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  • The Original Engineering Drawings for MetaGPS Geotagging Unit for Nikon DSLR

    12:12 am on September 28, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: MetaGPS,Engineering Design,Drawing

    I thought that it will be fun to share with you the original mechanical design for the MetaGPS unit.

    MetaGPS Engineering Design Drawing

    MetaGPS Engineering Design Drawing

    MetaGPS Engineering Design Drawing

    MetaGPS Engineering Design Drawing

    MetaGPS Engineering Design Drawing

    MetaGPS Engineering Design Drawing

     
  • Customer support emails

    7:23 am on July 26, 2010 | 2 Permalink | Reply

    Our customers live in various countries. We tried to answer support emails within 48 hours. Here are email exhanges with a customer. The questions and answers in these emails will help majority of the customers who might encounter problems.

    Robert to me, Jul 19 (8 days ago)
    Hi Mark,

    While on vacation, I charged the unit and tried using it with my Nikon D3s. The camera would recognize the unit however the unit never was able to link with the satellites. The Blue LED on the unit would flash very quickly and the GPS status indictor on the camera would flash about 3 times a second. I tried the unit in various locations, but the result was always the same. Have you encountered this problem before and what do you recommend.
    Regards,
    Bob

    Reply to Robert Jul 20 (7 days ago)
    Hello Bob:

    We are sorry to hear that unit is unable to lock satellites. This could happen in the following two situations: 1: In the Setup menu->GPS, please turn the Auto Meter Off . Please refer to your D3s manual for more detail.
    2: The GPS is defective.
    Please try #1. If the unit is still unable to lock satellites, we will ship you a replacement.
    Best Regards
    Mark

    Reply Robert to me July 20 (7 days ago)
    Mark,

    Good news, I tried disabling the Auto Meter Off function as you suggested and the unit then locked satellites. Also by adjusting the Auto Meter Off Delay to 30 seconds, I was able to get the unit to also lock satellites.

    Once lock, the unit produced the expected coordinates, however the Heading Output reported remains at 135 degrees regardless of the direction the camera is pointed. I consulted the User Guide, but did not see any instructions for using the Heading Reset button. I tried pressing the Reset Button, however the Heading Results were unchanged. I’m sure I must be doing something wrong, any assistance you can offer would be appreciated. Note, I do have the unit mounted on the cameras Flash Hot shoe so it is always aligned with the direction the camera is pointing.

    Also the units mount tab for the Hot Shoe fits so tightly in the shoe, the unit cannot be pushed completely into mount on the camera. I know this will not affect the Heading, however I am concerned that the mounting tab may break with future insert/removal cycles. Is this tight fit normal and is it ok?

    Thanks for your help,
    Bob

    Reply Jul 20 (7 days ago)
    Hello Bob:
    We are one step closer to resolve your issue. I am sure that I can help you with the Heading Reset.

    The heading Reset button is on the front right hand side (if you mount the GPS on the camera and see from the top). We do not include the heading Reset button instruction on the user manual as it is tricky to reset it. However, for your situation, please reset it. Here is how:

    1: When you have the GPS unit mounted and connected to the camera and locked to satellites (do this outside so you can test the readings right away), push the Heading Reset Button and hold it down for a few seconds until you see the GPS icon disappear from the LCD panel on your camera.

    2: Hold your camera flat (or place on a flat surface such as a table), slowly (15 -20 seconds in 1 rotation) rotate the camera (and the GPS unit) clockwise for about 30 seconds (1-2 rotations), until you see the GPS icon appears again on the LCD panel on your camera. (The GPS unit is actually trying to record the coordinates for every direction and recalculate the correct earth magnetic axis bias)

    3: Repeat the above steps if necessary (3-5 times is common, more is often required).

    The heading reset is tricky. Please be patient. The key is to have a slow and rather uniform clockwise rotation.

    In our factory, we have one person who does heading reset for every M2. We call him Mr. Heading Reset.

    Best Regards
    Mark

    Robert to me July 22 (5 days ago)

    Mark,

    The Heading reset work the first time, I’m now getting Heading data. At this point everything appears to be working, I’m going to use the unit for the next few days.

    Today when I turned it on, it took about 5 minutes for it to lock. Is this to be expect sometimes?

