Recommended Geotrackers?

Started Apr 26, 2010 | Discussions
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CameraCarl Veteran Member • Posts: 4,513
Recommended Geotrackers?

Please: I don't want to engage in controversy regarding why Canon does not offer a geotracker for its cameras. But I do want GPS logging of my photos and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations about a good geotracker that will work with Canon cameras and compact flash cards. Thanks.

samWebster123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Wintec

WBT-201 is a great little device!

Bluetooth interface, long battery life, very customizable, size of a matchbook!

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yowzer Forum Member • Posts: 57
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

I use the JOBO PhotoGPS unit. It works well but has a down side in that it uses the flash shoe to trigger a reading. This isn't a problem for me as I have not used my flash outdoors yet. You can take a reading by pressing a button the side of the unit, so you could take your readings without using the flash shoe if you wish.

http://www.jobo.com

For more info.

Ludvig Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

My vote goes to the QStarz GPS logger:

http://www.qstarz.com/Products/GPS%20Products/BT-Q1000P-F.htm

It connects a lot quicker than the "Wintec WBT-201" (yes, I have tried it) and is more stable. Cost about $100 and you get some nice software to geotag the images for any type of camera, including RAW files. It can also be used with the Canon WFT via Bluetooth. Battery will last for about 40 hours, and you can log up to 400K points.

Very small and light, and you can attach it to you belt. Excellent device!

Ludvig

wolfpuppies3 Senior Member • Posts: 1,747
Link is dead

is this it? Qstarz BT-Q1000X Bluetooth GPS
--
Photography at the speed of sound.

John Zeman Regular Member • Posts: 324
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

This is what I use:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/656648-REG/GiSTEQ_C7_02DPL900_PhotoTrackr_Mini_DPL900.html

I just download the tracklog using the included software, export it as an NMEA file, then Downloader Pro (separate program) geocodes the photos as it downloads them from the card.

wa2n Regular Member • Posts: 173
GPS tagging

I recently bought a Qstarz BT-Q1000eX which is an updated model of the Q1000X with twice the memory. Great GPS receiver, bluetooth capable, very sensitive. This unit's a little expensive at $150, but allows recording 5 waypoints per second in case you want to track your motorcycle or car on a racetrack.

I found the software that came with the receiver to be usable, but poor. Fortunately, there's plenty of free public domain software that works well. Here's some links:

Qstarz GPS I own:
http://www.semsons.com/qsbtprbtdalo.html

Tool to download data from GPS:
http://www.bt747.org/webinstall

Photo tagging software (handles raw cr? files):
http://www.geosetter.de/en

GPS file converter:
http://www.gpsbabel.org/index.html

EXIF file utility:
http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/

If you go for another GPS, I still recommend Geosetter and GPSBabel.

Wayne

wolfpuppies3 wrote:

is this it? Qstarz BT-Q1000X Bluetooth GPS
--
Photography at the speed of sound.

sunhorse Senior Member • Posts: 1,524
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

I am just getting into this. I started out with with a Holux M-241 which is about the same size and appearance to a 35mm film can. It was quite disappointing in that it was very slow to acquire satellites in an urban environment even with no high rises. Although it supports Bluetooth, this was a pain to make it work on a Mac. It was however easy enough to use the USB port.

I also found that it drains the single AA battery fairly quickly, especially when it is trying to acquire satellites.

Next, I decided that if I am going to do this, I might as well get a good GPS that is not a whole lot larger (although heavier). So I got a Garmin Oregon 550. This is not too big, and has a decent touch screen and all the features of a regular GPS. No Bluetooth though. It does generate tracks automatically, or by time or distance. It also has a built-in 3.2 mp camera which can be very useful. At $430 it is not cheap when compared to the $60 price of the Holux. But you get a much more rugged, reliable and full featured GPS.

I used Photolinker for OS X and Google Earth and had no problem grabbing the track log via USB. I was also able to use LR to with Jeffery Friedl's Geoencoding Support plugin to grab data from Google Earth. But simplest of all was Photolinker which lets you tag a bunch of files at once automatically or manually. This supports popular file types including RAW.

I am still experimenting and try to do a side by side comparison between the Holux and Garmin (unfair, I know!) since I still have both.

