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Chockstone Forum - Gear Lust / Lost & Found

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Author
Digital SLRs that are GPS capable

Paulie
24/09/2009
10:26:59 PM
Wondering if anyone has had any experience with these? I need to buy one for work so we can geo-locate photos for monitoring purposes for some of our onground works (revegetation, erosion control etc). The boys in the depot across the road have a Ricoh 500SE which seems to be pretty good with 8MP, but without (obviously) the functionality of a digi SLR (plus I want it to take super high res photos for publicity purposes - pull up banners etc)...I hear there are GPS ready SLRs (i.e., with an integrated or piggyback GPS unit - not just plugging the etrex in via a cable) out there but don't even know where to start looking, the internet hasn't been of much help either for a change! Any help mucho appreciated!
gfdonc
25/09/2009
8:39:05 AM
I think Nikon claim this. Sorry, don't recall the details.

Alternatively there are third-party cards that plug in via the memory card slot (I think) that offer position. At least one of them does it via wi-fi triangulation which I presume means no satellites are involved. Try searching www.dpreview.com for "GPS" and see what you get.

Alternatively you might be able to link your camera via an Eye-fi card (www.eye.fi) to a GPS that supports wireless.
Wendy
25/09/2009
8:44:49 AM
I think we need a camera that reads ACA pdfs too.

Nothing helpful to offer, sorry Paul ... except maybe it's a lot cheaper to carry multiple devices around?

ajfclark
25/09/2009
9:28:12 AM
On 25/09/2009 gfdonc wrote:
>I think Nikon claim this. Sorry, don't recall the details.

Nikon has the GP-1 GPS:

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Product/Miscellaneous/25396/GP-1-GPS-Unit.html

http://www.digitalreview.ca/content/Nikon-GP1-D90-GPS-Accessory.shtml

I seem to recall some software that took a GPS route map and the timestamps on photos and married the two together or something but I can't track down the link.

ajfclark
25/09/2009
9:33:12 AM
On 25/09/2009 ajfclark wrote:
>I seem to recall some software that took a GPS route map and the timestamps on photos and married the two together or something but I can't track down the link.

Might've been this: http://geotag.sourceforge.net/
Richard Delaney
25/09/2009
12:08:38 PM
Mapping, GIS, gps, recording asset condition in the field is a big part of my job.
There is no one solution that I've come across. The tools I use depend on the job.

Normally a Garmin map60CSx and an Olympus u1030sw provide the lightest weight and
most reliable solution. I either give the waypoints the same name that the camera gives
to photo or make sure that I sync clocks on both at trip start and then take photo and
waypoint close to the same time. Either way, there's a little bit of work after setting up
the hotlinks so that MapInfo opens the photo when I click on the waypoint.

Other times, I take out the Trimble dgps/iPAQ and a dSLR (NikonD70 or D200) but still
manually put the photo name in the waypoint data - although it's much easier with the
iPAQ.

There are cameras with onboard GPS or that can easily connect to an outboard GPS
and these store the lat/long in the image EXIF data. This sounds handy, but you still
need to associate the image with a waypoint if you're going to GIS. You also have no
indication of how good (ie PDOP) the GPS signal is as you take the photo. This point is
particularly valid if you're working under tree canopies or escarpment areas with limited
sky view and multipath issues.

For now, I reckon stick with the manual system - it seems a bit cumbersome but it sure
beats the old days.

Lastly, keep file sizes down if you're taking photos simply to document on-ground
works. Taking photos for publication means you really have to plan to do that and take
a camera just for that job.

PM me if you'd like more details...
gfdonc
25/09/2009
12:19:49 PM
If it's for a professional gig, we also do some work with ruggedised PDAs (TDS Nomad/Trimble and the like) that actually include a fairly reasonable camera with a built-in GPS. So your option might be to buy a non-camera device that includes both functions.

MonkeyBoy
25/09/2009
4:53:44 PM
I heard you can do this with your I phone - Know its not an SLR - just what heard like
audtracol
25/09/2009
5:37:19 PM
I've just bought a Nikon D300 and it is fully operable with the Nikon GPS device as an added extra. It's a great entry level professional camera that provides high res images. Camera with 18-200 VR lens would set you back about $3500. Next option up from that is the D700 which has a full frame sensor.
Richard Delaney
25/09/2009
10:53:15 PM
On 25/09/2009 MonkeyBoy wrote:
>I heard you can do this with your I phone - Know its not an SLR - just
>what heard like

Yep - I've got the MotionX GPS app on my iPhone and it georeferences photos and you
can then export the whole thing to Google Earth - GPS tracks, waypoints, and photos.
It's a neat toy.

These apps may get there one day but, at the moment, these and dSLRs with
GPSin/outboard do not really cut it for environmental field work. How do you know what
accuracy the position fix is? For consumer grade GPS, the position is +/- 15m
assuming you have good sky view. It may be +/- 50m or worse once you introduce
trees/cliffs/buildings etc. All that is recorded with the photo is the calculated position
and no statement of positional confidence. The other issue is: do you want to record the
position of the object being photographed or the point the photo was taken from?


Paulie
27/09/2009
8:46:25 PM
Thanks heaps for the info. Richard, great advice as always, thanks mate. I'll only be using it for photo-point monitoring really, but have looked into some trimble PDA units that work well with ArcPad for taking waypoint / shapefile data and aligning it to our maps on screen (we use ArcView at work but then relay our info to the Shire who use MapInfo - their techy does the conversions for us - thank god!).

