Jump to content

Ot: Interfacing Gps, Camera & Laptop


GeoPup&ShelpieGirl
Followers 2

Recommended Posts

I'll start by saying, apologies for this WOT (way off topic) post, but I see that there are some programmers here & if I can do this, it will go to good use.

 

New pro digital cameras have wireless transmitter options and all of them can shoot tethered to a laptop, sending the image files to the hard drive via a utility program. The preferred connection is Firewire IEEE-1394. A few (like the Kodak Pro-N/C) can take a GPS input into the camera via a cable from a handheld GPS unit and record it in the image's metadata (along with things like camera settings, date, time, etc.). Amazing. I wonder what it would take to "shoot" to a laptop, insert the GPS (that would be easy if the camera is GPS ready / mine isnt) and insert the addresses or phone number that we are hovering over? I already know that GPS can record your actual traveled route as you are driving/flying it. I wonder how you could insert "shot numbers" or even a dot/point along the path *on the map* -- the camera numbers each photo or "shot" as we call them (unless you are around a VIP - they dont like that word ;-) Then you could have a base map from the GPS, a route showing the path you actually flew, points along the path where you took photos, and a photo with GPS coordinates (and perhaps some custom data like altitude, direction of travel of the aircraft) embedded in the image file.

 

The main point of interest (for me) is this: how can I insert a point on a track everytime I fire the camera? Can the camera communicate back the GPS software running on the laptop? This could be fun for people on road trips too (oh, no! no we will be looking at GPS, talking on cell phone, and taking a photo :lol: Be safe!

 

Wow - all that, and I havent even had my coffee, yet :D BTW, Im one of the good guys.

Link to comment

I'm not sure of any software that will completely do what you're looking to do. At the risk of starting to sound like an ad for TOPOFusion, you might go to www.topofusion.com and see if the fotofusion part of that program would fit your needs. (Free trial) Once you've downloaded your track into the program, you can then direct it to a directory that has .jpg files in it. (Won't read RAW or Tiff files) Using the existing time and date data in the Exif file of the photos, it will plot their position on the track. Unfortunately, the software downloads the maps and aerial photos it uses from terraserver, thus you can only have TOPO or aerial photo maps. You can't do address lookups on them. It doesn't sound like it would fit your needs completely, but it might be a workaround.

Link to comment

Interesting. I am getting DeLorme Street Atlas plus (older version to experiment with) - and 7 CDs of linked phone numbers (yellow and white pages ~114 million?). Im dumping all the maps and phone #'s onto my hard drive. You can enter a phone number an get a point on the map. Perhaps there is a poor man's version? Even the simple track is useful once you place it on a high res map. Do tracks record time at the waypoints along the track?

Link to comment

Not really what you're asking for but here's how I would do this:

 

Just carry camera and GPSr. Before you start clear all tracks and waypoints from the GPSr. Start your journey. Whenever you take a photo, mark a waypoint on your GPSr. When you get home upload the pictures from your camera and use something like gpsbabel to get the track and waypoints to your computer as two GPX files. Now load both of these GPX files up to GPS Visualizer to view them both superimposed on a map/aerial photo.

 

To be really clever you could even write a script that catalogued the folder containing the photos and edited the GPX file of waypoints so that each waypoint had a URL pointing to the photo on your hard-drive. Then, when viewing the map at GPS Visualizer you could click on the waypoints to view the photo associated with that waypoint.

 

JeremyA

Edited by JeremyA
Link to comment
Do tracks record time at the waypoints along the track?

Yes. Magellan does it through their MapSend program, I believe Garmin does it at the GPS level and probably transports it to the Mapsource level.

 

Interesting. I am getting DeLorme Street Atlas plus (older version to experiment with) - and 7 CDs of linked phone numbers (yellow and white pages ~114 million?). Im dumping all the maps and phone #'s onto my hard drive. You can enter a phone number an get a point on the map. Perhaps there is a poor man's version? Even the simple track is useful once you place it on a high res map.

 

Be wary of depending on the phone numbers as a means to solidly identify the address. Those CD lists are typically 2-6 years old.

Link to comment
Do tracks record time at the waypoints along the track?

Yes, but on some devices the timestamps may be removed if you "save" the track on the device - Garmin eTrex does this to make the saved tracks smaller. Only the active track contains time info.

 

A shameless plug for a QGIS plugin I'm writing that does part of what you're asking for:

EXIF Importer (example of output)

Edited by larsl
Link to comment

larsl,

 

Thanks for sharing that - I send you an email and an reading the site. Nice work! Is this a plug-in for qgis? Is the correlation done using the *time* of the photo and the track point? Does this assume that the camera cannot insert GPS coordinates into the EXIF? Some can. My current cameras cannot, so I am interested. I'm so happy that my post drew you out of "forge." B) Is there a charge for these programs? I see that there is a Windows beta for qgis - do I need the EXIF plugin to experiment with this?

Link to comment
larsl,

 

Thanks for sharing that - I send you an email and an reading the site. Nice work! Is this a plug-in for qgis? Is the correlation done using the *time* of the photo and the track point? Does this assume that the camera cannot insert GPS coordinates into the EXIF? Some can. My current cameras cannot, so I am interested. I'm so happy that my post drew you out of "forge."  B)  Is there a charge for these programs? I see that there is a Windows beta for qgis - do I need the EXIF plugin to experiment with this?

