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Newbie Qs about Geotagging with Canon dSLR
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Author Topic: Newbie Qs about Geotagging with Canon dSLR  (Read 26909 times)
Greg Koch
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« on: September 29, 2010, 11:56:34 AM »

Hiya, gang.  I've read through a few of the posts in this forum and have taken a gander at that Internety thing  Wink ...but I can't quite seem to find what I'm seeking, hence my question:

Can I get some device that will plug right into my Canon (1DsIII) that will instantly write the geo-info the the RAW file when the shutter button is pressed?  In other words, I'd like a geotagging device that has full integration with the meta- writing capabilities of my camera.  I've heard a lot about the Wireless File Transmitter coupled with a hand-held Garmin/Magellan GPS device, but is there no other way?  And, even if there isn't another way, can I at least assume that the WFT-Garmin/Magellan method is darned near foolproof?  In other words, I'd really rather NOT have to do any post production work on the images to bring in the GPS data.  I just want to press the shutter button, write it to the RAW image in real time, and move on.

Am I living in a fantasy world?

Thanks,
Greg
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johnbeardy
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 12:11:20 PM »

Coincidentally I was looking into this only an hour ago - here.

With Nikon it's easy - get a Garmin, a cable, and connect directly. With Canon, it seems you need to attach the WFT-E2 wireless transmitter unit, and then attach the GPS to it. I admit I was surprised to hear this, but I've had it confirmed by a couple of 5DMk2 users.

John
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Greg Koch
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2010, 12:19:36 PM »

Hey, John.  The social unconscious is a weird place, isn't it?  Grin  Like when three people independently wear purple and just happen, independently, to sit next to each other (I saw this yesterday).

Do you happen to know if Canon + WFT + GPS will give me geo data on RAW images?  I ask because I've heard that a lot of applications only write to JPEG, which would force me sync everything in Post-.

Thanks,
Greg
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johnbeardy
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2010, 12:24:19 PM »

I believe it's directly to the raw file's EXIF data, but if you'd asked me an hour or two ago I would have sworn Canon offered as direct a solution as Nikon, so what do I know?! Best to find someone who can tell you for certain.

John
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Greg Koch
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2010, 12:44:44 PM »

Yeah, I actually spoke with Canon Tech Support and they were...not quite as helpful as I'd have liked.  As crazy as it sounds, I'd rather find someone more authoritative than the manufacturer.  Hence my post here.  I'll hang around a while in case anyone else wants to jump in.

Canon shooting geo-taggers?  Come out, come out, wherever you are!

-Greg
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Greg Koch
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2010, 02:37:20 PM »

Edit:

Sorry, that should have been "Canon-shooting geo-taggers," not "Canon shooting geo-taggers."  To the best of my knowledge, Canon is not hunting down GPS-inclined people.  Apologies for the scare.  Shocked

-Greg
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Greg Barnett
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2010, 07:42:14 PM »

Here's a bit of info-

http://www.sjphoto.com/gps-canon.html
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rogerhoward
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2010, 03:55:26 PM »

Yes, the geotagging works with RAW files, not just JPEG... but that said, it's a pretty awkward setup, and expensive - I just carry a logger and sync it up after the fact. If I need a more integrated system, I might consider switching to Nikon just for that.

Cheers,

Roger Howard
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Roger Howard
Greg Koch
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2010, 12:09:19 PM »

Greg, sweet link.  Thanks!  I grew sad when I saw "custom hot-shoe adapter," though.  Now I have to brush up on my machining skills.  Smiley

Roger, for shame.  Considering switching to Nikon?  How could you?  I mean, no more big, white lenses?  (Crying hot tears of sorrow...)

But seriously--thank you, both.  I'll give it a whirl and see what happens.  I just love adding all this meta info to images.  I wonder if there's a device that will record my emotional state at the time the pic is taken, too.  Some kind of mood-ring-compact-flash-interface thingy.   Grin

-Greg
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2010, 07:33:19 PM »

Greg,
If you are tagging photos shot in the great outdoors only, then an in-camera tagging system can work.  If you might be in a city, or indoors, then you should consider a tracklog merge system.  It offers the ability to interpolate in a way that in-camera tagging does not.

You can make a tracklog with a dedicated GPS unit.  The hard part about that is that you neeed to do battery management. My Garmin can go 24 hours on a set of rechargeable, which takes some of the pain out, but it's still not easy to remember to swap batteries and keep them charged.

