There is a trend on the camera market, people want now to tag their photo, not only by adding sound (micro can be found now on point and shot consumer camera), or letting the camera add EXIF embeded data ( Exchangeable Image File Format) into each pictures.
Consumer always want more!, and with the arrival of Google Maps on the market, some years ago, It has not taken much time till users decide to add geoposition (with a GPS) to their pictures. While this feature can be found on some high end camera model (camera body > $10000, as an option it is quite pricey too), TomTom, Garmin and other consumer GPS are now able to provide a cheap and ready to go alternative. A data logger is a device able to record periodically latidutes, longitudes, altitude, date and time while yyou are on the road. It is now possible with some tools to merge pictures and files produced by GPS ad save new meta informations in EXIF data.
Why use a data logger?
- What itinerary did I travel yesterday?
- When did I start driving today?
- How long did It take to go from A to B and C in between?
- Which is the current altitude and speed?
- How can I remind precise positions?
- When exactly I traveled there?
Combined with your favorite DSLR or point and shot camera
- You take pictures but now can't remember the exact place of some of the photos
- With a software, you can then match the coordinates with the picture and you like to see your pictures on a map. (Google map, Google Earth)
Dedicated data loggerSony has started to sell a small device (Sony GPS-CS1KA), it cost $105 and do not use the latest SIRFstar III chipset, so don't expect much of it, old GPS chipsets are known to be slower to find satellites, have lower sensivity, do not work also well in city.
Anyway here are the main characteristics:
- Keep track of your digital photos with satellite precision
- Holds approximately 360 hours (31MB) of data
- Records a location log every 15 seconds
- Simple operation; no need for complex set up or connection, one button, two lights
- Compatible with most digital still cameras; compliance with EXIF 2.1 or later
- 12-channel GPS with no screen.
- The included software detects the unit and imports the GPS data. Another module detects attached cameras/MSD and imports the data
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|Amod AGL3080 GPS Data Logger SiRF III, Driverless, 128MB, Push to Log||EverMore GT-900BT Bluetooth Data Logger (SiRF III, Driverless, 120,000 Waypoints, Photo Software Included)||GlobalSat BT-335 Bluetooth Data Logger SiRF III, Download via Bluetooth||Royaltek RBT-2300 Bluetooth Data Logger GPS SiRF III GSC3f/LP, WAAS, 650,000 Waypoints|
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|Royaltek RGM-3800 GPS Data Logger SiRF III GSC3f/LP, WAAS, 650,000 Waypoints||starz BT-Q1000 Bluetooth Data Logger GPS Receiver 51 ch, Auto On/Off, WAAS, Bluetooth, USB, Push to Log, 100,000 Waypoints||EverMore GT-600 Image Tracker||i-Blue 747 Bluetooth Data Logger GPS Receiver Auto On/Off, 32 ch, WAAS, Bluetooth, USB, Push to Log, 16Mb Memory with Google Integration|
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|GiSTEQ Bluetooth PhotoTrackr for Digital Camera||GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr for Digital Camera||i.Trek Z1 BT Data Logger GPS Receiver Solar, MTK 32 Ch, WAAS, Auto On/Off, Bluetooth, USB, Data Logger with Google Earth Integration||i-Blue 757 Pro Solar BT Data Logger GPS Receiver|
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|Wintec WBT-201 Bluetooth Data Logger GPS Receiver Auto on/off, WAAS, Bluetooth, USB, Push to Log, Google Earth Integration with Photo||RoyalTek BlueGPS Mini Mobile Data-logger RBT-1100 for Windows, Pocket PC and Palm Output to Google Earth|| |
Price range are from $50 to $200, depending on brand, size, memory (number of points saved), chipset, number of chanels (ability to use more satellites at the sam time equal to more precision and sensivity) and export functionnality.
Tom Tom Software data loggerIf by chance, you have a Tom Tom and are ready to take it in your holiday, look no further: Event_logger is the software you are looking for!
Installation is straightforward, just dump all files to your SD CARD, and start your Tom Tom, as default the logging start. A text file (Event_Logger.txt) let you configure the software
"Event_Logger is a tracking and logging application enhancing Tom Tom GO. It can log Tom Tom GO events to Itinerary files that are managed by Tom Tom GO like any other native Itinerary created through the ordinary user interface; besides, Event_Logger can produce standard GPX XML files where events are represented as way points and the whole route is logged through a sequence of track points obtained by querying Tom Tom GO for location information at short periodical intervals"; from Event_Logger introduction
On the plus side:
- Work as expected.
- Complete documentation.
- Files are saved in directory /itn and use a standard file format (GPX)
- Google map viewer in Internet Explorer (drag and drop file)
- A Tom Tom will also show you the right way :-)
- Tom Tom battery lifetime, very limited especially if you are in a 8 hours trip, do not forget to set the Tom Tom contrast to the minimum
- a XSL (transformation language) render the file directly in Internet Explorer but NOT in firefox as an activeX support is required to view the MAP.
|Example of GPX file|
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" standalone="yes"?>
Garmin data loggerGarmin is able to create NMEA (The ASCII data stream received from navigation equipment (such as GPS receivers) conforming to the NMEA 0182 Version 2.0 specification.) file out the box, you do not have to install anything and can jump to next to "Viewing your trip"
Using a data logger with your camera/camcorderThey are all quite easy to use, start both device and check that the time are more or less in sync, so that both date and time are very near together. That's all! We just need now to use a software to mix pictures, video and GPX/NMEA file together.
Viewing your tripBasically what you need to find is a GPX viewer. there is a lot available online (use Google :-)), here are some I've used
- Google Earth is also opening GPX file (File - Open - File type set to GPX)
Geo tagging your pictures/videoSony picture motion browser tag automatically pictures and video, but this tool is checking prior to installation that you have a genuine sony camera/camcorder.The next tool I've found is named: RoboGeo
RoboGeo ($35) has a very easy to use step by step menu n the left side of the main windows. The most interesting functionnality for me is the ability to create Google Map web pages with icons that show where each picture was taken. When these icons are clicked, additional info about the picture is displayed along with the option of viewing the full size image. It is really worth the money.
And the Map you'll get in Google Map with the above GPX file (the demo version of RoboGeo add random coordinate as long as it is not registered, that's why some point are in the lake of Zürich). When these icons are clicked, additional info about the picture is displayed along with the option of viewing the full size image.
GPSTagr site which allows people with a GPS Track log in GPX format to upload their log, authorize the application site to modify their images, search for images with relevant timestamps, manually exclude images from geotagging - then process the net list of your flickr images against the GPX track log. Picasa (Free) let your tag picture one at a time, it open Google Earth and wait for You to click on the map. Not very useful if you have many pictures and a GPX file for matching them. It is still avery good tools for viewing and organizing thousands of pictures.
RedHen is a free download that synchronizes the GPS log files with just about any digital camera's standard EXIF datafile. RedHen can drop icons onto a Google Earth map- Make sure you save the new "Spatial Media" folder in the "My Places" folder so your images are available next time you open Google Earth.