GPS - geotagging with a new gadget.

Discussion in 'GPS Use, Tracks & Maps Discussion' started by Jurgen, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    I did not find GTR threads (forum “GPS use and maps”), covering geotagging generally and in particular a new gadget called “Wintec WPL-2000 (Auto-show Track Logger)”.

    Many GTR readers are also photo lovers and I felt that geotagging and tracking would be an interesting discussion topic. I will share my practical experiences about this tool and hope that others contribute with knowledge and questions.

    “Wintec WPL-2000 (Auto-show Track Logger)” - it is only 8 cm long.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Making the choice

    Till recently, G.P.S were just a couple of letters for me. I had seen some Seoul taxis escaping jams through recommendations bumping out of a screen showing a city map, and this was it. I was also puzzled by GTR members exchanging strange numbers and points related to fun places and discoveries. These were esoteric information for me, as I thought that only "Goldwings" might have built in panels, like the Korean taxis (in between I know a little more about it).

    I never felt a need to have an electronic gadget replacing my GTR glossy maps, and “getting lost” is part of my riding fun. I am accountable to my bad sense of orientation for discovering hidden trails and met with wonderful people, once I forget about “face” and asked for directions. GPS users will probably confirm that it is possible to live the same adventures (and get lost) even with a “digital” map.

    I am more versed in photography and know the benefits of geotagging. Age helping, memory is prone to fading and after a picture trip it is often brain teasing for me to remember exact locations and tracks, despite the Exif time tag added by digital cameras.

    Geotagging is linked to GPS and I had to acquire some knowledge through research and discussions (in particular with David) to find a possible answer to my very basic “localization” needs.

    Finally, I found two options: a GPS enabled digital camera or a dedicated tool.

    The camera alternative was attractive, but finally I abandoned it for several reasons. The market is split between “consumer gadgets” (like Samsung CL65, Sony Cybershot, Casio Hybrid, ...) or “amateur and semi pro” (like Nikon SLR) cameras. One model positioned in between, the Nikon P6000, has been discontinued. With a “consumer” tool I have probably to double every relevant shot, to have the tagging in one box and the usable picture in the other. As for the Nikon option, my D80 is not GPS compatible and it is not the right moment to upgrade to, at least, a D90. The GPS ability of these tools are also limited, particularly in terms of sensitivity, and are dragging batteries.

    The second option was to buy a dedicated GPS device. I heard about Garmin and read some GTR forum threads. Searching Google for a supplier in Chiangmai, I stumbled on a GTR post and decided to meet the friendly “Eagle” people in Pantip.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/garmin-nuvi-205-big-promotion-coming-soon-t6727.html?hilit=garmin eagle#p40446

    I explained my basic needs: geotagging of pictures and tracking of my motorcycle trips. Everything else was open, in the limit of a reasonable budget (i.e it should be a lot cheaper than a new D 90 with a GPS attachment, but could reach about 15'000 THB). Other important requisites were: easy operation whilst riding and taking pictures (for instance, it is near to impossible, with my Nokia 5800 touch screen, to make a call in a sunny environment) and a reasonable autonomy in terms of tracking points and battery life. After more that an hour of testing, evaluation and advises from the helpful “Eagle” staff, I left the shop with the cheapest tool available:

    “Wintech WPL-2000” Auto-show track logger (it is a new gadget).

    I gave four big notes and even got one Bath back! I had not expected to pay only 3'999 THB for something supposed (I had not yet tested it) to cover my needs.

    Picture of the small gadget, plug and play with no installation on a USB port (the cable is normally not needed):

    [​IMG]

    Link to a description of the product from "Eagle GPS" in Chiangmai

    http://www.eaglegps.co.th/index.php/lang-en/the-news/613-data-logger-great-geotagging-deviceasoftware-wpl-2000
     
  4. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Smiling Ubuntu (linux) !

    My only reticence toward the « Wintec WPL-2000 » was his name ! I am a fan of Ubuntu (Linux OS), and my favoured movie is « Kill Bill ». Actually, I would rather kill the « periphals » industry. Most of the suppliers (but not all), don't give a damn about Linux users. With an obvious “Win” in the name, I had no doubt that this tool would insist to launch a Redmond software to get up.

    Just in case, I put the stick in an Ubuntu machine and it was recognized, at least some start! However it only proves that it is an external disk. The software included on the stick was also visible and I launched “Win_Tool.exe” with “Wine” (sorry for the jargon, but Linux users will know).

    “Easy Showily” appeared and the access to Win_Tool was possible. I had to click on transfer to to get the track, which automatically uploaded to Google maps and showed the itinerary.