-- hide signature --

Ramesh

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samWebster123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

Ludvig wrote:

My vote goes to the QStarz GPS logger:

It connects a lot quicker than the "Wintec WBT-201" (yes, I have tried it) and is more stable.

Never had that issue with my wbt-201!

Track file downloads immediately to Houdahgeo (mac) everytime and I've been using it for over 2 years.

Seems like there's quite a few hoops to jump through to get the Qstar to download tracks via bluetooth judging by the manual.

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Ludvig Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

samWebster123 wrote:

Ludvig wrote:

My vote goes to the QStarz GPS logger:

It connects a lot quicker than the "Wintec WBT-201" (yes, I have tried it) and is more stable.

Never had that issue with my wbt-201!

Track file downloads immediately to Houdahgeo (mac) everytime and I've been using it for over 2 years.

Seems like there's quite a few hoops to jump through to get the Qstar to download tracks via bluetooth judging by the manual.

The WBT-201 worked fine for downloading, but I used it with a Canon WFT via Bluetooth, and the camera lost the connection too easy. This is where the Qstarz is better.

On both the WBT-201 and the Qstarz I download the logfile to the computer via USB, so that's no problem. Didn't even know it was possible to download the logfile via Bluetooth!

So I use the Qstarz connected to the camera via Bluetooth if I use the WFT, or put it on logging to be able to download the file and geotag later if I want to go lighter (and if I want to log the position of course!).

Ludvig

samWebster123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

Oh I see...we were talking about 2 different things then...

The bluetooth file transfer is pretty sweet! You should try it on the Qstarz if your PC supports bluetooth.

Ludvig wrote:

samWebster123 wrote:

Ludvig wrote:

My vote goes to the QStarz GPS logger:

It connects a lot quicker than the "Wintec WBT-201" (yes, I have tried it) and is more stable.

Never had that issue with my wbt-201!

Track file downloads immediately to Houdahgeo (mac) everytime and I've been using it for over 2 years.

Seems like there's quite a few hoops to jump through to get the Qstar to download tracks via bluetooth judging by the manual.

The WBT-201 worked fine for downloading, but I used it with a Canon WFT via Bluetooth, and the camera lost the connection too easy. This is where the Qstarz is better.

On both the WBT-201 and the Qstarz I download the logfile to the computer via USB, so that's no problem. Didn't even know it was possible to download the logfile via Bluetooth!

So I use the Qstarz connected to the camera via Bluetooth if I use the WFT, or put it on logging to be able to download the file and geotag later if I want to go lighter (and if I want to log the position of course!).

Ludvig

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CameraCarl OP Veteran Member • Posts: 4,513
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

Do the Qstarz and Wintec record a data point every time you push the shutter button? Or do they simply track where you have been walking or driving? I'm looking for a logger that only registers where each image is taken so I can easily incorporate that location in my exif data. I'm also limited in that only one of my three cameras has WFT, so I would like something that will work with all three bodies.

Ken Phillips Forum Pro • Posts: 16,354
Here's a nice one ...

... at least, as nice a Geo Tracker can ever be!

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Use the new site features to hide my homely face and banjo!!

http://www.ahomls.com/photo.htm
http://www.phillipsphotographer.com

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Ludvig Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

No, they do not log every time you press the shutter (if not connected via WFT). They are separate units set to log every 10 or 20 seconds or whatever you set them to.

If you use more than one camera, download the logfile to the folder for each camera and run the geotagging software to do the actual geotagging on the JPEG´s and/or RAW files.

It's a bit confusing how everything works, but another member here and myself made a procedure how to do this, step by step. So if you are interested, send me a mail.

There are many ways to do this, and everybody seems to have their own preferences both for GPS units and software.

Ludvig

CameraCarl wrote:

Do the Qstarz and Wintec record a data point every time you push the shutter button? Or do they simply track where you have been walking or driving? I'm looking for a logger that only registers where each image is taken so I can easily incorporate that location in my exif data. I'm also limited in that only one of my three cameras has WFT, so I would like something that will work with all three bodies.

harrygilbert Senior Member • Posts: 2,799
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

I debated among the various units dedicated to photo geotagging, and opted instead for a Garmin GPSMap 76CSx. This unit has proven extremely versatile and useful. I can track by time unit or distance unit, as well as navigate, backtrack when hiking, and get directions and find food, fuel, and lodging when driving to/from shoots. I bought an external Gilsson antenna and carry case and hang the GPS from a D-ring on my vest. The antenna attaches to a metal clip on the shoulder of my vest (or suctions to a window in the car). Not only do I get the benefit of geotagging photos, but I can look at the color, illuminated display and see where I am when driving or hiking.

