I’ve been fascinated with the idea of geotagging images for a while now. It is one of those things that really sounds like fun, but the cost of admission was and still is pretty high. I am however convinced that more and more applications and therefore more and more interesting uses for this capability will make it an essential feature on your next cameras…why not get going today? When Adobe is on board with some new technology, you can be sure it going to be useful. Adobe’s Lightroom will automatically take you to a Google map showing the location where the image was taken. OK, it is a bit more gee whiz than useful, I can still recall where I took all 20,000 images in my portfolio, but my inner geek is giddy!
I looked at quite a few options and read all of the reviews that I could find online. Ultimately, I chose Nikon’s GP-1. Frankly a lot of it was brand name. There are several options that all seem to work, but for ease of use and similar price, I kept the Nikon logo on my camera.
The unit is much smaller than it appears in the ads. It is about 2 inches square and 1 inch tall. It clips on to the hotshoe flash mount or on the camera strap. Obviously, you cannot use an external flash or the internal pop up flash on my D300 for that matter. I rarely use the flash anyway, but I think that I’m going to prefer the camera strap option. The reason to use the strap option is the cable from GP-1 to the 10 pin connector is a a bit unwieldy. It does make the camera look very macho, but I think It will be less obtrusive on the strap.
Initial GPS acquisition takes a few minutes depending on conditions. If you are need to grab a shot from a “cold” start you’ll not get the camera to record the GPS coordinates. Once it has the acquired the signal re-acquisition was no big deal. It flashes a red LED while searching and this turns green once it has locked on a minimum of 3 satellites. Everything is done automatically for you at this point. The GP-1 does draw power from the cameras battery and it does not have a dedicated on/off switch. You must unplug the 10 pin connector to prevent a constant drain on the battery. From what I have read this isn’t a big deal, but if you store your camera for several days between uses you’ll likely want to unplug the GP-1.
I’ve only used it once so far and get a kick out of the technology. I haven’t found my killer app for the data yet, but I know it is coming. I’ll write a follow-up once I’ve played with it for a while longer.
Here is a picture of my friend Katie and a Google map showing exactly where we were…that is very cool!
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