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11-21-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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Geotagging Photos with a third Party GPS Tracking device?

Hello Fellow Pentax people,

This is my first post so please be gentle with this post and help guide me if I have made an error in posting.

I have been looking at third party GPS Tracking devices that passively log GPS location information. My initial reason for looking at them was, we have a teenage driver and these devices log their speed and location (very important information for a father who is paying the insurance cost "BIG TIME" and addressing a kids driving behavior). Just put the tracking device in the car and let it do its work. Then when it arrives home (hopefully with out incident) download the information with software to Google maps.

After viewing several companies websites that offer this type of product. There is some mention that Photo Geo-tagging is available with integration within their software. And that really floats my boat for photography.

Some of the products that have been considered are the Trackstick , Tracking Key, and an a few other odd GPS tracking devices.

Any thoughts on this consideration for photo Geo-tagging with a 3rd party passive GPS tracking device?


Last edited by pento57mm; 11-21-2011 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Still learning how to spell at 50
11-21-2011, 09:54 PM   #2
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As long as you have the .gpx file generated by the device, you can do it even with freeware. I get the files from any of several iPhone apps. With your parental concerns you'd probably be better off using some simpler (read: teen tamper resistant) device, but all that matters is the ability to output a .gpx file
11-21-2011, 10:05 PM   #3
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Without sounding abrasive, My thoughts are more centered on which tracking device to consider for Geo-tagging images and if this consideration is worthwhile.
11-21-2011, 10:16 PM   #4
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I understand completely. Unfortunately I am ignorant of device particulars. I only wanted to make the point that proprietary software need not be a concern when making a purchase, so long as the device outputs a .gpx file you have freeware options for actual tagging operations.

11-22-2011, 03:35 AM   #5
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I've been using the HOLUX M-241 GPS logger.

The nice thing about it is that it has a LCD display and will run for over 14 hours on a single AA cell. Although Holux don't recommend a rechargeable cell, in practice it runs happily an a single NiMH AA. The LCD display is actually very useful for setting up and just visually confirming that it has a sat lock and is running. In use the M241 locks very quickly and stays locked. Accuracy is as expected for GPS - within a couple of meters, most of the time (car satnav devices cheat by assuming that you are on a road). The included Holux software is reasonable - if you need more then there is GeoSetter and there are various hacks about for tweaking this logger.

BTW, if you use Flickr and want to geotag your uploaded photos easily, try GeoPhotoShow
11-22-2011, 04:03 AM   #6
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As mentioned, as long as your device is capable of outputting a GPX file, most commercial and opensource geotagging packages will support it. I use a Qstarz BT-Q1000XT myself and GPSBabel (GPSBabel: convert, upload, download data from GPS and Map programs) to tag my images.
11-22-2011, 07:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pento57mm Quote
Hello Fellow Pentax people,

This is my first post so please be gentle with this post and help guide me if I have made an error in posting.

I have been looking at third party GPS Tracking devices that passively log GPS location information. My initial reason for looking at them was, we have a teenage driver and these devices log their speed and location (very important information for a father who is paying the insurance cost "BIG TIME" and addressing a kids driving behavior). Just put the tracking device in the car and let it do its work. Then when it arrives home (hopefully with out incident) download the information with software to Google maps.

After viewing several companies websites that offer this type of product. There is some mention that Photo Geo-tagging is available with integration within their software. And that really floats my boat for photography.

Some of the products that have been considered are the Trackstick , Tracking Key, and an a few other odd GPS tracking devices.

Any thoughts on this consideration for photo Geo-tagging with a 3rd party passive GPS tracking device?
It is quite possible. I have used Garmin Hand held GPS units for about 13 year now, starting with an E track before moving up to a GPS 76CSx.

The E track was a good device when it came out, as it was one of the first affordable hand held units, but it was limited by the propriatiry memopy cards and RS232 serial link.

