#CreativeFriday – Load Strava GPX track logs straight into Lightroom CC and tag your GPS tagged Photographs

Recently I was away on a cycle trip to Provence in France. The itinerary was going to take us from Avignon to Cassis to see the sea. I decided to take just one camera with two lenses, as well as my iPhone to track our progress and route with Strava. I made sure that I also took my GPS grip for my main camera, as I like to have the location data embedded in the RAW images, so then I can re-track my steps if required, or add context to where the pictures were taken once I get back to the home computer (iPhone also has GPS coordinates embedded into it’s photographs as well).

GPS just takes the guesswork out for location hunting and makes image searching and archiving much simpler (in my opinion).

Just taking a trip down memory lane, I’ve recently been scanning some images in from one of my first ever self supported cycle ride in Iceland that I rode in 1993. I soon realised that I could not remember were I took the pictures, so adding context to the images, is just hard work. So when I had a chance to add a GPS grip on my digital camera, which records the GPS location as the picture is being taken, I jumped at the chance. Now it’s on the camera all of the time, and I never forget where the picture was taken (just need to make sure the GPS grip has a satellite fix of course). As an aside, Lightroom (which we’ll talk about in a second), can also use the GPS location data and match/fetch any associated village, city name and district information and populate it directly into the pictures metadata. This is a huge time saver and allows more accurate location names, so then I can find the pictures at any time, using different sorting/selection options.

When i’m processing my images in Lightroom I always refer to location of the photo on the map in the map module, as it reminds me of the scenery that I was seeing at the time and places everything back into context. It also gives me a reference point for any stories that I may want to refer to when I publish a set of images later on.

So here I am sitting with my new Photographs that I took in France, from both my iPhone using Lightroom mobile in conjunction with the inbuilt camera, as well as my RAW files from the trip, and I suddenly think, that it would be great to marry up my Strava GPS data with my photos to complete the experience. I immediately tried it, and guess what, it works really well. So this blog post is dedicated to taking your Strava data (this solution might be posisble with other with other vendors as well, you will just need to hunt around their application to find the GPX track logs, but the Lightroom approach will be the same), then importing it into Lightroom and tagging photographs from a GPS enabled digital camera and my GPS enabled iPhone from along the route.


1. First of all, all RAW files are imported into Lightroom (i’m not going to explain this bit as part of the post, as i’m sure you can already do this 😉 ).

2. Images are imported from my iPhone to Lightroom by using Lightroom mobile. Once the phone images have synchronised to the Creative Cloud and into Lightroom desktop, they can then be moved and tagged with keywords into a safe external drive location (these keywords will allow finding of these images that were taken on the trip, including the digital camera images as well if required).

3. Head to Strava (or your favourite cycling/tracking site).

When inside (in this case Strava), head over to your ride data and click on the spanner icon (marked in Red), then click on the Export GPX data.  This will output and save a .gpx file to your computer.

4. Head over to Lightroom and move into the Maps module (as shown below). Then click on the GPX icon (marked in red) and choose “Load Tracklog”. This action will open a file dialog, select the .gpx file that was downloaded from Strava, and Lightroom will import the GPX data and overlay the route on to the Lightroom map.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 21.24.12A blue line will appear on the map, this is the route that was recorded. Of course the time is also recorded and will be shown when the cursor is hovered over the route.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 21.28.22

5. Now let us associate the images that were taken on the phone, as well as from the camera with the GPS grip. The images have been selected from the library(s) and then Lightroom is moved to the Map module. Clicking on the GPX icon (marked in red). This give the option to  auto tag the images to the map and link them to the track log.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 21.28.22 copy

6. As you can see we now have both the GPX route data, as well as any Photos that were taken along the route, as well as any photos that were taken at the destination. There are several selection options and other ways to select the images that are worth exploring.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 22.11.17

Of course once the GPX logs are loaded into Lightroom, they are accesible from the GPX icon at the bottom of the Map module. Selecting a different log, will load in the data and zoom into the route.

This also applies to any running data that might have and would like to match up the photos that may have been taken.

I hope you enjoy using Strava with Lightroom, and are able to see where the pictures were taken, and re-live those wonderful memories.


If you are new to Lightroom, then Adobe has some great tutorials on Youtube, as well as my dedicated Lightroom how to page on this blog or on my YouTube channel.

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