GPS at no extra cost

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by robin_sibson|1, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. By buying a GP-E2 unit I would be able to geotag my images, and that is an attractive idea particularly for my botanical and wildlife photographs. But (a) the GP-E2 is not quite in the trivial-purchase price bracket, (b) it is not compatibe with flash use in its most tightly-coupled mode, and (c) I already have a very good GPS (Garmin 60CSx, a classic) which I have used for years, and I am mindfuul that a man with one GPS knows exactly where he is, but a man with two GPSs is hopelessly lost!
    So a bit of web searching turned up a free (GPL) program called Geotag that uses Exiftool (also free) to geotag images using GPX files, the industry-standard track-recording format. I then realised that on many past photographic outings I had carried my GPS, set up to record a GPX file to its microSD card, and that these files had never been wiped. Lo and behold, with very little effort I now have many thousands of photographs geotagged, and all for just the trouble of searching the web.
    OK, I have to do a bit of post-processing to do the geotagging, but no more than if I were using the GP-E2 in logging mode, and I don't have the bragging rights associated with perching it on top of my 5DIII (bit like fitting a roo-bar to a Chelse tractor, maybe). Oh, and I can't record direction, not that that worries me. In all other respects I am in good shape with my trusty 60CSx without any additional expenditure, and anyone with a GPS that can store and download GPX files (perhaps even the right sort of cellphone) can do likewise.
     
  2. GPS isn't something I have a particular interest in, but I do appreciate imaginative lateral thinking - nicely figured out, Robin.
     
  3. Great Plan Sibson. Good Problem Solving. Glorious Personal Success. :)
     
  4. If you don't have a GPS that can save data, you can do what I did and get a GPS data logger for under $100. I got the "I-got-U GT-800" a year or two ago. I reviewed it here - http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digital/i-gotU_GT-800_gps_data_logger.html
    It's very small and it comes with a wrist band so you can wear it like a watch and a bar mount so you can use it on a bike. It also comes with software for geotagging and geomapping photos (all you need is the time on the camera synced with that on the GPS). You can also plot routes, elevation changes, speed etc. on a trip.
    Cost is well under $100, vs $650 for a Garmin 60CSx or around $250 for a Canon GPS logger
    Alternatively, maybe it's a good excuse to buy a new EOS 6D, which has GPS built in!
     
  5. I used to Carry a Garmin 60csx then to create the logs. I would do a point every 20 seconds or so. I then got a program called RoboGeo to take the photos, match them up with the log from the Garmin and put the geotag into the file.
    Yup, for the most part it works, but there are issues and moving parts
    1. You have to make sure you set your Garmin to the right timezone
    2. You have to make sure you set your camera to the right timezone
    3. You have to make sure the camera date/time matches what's on the garmin
    4. Make sure you have the DST flag set right
    5. When you run RoboGeo - you computer has to be on the timezone where you took you photos
    bottom line when you did all the things above correctly it works great. If you don't you end up with a mismatch of location or no location at all. It was a godsend when it worked right, you want to tear your hair out when it doesn't
    about 4 months ago I purchased the GP-E2, it GREATLY simplifies things, providing you remember to switch it on :)
     
  6. Another free program is Geosetter. Lightroom v4 will do the job as well. Not free but if you're using it already geotagging
    comes at no extra costs. And I have already seen smartphone apps (iOS) for geotagging.

    And even a simple GPS of around USD/EUR 150 will do and can be used for outdoor activities like walking, cycling,
    geocaching, etc.

    And Bob: a Garmin 60 Csx costs significantly less than usd 650.
     
  7. Interesting and thanks for sharing! Considering the time synchronization issues I've run into in other applications (mostly
    ham radio) I'd probably break down and buy the GP-E2. I've found keeping multiple devices on the same time is
    somewhat less than enjoyable.

    In my case, I've always just kept a running personal log on my Delorme PN-40. I never took up geotagging because
    swearing to secrecy is often a condition of getting location information about various orchid species. Now with cameras
    possessing GPS and geotagging becoming more common, somebody should also probably say...be careful about what
    items you geotag. Sensitive sites and populations may not be the best choices.

    Oh... One of my hiking buddies found a surprisingly accurate film-canister sized GPS logging device that he loves. I forget
    the name, but it served him well for making Internet trail guides. It was VERY cheap.
     
  8. And Bob: a Garmin 60 Csx costs significantly less than usd 650.​
    Not that much less. I see prices ranging from $500 to $800, but I suppose there may be cheaper ones if you search around. See http://bit.ly/V7zKBV for example.
     
  9. Bob, the Garmin 60CSx has been discontinued. Those are limited supply prices because people often recommend that model, since it was about the most accurate consumer device several years ago, and retailers are gouging. The prices of the models that replaced it are more reasonable.
     
  10. Robin, thanks for sharing this. We have the same Garmin and use it as part of our fungal/botanic work. I've always thought that geotagging the photos would be beneficial, but I've been content with analog methods. The program you found sounds like it would be a nice addition and we'll definitely look into it. As you say, a bit of post processing, but we're doing that anyway. Thanks again. Best wishes.
    Laura
     
  11. I see. I know that happens with cameras too. Ridiculous prices on closed out models just in case they have been recommended to someone who doesn't know much about cameras!
    If I was in the market for such a GPS, I'd do my research first! However if you don't need a full featured GPS for actually navigating, the small data loggers which you can find for $40 and up do a good job for geotagging images. I chose the Gt-800 I mentioned above because it has extensive LCD data display. A lot of the data loggers just have an on/off button and light. Fine for geotagging images I guess, but the GT-800 does a whole lot more and still costs well under $100.
     
  12. Just take a picture of your GPS screen that is showing the time. Then you can synchronise the two clocks in Geosetter after the event.
    No need to worry about time zones or clock accuracy then.
    Henry
     
  13. Nice discussion, which I have enjoyed reading. Useful pointers to alternative software.
    Just let me be clear that I am not advocating buying a 60CSx as an alternative to a GP-E2. I am using it because it is the GPS I have, and it was bought because I wanted what was at that time a best-of-breed robust hand-held unit. As Bob points out, there are many quite inexpensive units that will do the basic task of creating a GPX file. Many current-generation cellphones have GPS, although I do not know whether they do logging.
    Obviously the built-in GPS of the 6D avoids many of the issues arising from using the GP-E2. In many ways the 6D sounds like a good camera, but since what I was moving from was a 5DII I did not consider it overall to be an upgrade – some advantages, some disadvantages compared to the 5DII, whereas the 5DIII brings both significant (better AF, with the promise of AF at f/8) and minor but important-to-me (dual-axis level) features that I want, so I am confident I have made the right-for-me purchase choice.
    Just as an aside, the ideal means for connecting a GPS is through BlueTooth, a somewhat maligned and misunderstood wireless protocol that is very suitable for certain purposes, especially when, as with GPS, the required data rate is in the carrier-pigeon league. But BlueTooth has never, AFAIK, been offered as part of a DSLR system.
     
  14. In many ways the 6D sounds like a good camera, but since what I was moving from was a 5DII I did not consider it overall to be an upgrade​
    My 6D is better than good. The built-in GPS (a huge convenience) works as designed in either 2D or 3D mode, but the feature does drain the battery when the GPS is enabled with the 6D turned off. The software disc for the on screen map is included. Going off topic here, the bonus is that the IQ of the 6D at least equals that of my 5D III at every ISO. The other off topic bonus is the LV -3 of the 6D which can lock focus in a moonlit room where the 5D III cannot.
     

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