I upgraded to get a better unit, and one that was not just water proof but that floats. As a kayaker, water proof is useless if it sinks

I program the unit to write track data to the memory card, so as long as it is powered it records, this could be 24/7 if you want, and you can select how it records, from variable time increments (good for sitting) to once per second if you really want it.

when I am out taking photos, I always carry the GPS, because I can upload maps, tracks if I am hiking, or walking tours if doing a new city, along with any points of interest I think I need to see. It can even alarm when getting close to points of interest.

Now for the photo application.

I use a free program called geosetter. This program uses google maps to show you where you took your photos. It allows you to adjust your camera time relitive to GPS time, since the camera will have a tendancy to drift. It also allows for interpolation between points, if, for example, you are logging data using the variable time record, it will interpolate between two points if you shoot inbetween track points tracked. You can vary the time window to up to 1 hour +/- for logging points,

WHat I do is post process this, after I get back, to tag my photos, and locate sites where I may have forgotten exactly the name or location.
11-22-2011, 07:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pento57mm Quote
Without sounding abrasive, My thoughts are more centered on which tracking device to consider for Geo-tagging images and if this consideration is worthwhile.
As he said, any device that gives you a .gpx file (or has software that will create a .gpx file from trackpoints) will work.

The trick is syncing the .gpx file to your pictures. JPG can have the data applied easily. It's more complicated if you are shooting RAW.

11-22-2011, 07:30 PM   #9
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One more little point I would add is that I found it a pure waste of time to tag ALL my photos (especially RAW) files. I found it best to tag only files I was outputting for some purpose (upload, etc). All that is necessary is to keep the .gpx files organized and somewhere near the photo files in case you want them in the future.
11-23-2011, 09:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
One more little point I would add is that I found it a pure waste of time to tag ALL my photos (especially RAW) files. I found it best to tag only files I was outputting for some purpose (upload, etc). All that is necessary is to keep the .gpx files organized and somewhere near the photo files in case you want them in the future.
I generally geotag only vacation photos, otherwise I know where I am generally, but vacations can be different
12-03-2011, 08:18 AM   #11
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Hey thanks for your excellent thoughts on this. After purchasing a Super trackstick on the cheap and going on a few shooting runs with my k7. I found their bundled software geotagging to pick up about 75% of the images accurately. After some fine tuning of the time frame it picked up about 97%. Which is decent. But this unit go through batteries like a banshee. But then when using the Geosetter software suggested by Lowell it was 100% accurate (Thanks Lowell!).

My thoughts are to look into a more user friendly tracking device like a Garmin or the likes. Thanks again for everyone's input and advice .
12-03-2011, 06:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pento57mm Quote
Hey thanks for your excellent thoughts on this. After purchasing a Super trackstick on the cheap and going on a few shooting runs with my k7. I found their bundled software geotagging to pick up about 75% of the images accurately. After some fine tuning of the time frame it picked up about 97%. Which is decent. But this unit go through batteries like a banshee. But then when using the Geosetter software suggested by Lowell it was 100% accurate (Thanks Lowell!).

My thoughts are to look into a more user friendly tracking device like a Garmin or the likes. Thanks again for everyone's input and advice .
Glad you like the software, my only complaint is I would love it to use garmin maps, as opposed to map quest, that way you would not need the Internet to tag images
12-03-2011, 08:33 PM   #13
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If you have a smartphone w/ GPS, download an exercise program like Runkeeper (for Android, at least, and the base version is free). It generates the .gpx log file which you can then use with the Geosetter program.
07-02-2013, 06:17 AM   #14
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If you have a smartphone you can download lots of GPS Logger programs and you can merge these .gpx files with your Raw/jpeg files easily with many photography software. Since I'm using (slow) Lightroom 4, it's quite easy. Here is a video for this for Lightroom 4: How to Use GPX Logs to Geotag Your Photos with Lightroom 4 | Creative Suite Podcast: Photographers | Adobe TV

For android (free): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mendhak.gpslogger

For non-lightroom windows users (free): GeoSetter
07-02-2013, 07:37 AM   #15
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@645: Thanks for reviving the thread and for the link to the Lightroom video. I'm also using my GPS running watch these days to generate the GPX file.
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