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Archive 2013 · D800 GPS Unit
  
 
montym
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p.1 #1 · D800 GPS Unit


Hello. My wife and I will be going to Alaska in September. It would be nice to have my photos geotagged.
What are you using for a GPS unit?

Thanks
Monty



Aug 01, 2013 at 11:17 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #2 · D800 GPS Unit


I've tried a variety of GPS units now.

What I've settled on is a Bluetooth adapter for your camera (whatever works - I am using a Foolography Unleashed, which is the most expensive, but has the best power saving functions IMO), along with a Qstarz BT-Q818XT. The Qstarz unit has excellent power saving features, and tremendous battery life. It rates itself at 42 hours of active time, and that's really very accurate - I measured between 39-41 in my tests. That's with constant data reception; it will go to sleep after something like 20 minutes of not using it, and will stay in hot standby for a while, so waking up only requires a couple seconds.

The nice thing about the Qstarz is that it uses a very common Nokia phone battery, which you can pick up for a few bucks apiece on eBay. This means that if you have to spend a long period of time without power, you can just swap batteries.

I carted this setup all over Tanzania, including up and down Kilimanjaro, and only ended up with 4 pictures that weren't geotagged at the end (out of 3000+). I never had to think about it - I turned the GPS receiver on in the morning, and turned it off when I was done for the day. Over an 8 day hike, all day every day, I went through 3 batteries.

I tried an Aokatec receiver that had built-in GPS (no external GPS receiver), and didn't like it - when you wake the camera up, it takes too long for the GPS signal to re-acquire. I tried an Aokatec bluetooth receiver with external GPS, and it was okay, but the Foolography has better power management and is smaller. I tried the Solmeta GPS and it worked well, but was too bulky and had a cable to snag, which is bad for hiking.

I could probably write a book on this, which I plan on doing at some point to help out others in my situation. The Foolography plus the Qstarz receiver was really excellent, and I can't recommend it enough. It runs into some money, but for me, it was worth never having to worry about it on the trail. Please ask questions if you have them, because I had a lot of trouble finding information on good geotagging, and would be happy to share my experience.



Aug 01, 2013 at 11:29 PM
James Markus
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p.1 #3 · D800 GPS Unit


Hey Monty,
This is probably not as good as advice as binary visions', but knowing I can geo tag after the fact makes it a lower priority for me. I'm just starting this experiment.

Nikon makes the GP-1
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/accessory/camera/gp-1/
and here
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/microsite/gp-1/en/

You can purchase from Niikon here for $300+
http://shop.nikonusa.com/store/nikonusa/en_US/pd/productID.256096600

Another way that might work would be the
GPS Cable MC-35 which can be used with the garmin or mangellan gps units but the cable is $165 from Nikon.


I'm gonna try this knockoff
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Precision-Design-Nikon-GP-1-GPS-Geotag-Adapter-Unit-/200843240164?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec330a2e4



Aug 02, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Trey Neal
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p.1 #4 · D800 GPS Unit


I've been using Di-GPS from http://di-gps.com/shop/di-GPS-ECO-Professional-PF1 on my D4 and it works on the D800. Saw it first on Moose Peterson's website and for $144US I thought I'd give it a try. So far so good and best of all it requires no cord and provides a socket so you can still use your shutter release. YMMV.


Aug 02, 2013 at 04:30 AM
OccAeon
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p.1 #5 · D800 GPS Unit


I use the smartphone app gps4cam pro. You turn it on when you head out for the day, and you can set it to capture GPS from the phone every 5 minutes, or every 30 seconds. It extrapolates your location based on those captures.

To actually geo-tag your photos, you export the data as a set of QR codes, and take pictures of the QR codes with your cameras. Then you run an app, and it magically geo-tags all of your photos.

It's nice because it is super cheap ($5 total), works with multiple camera bodies at once, and doesn't involve any camera attachments or fiddling. It just works. My biggest issue with it is that if I don't take off a long lens, I have to set my phone pretty far away to get an in-focus picture of the screen :-). You also have to take the pictures of the QR codes separately with each camera, or the pics won't sync correctly (because it is based on the camera's clock).

It does eat your smartphone battery, but I haven't found that to be a problem as long as my phone is charged in the morning.

The accuracy isn't perfect, but it's pretty good. I've attached an example. This is a boardwalk in Yellowstone where my wife and I spent on hour or so -- as you can see, the pictures aren't all clumped together in one spot, but instead they track reasonably accurately to where we actually took them while walking around.





Lightroom showing the results from geotagging 2 cameras with gps4cam




Aug 02, 2013 at 05:05 AM
Chris Dees
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p.1 #6 · D800 GPS Unit


I'm using the AK-4NIII GPS KIT: Aokatec Ak-4NIII GPS receiver together with the Holux M-1000C logger (total cost $120,00) and it works fine (not great). I have their Shutter Remote switch ($5,00) as well which fits the AK-4NIII.
At the end of the day I download the data to my laptop and at the same time it reloads the data logger.



Aug 02, 2013 at 05:54 AM
workerdrone
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p.1 #7 · D800 GPS Unit


I don't have a great need for this, so I often just take a photo with my smartphone that I can later mentally match up to where a group of photos were taken. It's geotagged by default and I just paste that Lat/Long onto the group later in PP after I dump my phone and camera onto the PC.

If I was out in the middle of nowhere and I didn't want to spend any extra money on the function, I'd probably just keep a notebook with readings from a standalone hiking gps and file numbers from the camera, then tag later in PP.



