Know Where You've Been

One of my favorite Nikon accessories is my GP-1.  This little, two-ounce wonder connects my camera to the GPS satellites and inserts the camera's locational data into the metadata of the photograph.  The information includes latitude, longitude, altitude, and time information. The advertised accuracy is 10 meters, and that is about right, but I've seen better accuracies with a four-satellite lock.

The GP-1 measures about two inches square and fits neatly onto your hotshoe or can be attached to a camera strap.  Its operation is simple: plug the cable into the camera via the 10-pin remote terminal cable; turn the camera on; and wait for the LED to turn green.  In my experience, this takes less than a minute, but I've seen reports stating times up to two minutes.  It's even faster after you've taken a few shots and turn the camera off to walk to another location, and then turn it back on at your new spot.  Here I've seen times as fast as five seconds.  Power comes from the camera battery, so there are no worries there.

I like to travel and geotagging has always been fun for me.  There are other methods to geotag images using separate GPS devices, but why would I want to go through all those extra steps when I can insert the data directly from the camera?  Once the data is attached to the metadata, you need a way to access it.  You can use my favorite application, Adobe's Lightroom; the free Nikon software, NXView; or Apple Aperture.

Once you have imported the photos into Lightroom, you can find the information in the Metadata section of the Library module, located on the right side panel.  Any photo with the GPS metadata will display it here.

If you click on the arrow to the right of the lat/long, it will take you to a Google Maps page displaying your location when the picture was taken.  Click here to see where this image takes you.  Ain't that neat?

When I post images with GPS data to my PBase account (www.pbase.com/radjr), you will see a notation under the image title.  Once again, you will be taken to a map of the photo's location. This one was taken in Aruba.  Many other photo sites also have this capability.  The larger photo sites (Flickr, PBase, and others) give you the ability to geotag a photo after you upload it to their site.  If you have an account there (they're free), you, too, can join in the geotagging excitement.

The GP-1 lists for $199.95, but you can get it for  much less than that by looking around at several photography equipment retailers.  Is it worth it?  It is for me.  You'll have to decide for yourself.  It provides another way to have fun with your photography.