Images on Mission Planner



Geo-tagged aerial pictures are very useful for mosaic mapping as well as the creation of accurate 3D models from a terrain.

Michael Oborne added a great tool for injecting GPS data on the EXIF tags by using APM's telemetry log from a flight.
This tutorial was created to show you how does it work.
This is a work from Sandro Benigno and Guto Santaella who kindly provided the sample files and screenshots used for making this tutorial.


Step by Step


1: Open the Mission Planner and press "Ctrl+F". It will open a hidden screen, like shown here:


2: Click the button "Geo ref images".
It will give you access to the Geo Tagging resource as shown below:


3: Click the button "Browse Log" and select the telemetry log (.tlog) of the flight related to the shooting session.
Note: You can use both sources: the "Logs" folder from Mission Planner install or you can download it from the APM's dataflash through the USB port.
4: Click the button "Browse Directory" and select the folder where your aerial pictures was downloaded from your camera.


5: Just to illustrate, the screen below shows the mission used for creating this tutorial:


6: The next step is clicking on "Estimate Offset". It will try to extract the offset from the "Log Start Time" and the "Shooting Time" from the first picture taken.
The result shows "offset should be about...". You need to take the guessing and insert it manually on the field "Seconds offset".


7: Click the button "Do it" and wait until the processing is finished. The number shown in "Done... matches" must be the number of pictures taken. Otherwise it means that the sync isn't good enough.
8: After the previous step you can verify the positioning of each picture on Google Earth by clicking "Location Kml".


9: Looking at the example above you'll see the estimated position of a picture. You can click any images at the list on left to check it. If the position is not accurate you can step back and retry it from the step "6" by increasing or decrasing the "Seconds offset" a little bit, just like a fine tuning.
10: After finishing the tuning, all you need to do is click "Geo Tag Images". This process will add geographic data to your picture, i.e. Latitude, Longitude and Altitude.
The processing creates new files with a suffix "_geotag". The original set of pictures remains untouched.


11: You can check your pictures by visualizing the file properties details. You should see the inserted GPS tags on the EXIF data.

Thanks to Michael Oborne by one more awesome tool! ;)

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  • yeah I posted there too... I will see if anyone responded...

  • It's a bit confusing but support should be through the forums rather than diydrones forums these days. The intention is that diydrones is for general discussion and info sharing, and the other forums are for support.

    Here's the one for Mission Planner:

  • oh on another note the fact it dumps the photos in the same director is not good. It needs to go into a sub directory.

  • Hi guys there are a number of issues with the tagging but I think I have it solved now.

    1) the log start time is long before the actual log start time. Confusing the time adjustment compltely. All my log start times are showing up as the day before at like 6:00. So it is grabbing an incorrect start time. The fix for this is to simple trunkate the start of all the log file up to where you know your first pic was taken. Then use the esimated adjustment after that.

    So that got me all the photos geo tagged but wait... they are all in a line in crazy places around the world. So up comes problem number 2

    2) the lat and long are being taken from incorrect columns. I opened up the log file and shifted colums 6 and 7 over to 7 and 8 (leaving 9 becuase this is altitude) That seems to have sorted out the location issues.

    Next I would love to use geosetter but the gpx file that is created is only 1kb so it contains nothing. I also click the create gpx file and it does nothing.

    With some minor fixes here this could be back up and running. Anyone know how to get the developers attention?


  • I'm not saying it is definitely broken, but I've never had much success with the geo-ref functionality built in to Mission Planner. 

    I use GeoSetter (free, Just import your pics, import the .gpx file, figure out the offset and burn the position data back into the EXIF headers. It has a nice interface showing the path flown and the images so you can quickly figure out the time offset.

  • Steve,

    I've had similar problems in the past. I never figured out what the issue was and assumed an updated version of Mission Planner resolved it. I'm still learning myself but if you'd like to post your log and images I'll take a look.


  • again still trying, is there some place to get support on these issues? 

    I synced my camera perfectly with my gps in the field. the offset should be zero. But it gives some strange number

    Same story if I input the estimated offeset it finds one picture and that's it.

    I am very frusterated as the only advantage so far of APM over other autopilots is the ability to log flight data such as this and actually use it....


  • still trying here, I can see in the mission planner under flight data tab then under data flash logs there is a button to create kml and gpx. 

    This brings me to browse for my log file... which I do and then when I select it... nothing happens. Perhaps disabled?

    If I could get the gpx file then I could use any program to try and geotag the photos.

    Any help appreciated.

  • I am having issues too, I want to use the onboard log because I found the tlog does not work well if you lose data link (of course)

    Anyway I downloaded the flash logs and got a kml which looks perfect, I also got a log file which is of a normal size and a gpx log which is only 1kb.

    I use the geotag utility in MP and insert the offeset etc but the program only finds one match, the first match. Then zero matches after that.

    I have other programs than can use the gpx file but not when there is nothing inside it.

    My questions are 

    1) is geotagging currently functioning with the onboard flash logs?

    2) is there a way to convert the log files to gpx format?

    Thank you!

  • @Guto,

    OK what i realise now that I have been trying to geo ref pictures based on dataflash logs and not tlogs.

    The manual says it is not a problem but maybe it is ?

    The reason why I am not using tlogs is that I use Droidplanner on the field, and MP at home.

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