To geotag photos, I merely save the track as a .GPX file, and use EXIFTOOL to transfer the coordinates to my files (works with RAW, TIF, and JPG files equally well).

Another nice benefit is the ability to use the mapping software that comes with the unit to create a map of my trek, as well as draw an altitude profile, and calculate the distance I travel, speed, etc. Well worth the money.

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Ludvig Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

Exiftool is used by many programs, and also with the one I use: GPicSync. I have tried to use exiftool directly from the command prompt, but I haven't figured out how to write the string to geotag.

I would appreciate very much if you could write the string you use here so I could test it out. I have studied the exiftool website, but still can't write the correct string.

Thanks!

Ludvig

harrygilbert wrote:

I debated among the various units dedicated to photo geotagging, and opted instead for a Garmin GPSMap 76CSx. This unit has proven extremely versatile and useful. I can track by time unit or distance unit, as well as navigate, backtrack when hiking, and get directions and find food, fuel, and lodging when driving to/from shoots. I bought an external Gilsson antenna and carry case and hang the GPS from a D-ring on my vest. The antenna attaches to a metal clip on the shoulder of my vest (or suctions to a window in the car). Not only do I get the benefit of geotagging photos, but I can look at the color, illuminated display and see where I am when driving or hiking.

To geotag photos, I merely save the track as a .GPX file, and use EXIFTOOL to transfer the coordinates to my files (works with RAW, TIF, and JPG files equally well).

Another nice benefit is the ability to use the mapping software that comes with the unit to create a map of my trek, as well as draw an altitude profile, and calculate the distance I travel, speed, etc. Well worth the money.

harrygilbert Senior Member • Posts: 2,799
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

I place this line in a batch file, in a directory containing my photos to be tagged, and a copy of EXIFTOOL.EXE. I then run in batch file in MS-DOS or CMD mode:

exiftool -geotag filename.gpx .CR2

You can substitute " .TIF" or " .JPG" for " .CR2"

You can rename the EXIFTOOL.EXE to include the arguments and drag files onto it within Windows Explorer:

exiftool(-geotag filename.gpx).exe

Be sure you have the latest EXIFTOOL which has the "geotag" command.

There are other EXIFTOOL commands that allow you to place a specific coordinate set, or modify the time shift (from GMT) or the variance between track time and photo time. See the EXIFTOOL command documentation.

-geotag TRKFILE
Geotag images from the specified GPS track log file. Using the
-geotag option is equivalent to writing a value to the "Geotag"
tag. After the -geotag option has been specified, the value of the
"Geotime" tag is written to define a date/time for the position
interpolation. If "Geotime" is not specified, the value is copied
from "DateTimeOriginal". For example, the following two commands
are equivalent:

exiftool -geotag track.log image.jpg
exiftool -geotag "-Geotime

When the "Geotime" value is converted to UTC, the local system
timezone is assumed unless the date/time value contains a timezone.
Writing "Geotime" causes the following 8 EXIF tags to be created:
GPSLatitude, GPSLatitudeRef, GPSLongitude, GPSLongitudeRef,
GPSAltitude, GPSAltitudeRef, GPSDateStamp and GPSTimeStamp.
Alternately "XMP:Geotime" may be written to create the following 5
XMP tags: GPSLatitude, GPSLongitude, GPSAltitude, GPSAltitudeRef
and GPSDateTime.

The "Geosync" tag may be used to specify a time correction which is
applied to each "Geotime" value for synchronization with GPS time.
For example, the following command compensates for image times
which are 1 minute and 20 seconds behind GPS:

exiftool -geosync=+1:20 -geotag a.log DIR

Multiple -geotag options may be used to concatinate GPS track log
data. Also, a single -geotag option may be used to load multiple
track log files by using wildcards in the TRKFILE name, but note
that in this case TRKFILE must be quoted on most systems (with
the notable exception of Windows) to prevent filename expansion.
For example:

exiftool -geotag "TRACKDIR/ .log" IMAGEDIR

Currently supported track file formats are GPX, NMEA RMC/GGA/GLL,
KML, IGC, Garmin XML and TCX, and Magellan PMGNTRK. See "GEOTAGGING
EXAMPLES" for examples. Also see geotag.html in the full ExifTool
distribution and the Image::ExifTool Options for more details and
for information about geotag configuration options.

