Aperture 3.5 brings a number of modest improvements, and one of these is the new Aperture Places tool. Actually, it’s not really new. The only thing that’s new about it is that Apple has swapped from Google Maps to Apple Maps, as used on the iPhone and iPad and now OS X Mavericks.

I’ve written magazine tutorials about the map tools in Lightroom, iPhoto, Flickr and other image organising tools in the past, but it’s been a while since I took a proper look at Aperture’s Places. Aperture is my favourite cataloguing tool, but this is one feature I tend not to use, possibly because until I sat down to look at it properly, it just looked too confusing.

01 Are your photos geotagged?

Your pictures may or may not have location data already – it depends on what you shoot with. I use a variety of digital SLRs, compact system cameras and compacts, none of which have GPS. But I also shoot with an iPhone 5, which embeds location information automatically in every picture.

I’ve got photo stream set up on my iPhone and Aperture, so all my iPhone shots find their way into my Aperture catalog automatically, where I move them into a single ‘iPhone’ project.

Aperture Places

So first, I click on the Places button (circled) at the top right of the Aperture window. The main window now displays a map. Next, I click on a project or album in the source panel on the left (1). All the pictures are now displayed in the browser panel (2) at the bottom of the window. If any of them contain location data, you’ll see pins on the map. When you click a pin to select it (3), a small window appears above to show how many pictures were taken at that location. Up at the top of the window (4) you’ll see a series of menus for choosing locations from a list.

So now, if I click the small right-facing arrow in the window above the selected pin…

02 Zooming in

Aperture Places

…Aperture zooms in on that location and shows all the photos from that place displayed in the browser window below. My iPhone’s location data is very precise, so clicking on this pin has revealed more pins showing a finer level of accuracy.

03 Adding location information

That’s all fine and dandy, but what if your photos don’t have location information? Well then you can add this information retrospectively in Aperture. Instead of using location data to display the map location, you can do it in reverse – by placing photos on the map, you add the location  to the image metadata.

Aperture Places

To show how this works, I’ve selected a project containing some random pictures I shot yesterday lunchtime…