Where I Went on Saturday

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Yesterday I put the GPS facility of my Nikon Coolpix P6000 camera to the test. I took a bus trip from home in the Din Daeng district of Bangkok to the Seacon Square mall in the Prawet District about ten miles away.

I took photos from the bus along the route and the P6000 tagged them with the latitude and longitude. That’s useless if I am lost: my Bangkok street map doesn’t have lat/long. But once I got home I uploaded the images pictures to PicasaWeb and they automatically appeared thus in a map.

The pictures are not terribly interesting unless you are into Bangkok street signs and vehicles. But if you are, you can see them here.

I took one of Bangkok MTA’s older, non-air conditioned buses. It had open windows and from a window seat the P6000 was able to keep its GPS signal. If I had traveled on a more comfortable air-conditioned bus the camera would not have been able to keep in good contact with the satellites.

Note: I also took some photos with my Canon EOS-30D which does not support geotagging. I used Jeff Friedl’s Geotagging plugin for Lightroom to write the lat/long info to those pictures. “Import location from active image” works great.

An interesting aspect of the Nikon’s GPS performance is that it takes a long time to acquire a “connection” to the satellities. But once it has got one it is quick to restore it. I waited at the bus stop in Din Daeng for about 5 minutes until the camera found itself.

it lost the connection when I went inside the mall. I stayed about 20 minutes. When I went out the camera found its satellites again in less than 30 seconds.

If you leave it too long – maybe more than 120 minutes – everything resets and it starts from scratch. I have it set up so that it will not apply a fix more than 5 minutes old to a picture.

On a slow-moving Bangkok bus the accuracy of the geotags was exemplary. I tried a similar exercise on a coach between Bangkok and Chonburi. As the coach sped down the expressway I got an intermittent connection and the geotags were several hundred metres behind the actual position.

One day I will do some more controlled tests of the time the camera takes to acquire a GPS ‘fix’, how accurate subsequent fixes are and how quickly it can re-acquire a fix. ‘More controlled’ is the key – GPS signals are not strong and the tiny receiver / aerial in the camera are challenged by things like overhead power cables. And such cables are everywhere in Bangkok.

If I start out on a trip on a busy road like Sukhumvit with the Skytrain in the middle, the street market alongside and power lines overhead then the camera likely will not get a fix at all.

Seacon Square was not very interesting to me – I could have been in a mall in America – and I didn’t get many really great images (:-)) but for me it was fun to see them plotted on a map with minimal effort on my part.

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One Response to “Where I Went on Saturday”

  1. Geotagging My Posts « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] a fan of geotagging all the pictures I take and even trying to geotag other interesting pictures I find so this is a […]

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