    I suppose that it will not be possible to include the GPS tag in the picture's Exif through this sytem (I will test it later), but at least the tracks can be visualized in Google maps, with waypoints created at picture locations. Access to the configuration panels is also granted, that's 90 percent of what I want to do with the tool.
     
  5. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    A quick tracking test

    I put the Wintech WPL-2000 in my pocket for a short ride to a morning coffee at "X-Centre", circling around Maerim on an alternative route. To test the Exif tagging, I also shot a couple of jpeg pictures, each time pushing the « track button » to create special points.

    It was amazingly easy to connect to Google maps (but other possibilities are offered, including Google earth). On Windows it worked just « plug and play » and automatic, but on Ubuntu some fiddling was needed.

    One tracking option is by distance. I put it on 500 meters and (as seen in map 2), the segments are too long. Many things can be configured according to individual requirements.

    Another lesson was about the “tracking button”. I pushed it once for too long and it created a new track. The itinerary is split at “Edelweiss”, the location where my hand was too heavy. The stars in the first map indicate the locations of the pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ChiangMaiDiver

    ChiangMaiDiver Ol'Timer

    Question... Such with the Garmin GPS's... they only store up to 500 points, so if your track goes passed that the points start getting stretched. Does this happen with this tracker? Also how long is the battery life? Seems very appealing, as I'm off on a 7 day drive at the moment and have been thinking I would love to put grid points to my photos.
     
  7. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    You are right, these were also important criteria for me, as I wanted an autonomy for longer trips. These are the provided specifications:

    # Features Extreme fast TTFF at low signal level.
    # Plug and Play without installation of any driver or software.
    # Stores up to 94,000 way points.
    # Power by 2* AAA alkaline batteries, no need to charge.
    # Power supply more than 19 hours in operation.
    # Multiple recording modes can be selected on device anytime and anywhere.
    # The built-in software supports: Read log, Transfer track format, Set parameters, Combine photos with track, Geo-tagging, and Analytic report

    As, in addition, you can adjust the frequency of the points (distance, time, ...) the 94,000 records should be far enough. In the shop, life on battery was given as being 10 hours, but the manual says 17 and 19 hours. It probably depends upon battery quality.

    It's easy to have a couple of AAA it the pocket and they are widely available. The tool has a "sleep" feature which stops it when standing still (resting, eating, sleeping) so that it only works when shaking :).

    I have also successfully tested the easy picture geotagging and will describe it in a next post.
     
  8. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Geotagging pictures.

    This post only describes the technical process of adding GPS information to pictures. The benefits and possible applications are formally not part of this thread. However, I will give examples, in later posts, for people wondering what the fuss is about.

    The “Wintec WPL-2000 ” gadget easily fulfilled the first part of my basic “localization” requirements. The tracking task (of my motorcycle tours) was “plug and play” and it generated maps automatically (see my earlier posts).

    The tracks included the specific “waypoints” recorded to remember important photo taking locations. This feature covers the main part of my needs and, at that stage, does not involve a camera. Any interesting neighborhood can be precisely pinpointed with a “waypoint”, even without taking a picture.

    However, geotagging pictures was also one my requirements list. The operation consist in adding the latitude and longitude coordinates in the Exif metadata of a picture. If the camera is not linked to a GPS unit during shooting, it must be post processed. This tagging can be done manually, if the waypoints coordinates are available, or if the localization is defined on a map (it needs a specific software). This is a burden.

    The software, included on the “Wintec WPL-2000 ” stick (nothing to install), does the geotagging operation automatically. It does not need specific waypoints (these are only markers for the maps) and will deduce the coordinates from the registered track points. The only condition is to synchronize the camera's clock with the WPL-200. It is straightforward and pictures are backed up before the changes. In addition, "WPL-2000" can generate maps with the pictures and save informations to be viewed in otehr sites or softwares.

    Example of a map with pictures generated by WPL-2000:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, I was unable to run the picture tagging process with “Wintec WPL-2000 ” in Ubuntu (Linux). A work around might exist but I have not yet found it. Softwares like "Geotag" might have the trick. In the meantime … I use a Windows box for this operation :geek1:
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Good work Jurgen. I hope you get it all sorted out before your Laos trip.
     
  10. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Thank you David, I am in the scheduling process for Laos and should leave next Tuesday, with the gadget in my pocket. Unfortunately an unexpected problem might interfere with my itinerary, so that the only define waypoint is "departure".
     
  11. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Picture « geotagging » - Just a buzz ?

    In earlier posts, I described my basic needs for « tracking motorcycle trips » and « pictures geotagging » . The “Wintech WPL-2000” tool was « plug and play » and straight forward in fulfilling both wishes. Being able to automatically rebuild an itinerary, on a Google or other mapping site, has an obvious interest. The task to add localization information in the meta data of pictures, also worked well. However, once information are added to a couple of photos, the question might be: « so what ».