On 25/09/2009 audtracol wrote:
>I've just bought a Nikon D300 and it is fully operable with the Nikon GPS
>device as an added extra. It's a great entry level professional camera
>that provides high res images. Camera with 18-200 VR lens would set you
>back about $3500. Next option up from that is the D700 which has a full
>frame sensor.

This however sounds exactly what I'm looking for, where did you purchase it from mate and did the salesperson know their stuff?

Cheers,

Paul

Paulie
27/09/2009
8:50:24 PM
Richard, is there a way of connecting a dig-SLR to an extrex etc to get around the reliability of position issue? Are there established cameras that will do this seamlessly into ArcView?
racingtadpole
28/09/2009
6:58:58 AM
On 25/09/2009 Richard Delaney wrote:

>GPSin/outboard do not really cut it for environmental field work. How
>do you know what
>accuracy the position fix is? For consumer grade GPS, the position is
>+/- 15m
>assuming you have good sky view. It may be +/- 50m or worse once you
>introduce
>trees/cliffs/buildings etc. All that is recorded with the photo is the
>calculated position
>and no statement of positional confidence.

To take us on a bit of tanget for a little bit. There is no real distinction between Military or Civi GPS units anymore (at least not as far as accuracy of a fix goes). The Gulf war in Kuwait in the early 90's saw to that (the Americans had to put civi units into service because of a lack of military units, to do so they had to turn the encryption that made the civi units less accurate off. It has never been re-instated). I used to have quite a lucrative sideline building differential correction setups for geo exploration teams but there is no need for that now. A Garmin E-trex can provide accuracy to with in 2m with a multi dimensional fix (3d fix) and accuracy to 12m in the event it cant triangulate and makes do with a 2d fix. It would be a very unusual set of circumstances to see accuracy drop to 50m these days. This is why satellite navigators for cars have become the norm now, the cost of the technology has finally caught up with the accuracy of it (if the militray satellites were still encrypted then satnav wouldnt be possible with out the use of differential correction, not hard to do but the cost goes up considerably). Most mobile phones these days can triangulate to within 5 metres just using the working RF carrier and the positions of the towers providing them as an absolute. It is a bit heavy on the bandwith to do it, which is why the carriers that provide it arent shy of charging for it.

Anyway I'll stop babbling on about the pedantic technicalites of it all now...
Richard Delaney
28/09/2009
9:57:51 AM
In Australia, we don't have WAAS - it is possible to receive the Japanese MSAS sas (41
& 42 from memory) and your GPS will act like WAAS works but we don't have any
ground reference stations so it will not improve the accuracy. It may even make it worse
as it will apply differential corrections calculated for Japan.

The upshot is: I'm fairly confident that an Etrex will not give you 2m accuracy in
Australia. It might, but the best that can be reasonably claimed is about 15m 95% of
the time (due to the combination of atmospheric effects, clock drift, and the physical
problem of really knowing exactly where a satellite is...). If we had WAAS (as they do in
the US or EGNOS - Europe) then this would certainly come down to somewhere 'round
the 2m mark.

I often have estimated accuracy down to 50m as I work in heavilly treed areas and under
the escarpments of the upper Blue Mountains. Yes, satnav in cars works well as,
generally, you have good sky view from a road and there's this little trick in most vehicle
based units called "lock on road" where the unit assumes that you are on the road
nearest to the calculated position and then tells you that's where you are.

As for phones, this works well in heavily populated areas as then you have multiple
towers to work off - not so good for working in the bush or along generally linear arrays of
towers like those along country highways. AGPS (assistedGPS) as they call it is great
and lets true GPS phones get really fast fixes. I think most of the bandwidth is
consumed in the transfer of maps - especially if you use mobile google maps and the
aerial photos! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly sure Telstra does not charge
anything to use its whereis mapping stuff under the nextg free-to-browse banner.

Etrex & other GPS units:
I remember seeing a post on another forum somewhere about custom cables to connect
other GPS units to Nikons - I think one poster even made a bracket to have the whole
thing sitting on the hotshoe. This would enable you to get a much better idea of
accuracy as you can read it off the etrex screen. I've not used a Nikon GP-1 but I gather
you have to count how many and what colour the LEDs flash and even then this just
indicates whether you have none, 3, or 4 sats (not PDOP). Note, neither of these stores
positional confidence with the EXIF data - you still only get lat/long.

Lands Vic have an excellent, novice-friendly, free downloadable publication "Global
Positioning Handbook - GPS Data collection for integration with Geographic Information
Systems". Also, google (GPS Nikon) or (etrex nikon) and you'll be waist deep in the
stuff.

hope this helps. If you're up in the bluies (as this is a climbing forum!) feel free to drop in
and I'll show you the way I've worked it,
Richard
Richard Delaney
28/09/2009
10:08:00 AM
PS, just stumbled across this:

http://www.redhensystems.com/inc/sdetail/170

This should do it for you...

and, it was a gecko301 not an etrex that I'd seen mounted.

wombly
28/09/2009
6:12:24 PM
>I often have estimated accuracy down to 50m as I work in heavilly treed areas and under
>the escarpments of the upper Blue Mountains.

apart from caving, that would have to be a worst case scenario ...

Paulie
28/09/2009
9:36:54 PM
Bloody hell, this is getting way too complicated. I think I'm going to buy a Ricoh 500SE or similar for monitoring work and a separate dSLR for normal photos!!!!

On the upside, there is a pretty damn big niche out there for some smart cookie!

There are 17 messages in this topic.

 

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