With all of these photo treks I’ve been taking lately, I’ve been looking into getting a GPS data logger to assist with geotagging. My Garmin eTrex Legend does a nice job, but it’s a bulky battery hog that loses satellite links more often than I would like. When I get out of the car to shoot, I tend to leave it on the dash board, so any auto-geotagged photos are tagged to where I parked the car. Not ideal. I want something that’s accurate that I can either toss in a pocket or leave clipped to my camera.
Chip had gotten the Quartz BT-Q1000 last fall for his birthday. It seemed to work well, and I was very impressed with its Bluetooth capabilities, accuracy, and battery life. However, he seemed to have some trouble with the geotagging workflow. The BT-Q1000 doesn’t support some standard GPS file formats. There are now lots of options for GPS data logging, and it’s hard to figure out which would be the best.
Richard Akerman has put together a great chart comparing various GPS data loggers. So far it looks like the BT-Q1000 has the best feature set, though the lack of standard file format still makes it less than perfect. If I had my way, I would love to cobble together my own data logger using the best features from each of these. It would have the following:
- A SIRFstar III chipset with accuracy to work in a pocket
- Ability to save as GPX files
- 32 hour battery life, whether rechargeable or replaceable doesn’t matter
- Lightweight with a clip, similar to the Sony GPS-CS1 or the GiSTEQ Phototracker Lite.
- On-board geocoding to SD like the ATP Photo Finder
- A waypoint button for marking specific locations
- A single-line LCD status screen for synchronizing camera and GPS clocks.
- Minimum 2 gig internal memory
- Bluetooth capability to function as a GPS mouse
…oh, and all this for a price point less than $50.
We’re close, and some of these units show promise. i-GOTU makes a simple little SIRFstar III unit which sells for $48 on Amazon. It’s fairly basic with no screen, but it does have a large Man Overboard button. It’s also water-resistant, which is nice. The ATP Photo Finder isn’t yet available, but the ability to geocode in the field is very appealing. It has an LCD screen, but it also only has 7-8 hours battery life on two AAA batteries. Also, it only supports UTC time, so your camera would have to be set accordingly. All of the EXIF data on your photos would be off, which I don’t like at all. If I’m going to be compulsive enough to geotag my photos, I’m going to be compulsive enough to make sure the time stamp is correct for my time zone.
With so many devices hitting the market and so many improvements in this relatively new field, I think I might give it a bit of time before I break down and get one of these things.
[tags]GPS, geotagging, GPS data logger[/tags]