Category: Java

Zooomr Metadata – The Plot Thickens!

March 1st, 2007 Permalink

Kristopher was kind enough to leave a comment about my previous Zooomr metadata post. The comment got me thinking, and I spent some time today experimenting with Flickr and Zooomr. The results were interesting. I used three versions of the same photo: The original photo. Straight from my camera, no processing at all. The Aperture […]

Kristopher was kind enough to leave a comment about my previous Zooomr metadata post. The comment got me thinking, and I spent some time today experimenting with Flickr and Zooomr. The results were interesting.
I used three versions of the same photo:

  1. The original photo. Straight from my camera, no processing at all.
  2. The Aperture photo. This is the original photo, imported into Aperture, and then exported. No processing was done in Aperture.
  3. The flickerized photo. This is the Aperture photo, uploaded to Flickr, then downloaded from Flickr.

In addition to uploading the photos to Flickr and Zooomr, I examined the EXIF data using the program exif on my Linux workstation, and wrote a simple Java program called Photo Reader to examine the EXIF and IPTC data.
First, the original photo was uploaded and examined. Results:

  • Upload to Flickr: The metadata was displayed properly on Flickr.
  • Upload to Zooomr: The metadata was displayed properly on Zooomr.
  • Exif: The metadata displayed properly. Exif found that this photo was saved in Intel byte order.
  • Photo Reader: The metadata displayed properly.

Next, the Aperture photo was uploaded and examined. Results:

  • Upload to Flickr: The metadata was displayed properly on Flickr.
  • Upload to Zooomr: The metadata was not displayed properly on Zooomr.
  • Exif: The metadata was not displayed properly. Exif found that this photo was saved in Motorola byte order.
  • Photo Reader: The metadata displayed properly.

Since Flickr could see the metadata, I decided to download the Aperture photo from Flickr and see if it had changed somehow. This flickerized photo was uploaded to Zooomr and examined. Here are the results:

  • Upload to Zooomr: The metadata was displayed properly on Zooomr. Cool!
  • Exif: The metadata was displayed properly. Exif found that this photo was saved in Intel byte order.
  • Photo Reader: The metadata displayed properly.

There were a couple of interesting points that stood out here. First, the photo that exif and Zooomr had problems with was in Motorola byte order. When the same photo came back from Flickr, the metadata was visible and it was now in Intel byte order. Second, the metadata is in the photos exported by Aperture. Both Flickr and Photo Reader could see it just fine.

As an afterthought, I decided to use the convert program that is part of ImageMagick to see if it could “fix” the Aperture exported file. It worked! After running convert, both Zooomr and exif could now see the metadata properly.

Since both Flickr and Photo Reader can see the data in the Aperture exported file, perhaps the issue is not strictly an Aperture problem. Perhaps it has to do with the byte order of the files, or maybe it is just the libraries being used by Zooomr and exif.

Hopefully this information will help Zooomr to figure out why Aperture files are currently troublesome. And the Zooomr will get better and better.

If anybody is interested in playing with Photo Reader, you can download it here: Photo Reader (source and compiled). To use it, unzip the archive, and change to the Photo Reader/dist directory. Double click the PhotoReader.jar file to run it, or run it from the command line with ‘java -jar PhotoReader.jar’. Obviously you need to have Java installed for this to work. Photo Reader is licensed under the GPL, and uses a library from imagero.com which is free for non-commercial use.