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  • Mt. Kinabalu Hiking Trip Photo and Track

    6:55 am on February 27, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: geotagging, , Hiking, , , Mt. Kinabalu, ,

    I just came back from a trip to east Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu. The main purpose of this trip is to hike the Mt. Kinabalu. At 4,095 meter above sea level, Mt. Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South East Asia.

    I took a MetaGPS M2 and a Nikon D90 with me for the trip. I also took a Nokia E71 with a GPS logging software called: gpsed (www.gpsed.com).

    The hike started at Timpohom gate at 1,860 meter above sea level. I spend 5 hours to reach Laban Rata Guest house at 3,400 meter above sea level. I spent the night there. I had three meals (a dinner, a super at 1:30am the second day and a breakfast, at 9:00am after summit). After a light rest, I started the summit push at 2:30am the second day and reached the summit Low’s Peak at 6:30am.

    Here is the picture at the Low’s Peak of Mt. Kinabalu.

    Lows Peak of Mt. Kinabalu, 4,095 meter above sea level

    Low's Peak of Mt. Kinabalu, 4,095 meter above sea level

    These is the GPS information recorded by MetaGPS M2 and embedded in the picture EXIF file:
    GPS Latitude 6 deg 4′ 30.22″ N
    GPS Longitude 116 deg 33′ 31.25″ E
    GPS Altitude Ref Above Sea Level
    GPS Altitude 4102 m
    GPS Time Stamp 23:02:50
    GPS Satellites 10
    GPS Img Direction Ref Magnetic North
    GPS Img Direction 179
    GPS Date Stamp 2011:02:14

    For more pictures of this trip, please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drnantu/sets/72157626109115254/

    Here is the hiking track and photo (geotagged by MetaGPS M2 with Nikon D90)

     
  • My geotagging trials, travails and triumphs

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

    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.

     
  • Nagarkot Nepal Trekking Photo displayed on Google Map

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


    See 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

    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: geotagging, , 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

     
  • MetaGPS M1 is available for purchase!

    4:44 am on November 7, 2009 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: electrnoic compass, geotagging, M1, ,

    We are very exited to announce the immediate release of our MetaGPS M1 products. Customers can purchase these items from our website through the secure Paypal payment system.
    We have been testing MetaGPS M2 (with electronic compass) for a few months now. It now looks like a solid product with accurate heading readings. We expect to release M2 very soon.

     
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