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Confused about geotagging
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Author Topic: Confused about geotagging  (Read 23670 times)
DMBrown
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« on: May 17, 2009, 09:22:05 AM »

I have been researching the options to start geotagging my Nikon NEF files. I shoot with both a D200 and D300 so using a dedicated hot shoe mounted GPS unit will not work. I also like the idea of having a track log to be able to enter this info on a map to view my travels. Have looked at data loogers such as Qstrarz Q1000 and also hand held GPS units such a Garmin etrex. I download my photos using Image Ingester Pro (Great App) so being able to use just 1 program to download my images and tag them at the same time so as not to disrupt my workflow would be a great advantage. So my question is what are Photographers using to tag their photo's, which units do you like and why. Any info would be greatly appreciated!!  Thanks  Doug Smiley 
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Kevin Forsmo
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009, 10:02:46 AM »

Hi Doug,

While I'm not the authority, I'm starting to geotag as well.  Literally this weekend I'm testing things out.

I'm using a Garmin Nuvi 255W (bought originally as a vehicle unit, not specifically for geotagging) and ImageIngester.

I'm interested in hearing feedback as well, but I can say that so far it seems to be working.

The Garmin unit keeps a running gpx file that is appended to whenever it's turned on (although I've found that there may be some minimum distance required, because when I cleared the tracklog, turned the unit on and walked around the yard, even though I see a little track on the screen, there are no trackpoints in the gpx file...need more research).  It's not readable directly by ImageIngester, I believe because there are no line breaks.  I go to gpsvisualizer.com and convert to gpx file, which I download and rename to file.gpx (for some reason IE insists on making it an xml file).  This file is readable by ImageIngester, and tags photos appropriately.  This is only initial testing, so I still have yet to run into snags.  Except for the fact that ImageIngester doesn't seem to tag properly when you use the "Thumbs..." button to select a subset of pictures.

Yesterday I spent some time testing with custom manual tracklogs to tag older images.  I think most utilities interpolate between points, so for instance I was making files with two points that had the same coordinates but different times.  In the spirit of testing and anticipating scanning in film in the future, I tried various dates for the first point like 1980, 1970, 1960 etc.  For some reason, ImageIngester fails when the date is before about 1970 I believe.  I set the second point to a time in 2010, so all my pictures get tagged with that same location.

Today I'm experimenting with GeoSetter, as it seems to offer a more manual way to tag.

I'm really looking for a way to get around having to make a big file to tag the 4000 raw images I have from earlier this year.  Now that I know the process works, I'm envisioning a worst-case scenario of manually building a gpx file with sets of trackpoints defining where the camera was for different sets of pictures.  Going forward, I'll use the GPS tracklog, but I didn't have it running for the earlier pictures.

If you want to test it for yourself I'd be glad to email you a properly-formatted manual gpx file, into which you can pop your own coordinates for testing with ImageIngester.  Or just copy and paste it here, it's short.  I just don't know if the board is going to do something with the markup structure or if it'll let me post plain text.

Kevin Forsmo
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DMBrown
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 09:05:14 AM »

Thanks for the info Kevin. Geotagging is such a hot item I thought that there might be lots of opinions and advise. I would appreciate the copy of the .gpx track log file. You can either e-mail it to me or post here, maybe others might find it useful.  Thanks again  Doug Smiley
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edward_brogan
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 12:02:53 PM »

Doug

I was under the impression that there were hot shoe mounted GPS receivers available  for the D200 and D300. One that I know of is at

http://di-gps.com/di-GPS/index.htm

Is there another reason for which you don't want to use a hot shoe mounted unit?

Ed
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DMBrown
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2009, 12:26:42 PM »

Hi Edward
I use 1 camera with a wide angle lens and the other with a telephoto lens simmultaneously to shoot my travel photo's so a logger seems to be the logical choice. Now if I could just find one that logs to a Micro SD card uses the Sirf Star III chip and uses rechargeable AA or AAA batteries.

Doug Smiley
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Kevin Forsmo
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2009, 12:29:31 PM »

So I can say that GeoSetter looks promising in in testing, and can semi-automate assigning coordinates to a large number of images.  It has its own pros and cons, and before letting it go to town on my images, I'll need a little more testing to check it out.  I have yet to test it out with a real track log (you can manually enter a point on a map and assign it to  a bunch of images which is what i've been testing), but the most promising feature is that you can define a set of favorites, each of which has a radius associated with it (in meters).  It looks like if a picture is taken within that radius (again, yet to be tested), then the software automatically assigns the location of the favorite.  Might help standardize things if that's the way I choose to go.  Will test tonight.

Will also post a gpx file here tonight, everything's on my PC at home.

