GeoTagging with your DSLR?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by lucafoto, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. I am doing an architectural shoot throught several San Francisco neighborhoods,
    and would like to tag the locations to later be shown on a guide map. I have
    heard of a Sony key fob type geotag device, but I am not sure it will be
    compatible with either my 20D or 5D. I have seen some portable GPS devices with
    a builtin digital camera(nuvi40), and that may be my best solution.

    I am curious, how do you geotag?
  2. AFAIK, the 1D III is the only EOS DSLR which can interface with a GPS device. If you look at other vendors' DSLRs, I think you'll find something similar: each vendor either has no DSLRs which can do GPS, or some which can and some which can't. I don't know about P&Ses as I don't pay much attention to that market, but from looking at some models a friend was considering buying a few months ago, I think GPS abilities are rare in P&Ses, too.
    There are tons of GPS-enable camera phones, which might be OK if you don't need the full capabilities (including optical quality) of your 20D or 5D. I have no clue what sort of cameras might be included in GPS devices but I wouldn't be surprised if they're at best the equal of a low-end P&S.
  3. The geo tag devices like the sony simply work on time stamps. They record your location as a function of time and then they use software to match the time to that in your images EXIF data.

    It then figures out where it thinks you were when you took the shot (and assuming your times were synchronized).

    As long as the software can read the time in your image's EXIF data there should be no question of compatibility. It's not a hardware compatibility issue since there's no hardware connection between the camera and the GPS recorder.
  4. Sorry, this is off (Canon EOS) topic.
    Just for those who have an interest in a dedicated digicam with GPS.
    Please remove this comment, if inappropriate.
  6. I have the Sony GPS-CS1 "key fob" which I use with several digital cameras, including an EOS 20D. Perhaps I can help clear the confusion from any speculation.
    The GPS-CS1 is only a 12 channel GPS receiver and data logger. The GPS locations are logged together with the GPS time code, and can be downloaded and stored on a computer independently from your camera.
    At any later time, computer software matches the time stamp on selected photos to the corresponding GPS location with the same time code. Of course, this is only reliable if you make sure that your camera date and time are correctly synchronized to a time standard. (e.g. internet NTP), and that the GPS-CS1 is switched on and has acquired signal lock.
    Photos can be geocoded only by embedding data as EXIF tags into JPG files. There is no facility to embed location information into CR2 raw files, but JPG files developed out of a CR2 file can be also be geocoded, so long as the EXIF headers retain the original shooting date and time.
    So, one option for CR2 raw files is to shoot RAW + JPG, using the JPG files just for geocoding. Another option is to shoot a JPG (e.g. in fulll-auto GREEN mode on the EOS 20D) upon reaching and leaving a new shooting location.
    A third option is to geotag any file, including JPG and even CR2, AVI, or MPG, by decoding the NMEA stream and storing a GPS location as a tag in a separate database file. This would need additional outlay, such as Robogeo (which does not (yet) geocode CR2 files), and a photo album manager with geotagging, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.
    None of this works if the photographer (ahem) leaves the GPS-CS1 in a coat pocket at home before leaving on an overseas trip.
  7. Hi Julian, I am interested in the Sony GPS-CS1 and have two questions, please could you answer:
    1. Sony mentioned that GPS-CS1 only works with certain Cybershot cameras. How do you make it work with (the pictures taken by) the 20D? Do you need any third-party software?
    2. Is the device sensitive enough with GPS signal? i.e. If I keep it in my jacket's pocket, will the signal be lost?
    Thanks, Quynh.
  8. Hi Quynh Nguyen. First read the promotional information at Sony
    1. The GPS-CS1 works without any cameras, but the hardware and software are only compatible with Windows. See also:
    2. If you shoot JPG with the EOS 20D (or EOS 5D), you do not need any extra software. The Sony geocoding software will embed the GPS information as EXIF tags in any JPG files. You can dismiss warning from the software about "incompatible" cameras.
    3. For mapping software, I cannot use Sony's "Picture Motion Browser" mapping software, which is only available with certain Sony cameras. It is not enabled for any of my three Sony Cybershot or Handycam devices, and certainly not for the EOS 20D.
    Having said that, there is a freeware alternative using Google earth
    with Panorado flyer
    Instead, I find it easier to use Adobe Photoshop Elements 5, which I was already using.
    4. GPS-CS1 sensitivity sucks. It works best in the open space, with a clear view of equatorial sky. Initial signal lock takes forever, and fails in downtown low-rise and high-rise canyons. However, the GPS-CS1 is definitely small, and when it works, it works inside a jacket pocket, and also inside a backpack.
    Do not expect the GPS-CS1 to work reliably indoors. If you plan to drive to your architectural location shoots, the best place would be to leave it on the front or rear dashboard of a car, and, if needed, tweak the location in Photoshop elements 5 by dragging the push-pin around on the map.
    5. Battery life with a single AA battery is puny. GPS is not essential for me, otherwise I would probably consider something with a longer battery life, but these might not be supplied with geocoding software, or are inevitably double or triple the price (and size and weight). e.g. 49 hour SD card GPS logger and 32 hours for some of the Garmin eTrex models such as Garmin eTrex Vista Cx. There are even newer GPS units based on the SiRFstar III chipset that work faster and are more sensitive, but have limited battery life.
  9. why not just get a gps device and write down the exact location and the shot number? It might take you an extra minute, but you'll no camera limitations.
  10. did caleb condit ask a rhetorical question? if not, which gps device does caleb use?
    and how well <!-- has --> it worked in real world practice?
    digital camera embed the exposure information in the file. Not so long ago, those of
    us shooting film had to write down exposure information and shot number. It took a
    great deal of discipline, more than I could muster. Vive le EXIF! Vive le XML!

