View Full Version : Geocoding photos

22-06-2010, 3:10pm
Hi all

I looking at Geocoding photos. ( I using a Nikon D90 ) just wounding what hardware and software you may be using / also good and bad experience's you may of had Geocoding photos.
Thanks Tad

22-06-2010, 3:15pm
I use a Garmin Oregon 300 to record tracks in gpx format and then the Lightroom Geocoding plugin from Jeffery Friedl to match the track to the photos.

Just need to make sure the clock on the camera matches the GPS clock before setting out.

22-06-2010, 3:17pm
Good thing you have a Nikon!

Ausphotography site advertiser : Scorptec : have one just right for you : http://www.scorptec.com.au/photography/27786-gnc-35

You may need to talk to them about it fitting the D90.

22-06-2010, 5:27pm
This is a good question and interesting topic, if anyone knows a good site, other than google :) to look at this, ie some expert commentary on it, rather than someone selling solutions, that would be a great help.

22-06-2010, 9:46pm
geocoding Nikon images is easily done with no GPS reciever at all. It takes a little bit of work, and you use Nikon's ViewNX.

I'm assuming that you're shooting in raw(NEF) format, and if you are, then you can open the NEF in ViewNX, and click the globe(world, not light!! :rolleyes:) icon called Geo Tag, which takes you to a Google Maps pop up page, and the NEF file will be listed there over on the far right.

Of course you can also geo code jpgs.. but who shoots jpgs(ok, ok.. apart from Kiwi! :p).

all this takes some work .. but it literally cost nothing! :th3:

there are other programs that you can use, and if you don't want to use ViewNX(which I'd highly recommend) then as an alternate program.. use a program called GeoSetter.

Even tho I'm about to recommend you to get yourself a GPS, I think GeoSetter is still worth discussing.
GeoSetter uses a program called ExifTools to write the geo data to the file,and it also handles NEF files.. BUT!! I once corrupted a NEF file using ExifTools(directly) trying to add geo data to an NEF file.
that was a long time ago now, and before ViewNX was updated to add geo data to Nikon images directly.
I've added geo data to many NEF files using ViewNX and have never had any issues.
Only the one NEF file using ExifTools to add geo data has ever gone awry, so I never tried that on any files ever again(I used an unimportant test image, so there was no issue).

have yet to fully check out GeoSetter, but apparently it;s the better program to use, and I think possibly the only other(for Windows) that can do it.. I know nothing!... about Mac software.

Ok, so last week I also purchased a GPS for my D300. I've yet to fully use it properly with the D300, but I have been playing with it on and off for the past week.
the beauty of this little tacker is the seamless intergration with the wireless remote and the fact that I can also use it with my PC if I wanted too, and also with my PocketPC(PDA) as I have been for the past week.
Not that I needed another GPS(I already have three :o), but I bought the Phottix GeoOne, and was initially sceptical about it even though I knew it'd work well(and it does) but I like the GPS chip they decided to use for the basis of the device.
I will do a review in the next week or two, and I can already say, that it will be favourable. it has all the connections I want/need,and can be daisy chained to accept the Wireless remote I also bought at the same time. So I can set the camera up and not really have to touch it.

As for the Phottix GeoOne, I've been road testing it, using my PDA for now.
I have on my PDA a program called OziExplorerCE, which is a mapping program I've been using for a long time now, and basically shows me where I am on MY maps(not some useless map I have no need for). While I've never really had any issues with my favoured GPS(an old Magellan GPS) on the PDA, it sometimes used to run slow. So I've had them running side by side for the past few days, and the little Phottix is very nice... fast, 'accurate' and sensitive(considering the size of the antenna).
it locks onto more Sats than the Meridian does(I'd expect that!) and it also tracks the European Galilleo sat system. The receiver is a 30 channel model, and even tho it's basically a useless figure to quote(as you only really ever need 5max for a very good location lock), the USA have been known to tamper with the accuracy of the GPS system(GPS is the yankee system.. not a generic term!!). During both Iraq wars they diluted the accuracy of the GPS network(apparently).
Have no idea if the Europeans ever will do that(I suspect they would to help out their American allies tho!). just points to note.
Also.. the older GPS system is going to be phased out(it's a frequency thing?... and something like 2020 ro so??) and there is a newer GPSII on an updated frequency(as I remember the info coming in a while back now).

