It works really well , and is a very compact solution. A friend I also made one for is working on an online gallery thing which uses the GPS info to bring up a small google map to show where the picture was taken.
Very nice and compact! If you'd be willing to share with us how it's done (or even market it as a product) I'm sure there would be significant interest both here and on the D2 forum. I had been considering this which attaches like an L-Bracket but I'd have to remove my camera plate to use it. I like your solution much better since I rarely use a flash.
It seems like there might be enough interest to do this.
Just to warn you, if I end up selling it on my website (customidea.com) then I would have to properly price it (I guess £199 or something), but whenever I design new stuff I always sell a few to enthusiastic people at a reduced price just to get it out there and get feedback on it. I suppose it would be something like £110?
I should prob give a bit more info about how this thing works: basically you put it in the flash shoe (I have engineered a nice, simple, but strong nylon mount) and plug in the cable to your camera. Thats it its that easy.
Your camera will immediately see the GPS and will flash the little 'GPS' icon on the screen. My GPS thing has a little red LED which will come on too. The GPS then gets a lock on the sats and when this happens the 'GPS' icon on the camera goes solid and my LED starts to flash (I know, I know, the wrong way around!). Bingo, you are geotagging your photos.
The very first time you switch on the unit it might take a minute or two to get a lock (you need to be outside) but once this is done, then it takes only seconds to get back in lock if you switch off and on the unit, for example. Also once you have a lock you can pretty much go indoors etc.. and it wont lose it (I've been all around my house and it keeps the lock - nice huh?).
The unit gets power from the camera, but if the camera is off then so is the unit. Its good to get in the habit of switching the camera off more often than usual if you want to conserve power because since the GPS unit takes power from the camera, the battery will run down quicker. But hey ho, if I put batteries in the GPS thing then a) it would be bigger/heavier and b) you would need to carry two types of batteries around, not just one... Plus nikon batteries are cheap on ebay...
Oh and if you do want to use your flash shoe, then just let the thing dangle besides your camera - its light and the connector has a very secure locking ring, so its not going anywhere!
Oh I got another piccie of it from another angle if you are interested:
I'm considering one of these, I was going to buy the expensive Nikon cable and connect my Garmin 276, but yours is a much better, more compact solution. Does the unit you make also have a plug input somewhere on it to still be able to plug in the remote camera release?
I shoot on a tripod with an MC-36 release, can I plug in the gps and then plug the MC-36 into the gps unit, to use both?
Hi Reuben. This looks very nice indeed. I wish you every success in marketing the GPS IU.
One small question though. I am a mountaineer and most of my photography is landscape orientated. I own a GPS but only ever use it occasionally and then only in desperate conditions when speed is very necessary. I navigate very accurately and safely with a map and compass!
To the point - I can think of no logical reason whatsoever why I would want to connect my GPS to my D200 or indeed any camera.
If I had a reason I would - just to own another gadget!
Anyone have any real reasons or as I may suspect you are doing it just because you can!
All the best.
Nick Green ENGLAND www.nickgreenphotography.com “There is a forgotten, nay forbidden word that means more to me than any other. That word is ENGLAND.” Sir Winston Churchill
Easy one to answer, that. Every time you take a photo, the clever D200 then adds the GPS location information to the EXIF data attached to the photo. Then, when you get back from your world travels you know exactly where every single photo was taken. Handy, if you are like me and dont bother taking notes etc...
Sadly, this GPS unit has little use in getting you off the mountain in a snow storm... well I guess you could just take a picture, use the D200 screen to check the EXIF lat/long data and do it like that...
"Because you can" is a good enough reason for me! Count me as interested in the details.
I think the real reason is to allow you to browse through your pictures and if you find a good one but forgot where you took it, you can look it up quickly. I've had quite a few cityscape shots from my P&S and I've actually had to correlate the timestamp with my flight schedule to figure out if that particular statue was in downtown Chicago or Dallas. Even better for nature shots, you may be able to figure out that the deer you shot was in the north glade rather than the south one.
Of course, the downside of most of these solutions is that you may not be able to read the GPS information in the field - nothing like being able to get Blair Witch lost when you've got a working GPS Anyone know if the GPS information is displayed in the image preview?
Hi JohnnyO - glad you like the dive cable! Is it the new version you have, with the fancy little plastic molding on the end?
Right, I think I had better start collecting info of people who are interested in this. So, if you do want one to play with for that kind of price (£110) then send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll see what I can do...
