Now, Where Were We….Oh, Right Here!

[photopress:TST_0209.jpg,full,centered] © 2008 Damon Webster / Lunch in LA Series

click on the photo to get the location

So in our continuing search for the best geotagging systems, we spoke with some folks from Geotate in Las Vegas, who have developed technology which will now be in the next gen of point and shoot cameras. They are working with a company called Altek, one of the major manufacturers of digital cameras that a bunch of brands put their name on. Oh, don’t worry..that’s how most of it happens. One company develops and makes a product that can be branded by a specific company. Like Kodak. Or Sony.

Take a look and listen to some of Geotate’s technology:

Now this technology requires you to download the GPS data to the computer and it matches up to your digital photo file. This is one to watch and we’ll report back once it gets to market.


There are a few options out right now for geotagging including a GPS unit that has a camera built in, from Magellan, the Triton 2000. Ricoh has a camera available with built in GPS, Wi-Fi, and bluetooth. 8 megapixel, SD. About $1150.USD.

The best solution we’ve found that is available today and uses our existing gear is
the GeoPic II. Honestly, the search has been on to find the best solutions. And we’ve been looking.

There is one unit that asks you to put your “exposed” media card into a unit and tag each image with the GPS data. Scares the hell out of us. Unless the card is backed up. Never like touching the image once it’s on the card.

The Sony unit wants the clocks on the camera and the geotagger synched and then married with 3rd party software.Not getting the strongest word on the street.
Here is why we dig the GeoPic II: it’s the most elegant, simple design.There are 3 modes that you can set; always on, on when you press the shutter half-way, and a 3rd which allows you to lock on a GPS coordinate outside a building, go inside and shoot and guarantee those photos will be tagged correctly. It’s just hard to get a satellite signal indoors. You can also choose how you are notified of a locked signal. Personally, a beep lets me keep the eye in the viewfinder.

And the most important thing? The data is put right on the digital file. Done and dusted.
Use it wherever you like. Like the link to the photo at the top of the article.
It always sits on my camera. Why not? Works for us.Today. With our DSLRs.(Nikon D200 and D300) And our favorite lenses.And the image management software of choice: Lightroom.

Here’s a prediction: the only thing left for the camera industry to do to entice another sale of a point and shoot camera IS Geotagging.
The megapixel race is done, enough colors are available, the sensors are getting better but there is just so much you can put in that size unit, and the screen has taken up almost all of the real estate on the camera back.
So what else is there? I know…smile detection, face detection, blink detection, and more. But there is a bigger experiential factor added with geotagging.

And, we predict that telling your friends and family where you were, adds interest to travelogues and lets the viewer interact with the info and maybe see choose the info they may want out of the photo. If they dig the place, perhaps their hotel is elsewhere, and a geotag will help them get to the same place.

This is another huge step in social networking and the photo brings that next step. the key will be ease of use and execution.That’s what we have been looking for.

Today the GeoPic II does it for us. Not cheap, but worth it. Fits Nikon and Fuji with a 10 pin connector only at this time.
Mention and you’ll get a bit of a discount.Nice.

And for the other cameras brands, we are sure the solutions, reasonably priced are just about there. This one is just the cleanest and most reliable we found.

Gee, maybe the paparazzi can sell online star maps with geotags embedded in their photos.

We’ll keep checking stuff out as it becomes available.

And get yourself a bit of Google Earth, if you haven’t already.
It’s free. And too much fun. I mean..useful.

Damon Webster


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