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05-15-2008, 02:50 PM   #1
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Geotagging - what do you use?

I'm thinking of buying one of these cheap $40 GPS data loggers and using it to geotag my images. What do people here use? Do you tag your raw files, or only your processed jpegs? Do you have problems with synchronizing the time between camera and GPS? What software is the best? Experiences, please.

BTW, I use Vista.

05-15-2008, 02:56 PM   #2
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I have always used garmin products.

Presently I use a 76CSX unit that can write track points once per second to an SD card.

I use freeware program called GEOSetter to match up to the camera. This can be slow because it is tied up with mapquest, so you need to be on line.

I have written to garmin, since they also sell maps and map software if they are interested in doing software to use their maps

ps. You need to be very careful about time setting, and especially Standard time vs DST.
05-15-2008, 04:07 PM   #3
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I use the Sony GPS-CS1 photo tagger. It works really well, even if the software is a little clunky.

A good thing about the software is that there's a check box to add, or ignore daylight savings time between the two, so it's not as critical an issue with this software. I've had no trouble keeping sync between my camera and GPS antenna/logger.

It's definitely more expensive than Lowell's solution, but it all comes in one box, and is tested to work together, so if that's worth $60USD more to you....

I always shoot RAW. After I've shot using the GPS, I usually do a batch (auto) process and keep those JPEGS in a separate folder, and tag all of them, saving the GPS log file in the same directory. Then I go through my normal workflow, and convert the RAWs I want to JPEGs manually. Then, re-run the Sony software to re-tag the converted JPEGs.

I usually use Google Earth to view my tagged files, but I've found that Google Earth kinda falls to pieces when loading 200-300 tagged jpegs. I hope someone posts another option for viewing the tagged files.

I really only use the GPS for "city tour" type shoots, most of the time, if it's a picture of my house, I know where I was... But it's really cool to look back at my vacation shots from Cape Cod last year and see precisely where each shot was taken...

Anyone know if the GPS-CS1 is compatible with the European GPS satellites? or has tried it in the Caribbean?

-Chris
05-15-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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I picked up a Garmin Geko 301 for $80 refurbished on eBay. You can use it both as a datalogger and as a pretty good, basic GPS (I do some day hiking). You pull over the data on a serial connection. All of software is mac-based for me , so I can't help you on the Windows side.

05-16-2008, 07:46 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinckc Quote
I use the Sony GPS-CS1 photo tagger. It works really well, even if the software is a little clunky.

A good thing about the software is that there's a check box to add, or ignore daylight savings time between the two, so it's not as critical an issue with this software. I've had no trouble keeping sync between my camera and GPS antenna/logger.

It's definitely more expensive than Lowell's solution, but it all comes in one box, and is tested to work together, so if that's worth $60USD more to you....

I always shoot RAW. After I've shot using the GPS, I usually do a batch (auto) process and keep those JPEGS in a separate folder, and tag all of them, saving the GPS log file in the same directory. Then I go through my normal workflow, and convert the RAWs I want to JPEGs manually. Then, re-run the Sony software to re-tag the converted JPEGs.

I usually use Google Earth to view my tagged files, but I've found that Google Earth kinda falls to pieces when loading 200-300 tagged jpegs. I hope someone posts another option for viewing the tagged files.

I really only use the GPS for "city tour" type shoots, most of the time, if it's a picture of my house, I know where I was... But it's really cool to look back at my vacation shots from Cape Cod last year and see precisely where each shot was taken...

Anyone know if the GPS-CS1 is compatible with the European GPS satellites? or has tried it in the Caribbean?

-Chris
Nothing is compatible with the Galileo system because it hasn't been deployed yet. There are only 2-3 birds up so far.

The US GPS system is just that - GLOBAL. It works anywhere. The reason other countries are looking into their own systems is not due to coverage, it is all about politics and control. (Europe doesn't want to rely on a navigation system controlled by the US military). The original impetus for Galileo was when the civilian GPS signal was intentionally degraded. Clinton did a good job torpedoing Galileo and setting it back for over a decade by signing an executive order to turn off selective availability (that intentional degradation) back in 2000.
05-16-2008, 07:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinckc Quote
I use the Sony GPS-CS1 photo tagger. It works really well, even if the software is a little clunky.