Here it is.  Copy and paste the text below into a text editor, then save as test.gpx or whatever.  Then point ImageIngester at the file, make sure you haven't used the Thumbs to select pictures, but rather are pointing to a whole source folder, and let it go to town.  Modify the dates if you're using photos from the 19th century or the future.  Also modify the location if you'd like, I stuck it on the balloon ride at the San Diego Wild Animal park (where I'm headed next week Smiley.

I confirm the metadata with exiftool gui, and geosetter will automatigically show you where the pictures are as well.
Let me know if you have problems.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<gpx creator="GPS Visualizer http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/" version="1.0" xmlns="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0 http://www.topografix.com/GPX/1/0/gpx.xsd">
    <trk>
    <name>ACTIVE LOG: 13 MAY 2009 13:27</name>
    <trkseg>
      <trkpt lat="33.097114" lon="-116.997989">
        <ele>143</ele>
        <time>1970-01-01T17:27:41Z</time>
      </trkpt>
      <trkpt lat="33.097114" lon="-116.997989">
        <ele>143</ele>
        <time>2010-05-13T17:37:31Z</time>
      </trkpt>
      </trkseg>
  </trk>
</gpx>
« Last Edit: May 18, 2009, 03:38:04 PM by Kevin Forsmo » Logged
Dierk
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 12:33:29 AM »

I have been using Custom Idea's GeoPic II for over a year now and am glad I decided to go that alley. The GPS receiver is small, versatile, much easier to use as it seems at first and reliable. Using Nikon's 10-pin connector and sporting a foot suitable for hot-shoe mounting as well as sliding onto a camera strap it is out of the way while always handy.

For those photos I need to correct the EXIF field values for geo-coordinates - i.e. the receiver couldn't get a signal in time, I forgot to set the indoor mode, or the signal was off due to reflection on walls or trees - I use GeoSetter, which has some other nice features as well [for instance, automatic assigning of field names].
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Dierk

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brentborg
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 10:01:14 AM »

Welcome to a new obsession!!! I recently started to geotag my photos and considered the Nikon GP-1 which works with the D200 and the D300 - but chose to buy a Garmin GPSMap 60Cx instead because I often have more than one camera with me, and I like to have the tracks as well as the GPS co-ordinates to geo-tag my photos with. I also discovered that a full featured GPS is handy to have on trips to places I where I get lost easily. I chose the GPSMap 60Cx becasue you can insert a 2GB mini-SD card an keep a GPX track of each day that you go out to shoot pictures. This was very helpful on a recent trip to Japan - especially for a series of pictures that I took from a moving train. You can also adjust how often it writes a track point - I set mine to once a second, others might prefer a different setting. I'm still experimenting. With a 2GB mini-SD card I had lots of space left over even after 14 days of GPS tracks! The GPS60 Cx together with the included Trip and Waypoint software (for windows) or Road Trip (for Mac) also has the ability to create and use user created points that can be used to tag images - very helpful if you have many images taken at the same point. I also know that some people create a list of "frequent photo points" this way a kind of GPS point inventory.

For geotaging older photos taken before I got my GPS I really like Nikon's free View NX software - you can tag a single image with a location, or tag a group of images, all using Google maps. And I'm not too worried about it corrupting the NEF files given that it's Nikon's own software - something to consider as a possibility when geotaging photos after the fact. I always keep unaltered back-ups of images that I geotag!!!!

As for geotaging my images that I shoot in Nikon's NEF format, or JPG on my Casio Exlim point and shoot camera, - I use PhotoLinker by Jeffery Early as I use a Mac. It seems to be a Mac version of Geosetter that lets you import and visualize GPS tracks on a map, and geotag images as well. PhotoLinker has a copy of GPSBabel built in and it easily recognises and downloads the tracks created by my Garmin GPS (the 60Cx connects to my Mac by USB). I keep my photos in Aperture so there is a bit of a workflow issue to sort out depending on whether you let Aperture manage your masters of you put them in separate folders as referenced masters. Overall I find the workflow to be easy and unobtrusive - especially since PhotoLinker can batch tag according to specific criteria that I control, and I can keep a list of specific points in PhotoLinker to tag specific images.

(p.s. the 60Cx has both a USB and Serial port - so I might get the Nikon MC-35 and attach the GPS directly to my D200 one day!)

Hope this information helps!

Brent Borg
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ianw
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 01:09:39 PM »

WARNING:  to all using Garmin devices to record GPX tracks - and probably for those using other makes...

I have had a Garmin 60CSx for just over 2 years.  Like many here I set it to record tracks to a 2GB microSD card, at an interval of a point every 5 seconds.  I've been using these tracks and Image Ingester to log tag my photos.  I've had two problems in that time.  The first was when I moved to a new camera 18 months ago.  Image Ingester wouldn't tag the position.  With Marc's help this was tracked down to the version of ExifTool that ImageIngester uses, which was not compatible with my camera.  I manually updated ExifTool within the Image Ingester installation directory, and Marc released an updated version.