You can also use a smartphone that can apply GPS tags to photos to make a tracklog.  The hard part about that is that you need to remember to shoot a picture along the way to make the tracklog.
Peter
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rogerhoward
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010, 02:00:27 PM »

Peter - there are great GPS apps (I use MotionX) for the iPhone and other smart phones for generating tracklogs without having to take a shot periodically... the problem with smartphone GPS for this is the same as your Garmin, but worse - the phones will drain much faster with their GPS running all the time (and the phone prevented from sleeping), so I rarely ever use this except in the car or on my boat where I have DC power to the phone - my iPhone 3GS drains in maybe 2 hours (or less?), if I recall correctly, when using the GPS this way. In the field - hiking, camping, touring, etc - I just use a nice little GPS logger that I clip on my bag, which gets me a full day or so on 3 AAA's... I keep several sets of AAAs charged in my bag, so even if I forget to charge (or just can't) I'm good for 3-4 days; and, worst case, you can usually find a set of AAA's just about anywhere there's a shop.
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Roger Howard
Greg Koch
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2010, 09:21:33 PM »

Thanks, Peter and Roger.  Any chance either of you has a link to share about reading more on tracklogs?  I don't quite understand the concept and would love to read up on it.  I've Googled the term but can't find anything that really tells me what it is, only how to do it. I surmise from your replies and what very little I've seen on the 'net that it's some method by which to track the spatial movement of my camera throughout the journey of my shooting session.  But why would I want to do this?  Wouldn't I simply want to record where I am when I press the shutter button?  Does it really matter where I was before and after I pressed the shutter button?

I'm afraid I'm overdue for some education on the matter.  Apologies for the ignorance.

-Greg
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rogerhoward
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2010, 09:52:25 AM »

A tracklog is simply the record of all the GPS location data captured during a session - a timeline, where every point on the timeline represents a location determined by the GPS receiver. This happens unattended, unlike manually recording waypoints with your GPS when you remember.

Most GPS's support tracklogging - you simply turn logging on, and when you're done you have a text file with GPS coordinates and timestamps. These coordinates will typically be recorded at some regular interval - such as every 5 seconds. This tracklog can be used to load into Google Earth to show your journey graphically; or, more relevant to this site, you can load a tracklog into a geotagging app, point it at a bunch of photos, and based on correspnding timestamps in the tracklog and the images themselves, the geotagging software can automatically add GPS data to the images.

Since the tracklog's timestamps may not correspond to exact moment an image was captured, many geotagging apps can interpolate positions.
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Roger Howard
Greg Koch
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2010, 03:20:12 PM »

Roger,

Thanks for the clarification.  I understand a bit of what you're saying, but I still don't quite get why I'd want to make a tracklog rather than just record the GPS data when I press the shutter button.  Is a tracklog somehow supposed to alleviate the problems of using GPS indoors or in places where GPS reception is spotty?  If so, why can't I just go back in and fill in the locations by memory with some other software (e.g., Geosetter)?  I mean, if I'm going to have to do post-production work either way, what's the difference?

The only situation I can imagine in which tracklogging might help is if I forget where I took my shots.  But I'm pretty sure I can recall to within a quarter-mile the location of every image I've taken within the last ten years (partially because I keyword the location into the metadata (the only exception is when I'm way out in the boonies and I'll have to look at a map and ask myself, "Was I on that ridge, or that one?")).  I'll admit, though, that I haven't really tried.   Undecided

So, from my newbie-ish point of view, it seems like it's far better NOT to use tracklogging just because the data it provides is not something that can be compiled in the camera at the time of the shot.

Am I missing something here?

Thanks again,
Greg
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rogerhoward
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2010, 01:41:55 PM »

A few reasons people use tracklogs:

1. They don't have a camera that automatically records GPS metadata at each shutter click, and manually creating a waypoint each time they capture a shot isn't ideal.
2. They want to capture GPS data at all times, NOT just when clicking the shutter. This might be for non-photo reasons - recording trails they hiked, or even recording GPS data while shooting video.
3. They want the precision of GPS location data, so remembering where they were within +/- quarter of a mile is not what they want.

While most of my photography doesn't require extremely accurate location data, tracklogs are easy to capture and require basically no effort - just turn on the GPS when you set out in the morning, and remember to charge it at night. Oh, and make sure to keep the clocks in sync.

Merging tracklogs with the photos, so the GPS data gets embedded in the images, is a trivial, automated process these days. Not an inconvenience at all, and basically the only (or at least easiest) option for anyone who doesn't have a camera that captures GPS data at each shutter click.

I don't see how you reached your conclusion that it's far better not to tracklog, but that's an individual opinion I suppose. I'd rather have the tracklog for the majority of the cases where it's useful, and fill in the manual data for the rare cases it's not. When my GPS fails (lack of signal) it's usually because I entered a building, in which case the last recorded (and next recorded) GPS data once I'm out of the building is likely to be useful enough for my purposes. Since most software which geotags images using tracklogs will pick averaged points during periods where there's no GPS data, this almost always works exactly as expected.

So if you're saying that GPS isn't useful if it's not captured in the camera, embedded into the image, at the time of the capture I would disagree. And, of the methods available to capture GPS data if you shoot with a camera with no GPS, I'd say tracklogs are by far the easiest.

Besides, as I said, when I travel I record tracklogs regardless of whether I'm shooting or not. Geotagging my photos is just one use of the tracklogs.

-Roger Howard
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Roger Howard
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