    Also do you have any comments regarding the “Hot Shoe” mounting described in my earlier email?

    Bob
    |
    Mark to Robert Jul 23 (4 days ago)

    Hello Bob:

    Glad to hear that you got the heading working in the first time.

    In normal situation, such as open sky, clear day, no high buildings blocking the satellites, and you are not moving the GPS can get a fix (more than 4 satellites) between 1-2 minutes. 5 min or longer does happen in not so idea situation, such as under the tree or close to a building, cloudy sky or in a total new location (far away from the last location, ie, you fly to NYC for a vacation and fire up the unit after you land) or you are moving.

    The GPS unit is rather small and uses a small antenna. You can expect it to perform similar to a GPS enabled cell phone, not in par with a dedicated GPS unit such as those from Garmin.

    We purposely design the hotshoe mount to be very tight to prevent the GPS unit from dropping out from the camera. It appears to be “too tight” when you first use it. Then, like a pair of new leather shoes, it will loosen up upon usage.

    Hope you are enjoying the product. Any other recommendations besides the seemly long satellite fix?

    Best Regards

    Mark

     
    • borice 9:00 am on August 26, 2010 Permalink

      Hello.

      I’m considering buying this unit, but I have 2 questions first:

      1. When mounted on the hotshoe of a Nikon D5000, can the built-in flash be used or will it be obstructed by the unit?

      2. What is your return policy? If I buy your unit and end up not liking it, can it be returned (even for a restocking fee) ?

      Thanks,
      Boris

    • MarkTu 11:08 am on August 26, 2010 Permalink

      Hello Boris:
      Thank you very much for your interest.
      When the unit is mounted on the hotshot, it will obstruct the flash on D5000.
      Your satisfaction is important to us. If you are not happy with the item, please return the item in the original box for a full refund (excluding the shipping). We will replace any defect free of charge. We will pay shipping both ways.
      We have sold hundreds of these GPS units in eBay and Amazon. You can check out the feedbacks form other customers and buy with confidence.
      Best Regards
      Mark
      MetaGPS Customer Feedbacks

  • My geotagging trials, travails and triumphs

    1:53 am on April 10, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:

    I have been thinking of writing something like this. But Stenphen Shankland has written it.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-9784487-39.html?tag=mncol;txt
    So here is it:
    Geotagging and I are a match made in heaven. But we nearly got a divorce.

    In the course of reporting a feature about geotagging–endowing digital photos with location data–I decided I’d better try out the technology. Being a fan of both photography and cartography, as well as a bit of a geek, it seemed like the perfect technology for me. Geotagging proved a frustrating experience, but I’m still sold on the idea.

    Flickr lets you see geotagged images taken in a particular spot.

    (Credit: Yahoo)
    For you early adopters, geotagging can be fun and useful. It adds an extra dimension to your photos–literally as well as figuratively. One obvious application is seeing your vacation photos arrayed on a map for a visual tour of your trip. Another is using a map to zero in on a particular photo buried somewhere on a disorderly hard drive. That could be a lot easier than trying to remember which month of which year you visited a particular spot if you’re searching on the basis of time.

    Casual snapshooters, though, should steer clear of geotagging for now. Not only do you need some kind of GPS receiver, you also need some software to add the location metadata to the photo files. For me, that process was fraught with peril. Web sites that can use the location technology also are fairly immature.

    Here are some of the potholes I encountered in my geotagging journey and my advice on avoiding them:

    • Set up your gear right. Make sure you turn the GPS receiver on and that it’s loaded with charged batteries. Set your camera’s time zone correctly–especially if you just hopped on a plane away from home.

    I botched the time zone for my first four days of a trip to Ireland, and I spent hours trying to fix the problem. The slip-up eventually crushed my techno-adventurer’s spirit, and I admitted defeat despite investing hours trying to fix it. I tried all kinds of avenues, including EXIF editors to adjust the timestamps of photos and GPSBabel to toy with the GPS track log. (I even found a bug in Microsoft’s Photo Info software: when offsetting the timestamps of a selected batch of photos by a set amount, the software changes all the photos’ time to the first picture’s new time instead of adjusting them all by the proper offset. The bug will be fixed in the next version, Microsoft said.) I would have been better off if I’d realized earlier in the process that the geotagging software I chose, Breeze Systems’ Downloader Pro, can handle the time zone offset during the geotagging process, but even then I couldn’t get it to work for the Ireland shots. I did successfully geotag two backpacking trips and a visit to the zoo, though, so I know it can be done.