So(apology for the rambling) but it may, or could be important, if you're like me and keep gadgets running for 10 or more years, your current GPS may not work in 10 years time :confused013

This 30 channel number may prove to be more important than the current situation may imply.
having 30 channels doesn't give you a better location lock either.
it can help to maintain a better likely hood of not losing your location(such as in a canyon, or in the heart of a big city.. but that's more to do with receiver sensitivity than number of channels.

And the Phottix is definitely more sensitive than the old Magellan is(but the Magellan maps are the best I can get for a GPS.. so that one stays too.

The Phottix uses power from the camera battery, and not self powered. you may think this is good, but it drains the battery a lot quicker! I think the GPS actually drains the battery twice as fast as the camera itself can/does. So add that to the camera, and if you got 1000 shots with each battery charge.. you're more likely to see only 300 or so shots with a GPS attached.
I'd guess that the D90 has the ability to automatically shut the meter off after a specific time when a GPS is connected(as the D300 and higher models are).
The D300 by default was not set to auto meter off when a GPS was attached, and this means that when the GPS was attached the camera's meter was always running.... bad for battery!
(I'm now looking for some cheaper aftermarket batteries as I want another two. I plan on using the GPS all the time).

The only 'issue' that I'm getting at the moment with this Phottix GeoOne is drift.
That is, it drifts about massively(and not what I'm used too with any of my other GPS recievers, past and current).
But the reason I like this particular Phottix device is that the GPS receiver chipset(U-blox5) is a fantastic one for support(from U-blox). I downloaded a pile of software from their site to test configure and play with the GPS, and they even had a Pocket PC driver for it(very rare to see any company supplying Pocket PC(Windows Mobile 2003!!) for their recent products.

SO!.. with that, not that I'd recommend against the Nikon GPS-1(the official Nikon GPS for their cameras), but that I'd recommend the Phottix for the chipset they chose to use, and the fact that they have good support for their product.
I haven't updated the firmware yet, but if I need too, I can.
And I have the diagnosis software to see if I can adjust the GPS receivers drifting issue, and upload any configs to the GPS if I work it out.

Cold start acquisition is not as fast as my old Magellan, but warm boot times are.. by a long way. 10-20 secs as opposed to 1-2mins.
Cold start can actually be more important, as if you have the device off for a long time and move a long way, it can take a long time for it to work out where the hell it is now! :p(that's cold start).
Warm start is when you set the camera to auto meter off.. the cameras meter is shut down to conserve battery, and the GPS also shuts down as they are linked. When the camera is awoken, the GPS also wakes up, and has to reacquire it's position(otherwise it won't write any geo data to the image exif!!
Warm boot seems to be about 20 secs.. but most auto meter off times are about 8secs or so.
Just as the GPS is about to relocate itself, the camera switches itself off again :D
I've reset my D300 to disable Auto meter off again, and I'm now forcing myself to be in the habit of switching the camera off manually(when I need too).

It's all a bit pros and cons for each system. Having a personal GPS tethered to a camera is no fun(and impossible for the D90 anyhow(no cable exists, that I know of). Having a small portable GPS that sits in the hotshoe(and can be clicked onto the strap if so desired) connected to the camera is more ideal(but also a little clumsy).
Having had a quick look at the Nikon GP-1, it looks to be identical to the Phottix GeoOne I got, except that I can attach my wireless remote, where I can't see any way to connect a wireless remote to the N GP-1. If I knew what chipset Nikon use(probably the same as Phottix I'd guess ;))
The Phottix can be attached to any camera brand due to the plugs it uses.. (ie. non proprietary) and can therefore be on-sold to anyone with whatever camera brand, if the situation would ever arise :th3:

And that brings me to the question of why I would ever want to sell it off.
I have no need for half a dozen GPS devices(but they've all served their purpose and have a purpose too), but the best GPS/geotagging solution is one from a company called Foolography(google it and look at his GPS solutions).
They are for D200 and higher only cameras, but I can't see any reason why he couldn't adapt his products for a D90(if demand is there).
Best solution, but 4x the price!(ie. not an option for me.. for a long time)

I zoomed past the happy stage(when I started to see and use the software/support system) with the Phottix GeoOne, and would highly recommend it.
Cost me $160 off ebay(which I'm kind'a happy with, but I should have got it when the dollar was stronger.. ie. @ $130! :rolleyes:)

hope that helps.
Hopefully I'll get a chance to do a review in a short while.