A good thing about the software is that there's a check box to add, or ignore daylight savings time between the two, so it's not as critical an issue with this software. I've had no trouble keeping sync between my camera and GPS antenna/logger.
the same exists for all programs, it is a question of making sure all things including cameras work the same way
QuoteQuote:
It's definitely more expensive than Lowell's solution, but it all comes in one box, and is tested to work together, so if that's worth $60USD more to you....
yes but only if you already have a gps the point is many people already have a GPS, and don't want yet another bit to carry around with them. Note a good gps with map capability, waterproof, WAAS capable etc can be many hudnreds of $$$
QuoteQuote:
I always shoot RAW. After I've shot using the GPS, I usually do a batch (auto) process and keep those JPEGS in a separate folder, and tag all of them, saving the GPS log file in the same directory. Then I go through my normal workflow, and convert the RAWs I want to JPEGs manually. Then, re-run the Sony software to re-tag the converted JPEGs.

I usually use Google Earth to view my tagged files, but I've found that Google Earth kinda falls to pieces when loading 200-300 tagged jpegs. I hope someone posts another option for viewing the tagged files.

I really only use the GPS for "city tour" type shoots, most of the time, if it's a picture of my house, I know where I was... But it's really cool to look back at my vacation shots from Cape Cod last year and see precisely where each shot was taken...

Anyone know if the GPS-CS1 is compatible with the European GPS satellites? or has tried it in the Caribbean?

-Chris
The big issue with virtually all the present photo taggers is that for you to see your location, you need to be on the internet.

That is why I asked Garmin if they were interested in getting into this part of the software market, because they sell GPS units and Maps.

They are into the fitness side with the wrist watch GPS plus heart monitors, and they have that software able to link to your maps, so it seems like a logical thing for them to do.
05-16-2008, 08:22 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
Nothing is compatible with the Galileo system because it hasn't been deployed yet. There are only 2-3 birds up so far.

The US GPS system is just that - GLOBAL. It works anywhere. The reason other countries are looking into their own systems is not due to coverage, it is all about politics and control. (Europe doesn't want to rely on a navigation system controlled by the US military). The original impetus for Galileo was when the civilian GPS signal was intentionally degraded. Clinton did a good job torpedoing Galileo and setting it back for over a decade by signing an executive order to turn off selective availability (that intentional degradation) back in 2000.
It's not only that, the Galileo system is also to have better resolution and more functionality.
Don't ask me what or how, here in the Netherlands a future system for taxing high way usage is depending upon the availability of Galileo.
So, for me they can wait with launching the rest of the satelites forever....

- Bert
05-16-2008, 09:51 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tybeck Quote
. All of software is mac-based for me , so I can't help you on the Windows side.
Some of us lurkers have Macs also... would you share your experience please?

05-16-2008, 10:04 AM   #9
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Hi all

Sorry for not being fully up-to-speed on this subject, but am I correct in understanding that there are already some digital cameras out there in the market-place (I'm afraid I haven't faintest idea which makes or models !) that are pre-equipped with inbuilt GPS data recording facilities, so that they can automatically add this GPS data to the camera's internal JPEG EXIF file ?
In addition, can this data be added to RAW files as well, or does it only work with JPEG's ??

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 05-16-2008 at 01:52 PM.
05-16-2008, 07:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bymy141 Quote
It's not only that, the Galileo system is also to have better resolution and more functionality.
Don't ask me what or how, here in the Netherlands a future system for taxing high way usage is depending upon the availability of Galileo.
So, for me they can wait with launching the rest of the satelites forever....

- Bert
I'm fairly certain the U.S. is likely to torpedo that by rolling out some upgrades on the civilian frequencies with their next block of satellites (which, unlike Galileo, IS going up on schedule).