    • Pick your software carefully. There are a number of packages out there for geotagging photos, but if you shoot raw images, the list gets a lot shorter. Downloader Pro worked fairly well (and I like other features), but it’s Windows-only. Mac users have options such as HoudahGeo and GPS Photo Linker.

    • Get the geotagging done as early as possible. As with all metadata, it’s a bad idea to add it later. If all you do is copy your images to your hard drive, it’s not a big deal, but you want the data in the photos before doing things like spinning off edited variations of pictures, backing up files or preparing low-resolution versions for upload to a photo-sharing site. Believe me, you don’t want to enter that location data more than once.

    • Be careful with what data you share, either by e-mail or posting to sites such as Yahoo’s Flickr or Google’s Panoramio. Even if you’re willing to let the world at large see pictures of your children, it’s another step of privacy loss when the world knows where your children live, too. Flickr’s default behavior is to strip out geographic data, and if you enable it, you can restrict sharing of geographic information. But doing so is complicated, especially if the settings vary a lot from one photo to another.

    In a perfect world
    Having undergone my bruising conversion, I now know more clearly what I’d like in geotagging. Here are elements of the better world I envision.

    For one thing, I wouldn’t have to use a hodgepodge of different software utilities to unite my photos with the geographic data. Ideally, this would be a standard part of copying photos from the camera or flash card. There’s good news on this front: Adobe said the unification feature is “a logical inclusion in a future version of Lightroom.” ACDSee said it’s “something we’re getting feedback on and that we’ll look to implement in our next major release.” Presumably this technology will trickle down to more mainstream software in the future.

    It would help software companies if there were better standards for adding metadata to images. I encountered reports of metadata being corrupted when location information was added, for example. Consider the plight of the programmer building geotagging support to an image editing program who must contend with dozens of proprietary raw image formats from higher-end cameras.

    I’d also like to see a good way to add or correct location data on photos, individually or in bulk. My editing or cataloging software would present a map on which I could drag a virtual pointer around, and the photo would be relocated correctly. Or I could type in latitude-longitude numbers manually, or copy them from one image and paste into another. This could help correct the typical errors that even the newest GPS systems suffer.

    Of course, unification of photos and location data would be unnecessary if the cameras recorded location in the first place when I snapped the picture. Some newer and higher-end cameras have GPS interfaces–among them, the Nikon D3 and D300, the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and 40D with wireless communication add-ons, and Hasselblad’s H3D-II. But I’d like GPS integration much further down the line, perhaps with some standard GPS-camera connector or communication method. Hello, Bluetooth!

    Building the GPS receiver into the camera would be the ultimate integration, and perhaps that day will come. But given how power-hungry and imperfect standalone GPS receivers are, I’m not sure I’d want it built into a camera anytime soon. One obvious problem is that GPS systems must be awake at all times to keep track of their position, but cameras enter dormant states to save batteries. Even modern GPS systems in good conditions take more than a minute to get their first position fix from satellites.

    Even without these pies in the sky, though, I find it worthwhile, and I’m now geotagging routinely. I just added another piece of electronic clutter in my life by buying a GPS receiver. But I’m betting having those location coordinates in my photos will pay off in the long run.

     
  • Will MetaGPS work on Nikon D60?

    9:44 pm on March 22, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: D60, , Nikon

    Hello:

    We are very sorry that this item will not work on Nikon D60. That is because Nikon D60 firmware does not have GPS support.

    If you still want to geotag the digital pictures, you can get a GPS data logger that will record the GPS coordinates of the traveling path. You can transfer the GPS log and the digital pictures to a computer after the trip. You can combine the GPS log with the pictures with free software such as locr GPS photo (www.locr.com).

    Yes, it is a hassle.

