Just set up a new Bluetooth GPS receiver for geotagging and it works better than I hoped it would. I want to have the receiver in my bag or pocket and not worry about it. I’ll use the phone as normal. I’ll take pictures with my camera or phone. To use, I’ll set the phone collecting GPS data at the start of the day and stop it at the end. Any photos taken during the day, I’ll pair with the track to get a geotagged photo. Here’s how:—
Setup for a MAC:
- Nokia N70 Mobile Phone (with decent digital camera and bluetooth). Connect to my MAC via bluetooth.
- i-Blue wireless GPS Receiver (£40, one for the cheapest I could get, 72g, 30h battery life)
- GeTrack (£5 GPS track recorder software for the Series 60 phone)
- ZoneTag (optional, will GeoTag photographs on the phone and upload to Flickr)
- GPSPhotoLinker (for quickly linking any digital photographs with a time stamp to a GPX-fomat GPS track
- Flickr (to display geotagged photographs)
The i-Blue GPS receiver is very small and light. Turning the GPS receiver on for the first time, it took 5 min to get a fix on its position. Subsequently this takes about 10 seconds. There is a blue LED that flashes when linked to the N70 and a yellow LED that flashed when the GPS has a fix (lit continuously when not). GeTrack was very easy to install and once the GPS was paired with the phone it worked very well. Turn on the GPS, then turn on GeTrack, then start acquiring data. The bluetooth connection is then made and then you need to choose a logging interval from 5–300 seconds. When you stop acquiring a track, you are asked to save the track with a name (there is an Autosave feature in case the phone runs out of battery). You can keep multiple tracks on the phone which is useful for long trips. The GPS receiver has an energy save feature so that if it looses the bluetooth connection to the phone it goes into a low energy mode: I haven’t tried this to see how or if it will wake up when the bluetooth connection is established again. The accuracy of the CPS receiver is OK: not stunning but I don’t need it to be. It locates me me on the right street. More to follow on this.
GeTrack outputs in lots of different formats and is a very straightforward piece of software. It only acquires data and sends it via bluetooth to your MAC. There are other GPS programs for the N70, principally GPSXC. This is very feature rich, displaying the satellites, current track and compass direction and also recording the track. A single track can be output in one format which would have required more organisation and software like GPSBabel to convert a track to the GPS format I needed for GPSPhotoLinker. It’s also double the price of GeTrack. I won’t be using my GPS for navigation, looking at speed or distance travelled so overall I don;t need GPSXC. GeTrack outputs in the GPX format but also in several KML formats for Google Earth. I was really impressed how easy it was to import a track to into Google Earth on my laptop and see the track overlaid on the terrain may of home town.
This is how part of today’s track looks in Google Earth. The waypoint was added by selecting an export option from GETrack (adding 5 minute waypoints to the track). Generally the track and my route don’t correlate well on this part of the journey. I stopped to take a photograph where there is a spike in the track (top right-hand side) which shows the accuracy of the GPS fix. The receiver was in my bike pannier, down by the rear wheel in a vertical orientation in an internal pocket. Perhaps if I take more care to orient the receiver it would get a better fix. However, chucking the receiver in the pannier is more my style.
It was a matter of seconds to import the track and the photograph into GPSPhotoLinker. the trickiest part was working out how to match the time on the phone (BST—British Summer Time) to the GPS (UTC). This didn’t take long and the software then showed data for the GPS track points immediately before and after the photograph was taken, and also the interpolated position of the photograph between these track points. I didn’t do anything special to synchronise the time on the phone and I was happy with the result (photograph below from my Flickr Map). I imported the GPS-tagged photograph into iPhoto and then onto Flickr. (I used 1001 for the first import and the geotags were lost, they were there when I tried a second import using the Flickr direct import, so I’ll need to experiment a bit more with this). I’d set the Flickr default geotagging privacy to allow anyone to see the tagged photos on a map and to automatically use the GPS information to map the photos (both set from the Flickr account page).
The tagging of the photograph is close enough for me to be really happy with this. On a recent trip to Scotland I manually tagged about 50 photographs using the Flickr interface and it was laborious work.
For those photographs where there is no GPS track (for whatever reason) I’ll be using a great piece of software called GeoTagger. You set Google Earth to view where the photograph was taken (using a crosshair overlay to locate the exact position). Drag and drop photographs for that location onto GeoTagger and the GPS locations are then immediately inserted (and spookily GeoTagger immediately quits too). This is much faster than using Flickr to map the photographs, and arguably more straightforward that using GPSPhotoLinker. I used this method to tag the Google photograph above (as the Google Earth window was already open from when I made the screen capture).
Here is the final photograph, geotagged and on Flickr.
“Cam at Dusk: test of GPSPhotoLinker” by GrahamMcCannCAM
Technorati Tags: Bluetooth, Cambridge, Geek, Geotagger, Geotagging, GeTracks, Google Earth, GPS, GPSPhotoLinker, MAC, Maps, Mobilephone, N70, Nokia, Photography, Track