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All modern digital cameras and most camera phones stamp certain information into database fields within the photo file. These metadata, commonly known as Exif (or exchangeable image file format) tags, can then be used by a wide variety of applications and Web-based photo hosting and sharing services to provide more detailed information about the camera's capabilities, the settings in use at the time the photo was taken, and even location information. While most photo editing applications give you a tool that lets you edit the photo's Exif data fields, in most cases it comes almost as an afterthought. Editing these Exif metadata fields is Exif Pilot's raison d'être.
Exif Pilot ($30, limited-use demo) gives you manual control over nearly 100 different Exif tags, providing a quick, concise way to view and manipulate the information embedded in your photos. The trial version provides the full set of features available in the product, but only permits you to modify or export the data from three photos each time you run the application.
While you can change virtually all the tag data using the in-program interface, I was surprised to find that GPS coordinates were the one exception. I was unable to modify the coordinates embedded in geotagged photos within the Exif Pilot--though I was able to change the longitude flag from north to south, and the latitude flag from east to west. It was possible to modify or delete geotagging using the program's ability to export and import tag data to and from photos.
Exif Pilot's most important feature is its ability to export bulk quantities of EXIF data to various file formats, including Excel spreadsheets and plain text files. (A freeware version, also available from Two Pilots, lacks this feature.) You could, conceivably, export out the Exif data from a large group of photos as a backup (some photo editors wipe out the Exif tag data when you save new copies of modified photos); or you could make changes en masse to Exif data in a spreadsheet, then reimport that data into the files. You might use that feature to wipe out any embedded geotagging if you wanted to keep secret the location where a photo was taken, for example.
Whether you simply want to wipe out certain details to protect your privacy--or just want a more accurate index of your work in your photo archive--Exif Pilot is a refreshingly small, fast utility designed first and foremost to manipulate Exif metadata.
Note: The demo permits you to perform three operations per execution (eg., edit the exif data for three image files each time you launch the app). You can then quit the program, start it up again, then edit three more photos' data. Buying a license removes these restrictions.
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