    Best Regards
    Mark

     
  • A thank you email from a satisfied customer

    9:32 pm on March 22, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: customer, email

    From: Paul
    Kent
    DA7 5NR
    England

    Purchase of METAGPS GEOTAG GPS unit with CL90 cable to fit my Nikon D90

    Dear Mark,

    I had to send a message to thank you so much for the above unit which arrived safe and sound this morning at around 0800hrs. Everything about the purchase of this unit from you has been a great pleasure and the way that you have conducted business has been simply exemplary on all levels. From your initial informative and prompt response to my emailed questions, your acceptance of my offer bid, and your utterly superb communications which not only confirmed the sale, but also gave me detailed tracking information including date and time of arrival, allowing me to be available when the unit arrived, this entire purchase has been a great pleasure.

    The GPS unit itself is wonderfully packaged with clear and concise usage instructions that allowed me to have my first test shots taken, uploaded and geotagged in Picasa and Google Earth within fifteen minutes of receiving it. Initially when looking to purchase a GPS device for my Nikon, I was put off by the high costs of the Nikon dedicated GP-1 unit and also numerous complaints on the web from owners who had suffered problems thanks to a very poorly fitting cable into the side GPS plug on the cameras. After doing some research, I came across your site and products and very much liked your informative web details and detailed photographs. The MetaGPS unit is a wonderful piece of equipment and I’m absolutely delighted that I made the decision to purchase one from you.

    I will naturally place glowing feedback on EBay, but I also wanted to say a personal thank you for such first class, professional and courteous service. Thank you very much indeed, and may I wish you every success as a company, because we need more like you who offer unbeatable value, incredible communications and first class products.

    Yours sincerely

    Paul

     
  • GPS data logger tracks and records flight path

    9:29 am on March 12, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data logger, flight path,

    I recently took a GPS receiver with data logger to a flight. It can receive and record GPS signal in the cabin. Here is the flight path from Shenzhen to Chengdu, China.

    See Large Map

     
  • Nagarkot Nepal Trekking Photo displayed on Google Map

    10:15 am on December 20, 2009 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google Map, Nagarkot, , , Trekking


    See Large Picture

     
  • An Indian Man at Nepal Kathmandu Pashupatinath Temple, geotagged by MetaGPS

    8:40 am on December 13, 2009 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: geotag, geotagged,

    Just came back from Nepal, took a M2 for a field test. Here is the result.

    GPSVersion ID: 2.2.0.0
    GPS Latitude: 27 deg 42′ 35.72″ N
    GPS Longitude: 85 deg 20′ 55.15″ E
    GPSAltitude Ref: Above Sea Level
    GPSAltitude: 1291 m
    GPSTime Stamp: 09:31:03
    GPSSatellites: 07
    GPSImg Direction Ref: Magnetic North
    GPSImg Direction: 126

    An Indian Man

    An Indian Man


    large picture

     
  • Geotagging, adding geographical information to digital content

    1:40 am on November 13, 2009 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: digital content, geographical information,

    Geotagging, referring to the contents of digital items such as pictures being marked with geographic information. For example, a digital picture can be added with geographic information includes: longitude, latitude, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), altitude, and even heading information. These information can be embedded in the photos’ EXIF file.

     taken in ChongJiang, Guizhou, China

    taken in ChongJiang, Guizhou, China

    With software (such as Adobe Lightroom), when you open the photo, you can see the EXIF data, such as:
    GPSVersion ID: 2.2.0.0
    GPS Latitude: 25 deg 43 ‘23.72 “N
    GPS Longitude: 108 deg 51 ‘57.77 “E
    GPSAltitude Ref: Above Sea Level
    GPSAltitude: 572 m
    GPSTime Stamp: 02:19:15
    GPSSatellites: 07
    GPSImg Direction Ref: Magnetic North
    GPSImg Direction: 133
    GPSDate Stamp: 2009:10:03

    This article introduce two of the most popular ways to add geographical information to the photos.

    1: Direct write: that is when you press the camera shutter, the geographic information is written into the photo. This method requires the camera itself is able to write GPS data into images. The current high-end Nikon cameras, such as the Nikon D3, D3x, D300, D700, D2X, D2Hs, D2Xs, D200 and Fujifilm S5 Pro and D90, D5000, are able to write GPS signal to digital photos and they all have GPS connectors. All we need is a little GPS receiver (such as MetaGPS , http://www.metagps.com). The advantage of this method is the obvious, there is no follow-up treatment and it does not need any other software.