    Why not just get Downloader Pro? I've been using it for years to handle the transfer of images from my assorted cameras' CF cards. Makes file management easy, and now it can do the GPS tagging you're looking for. Should work for any camera, and many GPS devices.
  12. Many thanks Julian. You indeed answered all I need to ask about GPS device.
    To Caleb Condit: I did think about writting down the GPS position from my Tomtom, but there are two major problems: (a) appalling battery life, and (b) inconvenience => impracticality, at least for me.
    Again, thank you guys for this useful discussion.
  13. There is no real good solution for Canon users to use GPS directly with camera as is possible with with Nikons. One has to buy WFT for 800/$ to use GPS even with the all latest Canons DSLRs . What a pity. But one can try the latest item ATP Photo FInder which should work with Canon. It writes GPS data to memory card after your trip copleted but only to Jpgs. will report on this in next month.
  14. There is no real good solution for Canon users to use GPS directly with camera as is possible with with Nikons. One has to buy WFT for 800/$ to use GPS even with the all latest Canons DSLRs . What a pity. But one can try the latest item ATP Photo FInder which should work with Canon. It writes GPS data to memory card after your trip copleted but only to Jpgs. will report on this in next month.
  15. The ATP PHOTO FINDER, is not a good option. It really lacks basic features. 1) time stamp is
    in UTC time and will vary greatly from the actual time you took the image. 2) It does not
    support raw files. It is very unreliable, powers off for no reason, each time you sync data you
    have to select your time zone. Its just not ready as a real world tool. I've had mine only a day
    and its going back.
  16. I used it for 3 months and I felt it's a very useful tool for Geotagging application.
    I have the SONY GPS-CS1, it's the first geotagging device on the market, but it's too stupid. Why ?
    1. ATP PhotoFinder has a LCD screen:
    It just provides a function to adjust and check your camera's clock.
    Nobody won't always watch the small sceen. Why ? Because it's not a navigation device to provide a map.
    To adjust the camera's clock is ensure the photo's record time and date can match PhotoFinder's GPS data.
    Like SONY's GPS-CS1, because it has no LCD screen to adjust my camera, so I often took a lot of photos but several can't be tagged successfully. Why ? Because the time record can't match and sync.. ATP PhotoFinder has a LCD screen, it's a benefit for users.

    2. Signal lost:
    As we know the GPS has 3 modes: Cold start/Warm start/Hot start.
    From my experience, any GPS device is easy to lose signals because the signal is easy to interfere by environment, especially tall building, cloudy day or even rainy day.
    But if the GPS device can receive the 1st signal and stable, anytime it can be a hot start mode as long as you don't power off it.
    What is the hot start mode? When you lost the signal, it can acquire the signal within 1 second depends on the GPS module chipset. I think SirF III can reach the standard and I ensure PhotoFinder can do.

    3. Built-in SD/MMC/MS card reader:
    It's also a benefit. I believe other similar products on the market, when they do the tagging function, PC is necessary. But they need to install a lot of softwares and steps to tag one photo. If I took 300pcs photos, how long I spend to repeat the step ? Find the location and tag to my photos.
    But PhotoFinder provides a OTG " On the Go " function, I can insert my SD or Memory Stick into the PhotoFinder directly, select the correct Time Zone then it will tag all my photos automatically.
    It's like a magic box and I don't need a PC to do it. And any brand of camera can use it. It's the biggest benefit.

    Geotagging is a new field and I believe more and more people will join it and find the joys.

    That's my experience, for everyone's reference.
    It's not a navigation device, PhotoFinder is a Geotagging tool, a magic box to tag all you photos.

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