The Ultimate GPS Solution for Nikon?

The Ultimate GPS Solution for Nikon?

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Real world usage

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so with that in mind. I attached the gps unit to my camera strap using some Velcro – I did robe it in a hard heat-shrink covering to provide protection to the circuit boards and make it waterproof.

Once plugged in to my camera – I tapped the shutter button and got the flashing gps icon on the top lcd after 6 seconds that stopped and a few second later the camera’s meter turned off as the camera entered power saving mode. I knew of course the gps unit was still busy trying to acquire satellites and get a fix.Nikon GPS Position displayed on lcd

After a few minutes I tapped the shutter button once more – the camera’s meter powered up and the lenses tried auto focusing, but this time the gps icon was solidly on telling me we had a gps fix, so I took a test shot and scrolled through the info window to see if the gps position had been recorded on to the photo – and it had 🙂

I decided to take a short drive out to my local park, on arrival I half-pressed the shutter button – the gps icon flashed briefly before staying on, it was still less than a couple of seconds the test shot confirmed gps position was recorded ok. I suspect the slight delay was because of the 2 mile position change while the gps unit was in sleep causing it to recalculate a new position using the satellite data.

Now when I am out with the camera whenever my location has changed I just half-press the shutter button to prime the gps unit. I tend to now just half-press the shutter while the camera is still hanging by my side before lifting it up to my eye to take the photo – that way I am guaranteed that the gps data will be recorded on the image.

On a few occasions I have had situations where I have taken photos and position data has been recorded, a few seconds later I will pickup the camera to take another picture this time the gps icon just flashes and the position is not recorded. It happen so rarely that it does not warranty investigation, I suspect it is either a power glitch or some of sort of corruption to the satellite table stored by the gps module – causing it to dump the data and starting fresh with a new cold start acquisition.

Power consumption seems very good – I have not done very specific scientific tests but with my normal usage I have not noticed any discernable change to the number of shoots per charge.

Conclusion

Well I can say my project has been a great success – the gps unit has been installed on the camera for the last few months and it has not missed a beat.

Most of the time I do these projects to challenge myself and to keep my electronic skills in check, but I do them with a purpose – and this one is definitely fit for its purpose.

.Waitor - there is a Nikon GPS Unit in my water

Design and development time for the hardware only took me a couple of days, the software took much longer as the testing cycle is longer. Costs – well with all the components and having the PCB manufactured the final cost came in at well under £80 ($120), so I have achieved my goals in that respect as well.

I’m off to do some geo-tagging……

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30 thoughts on “The Ultimate GPS Solution for Nikon?

  1. John Pateman

    Hi – Any further developments? I am interested in building one of these and have some limited SMD experience. Are you planning to release a kit or plans+software?

    Great project!!

  2. IDeeW

    Hi,
    Nice work. Just one question.
    Why do you use a controller board. Most common GPS modules has a configurable RS232 port. and Nikon DSLR accepts RS232. You just need a level converter!

    Thank

  3. Sven

    Hi, looks interesting, can you tell me where yto get the nice 10-pin conecter you have used in your early prototype?
    Thanks a lot!

  4. Michael

    The Easytagger is cool. I got it for a week now and used it for almost everyday. I do enjoy the trails. It shows every detail of my movement.

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