I've replied to your email, but I'll add a short note here too in case someone else is interested:

 

Yes, it's a plugin for QGIS. The plugin uses the time of the points in the tracklog and the time in the EXIF files to figure out where the photos were taken. I've planned to let it use GPS data from the EXIF file if it exists, but it's not in the code yet. QGIS and the plugin are both free software. The Windows beta package does not contain this plugin since it's what we call an "external" plugin, which is released independently of the main program. The plugin is only available as source code and has only been tested on Linux, but I may be able to get one of the QGIS Windows hackers to build a version for Windows.

Link to comment

Yes, I know that Garmin will lose the timestamp info when you save the track.

 

I wrote some software to extract the date and time from the Exif information in the JPEG and compare it to the timestamp contained in the tracklog from my Garmin. I then import the coordinates into the text file of comments I have for every photo (which includes time and date from the Exif info). For every photo I know where the GPS was at the time I took the photo.

 

I wrote a screensaver that displays my photos and uses the GPS info for the photo to display a small map of the USA with a dot for the coordinates. Pretty neat.

 

I set my tracklog to take a point I think every 10 seconds or so at a fixed interval. During a vacation I leave the GPS on all day and download the tracklog to my laptop every night.

 

I have software to combine all the tracklogs for an entire trip and match the JPEG Exif date and time to the closest tracklog point.

 

During the trip I take one photo of my GPS showing the time on the display. I use the camera time for that JPEG to obtain a delta between the clock in the GPS and the clock in the camera.

 

Works for me.

 

Bobby

Link to comment
I may be able to get one of the QGIS Windows hackers to build a version for Windows.

 

larsl,

yes, please !

 

this is exciting - thanks for sharing the plug-in, larsl - i read the opensource mission statement & like the spirit if sharing in that group. remarkable.

 

During the trip I take one photo of my GPS showing the time on the display.

 

bobby,

great idea!

 

thanks all!

Link to comment

Here's a link to a webpage where one of the QGIS developers keeps a Windows build of the current development version of QGIS + some external plugins, including the EXIF importer and an imagemap exporter plugin that can create clickable HTML maps: http://linux-gis.co.uk/

 

When you use the EXIF importer a dialog will pop up that says that it was created using trial software or something similar. This is harmless and you should just click past that window. It is there because a trial version of a tool was used to create a Windows version of the library that is used to load EXIF data.

 

(if anyone knows of a free program that creates .LIB files from .DLL ones, or even better, if anyone knows where to find .LIB and .DLL files for libexif, please let me know)

 

I have not tested this package in any way since I don't have Windows, but it is supposed to work. You should read the short notes on the webpage though.

Link to comment
Yes, I know that Garmin will lose the timestamp info when you save the track.

 

How do you work around this? Keep the track active by *not* saving it? Sheesh. What if you have to keep going?

 

Q: If you upload the track to PC, the timestamps are preserved? Sounds like I need to do this asap. Perhaps turn off the GPS when I land so to avoid possible overwriting. get out my notebook and upload the track. I can bring a pillow and catch some ZZZ's ;-) I do damage assessment from the air.

 

On a Garmin Map76S, how long does it take for a track to start overwriting itself? is this only a matter of time, or is it speed also. For example, does walking use less track storage than flying over in an aircraft at 100mph?

 

-Paul

Edited by GeoPup&ShelpieGirl
Link to comment
Yes, I know that Garmin will lose the timestamp info when you save the track.

How do you work around this? Keep the track active by *not* saving it? Sheesh. What if you have to keep going?

 

On a Garmin Map76S, how long does it take for a track to start overwriting itself? is this only a matter of time, or is it speed also. For example, does walking use less track storage than flying over in an aircraft at 100mph?

This is one of the most annoying things with my GPS (Garmin eTrex). I don't understand why they didn't make a firmware where you can choose to keep the timestamps in saved tracks - I don't mind that most of the trackpoints are removed, but I'd really like to keep the time info. I was on a 6 day hiking trip in the mountains this summer, and the tracks typically last about one and a half day. To at least save some time info I marked waypoints now and then with names like 011530, 021220, 021442 etc (the first two digits is the day number, the other four is the time of day), and when I got home I ran the GPX file through a Perl script that synthesized a timestamp for each waypoint with a name like that (another annoying thing with the eTrex - it doesn't save timestamps at all for waypoints). Another way might be to bring up the current position on the GPS and snap a picture of the display now and then, but this requires more work when you get home (unless you have a clever OCR program that can read the position from the pictures).

 

How long a track lasts depends on the shape of the track. If you just keep moving in an absolutely straight line you can theoretically go on forever since the GPS only needs two points to represent a straight line. The "less straight" your track is the more points are needed to draw it and the sooner it will start to overwrite itself.

Link to comment

Tracks>Menu>SetUp

 

Got - thanks! If I am flying in a chopper and I only need a memory-economical track, I thought I would select "Least Often." , bu what about "Record Method" : Auto, Time, or Distance. I was thinking of selecting "Distance" - that way perhaps I wont get so many track points if we slow to circle? Or would time be better? Im concerned as sometimes we cruise 120mph., othertimes slow way down.

 

Is this even an issue for a 3-4 hour flight? Perhaps Lest Often/Auto will work fine?

Link to comment
Webscouter, Do you use the free versionof Quakemap? Do the names of towns appear on the Terra Server aerial shots? Or do you use the maps - that wont work for me, Im outside the coverage area - I need TX and FL.

Thanks, Paul

Hi Paul,

 

You can use both maps and overlay them. Also town names are available on the photo map.

 

The maps and images come from government servers and should cover the entire United States. I ahve seen parts of Texas and Florida on Quakemap. I don't see how you don't see them unless you don't allow enough time for them to download.

 

I use the registered version.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 2
×
×
  • Create New...