Review GPS Tagging of photo locations with Gosget data logger Review

RobertP

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#1
Intro

OK I admit I like gadgets and I've now added another to my collection.

This one is a Gosget GPS Data Logger that I bought from a Taiwan ebay seller. As the offer in Australian dollars was a couple of pounds cheaper I used that buy-it-now instead of the UK one - but they still delivered quickly. If the item expires from ebay I guess you could search for Gosget and find it again. Cost me about £35/36

The reason for this purchase was my bad memory for small towns etc. where I have visited and taken photographs. Processing the RAW files a week or so later the locations become increasingly difficult to name. Step in geotagging.
The exif data in a jpeg file (not raw file) has fields where the GPS coordinates can be entered and many programs are available that can read them and locate the picture using this data.
In order to get the coordinates the GPS position at the time of the picture needs recording. This is where a GPS data logger comes in.

You can get more sophisticated devices to do the job but this seemed a simple and compact solution - and so far it has proved to be a good one.

So a few days after clicking the mouse on ebay the device arrives from Taiwan. It was over the £18 VAT limit but Parcel Force just handed it to me and did not ask for any money.

This was what was in the jiffy bag (AA battery just for scale) -







Canon BP511 for scale


And of course without reading any of the info I inserted 2 x AAA batteries and switched it on. The LED flashed green for 20 seconds or so then stayed lit.


I did then read the info but it was all a bit minimalist and didn't really help much.... but at least it appeared to work.

Software supplied

First program to install is the utility for getting data out of the device and on to the computer. A driver is installed to create a virtual COM port and a program to do the actual transfer etc. A USB cable is suppplied but as it uses the same standard small connector as most other devices I just used a cable I had to hand.

Once the program is installed and run this is what you see (assuming you have turned the device on - The program runs but communication fails if you don't turn it on) -



Clicking connect then shows a success dialog if you guessed right and chose the correct COM port -



Device status lets you choose how often the position is recorded and a couple of options as to what data is recorded. I chose the second option but I don't think altitude has been recorded into my pictures exif. You can also see here how much of the built in memory has been used. After 3 days of use (20 hours?) it now shows slightly more used than in the picture below maybe 1/10th full.


There were only 2 log files when I did these captures and they only had a journey from the window to the desk recorded. You click on the files to select them then hit the middle button to do the transfer to PC


The last tab needs sorting out first - this is where you set a default folder on the computer for file download. You can also put in the path to the exif writing program they supply (details next) in case you'd like to launch it using the 'Photo Match tool' button in the screen grab above.
 
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RobertP

RobertP

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#2
More Software

So that was the device and its data transfer - now the program that can do something with it.

From searching around about geotagging it seems there are a few programs that can read the log files and put the location (when the photo time matches the time in the log file) into the exif of the picture. Some are free and some are shareware where you have to pay.

Unsurprisingly the little CD has one of the free ones on it - called locrGPS photo. So I installed it.

This is what you see the first time you start it up


As I launched it from the other program it has the path to the log files and shows them listed bottom left.
.
.

Having processed the RAWs into jpegs from my recent weekend in Exmoor and Bath during which I had the Gosget running I clicked the 'Add' button for the larger list box above and added them all.

As you can see there are now more 'Tracks' too. This screen capture was after I ran the program but the coloured background shows straight away and indicated that times in one of the tracks match the photos. Clicking on a photo in the list gives a small preview and a Google map with the position. The first 4 pictures were before I left the hotel in Exmoor and had not turned on the Gosget.

All in all it was pretty easy. There are a couple of caveats though which I'll mention below.

Using the Gosget

Use couldn't be easier really - you put 2 AAA batteries in and when you start out for the day press the power switch on the side. The green light flashes until it gets a position lock then stays on. The literature says AAA alkalines last 12 hours. I'd say 10 was nearer the mark. Obviously they would last longer if you turned it off whenever you stopped somewhere but my idea was fit and forget. I just put it in the pocket of the camera bag and forgot about it!

So it was for the 3 days and 2 sets of batteries that I used it. The first batteries did die in use but the data was saved right up to the end (travelling back to B&B) and I did not lose any location data from when shooting.

Using the Software

The locr software has some good points and some that could be better. One good thing was that I didn't have to work out which track file was for which set of photos. As long as the time of the photo could be found in one of the listed track files it was happy and could write to the exif when you tell it to.

Because it writes to your picture files it makes a backup copy of them first. That sounds like a good idea but my jpegs were created from RAW files and could easily be recreated if necessary - so I'd have liked the option to turn it off but there is no option.

That brings me on to the biggest negative point - lack of a progress bar. Jpegs from a 5D RAW are quite large and I loaded about 3Gb of picture files into the program. They went into the list fine and as I correctly guessed showed a coloured background in the list if they had matching times in the track files. So I click the 'Automatic geotagging' button - and nothing seems to happen. The program appeared frozen and the title bar in Vista changed to (not responding). I resisted the temptation to end it with task manager and left it while I did something else.
A few minutes later it came back to life and showed a little x against the files which indicates tagging is done. Once I checked with windows explorer that the files were still OK I realised what the freeze was about - all that backing up of files!

On checking the locr GPS web site I found a newer version of the program - which I downloaded and installed. It crashed every time I tried to use it! Even tried completely removing it all and clean re install. Now gone back to the older version supplied and it still works.

So a few niggles but overall it is a very easy thing to do and I can stop taking pictures of signs with location names on (when I remembered) and be safe in the knowledge that this little device will have noted where I was at the time :)
 
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RobertP

RobertP

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#3
So a couple of tagged pictures...

If you have Opanda Iexif or other similar exif reader installed you should be able to right click these and choose 'locatate on map' to see where they were taken.

My normal method of resizing and posting pictures retains the exif - at least I thought it did. The GPS data was not there! So these were resized using a different program.

#1


#2


#3 Rain and low light. Looks a bit soft.


The weather was wet and horrible all weekend!
 
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Dylan
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#5
Seems a awesome bit of kit to be honest, and something that i could use. Problem i have is trying to remember and index my pictures, however this seems to be awesome, does it matter where the photos are stored?
 
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RobertP

RobertP

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#6
, does it matter where the photos are stored?
No. You just add (with the 'add' button on the left or the program window) the picture files with a normal 'open' browse box as used by most windows programs. It creates a sub folder called backup and copies the files as they are to it, then adds the GPS data to the exif of the original pictures. I delete the backup folder afterwards.
 
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Jim
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#7
Nice review, I've been looking to get one of these, but everything I'd found so far was almost as much as a fully fledged handheld GPS unit.

Does the Gosget come with Mac/OSX software to get the track logs off it, or is that bit windows only?
 
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