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Sony GPS-CS1: Not Good Enough for Geotagging Photos
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Author Topic: Sony GPS-CS1: Not Good Enough for Geotagging Photos  (Read 22036 times)
Marc Rochkind
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« on: June 24, 2007, 08:56:06 PM »

I ran a test yesterday to compare the Sony GPS-CS1 to a device with a SIRFstarIII chip, and my results showed the Sony to be way off, while the more expensive ($93 vs. $357) device was accurate.

The Sony wasn't any better or worse than another non-SIRFstarIII device I tested, a Magellan eXplorist 210 ($142).

The cheaper devices are OK if accuracy of a few hundred feet is all you need, but to get the accuracy that the GPS system is capable of you need a SIRFstarIII chip and a few hundred dollars to spend.

It's commonly said that the cheaper devices work OK if there's a clear view of the sky and lots of time to get them locked onto the satellites, but that's not what my results show.

(The Sony has another major defect, for me, anyway: It doesn't connect to a PPC-based Mac.)

Details are on my blog at http://basepath.com.

--Marc
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Sam Rohn
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2007, 03:24:05 AM »

i was under the impression that datalogging solutions were inherently inaccurate, as one ends up extrapolating a position based on the GPS log file, which may only take a reading every X number of seconds, which may not exactly match the time(s) the camera took a picture... (not sure how often the sony records position)

i tried some .gpx synching apps, and it seemed i had to set my GPS (tried a few different ones) to record my position every few seconds (i move around a lot) to get any accuracy, and then i ended up with a gigantic .gpx file to play with at the end of the day...

i am getting much more accurate results from the di-GPS mini, which records its exact position to the exif as the image is taken, best solution i've seen yet -

sam
« Last Edit: June 25, 2007, 03:43:04 AM by Sam Rohn » Logged

Sam Rohn :: 360 Panoramic Photography :: www.samrohn.com :: Location Scout :: www.nylocations.com :: New York City
Marc Rochkind
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2007, 06:20:33 AM »

I haven't tried it, but it appears that the di-GPS has a SIRFstarIII chip, so it's an example of the kind of technology that works. Certainly, taking the measurement at the time of the shot is better than interpolation. How much better depends entirely on the speed of movement, as you noted. For hiking, or any time one stops to take the picture, the samples to be interpolated are very close, and the results are therefore very accurate.

The advantages of a separate general-purpose device are: One may already have one; the device is useful for more than geotagging; and it works with any camera. For geotagging only and if one has a supported camera, the di-GPS looks like a good choice.

--Marc
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ianw
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2007, 06:53:57 AM »

Sam,

I've got the Garmin 60CSx and have set it to record my position every 5 seconds.  So far this is providing enough accuracy for me.

Assuming you're not taking pictures from a zigzagging moving vehicle then extrapolating the position from a track file shouldn't be any less accurate than your dedicated GPS kit.  If, like me, you stop and think before taking a picture, then quite likely you will have many entries on the track file for your actual position.

I've tried the Sony GPS-CS1, and found it to be too inaccurate for my liking.  I recorded a few car journeys and as well as getting similar 'off-road' results as Marc I was also frustrated by the cutting off of corners due to it only recording every 15 seconds.  Also in built up areas near me it can miss a track point every now and then and so become less accurate.  Driving across roundabouts is one thing but through buildings is another!

You mention large file sizes as an issue.  Well if I were to set the 60CSx to record every second then the maximum file size would be just under 10MB, which is smaller than a single RAW image file from my camera.  The Garmin automatically records to a new file based on date - although I've not been using it around midnight to test this yet!  While a file of this size presents no storage issues it is too big for some of the tools on GPSVisualizer.com, where a 3MB file size limit exists.  Hence my recording track points only every 5 seconds - the maximum file size would be just under 2MB.  I need to install GPSBabel to get around this.  Maybe I should record a point every second as I spent £25 to upgrade the supplied 64MB card to a 2GB one!