    I would need more space, time and knowledge to give a comprehensive answer to that question. In addition the technique of geotagging pictures is quite new and still in development. Software like Picasa recently added this feature. With the development of mapping sites and tools for writing and reading coordinates, the number of applications will increase, particularly if the process is nearly transparent for the user.

    Some benefits are already clear:
    - pinpointing the localization of a picture (without having to memorize the data)
    - sharing photos and allowing others to localize the proper spots
    - filing and retrieving pictures based on their geographic data
    - uploading images on maps (for commercial and non commercial applications)
    - searching pictures on the Internet, based on coordinates (image search engine)

    Geotagging pictures with the “Wintech WPL-2000” is an extra operation to my usual pictures work flow. I will thus limit the data inclusion to non obvious places and to some “reference” pictures, in each topic folder. Pictures to be shared and uploaded on maps will also be tagged. As long as the original GPS tracklogs are saved, the process of automatically writing the latitude and longitude as Exif information can be postponed, to whenever needed.

    In Picasa 3, pictures with Exif coordinates are marked with a cross-hair symbols and viewed directly in Google Earth (1).

    [​IMG]

    On the popular photo-sharing site Flickr, the existence of localization data is signaled by the word « map ». A single click allows to see the picture in his environment. An additional click provides a larger map view.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Many softwares can generate KMZ/KML Google earth and Google maps files (including one or several pictures). These files are easily shared as they open in Google Earth (this is also working under Ubuntu Linux).

    [​IMG]

    (1) Unfortunately, Picassa 3 for Linux has geotagging still grayed out. Writing and viewing localization metadata with this software requires a Windows box. I have not tested Mac OS.

    I will now submit the “Wintech WPL-2000” to a longer test, as the tool is coming with me for a longer ride.
     
  12. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    Can you tell me the name of the supplied software?
    I like to geotag my fotos,and am looking for software that will work easily with my garmin .gpx files
     
  13. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Hello Alrikki,

    The software for my tool is included on the stick and can probably not be used separately. It is called Win_tool and loads in RAM memory. It is not installed on the computer. His task is to manage the configuration of the "tracker", to map the GPS data, produce reports and finally to write coordinates in the pictures metadata.

    Other softwares are able to automatically complete the Exif positioning fields of pictures. I did not test them, as I can do everything with the WPL 2000.

    However, searching for a Linux alternative, I tried a free multi platform Software called "Geotag". This might be an option and I will certainly test it later.

    Ref:

    Geotag is an open source program that allows you match date/time information from photos with location information from a GPS unit or from a map

    "Geotag is written in Java and runs on most popular operating systems" http://geotag.sourceforge.net/
     
  14. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    thanks,I've been trying geotag,haven't got it working yet though.maybe the gps/camera clocks weren"t the same
     
  15. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Hello Alrikki,

    I am leaving for a tour tomorrow and will not do research for a while. If you find something interesting, please post it here so that we can share it. I am still trying to go "Ubuntu only" but, for the time being, I still need Windows to automatically write the tags (all the rest is OK with Linux).

    Cheers

    Jurgen
     
  16. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    I just found a tool called Geosetter http://www.geosetter.de/en
    it took maybe 10 minutes to setup and I have geotagged a foto already.
    so I am happy with this atm,hope it is useful to others
    [​IMG]
    have a good time in Laos, but be prepared for a lot of rain
     
  17. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Hello Alrikki. Thank you for the hint. I am just back from Laos and will now try to exploit all collected GPS data. I will test your software and also look for possibilities to geotagg RAW pictures.

    Laos was great ... and no water whilst riding :) Only two downpours at 03:00 one day and 04:30 another one! Very lucky me!
     
  18. ChiangMaiDiver

    ChiangMaiDiver Ol'Timer

    Jurgen,

    Thanks for the advice.

    Went to Eagle last week and picked up the WBT-202 which I saw was listed as the newer version of the 200. After a difficult trial an error Eric (one of the owners of Eagle) spent several hours figuring out and showing me how the gadget works.

    From what I hear it's better to go with the WBT - 200 as Wintec may have been trying to take a few bigger steps beyond what they could handle with the 202. Either way I got it working and really enjoy the huge memory and simple tool as a backup after testing it out on my last trip.

    Also, I wanted to be able to tap into that GeoTagging that you were mentioning. How many times I come to a jungle fork and want to re-visit it for investigation or even certain spots I would like to come back to take photos with the right sunlight or planting season. I would really like my way points to show pictures rather then hyphenated abbreviations.

    So I was trying to use the GeoTag tool in WBT_Tool but can't seem to get it going. Mostly it seems (I'm thinking) that I have to keep the original file / track on the device. I had the idea there would be a space where I could load the file later or even a GPX file that I could get from my 76CSx. Though it doesn't seem that way.

