Not in a big brother kind of way, but in a geotagging manner.
We have been fans of geotagging photographs for years and have watched the industry grow with great enthusiasm.
Our fave came out of the UK in the form of GeoPic II, and one of the beauties of that system, was that you just added the tagger to your camera, and once coordinates were found, signified by a green light on the device, the photographs had their satellite coordinates added to the EXIF files.
In other words, you never had to go to another program to add the data.
This data was easily read by programs like Lightroom, that let you just click on the info, and get taken from that edit program to Google maps for a direct connection to your place of shooting. ( one of the shots later in this article has that info embedded so you can just click and go)
Of course like any other Google map, you could then find directions to the place, or map a day of travel, or, in my case, use it for location scouting for production.
We’ve seen many versions of this setup. Some use another piece of software to add the data. That is one extra step to many for us.
Then we saw the Foolography Unleashed system in a photo trade show.
Not much larger than a dime and about 1/2″ thick, this little unit stuck into the Nikon’s 10 pin connector with a nice tight fit.
It is sold with a small GPS unit that you do have to turn on and keep on, so the tiny bluetooth module on the camera gets a signal.
The camera module uses only miniscule power from the camera battery.
You know when the GPS is locked, and when the data will be put on the shot by the GPS icon on the info screen (right under the f/stop):
One thing we did dig about this unit was it’s accuracy.
Here is the data:
Here is the shot:
If you click on it, you will go to the specific location on a google map. So dang close to the actual spot we stood on, that we felt that it may be the most accurate system we’ve used.
However, keeping the GPS in our pocket was ok, until the day we left the office without it. And make sure you carry extra batteries with you on a trip. The Unleashed doesn’t draw much but the GPS unit seemed to last about a day on a battery.
The GeoPic II is all in one, although bigger on the camera.
Now for the reality check: both of these units are only made for Nikon cameras. The 10 pin connector on the front is where they plug in.
“Compatible with Nikon D200, D300, D300s, D700, D2X, D2Xs, D2Hs, D3, D3X, D3s and Fuji S5 Pro”
There are some other geotaggers on the market that work with any camera, but at this time, you must go through a 3rd party piece of software to get the data onto the image file.
The Foolography Unleashed complete kit sells for 274 Euros, including VAT. Add 15 Euros for shipping worldwide. About $367. by today’s exchange rate.
However, since you may not be paying VAT, of course not in the US or any non EU country, the cost is about $295. + the shipping
The GeoPic II is about 130 pounds including VAT. It’s also available in the States for $203. from B&H.
Those are the best of the Nikon geotagging choices right now. Size, convenience, cost.
Here are some other choices, where you’ll see some similarities, some capabilities built in, and some imitators.
Geotagging is available in so many of the current electronics, and with the advent of FourSquare, Gowalla, Places in Facebook it will only get better.
As long as you always know when to turn it off.