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Find Images With No GPS Coordinates

In a previous post,  we searched for files with no Spotlight comment or tags. Today,  we are looking for photos with no GPS latitude or longitude information.

The technique we used last time works for any metadata attribute containing text. For example: subject, author, album, etc. It does not work for number or date values. HoudahSpot won’t let us use the “*” wildcard character in the criteria editor. It expects us to enter a number or a date.

Since latitude and longitude are both numbers, we need to use a slightly different technique. We will make us of some of the more advanced features of the HoudahSpot search field. This is located in the toolbar of the search window.

To find files that have a value for latitude, enter the following:



The query is build from expressions which follow the format “attribute:value”. We use the wildcard character to find files with any value for latitude. We then negate that expression by putting it after the “NOT” operator. We repeat the same procedure for longitude. This gives use the following query to find files with no latitude or longitude value:

NOT latitude:* NOT longitude:*

Thus far, the query will find all files having no GPS latitude or longitude value. This is likely to match almost all files. Use the Refine pane below the search field to restrict the search to image files only.


You may also want to add criteria on pixel count, device make or model. These help restrict the search to photos only. The sample snippet “Images” contains some of these criteria. You may want to create a custom snippet from criteria found in the “My Photos” sample template.

Note about Spotlight metadata: Spotlight relies on importer plug-ins to index content and metadata of files. OS X includes importers for most common file formats. Third party applications often include Spotlight importers for the file formats they create. The developers of Spotlight importers decide what information to make available to Spotlight and how to label it.

Before you apply the above technique, you should make sure that Spotlight does index latitude and longitude values for the image file format you work with. Use the HoudahSpot Inspector on a photo that has GPS coordinates and verify that latitude and longitude values are shown.