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Author Topic: GPS Tracking & LR4 Integration  (Read 3475 times)
John Caldwell
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« on: March 27, 2013, 12:32:54 PM »
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What device would you buy today were you wanting to log tracking data that you would subsequently ingest into LR4 Map module? When working on a Mac OSX platform, do you know if the device you'd be inclined to recommend generates log files that are directly importable, or is some log file conversion needed before LR importation is done?

Many thanks,

John Caldwell
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Misirlou
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 01:43:04 PM »
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I used to carry a dedicated GPS track logger, always clipped to my camera strap, but now I just use an inexpensive app (GeoTagr) on my iPhone. Here's why:

1. I always have my phone with me.

2. Many phones, including all the iPhone models, augment their GPS location with position triangulation from cell towers when GPS signals are weak. Very helpful in urban areas.

3. The GeoTagr tracks can be read directly by Lightroom. No need for a funky intermediate file transformation, which was required with my old tagger. As long as you can get the track file to Lightroom (I transfer it via Dropbox), O/S does not matter. I use both Macs and PCs.

4. You can do other things with GPS tracks besides just tagging photos (keeping track of exercise miles for example), so something that only works with a camera is not as flexible.

The phone battery probably takes a small hit while recording, so keep that in mind. If you're way out in the boonies, where cell phones won't work, you might want a dedicated tracker device that takes ordinary batteries.
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2013, 01:50:09 PM »
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Thank you. I'm a little reluctant to base my method on the iPhone app over concerns of being out of cell range pretty frequently. Garmin insists that the eTrex 10, 20 & 30 models will generate .gpx files as is, on the Mac platform, via usb connections. So I lean somewhat in the direction, but hoped to hear from actual users.

I do appreciate hearing of your GeoTagr app, though, and I'm going to now download it and give it a try until I choose a dedicated device.

Many thanks,

John Caldwell
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terryco
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2013, 02:08:13 PM »
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You're not dependent on cell phone coverage, the GPS should work OK as long as you are not shielded from the satellite. I've used an app on an Android phone and it worked well.  The problem though is that it increases battery drain if you turn it on and leave it on.  OK for a day trip, but not so good if you are away from a charging source for more than a day.  For that reason I'm looking for a suitable GPS logger too.

Terry
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2013, 03:25:40 PM »
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You're not dependent on cell phone coverage, the GPS should work OK as long as you are not shielded from the satellite.

Excellent. I had not understood this.
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Rendezvous
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2013, 04:47:48 PM »
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I'm not too sure about the iPhone GPS when there's no cell signal. I've seen it a few times refusing to determine position when it's got no cell signal. At least for the initial fix anyway. It doesn't seem to matter if it then loses signal. I was using my iPhone for about a year for GPS tracking - there are a few different apps that will do it, and they aren't too expensive. Certainly cheaper than buying a separate GPS.

I recently bought a new camera with a built in GPS. This is proving to be a lot easier than having to remember to turn the GPS tracking on in the phone, then sending the GPX track to the computer!
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andre_
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2013, 05:00:52 PM »
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I use a GPS tagger Sony CS-1 since five or six years, but nowaday there are other inexpensive devices, helpful to spare battery from the smartphones.
I find it precise and one AA rechargeble battery lasts for a whole day.
I suggest this option over the smartphone. Wink Don't know iPhone, but my Android drains the battery in no time when GPS is always active.

On Mac, the free software HoudahGPS (on App Store) converts almost every kind of log file to gpx or other Google Earth friendly formats.
So, don't worry about some weird ".log" Sony files or other formats.
a_
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madmanchan
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2013, 09:07:29 PM »
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I recently used the Canon GP-E2 receiver on a trip and found it worked well.  I used it only in its "logging" mode where it takes a snapshot every N seconds (I have mine configured to every 15 seconds).  It runs on a AA battery.  At the end of each day I would connect the receiver to my laptop via a USB cable and grab the data, then load it in Lightroom's Map module.  I then selected all the pictures and ran the Auto Tag feature.
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francois
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2013, 05:20:28 AM »
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 Don't know iPhone, but my Android drains the battery in no time when GPS is always active.