Ludvig wrote:

Exiftool is used by many programs, and also with the one I use: GPicSync. I have tried to use exiftool directly from the command prompt, but I haven't figured out how to write the string to geotag.

I would appreciate very much if you could write the string you use here so I could test it out. I have studied the exiftool website, but still can't write the correct string.

Thanks!

Ludvig

harrygilbert wrote:

I debated among the various units dedicated to photo geotagging, and opted instead for a Garmin GPSMap 76CSx. This unit has proven extremely versatile and useful. I can track by time unit or distance unit, as well as navigate, backtrack when hiking, and get directions and find food, fuel, and lodging when driving to/from shoots. I bought an external Gilsson antenna and carry case and hang the GPS from a D-ring on my vest. The antenna attaches to a metal clip on the shoulder of my vest (or suctions to a window in the car). Not only do I get the benefit of geotagging photos, but I can look at the color, illuminated display and see where I am when driving or hiking.

To geotag photos, I merely save the track as a .GPX file, and use EXIFTOOL to transfer the coordinates to my files (works with RAW, TIF, and JPG files equally well).

Another nice benefit is the ability to use the mapping software that comes with the unit to create a map of my trek, as well as draw an altitude profile, and calculate the distance I travel, speed, etc. Well worth the money.

 harrygilbert's gear list:harrygilbert's gear list
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Ludvig Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

This is a bit off topic for the thread, but the information is absolutely fantastic!

The (simple) line "exiftool -geotag filename.gpx .CR2" is what I needed most, and the rest is saved for future use and study.

Again, thanks a lot for that information!

Ludvig

harrygilbert wrote:

I place this line in a batch file, in a directory containing my photos to be tagged, and a copy of EXIFTOOL.EXE. I then run in batch file in MS-DOS or CMD mode:

exiftool -geotag filename.gpx .CR2

You can substitute " .TIF" or " .JPG" for " .CR2"

You can rename the EXIFTOOL.EXE to include the arguments and drag files onto it within Windows Explorer:

exiftool(-geotag filename.gpx).exe

Be sure you have the latest EXIFTOOL which has the "geotag" command.

There are other EXIFTOOL commands that allow you to place a specific coordinate set, or modify the time shift (from GMT) or the variance between track time and photo time. See the EXIFTOOL command documentation.

-geotag TRKFILE
Geotag images from the specified GPS track log file. Using the
-geotag option is equivalent to writing a value to the "Geotag"
tag. After the -geotag option has been specified, the value of the
"Geotime" tag is written to define a date/time for the position
interpolation. If "Geotime" is not specified, the value is copied
from "DateTimeOriginal". For example, the following two commands
are equivalent:

exiftool -geotag track.log image.jpg
exiftool -geotag "-Geotime

When the "Geotime" value is converted to UTC, the local system
timezone is assumed unless the date/time value contains a timezone.
Writing "Geotime" causes the following 8 EXIF tags to be created:
GPSLatitude, GPSLatitudeRef, GPSLongitude, GPSLongitudeRef,
GPSAltitude, GPSAltitudeRef, GPSDateStamp and GPSTimeStamp.
Alternately "XMP:Geotime" may be written to create the following 5
XMP tags: GPSLatitude, GPSLongitude, GPSAltitude, GPSAltitudeRef
and GPSDateTime.

The "Geosync" tag may be used to specify a time correction which is
applied to each "Geotime" value for synchronization with GPS time.
For example, the following command compensates for image times
which are 1 minute and 20 seconds behind GPS:

exiftool -geosync=+1:20 -geotag a.log DIR

Multiple -geotag options may be used to concatinate GPS track log
data. Also, a single -geotag option may be used to load multiple
track log files by using wildcards in the TRKFILE name, but note
that in this case TRKFILE must be quoted on most systems (with
the notable exception of Windows) to prevent filename expansion.
For example:

exiftool -geotag "TRACKDIR/ .log" IMAGEDIR

Currently supported track file formats are GPX, NMEA RMC/GGA/GLL,
KML, IGC, Garmin XML and TCX, and Magellan PMGNTRK. See "GEOTAGGING
EXAMPLES" for examples. Also see geotag.html in the full ExifTool
distribution and the Image::ExifTool Options for more details and
for information about geotag configuration options.

