Friday, 18 July 2008

My new toy

Image courtesy of Blog-Shmog
I've been thinking for a while that it would be nice to have an easy way to mark where my photos were taken so that I can view them on a map and get a good overview of my travels. You can place photos on a map in Flickr to set their location, but it's a drag (tee hee) and I'm clearly not that motivated.

So, to cut a long story short it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to buy a new toy. My first stop was a Di-GPS from DawnTech as that would plug straight into my camera and tag the photos as they're taken - what could be simpler. Well, they turned out pretty expensive (£150+) so I decided to look at other options.

After a bit more searching I settled on the AMOD AGL3080 (great review here). Compared to the DawnTech it's a bit of a bargain too (£57 right now from Storage Depot - or you could get one at half the price from the USA).

This baby is a GPS logger - I just switch it on before I start taking photos and then leave it in my bag. It records my location every 10 seconds and when I get home I plug it into my PC and sync the locations to my downloaded photos using time stamps. It runs for ~14 hours on three AAA cells and has enough memory to log for about a month 24/7.

The download and combine stuff sounds like a bit of a faff (that was certainly what I thought at first) but it actually takes moments and there's very good software available for free. Rather than work all this out for myself I adopted All Narfed Up's workflow - why re-invent the wheel?

Geotagging (as its called) is well supported by Flickr and 23 (and elsewhere, I'd think). If you chase those links you'll see that I've uploaded a test photo (of my local pub) to each and they both place it automatically and provide a map overview of all geotagged photos. There's a gotcha (isn't there always?) in that you have to enable full geotagging functionality first. In both cases this option is well hidden (why?? why???), so for the record here it is: 23 (to enable the "places" tab) and Flickr (to enable automatic geotagging full stop).

23 actually had a bug on their website that blocked uploading of my geotagged photo, but kudos to them in that I reported it late last night and they had it fixed by 11am today, emailing me twice in the process to keep me updated. I'm liking these guys more and more.

I didn't think about it too much at first, but there's actually one other big advantage to buying a logger over a direct photo tagger: the logger remembers exactly where I've been. This means that after a walk I can upload the route to Google Earth to see exactly where I got lost, and means that I could log a day's sailing if I ever went again so that Jelte wouldn't have such a tough time filling in his log book.

The bottom line is that I'm a very happy consumer so far and itching to get out into the countryside. Time to go look at the weather forecast...

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