Not so on my iPhone but there's still a noticeable drain (maybe something like 10-15% in a day of shooting). Some applications are better (or smarter?) than others but I only tried a few ones.
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Francois
mlewis
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2013, 05:22:25 AM »
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What device would you buy today were you wanting to log tracking data that you would subsequently ingest into LR4 Map module? When working on a Mac OSX platform, do you know if the device you'd be inclined to recommend generates log files that are directly importable, or is some log file conversion needed before LR importation is done?

Many thanks,

John Caldwell
Ideally you need a device that produces a gpx log file as that is the standard type of gps log and can be read by pretty much everything that uses GPS data.  All Garmin devices from at least the last 7/8 years can be set to write gpx log files to the memory card you can put in them with a point logged at certain time interval.  Just plug the GPS into the comuter with the USB cable and the memory card in the GPS will show up as an external drive and you can copy off the gps file.
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2013, 05:48:20 AM »
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Ideally you need a device that produces a gpx log file as that is the standard type of gps log and can be read by pretty much everything that uses GPS data.  All Garmin devices from at least the last 7/8 years can be set to write gpx log files to the memory card you can put in them with a point logged at certain time interval.  Just plug the GPS into the comuter with the USB cable and the memory card in the GPS will show up as an external drive and you can copy off the gps file.

Garmin tech support, with whom I spoke yesterday, confirms that recent Garmin devices do yield .gpx files, and that the devices are Mac-compatable. I hadn't understood, though, that separate memory needed to added to the unit to allow the .gpx file to be accessed. May I ask what model you might have used, if it's a recent unit? I contemplate a Garmin eTex 20 or 30, which sell for about what the Canon hotshot-mount unit, like the one Eric references above, sell for yet they offer quite a bit of additional functionality.

For the last day, I've used the iPone app called GeoTagr, the app that Misirlou taught us about above, to record .gpx Track Logs. I live in the city, and we've had no problem getting a log file recorded, but its accuracy has been off by 50 feet in my tests. Still though, this little app is going to be of use because the phone is always with me.


Thanks everyone,

John Caldwell
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 05:50:03 AM by John Caldwell » Logged
john beardsworth
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2013, 05:49:47 AM »
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If you use Nikon, get a cheap Garmin GPS and a cheap cable that goes into the cable release. The GPS will then be entered in the Exif data. Messing around with tracklogs is for Canon users Wink

John
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Jon Meddings
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2013, 09:56:09 AM »
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Let me echo the suggestion of using the Iphone and an app.  I use an app called Trails, cheap and works extremely well. Last year I spent 2 weeks in Iceland, often in remote locations and never had a problem. While driving I would keep the phone plugged in on the dash and then just take it with me when stopped.  Worked wonderfully. I don't see the need for a dedicated unit for what I do.
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AFairley
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2013, 11:56:51 AM »
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Misirlou, thanks for the GeoTagr suggestion, downloaded the app and it works very well.. Very easy to get tracks into lightroom if you have a Dropbox account.
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StuNY
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2013, 02:54:53 PM »
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I have been using Geotag Photos Pro with my iphone and Lightroom and find it pretty seamless. You can even email your tracks to yourself, or download/share from their website. Used it all over Africa last summer where I can assure you there were no cell towers much of anywhere and was dead accurate. Was very cool to see the trail of my entire trip with each image on the satellite map in Lightroom! You can adjust sample rate so that phone will track all day without killing your battery.
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mlewis
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2013, 03:43:37 PM »
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Garmin tech support, with whom I spoke yesterday, confirms that recent Garmin devices do yield .gpx files, and that the devices are Mac-compatable. I hadn't understood, though, that separate memory needed to added to the unit to allow the .gpx file to be accessed. May I ask what model you might have used, if it's a recent unit? I contemplate a Garmin eTex 20 or 30, which sell for about what the Canon hotshot-mount unit, like the one Eric references above, sell for yet they offer quite a bit of additional functionality.