Aug 02, 2013 at 05:40 PM
dasams
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p.1 #8 · D800 GPS Unit


Trey Neal wrote:
I've been using Di-GPS from http://di-gps.com/shop/di-GPS-ECO-Professional-PF1 on my D4 and it works on the D800.

I've been using a Di-GPS unit since they first came out years ago and have been very happy with it (and I paid way more than $144 for their orig unit). Geotagging after the fact is a PITA that I have no interest in. BTW, LR's integration of geotagged photos is really quite nice.



Aug 02, 2013 at 06:40 PM
lukeb
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p.1 #9 · D800 GPS Unit


I've been using these since 2007 http://www.promotesystems.com/products/Promote-GPS.html and find them to be very reliable. In 2009 one of the cables failed. I emailed the manufacturer. That was over the Christmas holiday. They answered me Christmas eve. They said I could do the replacement or they would cross ship me a new one. (These were out of warranty mind you). I opened the unit and saw it was a no-brainer repair.

They sent me a replacement cable via next day UPS. And, they are still working fine.

Now that's customer service, even out of warranty!






Aug 02, 2013 at 07:30 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #10 · D800 GPS Unit


Problem with using a cell phone versus a real satellite GPS is lack of coverage.

Places I go are very often completely out of cell range.



Aug 03, 2013 at 03:13 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Zichar
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p.1 #11 · D800 GPS Unit


The GPS function on smartphones can be independent on network coverage


Aug 03, 2013 at 03:31 PM
sjms
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p.1 #12 · D800 GPS Unit


http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gps-phone.htm

it is still network based unless you have an independent space based GPS system onboard.

does your cell phone actually have an independent satellite based GPS tracking system (hardware) along with the appropriate software and downloadable maps so when you go off the grid you have something to work with?

in addition you want to be able to turn off the cell phone functions so the battery actually lasts because it will constantly search for a land based tower and that's high energy consumption time.



Aug 03, 2013 at 04:01 PM
montym
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p.1 #13 · D800 GPS Unit


Well, you people sure have giving me something to think about.
I've tried two so far. A friend's Nikon GP-1 and my nephew's Geomet'r.
Both appear to function well. THe Nikon grabs the satellites much quicker.
I like how the Nikon sits on my camera. Low profile sturdy.
The Geomet'r is velcroed in place. Not very professional .
With these two units the Nikon wins hands down. No purchase yet. I'll stop at the camera store on Monday.

THanks Everyone
Monty



Aug 03, 2013 at 04:35 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #14 · D800 GPS Unit


sjms wrote:
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gps-phone.htm

it is still network based unless you have an independent space based GPS system onboard.

does your cell phone actually have an independent satellite based GPS tracking system (hardware) along with the appropriate software and downloadable maps so when you go off the grid you have something to work with?

in addition you want to be able to turn off the cell phone functions so the battery actually lasts because it will constantly search for a land based tower and that's high energy consumption time.


Virtually every phone, and certainly every smartphone, on the market now has an independent full blown GPS system on board. The phones use network locations to do the initial rough calculation, which hugely reduces the amount of time required to provide a lock, but if you shut off the phone antennas (such as in airplane mode), they will still acquire GPS lock - it just takes longer to do so.

Downloadable maps are another issue - but if all you're doing is using it as a GPS logger so you can geotag after, you don't need maps at all.



Aug 03, 2013 at 04:41 PM
OccAeon
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p.1 #15 · D800 GPS Unit


binary visions wrote:
Virtually every phone, and certainly every smartphone, on the market now has an independent full blown GPS system on board. The phones use network locations to do the initial rough calculation, which hugely reduces the amount of time required to provide a lock, but if you shut off the phone antennas (such as in airplane mode), they will still acquire GPS lock - it just takes longer to do so.

Downloadable maps are another issue - but if all you're doing is using it as a GPS logger so you can geotag after, you don't need maps at all.


This is exactly right. On any iPhone, for example, it works fine without data coverage, it just takes longer to lock on.



Aug 03, 2013 at 07:02 PM
sjms
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p.1 #16 · D800 GPS Unit


negative. it still relies on cell towers not real gps. my phone works the same way too.


Aug 03, 2013 at 08:11 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #17 · D800 GPS Unit


I'd have to test my iPhone 5, but I'm not believing it yet.

If I go to the back side of the Lasals or deep into Canyonlands, everything shuts down. I'll test and report back. Not relying on a phone out there.



Aug 03, 2013 at 08:13 PM
OccAeon
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p.1 #18 · D800 GPS Unit


sjms wrote:
negative. it still relies on cell towers not real gps. my phone works the same way too.


Nope. See here.



Aug 03, 2013 at 08:15 PM
sjms
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p.1 #19 · D800 GPS Unit


have you tested this well in the woods?

basic tower function for triangulation around towers is available for every phone out there. that's how they allow you to move from cell to cell so a lossless connection is maintained. it is also used for 911 emergency and other available functions.

there is a reason there are hardware GPS units for the iphone.

addendum: I do stand corrected. it can use GPS but its pretty much lowest on the list. it is also the most power intensive. not a real option for constant and consistent usage. again that is why there are actual external hardware GPS units available for them

ref: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/iphone/iphone-faq/iphone-gps-definition-assisted-gps-how-gps-works-real-time-navigation.html



Aug 03, 2013 at 08:20 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #20 · D800 GPS Unit


I prefer to use a trail GPS with logging. Sensitivity is excellent, battery life is 24-36 hours, and it is much more rugged and waterproof than most smartphones.

EBH



Aug 03, 2013 at 08:59 PM
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