March 11, 2007

GPS in cameras, Flash, Lightroom

Now that most people can get all the megapixels they need or want, how can photography be made richer? One way is to enhance the metadata attached to each image, providing more info and context for each shot. Capturing GPS coordinates, once restricted to high-end cameras, is becoming more and more affordable, and the things you can do with that data are expanding.

  • Jobo AG has announced photoGPS, a $149 device that sits in the hot shoe (i.e. the mounting point for a flash) of a digital SLR. Post-processing software synchronizes data captured by the device with the corresponding images. [Via Gunar Penikis]
  • This reminds me of the little Sony GPS carabiner-doohickus announced last year, as well as a subtle Lightroom feature: if your image contains GPS coordinates, you can click the Lightroom Metadata panel to reveal the location via Google Maps. Here’s a screenshot (with old UI) to demonstrate.
  • Photoshop Elements is getting into the game with its Flash-powered "Map Your Memories" feature.  "If you’re GPS-enabled," says CNET, "Photoshop Elements can automatically use the GPS info to populate the map with photos." [Via John Lin]
  • The Adobe-sponsored Tour of California put in-camera GPS + Flash/Flex to good use, as you can see in this simulation.  Michael Gough writes, "We
    geo-located all the photos from the event using a device that attaches
    to high-end Nikon cameras."
Posted by John Nack at 11:06 AM on March 11, 2007

Comments

  • Mathias — 5:43 PM on March 11, 2007

    Do I understand correctly that the ability to see or Modify the GPS data is not going to be available in CS3?
    Why don’t they put that feature in the top of line product?
    Something seems wrong if that is true.

  • hangon — 2:30 AM on March 12, 2007

    hi,
    geolocation of photos is great.
    to achieve it i bought this GPS which is really good: http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=74316

  • Alfio — 8:01 AM on March 12, 2007

    This feature would be/is really cool. Imagine a flash page with a bunch of hotspots determined by the gps information and when a user clicks the hot spot shows the photos trom your travels. I Could do all my photo albums over again and have a nice interactive photo album for all to see. I remember a year back seeing someone have this sort of thing. Not sure if it was Steve Erat or something.

  • Simon Lord — 9:43 AM on March 12, 2007

    Would be REALLY cool if the GPS data in an image could somehow be linked to the geographical coords found on Google maps.
    Now friends can see the image AND the location.

  • Bo Sanova — 3:48 PM on March 12, 2007

    What would be even better would be if Jobo would create a plugin for Lightroom so that the GPS info could be fed into the file upon import instead of as a separate workflow step. If you want this, go here and request it: http://www.jobo.com/feedback/feedback_gb.html
    [Great suggestion. –J.]

  • Rich MacDonald — 2:12 PM on March 14, 2007

    Anyone familiar with what EXIF fields get added? I’m assuming:
    longitude
    latitude
    elevation

    But is there also information about the direction the camera is pointing in (e.g. tilt and pan)?
    Also there is a pretty large inaccuracy inherent in the positioning. How quickly does this inaccuracy vary over time? That is, is it more or less a constant offset for a short period of time?
    This could much more radically change picture making than simple geo-tagging…
    [Agreed. I don’t know the answers to these questions, unfortunately, but I know that lots of people are experiementing with ways to capture more data (e.g. depth measurements). –J.]

  • bryan — 4:19 AM on January 18, 2008

    I just don’t see anywhere to sell that Jobo GPS. Actually Solmeta just released their new GPS product. It can add the GPS information directly into the photos. It is very accurate. You may visit their website at http://www.solmeta.com