For the last day, I've used the iPone app called GeoTagr, the app that Misirlou taught us about above, to record .gpx Track Logs. I live in the city, and we've had no problem getting a log file recorded, but its accuracy has been off by 50 feet in my tests. Still though, this little app is going to be of use because the phone is always with me.


Thanks everyone,

John Caldwell
I use a GPSMap 60cx. It doesn't have any internal memory so I have to write log files to the micro sd card I have in it. You will have to turn the function on as well. I also put maps on the sd card. If the device has some internal memory then you should be able to write log files to that instead. You can do that with my Garmin Edge 800 which has some memory. The GPSMap 60 series has been replaced with the GPSMap 62 series now.
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SangRaal
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2013, 03:58:32 PM »
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I think the best solution if you shoot canon is Eric's the canon dedicated GPS ::: However I have used a variety of Garmin devices to synch with my Cameras and Lightroom map module (not the E- trex series). I have used edge 500 and 800 in the past, and this year will use the edge 510 and 810(improved versions of the 500 and 800 improved by having built in wireless both bluetooth and ant+) and also a garmin 910XT(acquired by my wife to track her ski runs and verticle skied and also records machine output in the gym). You can synch with lightroom mapping module either by uploading from the garmin device to your "My Garmin Page" and go from there and dowload into lightroom with the specific tracked activity or by usb bluetooth/ or ANT dongle to your camera or cell phone, or you can usb connect the garmin device into the lightroom mapping module. The garmin 800/810 has scrolling real time maps either topos or road/street the other devices superimpose your route on upload or download. My 1 disclosure is that our bicycle race team is sponsored by Garmin and we are given the devices and instant tech support.----------------   Now as a practicing Trial Lawyer my caveat is that if you have any kind of GPS recording app on your phone learn how to remove it and any stored GPS data(not so easy) and flush that info if you have any kind of traffic accident it will be subpoenaed and used against you.
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Misirlou
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2013, 05:12:31 PM »
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For the last day, I've used the iPone app called GeoTagr, the app that Misirlou taught us about above, to record .gpx Track Logs. I live in the city, and we've had no problem getting a log file recorded, but its accuracy has been off by 50 feet in my tests. Still though, this little app is going to be of use because the phone is always with me.


Thanks everyone,

John Caldwell

John,

GPS can be a problem in cities. The satellite signals are subject to a whole range of degradation effects, from multipath reflection, to simple line of site blockage. Unfortunately, not much you can do about it. Really dense cell tower coverage can help with phones, assuming your carrier and phone combination can take advantage of that. Here in New Mexico, these are not issues I ever encounter.

I was involved with the development of GPS from the very early days of the R&D satellite constellation. If anybody back then would have suggested that you'd be able to get a usable position from a small, cheap device, in a city, we'd have laughed at them.
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AFairley
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2013, 06:48:10 PM »
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Yes, I tried GeoTagr driving home from work last night (mostly through one and two and sometimes three story buildings) and the track was spot on.  This afternoon in downtown L.A. (tall buildings), the track bounces around all over the place.  Same thing happens with my Garmin Csx, it is pretty much unavoidable in dense high-rise urban areas, AFAIK.
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2013, 06:40:44 AM »
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Again, I've learned a lot here and am glad to asked all of you who are much more conversant in this area than I.

For now, I am enjoying the GeoTagr iPhone app, but can see that phone power consumption may become a factor for long outings away from recharging opportunity. To that end, I've bought my wife, a very capable photographer who enjoys "hike" work with our dogs, a Garmin eTrex 30.

Does anyone understand how we can associate one group of images with a given .gpx track file; yet another image group with a different .gpx track file? The context I refer to is when the two track files share common time stamps, that is, the two cameras are being used at the same time? Imagine the LR catalog contains images taken by photographer 1 who logged .gpx track file 1; but the same catalog contains images shot by photographer 2 whose track is described by .gpx file 2 - and the two photographers are shooting at the same time.

Thanks again to all.

John Caldwell
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