I'm 90% positive that adding a C/A code to the L2 frequency (giving civilian GPS the ionospheric correction capabilities of dual-frequency operation) has been planned for a few years. I forget where I heard that from though.
05-17-2008, 08:02 AM   #11
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Experiences, please

QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
What do people here use? Do you tag your raw files, or only your processed jpegs? Do you have problems with synchronizing the time between camera and GPS? What software is the best? Experiences, please.
Back to topic please, this isn't about GPS vs. Galileo...


I geotag all of my original images, RAW and JPG. This is my workflow (Vista 32Bit):
  • In the morning, I switch on my "XAiOX iTrackU BLUETOOTH GPS-RECEIVER SiRF III" XAiOX iTrackU Bluetooth GPS Receiver SiRF III and put it in my photo bag.

    I am very happy with it and I really don't care throughout the day anymore!

    Make sure you set it to the correct Sirf mode after purchase (as all Sirf GPS are originally optimized for car navigation not ideal if you mostly walk around).

    The good thing is it switches off and on (it has a mechanical motion sensor) to preserve energy and you can be sure it will last several days when required (17h continuous move per LiOn). It runs on Nokia LiOn so you could even make it run for a week in the wilderness... It recharges via USB or a power outlet. It tracks even from a car's trunk (well, may depend on your car, true for mine It is bluetooth, so you can hook up navigation software.

    The XAiOX is OEM'd to resellers in the US which sell them at a higher price and bundled software which is crap.
  • At night, when I do my processing, I fetch the XAiOX and my K20D's SD-card from the photo bag and hook both onto USB (the XAiOX is now recharging).
  • I start copying images from SD card to a tmp folder (say 5 min in the background).
  • I use the XAiOX DataLog tool to copy my track in NMEA format to a tmp folder (5 s).
  • I use GPS Babel to convert NMEA to GPX (1 s, 1 click).
    One advantage of using NMEA->GPX is that it preserves the altitude info
  • I use GeoSetter.de (GeoSetter für Windows) to load the GPX track. It will show the track within an embedded Google maps frame zoomed onto the track.

    GeoSetter really is a gem of software. I've been in contact with Friedemann Schmidt (the author of GeoSetter) and we both agree that Microsoft's recently launched Photo tools come not even close. GeoSetter uses Google map to facilitate manual tagging and multiple web services to deduce time zone and to tag IPTC-NAA version 4 clear text geo data (like DEU/Saarland/Wadern, subject location: Dagstuhl) (the last entry is the lowest known name, in this case a castle name; the first three is the political country/state/community location).

    Just set your camera to the local time (the one on your watch), and GeoSetter will need no offsets as it will deduce time zone and DST from the location and time and even write the correctly deduced time zone into the EXIFs

    Right now, GeoSetter works directly into RAW (and JPEgs etc.) image files, or optionally into .xmp side cars. It works with K20D RAWs but only shows the embedded thumbnails in the preview window. Friedemann works on larger size K20D RAW previews. But really no problem here as we just want to geotag.

    One extra comment: Geosetter works offline as well! Of course, you won't have a map preview and you wan't be able to have IPTC keywaords added automatically, but geotagging is a blind procedure in my workflow anyway and access to the internet is not required (in reply to a previous comment). In manual geotagging I actually want to see satellite images (to see the detail I photographed) and an offline tool for manual geotagging isn't useful.
  • As soon as copy from SD card is complete, I open the tmp folder in GeoSetter (10s). CTRL-G, CTRL-E will now geotag and add IPTC-keywords for all my images (10s). The map zooms onto my tagged photos. The changes are not yet permanent.
  • I save the changes (STRG-S) and leave GeoSetter (2 min, if you save into RAWs directly (what I do).
  • I open Lightroom (LR) and import from the tmp folder.
  • LR (in 1.4.1) will now show the GPS location in the Library mode and clicking onto the arrow behind it will open the location in Google maps!
  • By the time I finish my rejects in LR, XAiOX is recharged and ready for the next day.

