How Lightroom’s time zone offset feature works

Geotag Photos Blog

How Lightroom’s time zone offset feature works

Lightroom is the most popular photo editor among our users and large number of them prefer geotagging their images inside it’s Map module. The process is really simple – import photos from camera – load trip recorded by Geotag Photos Pro  app as GPX file – “auto tag selected photos”  and you’re done. The problem begins, when you record trip in a different time zone – photos can be geotagged by incorrect position or you end up by “no matching photos found ” message. In this article we’ll take a look at how to solve these issues.

What’s in the GPX file

GPX file code

GPX is the standard format for describing tracks and routes. It stores latitude, longitude, altitude, date and time of every position recorded by Geotag Photos app (or any other GPX loggger). The  recorded time has to be in UTC format and there is no standardized way how to describe time zone.  Every software approach this in a different way – for example Geotag Photos writes the Timezone offset at the beginning of GPX file so nothing has to be set by the user.

How Lightroom counts the time zone difference

When you load the GPX file in Lightroom’s Map module, it reads the UTC time and checks, what time zone is set in your computer.  The time of your trip is then counted as the UTC time in GPX file + Timezone difference  from UTC, taht is set in your computer.

This is perfectly fine, when you make trips in the same time zone as it’s set in your computer. But the problem begins, when you  go for a vacation to different part of the world. Let’s say you’re from US east coast (-7 hours from UTC) and you go for a vacation to Europe (+2 hours from UTC) . There you record trip from 10 to 11 am. When you return and import this tracklog to computer, Lightroom will count the trip time as 1 – 2 am! ( 10:00 in Europe will be recorded as 8:00 in UTC, which means that Lightroom will count it as 8:00 – 7 hours)

That’s when you have to set the time zone offset otherwise your photos will have a completely wrong location (if any).

Set timezone difference

To set the Time Zone Offset click on the tracklog button below the map.

Setting the time zone offset

Count the difference between the time zone of your trip and your time zone at the time of the trip (this is important when it comes to daylight savings time changes) and set this as time zone offset of your trip. Any time zone converter will help you with that.

Wrong time on overlay 

Wrong time on overlay

When you hover the mouse over the route you’ll see still the original time even though you’ve set the time zone offset. Hopefully this will be fixed in some future Lightroom version, but even when the time on the overlay is wrong, your photos will be geotagged correctly.

If you have any questions or ideas, how to prevent this time zone counting, please let us know in the comments bellow.


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