  • Jim — 12:18 AM on March 16, 2008

    For some time now, higher-end Nikon DSLR cameras have had the ability to link with select Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receivers and record very precise information on the camera’s location at the time each image was captured. Nikon cameras equipped with this feature include the D200, D300, D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs, and D3, as well as the Fujifilm S5 Pro (a D200 derivative). The typical setup involved the camera with a Nikon MC-35 GPS adapter cord attached to its ten pin remote terminal while the other end connected to a PC interface cable connector that was in turn attached to the GPS.
    Now, Shenzhen Solmeta Technology Co., LTD (Solmeta, for branding purposes) has produced a camera-specific GPS unit that is dwarfed in both size and weight by the typical hand-held GPS used for this type application in the past, and makes use of a single connection directly to the camera’s 10 pin terminal. For digital users who need or want GPS data for their images, things just got a lot simpler.
    Design and Construction
    Solmeta has three products in their line – the N1, which is the subject of this review, and the N2 and C1, both soon to appear on the market per a company spokesman. The N2 will feature a compass (heading) function for the D3 and D300, and the C1 will be for other brands of cameras and include the compass function.
    The N1 is a light and compact unit, measuring about 2 x 1.25 x .75 inches and weighing in at 50 grams. Contrast that with the dimensions of a Garmin Geko 301 GPS, one of the smaller and lighter Garmins that have been operationally confirmed by Nikon for use with the D300 and D3: 1.9 x 3.9 x .96 inches and 96 grams. Keep in mind that the weight of the Garmin doesn’t include the Nikon and PC adapter cords necessary to complete that installation, while the N1 is ready to go as is. Obviously, weight is not really a major concern here, since the difference between the two systems can be measured in ounces, but it is part of the larger picture that makes the Solmeta system quite simple and easy to use.
    For more details please visit
    http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/default.asp?newsID=3375

  • Blue — 10:37 PM on October 22, 2009

    Nikon GP-1 VS Easytagger
    First, It can all geotag automatically and instantly into the EXIF of the photos taken by D5000-D3X no matter if it is JPG or RAW.
    Second Easytagger supports heading while GP-1 doesn’t.
    Third, Easytagger outputs baromtric pressure altitude while GP-1 outputs GPS altitude.
    Fourth, Easytagger combines logger/traits which has 2G storage space at least for two years usage while GP-1 does not have this function.
    Fifth, Easytagger has internal battery for which it can work independently while GP-1 has to rely on camera’s battery.
    Sixth, when mouting on the hotshoe of the camera, Easytagger can be slide back a lillte while using the camera’s flash while GP-1 has to be taken out and mounted on the belt.
    And the last but not the least, Easytagger has a powerful processing CPU inside and has the watchdog technology to anti device programm dead while GP-1 and all other similar devices doesn’t have.
    http://www.e-geotag.com

  • Aaron Beck — 1:36 AM on November 13, 2009

    What is the point, since the GPS info does not export with the file from LR?

  • Olli — 7:15 AM on November 16, 2009

    Whilst I do not work for Solmeta, I have today received their latest model of their Geotagger. Its called the Geotagger Pro and works with 10pin connector, drawing power from its internal rechargable or from the Nikon battery.
    Its pretty small and so far work very well, even indoors. Whilst it writes the GPS coordinates directly to the EXIF data, it also has a GPS logger function, which I am about to try tomorrow.

  • Blue — 5:46 AM on November 30, 2009

    Today I took my Easytagger out in the field to test it out on a long hike through the woods. The Easytagger did take a few minutes to acquire a good signal, but once it locked on, re-acquisition was nearly instantaneous over the next few hours, and the unit never failed to acquire. My photos were all successfully tagged after the unit had initially locked on. My exif data shows that I was locked onto 8 satellites for most of the day.
    After I got home, I took the time to install the included Lockr GPS software, which enabled me to easily read the tracking data and plot my path on a map (using either the Lockr map or Google Earth). I’ve got to say the Easytagger tracker function is amazing, maybe even scary! I didn’t realize that it had been tracking my movements every moment it’s been turned onto the “All” position since I received the unit a week ago. Wow, it shows me driving to my daughter’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, then walking around her neighborhood to work off a big turkey dinner (brought my camera with me on that walk). Today’s hike through the woods was also recorded. It shows every trail my wife and I took, and even the deviations away from the trail where we saw some interesting things to photograph off the beaten path. It even shows the path I took right before I put the GPS in the car and turned it off. It shows how I walked to the trunk of the car, spotted an interesting peak on a building, walked up to the building to photograph it, then walked a few feet away to get it from a different angle, and then return to the car. Using the satellite view, it shows the exact parking space I had used (you can see the lines in the parking lot). The accuracy of the tracker feature is impressive. Sure, every now and then it shows a deviation of a few feet (3-6 feet?) off the actual path I took, but this is probably where the unit was extrapolating between data points.
    The more I use the Easytagger, the more impressed I am with it. Anyone want to buy a brand new, hardly used Nikon GP-1?
    http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=149&topic_id=164793&mesg_id=164793&page=

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