Ludvig wrote:

Exiftool is used by many programs, and also with the one I use: GPicSync. I have tried to use exiftool directly from the command prompt, but I haven't figured out how to write the string to geotag.

I would appreciate very much if you could write the string you use here so I could test it out. I have studied the exiftool website, but still can't write the correct string.

Thanks!

Ludvig

harrygilbert wrote:

I debated among the various units dedicated to photo geotagging, and opted instead for a Garmin GPSMap 76CSx. This unit has proven extremely versatile and useful. I can track by time unit or distance unit, as well as navigate, backtrack when hiking, and get directions and find food, fuel, and lodging when driving to/from shoots. I bought an external Gilsson antenna and carry case and hang the GPS from a D-ring on my vest. The antenna attaches to a metal clip on the shoulder of my vest (or suctions to a window in the car). Not only do I get the benefit of geotagging photos, but I can look at the color, illuminated display and see where I am when driving or hiking.

To geotag photos, I merely save the track as a .GPX file, and use EXIFTOOL to transfer the coordinates to my files (works with RAW, TIF, and JPG files equally well).

Another nice benefit is the ability to use the mapping software that comes with the unit to create a map of my trek, as well as draw an altitude profile, and calculate the distance I travel, speed, etc. Well worth the money.

CameraCarl OP Veteran Member • Posts: 4,513
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

Can you clarify if this process correlates each image taken to a specific set of coordinates? It seems that you are tracking the route of the hike/drive you took then somehow linking the coordinates to where you were when you took each image. Is there some kind of a date/time correlation between the camera and the GPS unit that does this? I am looking for a simple solution that somehow registers a set of coordinates for each image that I take. When I do fall color photography I roam randomly over logging roads stopping when I see a picture. I really don't need to know what route over back country roads that I took, only that I stopped "here" or "there" to take a picture.

harrygilbert Senior Member • Posts: 2,799
Re: Recommended Geotrackers?

The time stamp is what correlates the image to the location. Basically, you synchronize the calendar/clock in the GPS unit with the camera's calendar / clock. Then, the software will grab the time stamp in each image, and find for the closest match to the GPS track log, then copy the lat./ long. coordinates to the EXIF in the image. You can adjust the time tolerance (and also adjust the frequency of the "bread crumbs" - the track detai when you set up the tracking log). I find that about every 5 to 10 minutes is fine on a walking trip. My GPS is typically accurate down to about a 9 foot radius. The other trick I can do with my Garmin GPSMap 76 CSx is to press a button and create a named "waypoint" at any time, which records the location. Handy when you find points of interest or trail heads (or where you parked your car). And if you get tired, you can tell the GPS to give you directions back to any waypoint. You can also transfer the lat./long. coordinates from a waypoint to a photo even if you weren't recording a track. I will sometimes do that when I find an interesting view on the way to somewhere; then I get out and take the picture, secure in the knowledge that I can tag the photo (and come back to it at some future date). I've also marked the location of animal dens, bird nests, etc.

Regarding your specific needs, just start a "track" at the beginning of your hike, and stop it at the end. The software will only use those track points it needs to tag the photos. Your approach is what I started out with, but now I find myself taking advantage of the other capabilities in the GPS mapper.

Why I posted all this detail is because I'm advocating the consideration of a full-fledged GPS unit, as opposed to a device limited to geotagging. When I did the research for my purchase, the limited devices were about $90; I paid about $325 for the more capable unit.

CameraCarl wrote:

Can you clarify if this process correlates each image taken to a specific set of coordinates? It seems that you are tracking the route of the hike/drive you took then somehow linking the coordinates to where you were when you took each image. Is there some kind of a date/time correlation between the camera and the GPS unit that does this? I am looking for a simple solution that somehow registers a set of coordinates for each image that I take. When I do fall color photography I roam randomly over logging roads stopping when I see a picture. I really don't need to know what route over back country roads that I took, only that I stopped "here" or "there" to take a picture.

 harrygilbert's gear list:harrygilbert's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye +17 more
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