    MetaGPS geotagging GPS receiver Nikon DSLR on Nikon D90

    MetaGPS geotagging GPS receiver Nikon DSLR on Nikon D90

    2: In direct write: that is, when you press the shutter, geographic information is NOT written into pictures but stored in another medium (such as CF card). You can use computers to post-process and join the geographic information log with the digital photos. The draw back for this method is the post-processing hassle. However, you can use any camera to take pictures and later on joint the geotagging information to the pictures.

    There are many post-processing software, free with locr, PhotoMapper, etc., the software can import GPS logs and digital photos, and then join the GPS coordinates with digital photos.

    When you have the geotagged photos, you can upload them to flickr. Flickr use yahoomap to display geotagged images for each specific location. Of course, the best location display software or google earth or google map. Many website such as panoramio.com or locr.com display the pictures with location using google map. http://www.panoramio.com/

     Beijing Atlantic City on googlemap

    Beijing Atlantic City on googlemap

    With geotagged picture, people around the world not only can see you photos, then can also see where your photos are taken. Of cause, you can also take a virtual tour around the world with google map and the geotagged photos other people take.

     
  • FAQ (frequent asked questions):

    7:51 am on November 7, 2009 | 2 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , shipping, ups, warehouse

    What is MetaGPS?
    MetaGPS is a small and compact unit that attached to Nikon DSLR cameras. It will receive GPS signals and embed GPS coordinates in the digital pictures. This is called Geotagging.

    What can I do with geotagged digital pictures?
    There are many ways that you can use the geotagged digital pictures. You can put the pictures in Google map and share them with others. People can see what a particular place look like from your picture and know the exact location.

    Who is behind MetaGPS Inc.?
    MetaGPS Inc. is founded in 2008 by a group of travel and outdoor enthusiastic. Our US warehouse is located in Miami, Florida.

    Can MetaGPS units work with Canon cameras or my point and shoot camera?
    Unfortunately, no. It can only work with Nikon DSLR cameras.

    What is your shipping method and cost?
    If you live in the US, we ship via USPS priority mail with tracking from our Miami, Florida warehouse .The shipping cost within the US address is: $9. You can expect the product within 2-4 business days.
    If you live outside the US, we ship the products via FedEx or UPS international express mail from our Shenzhen, China warehouse. The shipping cost is: $19. You can expect the product within 5 business days to your door.
    We will email tracking number so you know when to expect the product.

    If I buy more than one item, do you combine shipping?
    Yes, the shipping cost listed above is for one shipping address no matter how many items you buy. For example, if you live in the US and purchase two MetaGPS units in one order, the shipping cost is still $9.

    Do you sell C10 or C90 cable without the MetaGPS unit?
    No. we do not sell C10 or C90 without the MetaGPS unit. However, you can purchase an additional cable (either C10 or C90) for $USD 19.99 with the purchase of a MetaGPS unit. We offer free shipping for the cable if it is shipped together with a MetaGPS unit.

    What if there is a problem with your product?
    We have strict quality control standard. Every MetaGPS units are tested before they are released to market. We stand behind our products and offer one year limited warranty. We will repair or exchange any defects free of charge within one year from your purchase date. Please contact us for trouble shooting before returning any products. The performance of MetaGPS unit depends on many uncontrollable situations such as the weather condition, and location, etc. We are glad to help you resolving any issues. In case of a defective unit is found, please return it to our Miami, Florida warehouse. We are responsible for the shipping cost for sending the repaired or exchanged item back to you. You may be responsible for shipping cost of the item for sending the item to our Miami, Florida warehouse.

    Do you have a warehouse in Europe?
    Currently, no.

    Can I become a dealer for MetaGPS?
    Please drop us a line at: info@metagps.com . Please write your business type and sales volume per month for your main products. Our sales team will contact you.

    What if I have other questions or suggestions?
    We’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us via email: info@metagps.com, via Skype: MetaGPS

     
    • PAUL WILLIAMS 2:10 pm on January 17, 2011 Permalink

      I cannot seem to find a shutter release cable with a 2.5mmjack to fit my MetaGPS M1 unit for my Nikon D700. There seems to be no info on the net as to what ones, makes and models of shutter release would fit and work with my camera. Any help would be appreciated.

    • MarkTu 8:46 am on February 2, 2011 Permalink

      We sell the remote shutter release seperately. Please write to info@metagps.com. Thank you!

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