That's about it. Geotagging costs me an additional 3min work per day and the fun is more than worth it

Of course, all durations will depend on your computer and the #of photos you have shot. The times apply to about 200 K20D RAWs on my computer.

One additional remark: GeoSetter can geotag the images after they have been imported into the LR repository. This would save time. However, I found it cumbersome to force LR to first write its metadata into the files and to read it back from there after GeoSetter did its job. Unfortunately, LR doesn't detect metadata changes done in the files, only those in sidecars. You can tell GeoSetter to geotag into the sidecars but I wanted to keep all info within one file.

I tried to be as verbose as possible here because I think it may a good idea to be able to compare different people's workflows and learn from the differences.

Any suggestions for optimization in my procedure?

Last edited by falconeye; 05-17-2008 at 08:28 AM. Reason: added offline comment
05-17-2008, 08:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I use freeware program called GEOSetter to match up to the camera. This can be slow because it is tied up with mapquest, so you need to be on line.
Hi Lowell, I use GeoSetter as well (cf. my previous post). I don't see where GeoSetter uses mapquest and what for, but anyway. I definetely tries to visualize using Google Maps and uses a webservice to deduce correct time zone and DST from the locations (but not mapquest AFAIK).

You can override this behaviour by not separately loading the track. Rather, you just open the images folder and specify the track file directly in the geotag dialog. This works even w/o an internet connection at all and is blazingly fast.
05-17-2008, 09:06 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinckc Quote
I use the Sony GPS-CS1 photo tagger. It works really well, even if the software is a little clunky.
[...]
Anyone know if the GPS-CS1 is compatible with the European GPS satellites? or has tried it in the Caribbean?
Hi hinckc,

I had a look into the Sony as well. I eventually ended up going for the XAiOX Sirf3(cf. above). I noted that it is hard to get the XAiOX Sirf3 in the US. It seems that Gisteq resells the sligthly inferior XAiOX Nemerix and has page comapring it against the Sony:

http://www.gisteq.com/Comparison.pdf
(The comparison forgets to mention bluetooth, Gisteq:yes / Sony:no)

Forget about the bundled software (which is different from XAiOX OEM). Geosetter is free and better anyway. But I found the hardware comparison worthwhile to post.

While the Sony certainly isn't bad, I was turned away by the lower hardware specs and an unclear situation how to use non-Sony cameras with it.

->European GPS satellites?

All GPS satellites are US, travelling around the globe until they come down a day
05-17-2008, 06:06 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
I'm thinking of buying one of these cheap $40 GPS data loggers and using it to geotag my images. What do people here use? Do you tag your raw files, or only your processed jpegs? Do you have problems with synchronizing the time between camera and GPS? What software is the best? Experiences, please.

BTW, I use Vista.
Ooooohhhhh.... Vista. Can't help you with that; I've been avoiding it like the plague for the time being.

General comments... On the software side, the tagging part of the workflow offers a considerable number of choices i.g. JetPhoto, Robogeo, Geosetter, and so on. Choose your poison. Some software out there will work with RAW; some will not. Add to that the fact there are a complex number of uses: do you just want good GIS data written to your images for sort of "orthorectifying" them in professional GIS software like ArcINFO, ArcIMS servers, etc? Or do you want an interface with Google Earth that displays nifty slideshows, creates webshows, etc?

Lots to choose from out there, for each according to their needs. Better yet, this area of technology seems to be evolving extremely rapidly. So if you don't like what's out there right now, wait a couple of months and the situation will likely be dramatically changed.

I can't give you any personal experience with any of the software/hardware as I am still fighting the battle of trying to figure out a way to get positions saved into images in other than Degrees/Minutes/Seconds format. That was a very short sighted move on the part of the EXIF steering group - playing with DMS instead of DD is a pain in the butt for one thing, and for another, long/lat is a vastly inferior spatial reference system for many applications. So I haven't played with any of these yet - I'm still looking and trying to select the best option for my professional needs. I'm hoping that once my programmer/RDBMS guru buddy gets back from Mexico, he'll be able to look at what's out there and come up with a solution for professional requirements.