23-06-2010, 11:32am
Hi all...first post. Thanks for having me.
Thanks for a very comprehensive and informitive post arthurking, very helpful.
I am in the same boat as the OP (ie. also with a D90) looking for a reasonably priced geocode tagger.
I was looking at geocode loggers like the one from Amod but I am not convinced thay are a good solution, some reviews seem to question their accuracy and reliability.
The Geometr unit from Scorptec looks to be very good, has anyone here had experience with it? Not sure that it fits a D90 but it appears that it would, would just need to confirm before purchase.
I was trying to find the Phottix unit referred to by arthurking but there appear to be none on ebay at the moment. Looking at the phottix website it looks to very similar to the Geometr.
I guess my preference would be with the Geometr given that it is sold and supported locally and is probably very similarly priced by the time it lands.

24-06-2010, 12:16am
I was trying to find the Phottix unit referred to by arthurking but there appear to be none on ebay at the moment. ....

I forgot to mention, that the Phottix also comes with a (cheapo, but very usable) wired remote.
This wired remote is 'generic' though, and has a 3.5mm stereo plug at the connector end. That is, the wired remote will only work with cameras that utilise a 3.5mm stereo plug or on the GPS unit... not directly on the camera.
It's still good to have tho, as once the GPS is connected, you can't also connect a remote shutter release as the GPS is plugged onto that connector!

Ebay search (http://shop.ebay.com.au/i.html?LH_PrefLoc=2&_kw=Phottix&_kw=1&_kw=GPS&_dmd=1&_in_kw=1&_ipg=50&_oexkw=&_okw=Phottix%20Geo%201%20GPS&_sop=12&_udhi=&_udlo=&_trksid=m194&ssPageName=STRK:MEFSRCHX:SRCH).
Seems you can find them cheaper too :p ... but I generally have my favoured ebayer(HKSupplies) who regularly have them on their ebay list. I know(from experience) that they're solid and reliable, and if I ever have any issues with them, they're quick to respond(favourably). See their GPS products Here (http://stores.shop.ebay.com.au/HKSUPPLIES__W0QQ_sacatZHKSUPPLIESQ5fQ5fW0Q51Q51Q5farmrsQ5A1QQ_sidZ86277776?_nkw=GPS&submit=Search).

Was out tonight using both GPS and wireless remote, and they performed faultlessly(other than the fact that I drained the cameras battery to 50% capacity with only 20 or so photos! :o)
Checking the images on GoogleEarth/GoogleMaps they're only 2-5meters out, in terms of accuracy.. but I'm happy with that.
I haven't noticed any massive drift with a series of images I shot from the same position, so that wasn't the issue I thought it may have been... but then again, I did reconfigure(via the PC) the GPS unit last night, so that may have helped too.

24-06-2010, 3:39pm
I have a 'Photix GPS' and have used it while travelling overseas, it lived on the D300 the whole trip.There is a model for the D90.
The results are seen with 'Geotagger' free software - a split image of your photo and the location on 'Google Earth'.
Of the 1200 pix taken on the last trip, the ones that had limited time to locate satelites and indoor shots registererd the last plce co-ordinates, but most where in the ballpark for location, even when taken out of a bus.
The time to aquire satelites is about 55 seconds, so the unit is useless for opportunistic shots, but great for planned shots that require some time to shoot. Leaving the camera on all the time resulted in draining two batteries a day.
Getting a good result in cities was a bit hit and miss as the buildings blocked out readings some of the time.
End result - I have welcomed the setup as now when I look at my photos of my trip I can recall where the pics where taken, no problem at all.:th3:

24-06-2010, 4:04pm
I have a 'Photix GPS' and have used it while travelling overseas, it lived on the D300 the whole trip.There is a model for the D90....

It's the same device/model, and an extra cable for the D90 should have been supplied in the box as well.

I knew there was someone with one on AP, I just couldn't remember who.

23-07-2010, 8:33pm
Thanks for the response looks like some serious home work now to see which is going to be best suited.

Thanks Tad

23-07-2010, 10:04pm
For the non nikon users

I've got one of these little dooverlackies. Either clips to a backpack harness or even wear it around you're neck


John R

12-04-2011, 1:25am
For the non nikon users

I've got one of these little dooverlackies. Either clips to a backpack harness or even wear it around you're neck


John R
Can you give the name of your device? This link is now dead. I'm looking for a Canon solution.