The second problem is more serious and could affect everyone.  I also use my device for road navigation, although I've only just bought a decent map for it to use.  Late last summer I drove to South West France.  On my return I went to download the GPX files to use Google Earth to see the route I'd taken - vowing never to repeat the traffic jam I got stuck in around Paris!  Problem was there were no files.  I re-seated the card and tested it, just in case it had worked loose.  This wasn't the case.  Thinking it may be a problem with the card I reformatted it - having checked my GPX files were on my computer and backed-up!  On a clean memory card the device started recording tracks again.  Despite having a 2GB card it was "full" with about 30MB of GPX files.

The problem is that the GPX files are stored in the root directory of the card, and this has a physical limit to the number of files it can handle.  Sub-directories are not so limited.  Google searches have suggested the limit is 255 or 511 files.  I can't remember the exact number of files I had but it wasn't 512, as I don't have that many even now.  Looking at the dates of my files it was around the 250 mark, so the limit may be 255.  I have seen some posts suggesting that 255 is the maximum number of files - see http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?s=4c29345a1732214642ff0edd2bbc871d&showtopic=220313&view=findpost&p=3917185

So beware!  Don't think that you can store a lifetime of tracks on your device, as it seems you can't even store a years worth.  I now have a reminder set up to download new tracks once a month; then purging down to the 100 latest tracks.

Hope this helps  Smiley

Ian
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 07:29:57 PM »

Ian,
Thanks for posting that.  I had grown complacent about my GPS tracks - while I've been tagging some particular stuff, I have also just been collecting tracks for some period of time.  I'll make sure to download and then reformat the card soon.
Peter
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ianw
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2009, 12:18:41 AM »

Got up this morning thinking I could prove the 'problem' by seeing how many files I could put on the card!  Created a bunch of empty txt files and pasted to the Garmin.  It errored when trying to create the 471st file.  In all my years in the computing industry I've never come across this as a key number - it's not 8 to the power of anything sensible!  I retried with txt files with something in them and got the same number, so doesn't appear to be size related.  Maybe it's a Garmin limitation?  Maybe it's dependant on the format of the card i.e. FAT16 or FAT32?  I don't know.  I don't want to reformat the card as I have over 1GB of Garmin map files on it, and they take about 3 hours to transfer.

Anyway the key thing is that if you value your GPX files they should be included in your backup strategy.

Ian
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Dierk
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2009, 12:49:41 AM »

Brent, many thanks for bringing Nikon View NX to my attention in this context. I really didn't know it has the capability to geotag after the fact; seems Nikon's marketing department is as bad as, well, as I always say. Just had a quick look into it and found the implementation a bit need-to-get-used-to-it but sensible and interesting. Looks a lot like what xMedia should have offered ...

It's not too clear from the screens or the help file if they change EXIF fields [I guess so from the warning about the authentication system] or add to IPTC/XML [with new fields defined].

How's your experience concerning speed of View NX?
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Dierk

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Other: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Capture NX 2, Adobe Creative Suite 3
johnbeardy
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2009, 02:21:17 AM »

Echoing Dierk's thanks, Brent. I had 1.0 installed, but geotagging is there in 1.3, and it does update the EXIF. However, I can't figure out how to assign images to existing pins - you seem to have to create a new one - or remove geotagging when you make mistakes. It looks like the geotagging module needs further development work, but it is quick and is certainly interesting for those of us who add the GPS manually.

John
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Dierk
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2009, 04:00:40 AM »

John, I saw something mentioned in the help file about 'copying metadata' from one photo to another in regard GPS. Didn't investigate further ATM.
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Dierk

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Other: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Capture NX 2, Adobe Creative Suite 3
brentborg
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2009, 10:12:52 AM »

Hello Dierk and John,

I have to confess that Nikon's NX software has taken a while to get used to! It was not the most intuitive for me! But I find it very useful for geotagging!

Here a few tips that I've discovered:

1. I try to load one photo that already has a geotag from the general area that I want to use to geotag new/other photos - this saves a lot of hunting and resizing time. By the way, I have version 1.3 for Mac.
2. to copy GPS data, right click the picture that has the geotag data that you want to copy (geotagged images will have a small globe icon tag) and select "copy GPS Data" - then select the other photo or photos you want to copy the GPS coordinates to and right click - you can then paste the GPS data to one or several images.

And thank you Ian for the warning about the max number of tracks - I'm going to call Garmin and get their take on the maximum number - sine that would be a good thing to know! Thanks again for all the tips and info!

Cheers,

Brent
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