Would I ever record a track for a long period of time to get a large file?  Maybe!  I'm hoping to go to Australia again later in the year and would try and record a track during the flight.  I recently recorded tracks on flights to and from Spain, to convert to KML files for Google Earth.  I flew right over my parent's house, but it was dark and cloudy so they couldn't see me waving hello - they complain I don't visit enough!

Ian
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Marc Rochkind
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2007, 07:01:32 AM »

Ian--

I haven't tried a track log file as large as 10MB in IIP, but there's no built-in limitation. A file of that size should work OK.

--Marc
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Sam Rohn
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2007, 08:59:43 AM »

Assuming you're not taking pictures from a zigzagging moving vehicle then extrapolating the position from a track file shouldn't be any less accurate than your dedicated GPS kit.  
If, like me, you stop and think before taking a picture, then quite likely you will have many entries on the track file for your actual position.
Ian

i wish Smiley

for location scouting, i can often shoot hundreds of images a day, (literally) if i am scouting driving shots, i might have dozens or more photos from several different roads every day, mostly taken while driving, or maybe with someone else driving, or maybe in a forest, or in a park, etc, and at the end of the day, or weeks later, somebody will expect me to remember exactly where a given shot was taken, not to mention how far away from each other the different options are, where in relation to other locations we might be using, etc -

so i would basically leave it recording all day, i don't remember the actual size on my logs, but datalogging ended up being an awkward solution for me...

still, it would be nice to have a tracklog at the end of the day, wouldn't mind a 60CSx too  -

sam
« Last Edit: June 26, 2007, 12:08:23 AM by Sam Rohn » Logged

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Sam Rohn
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2007, 11:36:13 PM »

The Globalsat DG-100 Data Logger (US$90 on amazon), looks like the cheapest option for a SIFRstarIII alternative to the sony, windows only, apparently -

reviews here -

http://www.gpspassion.com/fr/articles.asp?id=214

http://scilib.typepad.com/science_library_pad/2007/05/dg100_gps_logge.html

more info here -

http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=128

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pDyuTM9yMly7oD_4K1o-7DA&gid=0

sam
« Last Edit: June 26, 2007, 12:16:50 AM by Sam Rohn » Logged

Sam Rohn :: 360 Panoramic Photography :: www.samrohn.com :: Location Scout :: www.nylocations.com :: New York City
Marc Rochkind
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2007, 05:32:06 AM »

Thanks for the pointer to the DG-100, Sam... I was wondering what the cheapest SIRFstarIII tracking device might be. The included software is Windows only, but with ImageIngester that doesn't matter. I'm going to look into whether its accessible as a hardware device from a Mac.

--Marc
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Sam Rohn
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2007, 07:24:36 PM »

no  problem, great site you guys have here Smiley

there are a few more SIRFstarIII loggers lister here, some with bluetooth -

http://www.mobilegpsonline.com/mgpsstore/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4&zenid=d4302e572b48d82ce5fecf7911df151b


sam

« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 11:18:05 AM by Sam Rohn » Logged

Sam Rohn :: 360 Panoramic Photography :: www.samrohn.com :: Location Scout :: www.nylocations.com :: New York City
David
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2007, 07:27:16 PM »

I cannot seem to find any reference to a GPS data logger that is hardware compatible with an Intel Mac - if anyone hears of one please post the information here!

The software is not as much an issue if it can be mounted as a remove device and the log file pulled off.

I am travelling to Rwanda in late October and would love a device that would work before I go..and don't really want to purchase a full GPS unit.

Thanks

David
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Marc Rochkind
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2007, 11:19:31 AM »

David--

I have tested it on various Macs, and followed web postings by others, and I am convinced there is no way. Maybe with Leopard... haven't tested that myself. However, I see your other post where you say there will be a new device.

--Marc
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David
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2007, 04:56:35 AM »

Marc
In the end I have bought a Garmin eTrex Vista Hcx ...and it works very well. More $ than I had initially intended to spend but I now have the GPS capabilities and not just the tracking.

It works well as in my other post on anyboddy geotagging...

David
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