Photography in General

Still on Geotagging

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Yesterday, I wrote about my considerations on buying or not some geotagging equipment. Later, I was going through the feeds on my reader that I had neglected for the past few days and read a piece by Brian where he mentions, in a parody kind of way (yeah Brian, you almost got me there) the possibility for a GPS enabled Compact Flash card.

 

Could it be possible?

This article actually made me think about the possibility. In the end, Brian mentions that the technology that would enable such a device is not that far off. I’m almost sure that the technology is readily available to be explored by manufacturers. Knowing that CF cards exist with embedded Wi-Fi transmitters, it can’t be that hard to incorporate a GPS receiver into one.

 

Is it useful?

Following his spoof post, Brian continues with a poll asking his readers how much would they pay for such a thing with 4Gb memory. At the moment I’m writing, $150 leads followed closely by $100. Knowing that an external GPS receiver costs something between $100-$150, it’s clear so far that not many people would pay much more.

But I have a problem with this idea: What if I want extra cards? The huge majority of photographers, amateur and professionals, don’t rely only on one card. If you want all the photos to contain the coordinate tags, would you have to buy several of the cards, and pay the extra to have a GPS receiver on all of them?

Going back to the Wi-Fi enabled memory cards, one way that some manufacturers found to bypass this problem was to integrate the Wi-Fi into a SD card shell, while the actual memory comes from an interchangeable mini-SD. This way, you can have as many memory cards as you want and not having to pay for the Wi-Fi on everyone of them.

Would this approach work for CF cards? Not sure. One reason why CF cards are the standard for dSLRs is their capacity for high speed data transfers. If keeping the CF card shell with the GPS receiver would mean the need for a slower card to be inserted, then it would not work.

Until the technology is mainstream, I guess external GPS receivers are the best option. Nonetheless, I’m still not completely convinced how useful this is to go out the door and get one right now. Maybe after that extra lens…


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4 Comments

  1. Brian Auer

    December 1, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Isn’t it funny how some of us blog about the same topics at around the same time? I’ve seen it happen more than once.

    I agree that an in-camera GPS would be much more beneficial and cost-effective than in-card GPS, but I was curious to hear what other people thought. It wouldn’t be so bad if the price tag was close enough to a non-GPS card, because (like you said) many photographers pack multiple cards.

    I’m really considering picking up one of the external GPS receivers since the price is fairly decent.

  2. Matt

    December 3, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Sounds like a great idea but like you said, what would happen once you need multiple cards considering your an active photographer…I like the built in GPS in camera as well…but then the price would get jacked up a bit and perhaps make consumers not purchase it, if its stock.

  3. A Marques

    December 13, 2007 at 1:31 am

    Thanks for your comment Matt.

    One approach would be to release it as two separate products, like in two different camera models (with and without GPS). Of course this poses logistic problems as many stores would not want to dedicate more shelf space just for that little change in a model.
    How much would you think the price would go up? $70? Probably not more than that.

  4. joe M.

    January 16, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    How about a wireless enabled SD card that that transmits your photos as they are taken to another storage device, something like an Ipod or similar Hard-disk based device, which then using it’s own GPS receiver geotags and stores the Photos for later upload to your photo library? check out the Eye-fi. It is a SD (Not SDIO) card which transmits your photos via WLAN to a computer of your choice

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