    I would like a program that allows for any device to load a track and photos and connect the two. I will now be trying the GeoSetter that airikki put up. WOuld like to hear if there are any other programs out there?
     
  19. HTWoodson

    HTWoodson Ol'Timer

    A program you guys might be interested in is Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits. Here is the link:

    http://www.camerabits.com/site/

    Photo Mechanic can import GPS logs in the GPX and NMEA formats. You can then import your photos, and so long as the date and time in the meta-data of your photos is correct, Photo Mechanic will sync the GPS log with your photos. You can do the photos as a batch.

    So in theory, as long as the GPS on your bike is running and storing the log, you can take a thousand photos and with only a few clicks add the correct coordinates into their meta-data.

    Photo Mechanic is a very polished product, so it isn't free. I think it's about $150 US. The GeoSetter freeware that alrikki mentioned above looks promising too; I might have to give it a try.
     
  20. ChiangMaiDiver

    ChiangMaiDiver Ol'Timer

    You know I just bought HoudahGeo, it's for Mac. I have mac for my photo's and a netbook for mapsource. Anyways, as for the geo-tagging I had great results with houdahGeo for Mac. They offered a free trial which allows 5 photo's. I was sold and bought it for 30 USD. 150??? That's a bit steep for me I think. I did try the GeoSetter and it didn't work, seemed to have a lot of bugs or I was doing something wrong.

    I even went to Pantip to look for a copy of something, though if anyone knows what Geo-Tag Photo is in Thai let me know.... lol. I didn't see anything and don't think they would have anything.

    Maybe tomorrow I check to see if they have photo mechanic down there or at the shopping center on the corner of the moat near Ram hospital.

    I do have to say with the bit I go working it's nice to have and I enjoy it. Especially easier to send in emails to friends and families about trips who don't know or use GPS's.... Everything worked perfect except for I'm missing a piece of the track on Goggle Earth, working to solve the issue now.
     
  21. HTWoodson

    HTWoodson Ol'Timer

    Yea, GeoSetter does seem to be a little buggy. I just downloaded it and I'm playing with it now.

    The problem I'm having is that my 60CSx is not saving the time into the track log. It has the coordinates of each point but not the time. Anyone know how to fix that?
     
  22. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    if you use flickr you may like gpstagr http://gpstagr.jianing.net/
    it's an online program which adds geotags to fotos you already have on Flickr

    easy to use, but check(on the flickr map) that you have the same timezones on your gadgets

    woodson, your 60csx does have the time in the gpx file,but maybe different to your camera.
    check the formats, and maybe try different timezones with a foto you can place on a map, until you figure it out

    chiangmai diver-you mentioned only 500 points on a track with 60csx. that refers to tracks you wish to put onto the gps
    so if you don't need to put tracks on, no problem.
    If you do, you can only display one track at a time,afaik.
    which makes life difficult at times
     
  23. ChiangMaiDiver

    ChiangMaiDiver Ol'Timer

    Cheers Airikki,

    Ya, I later learned that and tried multiple tracks at 500 points which is a pain to switch and follow. I finally found the filter button which I can keep desktop tracks and then GPS tracks separated.

    After closer examination I see the HoudahGeo program seems to put the photos in Goggle earth and only shows a track around or connecting two photos.... Hence will just have to take a beginning track photo and end photo which I suppose will fix that problem.

    I'll try going out tomorrow and testing that theory....

    Flickr.... I haven't ever used it, will look into it. If I load my photos on flickr can I post them from there on the forum?

    Also, how about Goggle Maps. My friend just sent me a link to his track he did and it was a goggle map track. My browser asked me to download a goggle earth thing into my browser so I'm wondering if it's new. I tried myself in the conversion programs I have and it doesn't seem any of them will take a GPX or KMZ file and convert it to a goggle map HTML, anyone have a fix for that?
     
  24. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    cmdiver
    flickr is good for showing fotos on forums.
    If you upload your gpx file to google documents, there is an option(default) to convert it to google format.
    I don't know what it does, or if its reversible.
     
  25. ChiangMaiDiver

    ChiangMaiDiver Ol'Timer

    Great I'll give Flickr a go and give that goggle doc's a try... Cheers
     
  26. ChiangMaiDiver

    ChiangMaiDiver Ol'Timer

    Just went for a short ride taking a few shots around the moat and back home. Converted, tagged the photos, and checked them on Goggle Earth... They were off by 300 - 500 meters. Closer investigation I realized my camera was off by about 45 seconds from the GPS time, enough to make a big geographic difference.

    My Nikon D80 allows to enter seconds in the time, my little Olympus Miu Tough only allows minutes......

    Will give another go and report back.
     

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