But there's some interesting stuff out there to look at.

For a starting point, what do you plan on logging your spatial data with? I'm not going to cart even a small $5000+ Trimble GeoXH around with me just to capture a GPS movement track, much less a full size RTK unit. And I MIGHT be carrying a recreational grade Garmin Rino 530 with me if I also feel a need for other GPS mapping requirements. But how about something cheap for known places, places where their is no apparent need for other GPS applications, etc. I think a relatively inexpensive GPS datalogger might be just the ticket. Here's some options (indirectly already mentioned by Falconeye):

One example review:
Richard's Tech Reviews: AMOD AGL3080 Mac-compatible driverless GPS logger reviewed

A comparison of several units:
Richard's Tech Reviews: GPS logger comparison spreadsheet

The ever popular Amazon availability option:
Amazon.com: Amod AGL3080 GPS Data Logger (SiRF III, Driverless, 128MB, Push to Log) (Windows and Mac Image Software included): Everything Else

Somebody posted about buying a cheap Garmin to use as a datalogger. Advantages/disadvantages? Well, the smallest Garmin's aren't much bigger than the dataloggers. A little more expensive - but do any of the dataloggers have WAAS capability? Can a datalogger be used like a cheap Garmin mapping GPS to provide you with map enabled GPS support and navigation? Probably not.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
The big issue with virtually all the present photo taggers is that for you to see your location, you need to be on the internet.

That is why I asked Garmin if they were interested in getting into this part of the software market, because they sell GPS units and Maps.
Well, there are ways around the requirement to be online.

You are going to have to have SOME sort of mapping software, obviously, if you are going to display image location on a map. Garmin mapping software, as you mentioned above, is one example you could use.

Using that example, what you would do is load your geocoding software's output files into Mapsource. Some output would be of a format that Mapsource could import directly; other output (such as shapefiles from something like Robogeo) would have to be converted to a Mapsource-friendly format by software like the very excellent DNR Garmin.

So, you can indeed display the spatial location of where your images were taken without being online. Unless you're online however, the average person isn't going to get the eye candy affect that Google Earth produces. Being a GIS guy, I have access to 5cm resolution orthophotos for pretty much most of the places I go with a camera, so I'm not worried about having access to Internet map servers. You won't find 5cm resolution on Google Earth...

QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
Nothing is compatible with the Galileo system because it hasn't been deployed yet. There are only 2-3 birds up so far.

The US GPS system is just that - GLOBAL. It works anywhere. The reason other countries are looking into their own systems is not due to coverage, it is all about politics and control. (Europe doesn't want to rely on a navigation system controlled by the US military). The original impetus for Galileo was when the civilian GPS signal was intentionally degraded. Clinton did a good job torpedoing Galileo and setting it back for over a decade by signing an executive order to turn off selective availability (that intentional degradation) back in 2000.
I don't know if that was the impetus for Galileo - the Russians also have their own SV positioning system - GLONASS - and have had it available for use long before Galileo came into being. More to the point, the original four countries that started the Galileo program are all strong US allies - the US has bases in Germany, Italy, and Britain, and I doubt they forsee going to war with those countries anytime soon.

It's worth noting that Pres. George Bush recently signed an executive order permanently ending Selective Availability and none of the new Block IIF SV's will be capable of SA.

The impetus for Galileo, despite all the complex political arrangements for a multi country funding system, has continually and increasingly been that it is all about money. Location Based Services has become a huge component of the economy and it is rapidly growing every day. Galileo is (supposedly) going to be more accurate than GPS, and the intent is to have a "commercial" mode where users will get a much higher degree of accuracy - for a price of course.

Pragmatically, for the moment, unless you want to do your datalogging with an expensive professional GPS that can use both GLONASS and GPS signals, GPS is the only game in town and that is likely to remain the situation for some time to come.
05-17-2008, 08:58 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the info, gang! This was exactly what I was looking for. I think I'll drop the $40 on a cheap logger and try the freeware software, and see what comes of it.
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