I thought along the same line as you at first. I mean, yeah, having GPS information included in the photograph would be interesting, but what would I really do with it. Then I read some information on the Microsoft Research site, where they are working on using this information to create a virtual 'Fly Through' with multiple pictures by using the GPS data to create a 3D database that really got me thinking. Here is the link on this:
I started think about different ways to manage the storing and retrieval of 1,000s of photos.
Now I am very interested in this sort of technology.
Please count me in on your unit. It is one of the more professional and compact units I have seen. I too would also be interested in a 10 pin receiver on it to plug in a remote release unit, since I do allot of landscape shots and always try for the sharpest image possible.
So, the three spare pre-production ones went in about 30 mins And there seem to be plenty more people still wanting one.
I was planning to sell the next batch I make on the website at the full price (rrp will be £199) but I feel bad for the people who missed out on the £110 run. Because its a nice sunny day and I'm feeling generous (and against my wife's advice) I am going to let people pre-order one from the next batch of GPS units for £150. I'll leave the pre-order page on the website until the end of March, so that you Nikonian folks can order it for 75% of the retail price. The link is:
By the way, I have made the unit lead a nice length, so that if you want to use a flash in your hotshoe you can attach it to the camera neck strap (I am sure people will come up with ingenious ways of doing this - perhaps a velcro fastening?).
If anyone finds some good software to use with your nice geotagged photos then let us all know!
I have used this plugin to display my photos on maps but its a drag having to enter the data by hand so I am hoping to automate the whole process with the GPS unit. Here is an example of one of my photos albums displayed on the Google maps plugin, in this case its some photos from a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana
As the previous poster said - its all php based. I am a Mac user and it all works fine with Macs. It is a bit technical because you have to have your own server with php and mysql databases installed and then you upload the Gallery package and run an install script via your browser to install. Once installed you can customise and tweak it to suit. Getting a server with the right set up is fairly straight forward as there are lots of companies that offer server packages and almost all offer php and mysql as standard.
Once your online gallery is running you can administrate and upload photos just using a browser from anywhere - its great for uploading photos while on vacation for example. There are also more powerful special upload programmes which can batch process and upload lots of photos in a single operation and there is a version for MacOs X.
The Gallery software can also be integrated into a number of popular blogging packages. My web site at
Ah yes and you can get some really nice and simple php servers: the one I use is http://www.uniformserver.com/ which doesnt even need installing (no files put on your pc etc...).
You just click a start file to start it and a stop file to stop it. The only thing is I noticed the version I have doesnt like skype running at the same time...
P.S. All the first batch units have been shipped- the woman at the postal office was very curious to know what they all were! So watch out for the nice little brown boxes coming through your door anytime soon.
When picasa first starts you can set where it searches for photos (I told it just to go for the my pictures folder as thats where all of mine are). Then once it has completed its mamouth search of all the photos you ever took just go to Tools->Geotag->View in Google earth. Easy as that! It takes a short while for it to find all of your geotagged photos but it works a treat!
So - it actually works with files already tagged (from the D200)?
I have looked at Picasa for that, but need the GPS to actually test it - not sure if Picase would use standardized tagging (Google are not generally known for being much standard aware - at least not on their web activities)
And I haven't been able to find (well - from Google searching) confirmation on the issue
Can you confirm this - that it works directly "out of the box"?
EDIT: Ah - just saw it was you Reuben. Since we discussed this very issue on mail, I am pretty sure you HAVE tried it
Yep - photos taken with my D200 and the GPS thing work with picasa and google earth, out of the box. Amazed how easy it was. Shame that the google earth resolution where I live is very poor, but I guess over the pond where you guys all live its better
Just got back from London to find the unit waiting for me. It is very professionally finished, congratulations on the production! Sadly I didn't bring the D200 in to work so I can't comment on how well it works, how easy it is to use but suffice to say I am now itching to get home after only 5 minutes in the office
Good to hear you got a lock from a cold start inside - normally I have to be outside. You should find that once it has locked the first time, if you switch off, and on (called a warm start) then it will lock on much quicker.
Typically you might go somewhere new, pull out your camera, switch on and after a minute or so to get the lock from the cold start you can start taking photos etc. Then to save battery you can switch off between shooting and it will get a lock much quicker (few seconds) when you switch on again (this is called a warm start).
Have only had time to test that it turns on indoors, but haven't tested it outside yet. If anyone noticed that there was a huge riot in Copenhagen 2 weeks ago - well - that's exactly where I live, so at the moment there's absolutely NO walking around the neighbourhood with any chance of being mistaken for a press photographer
I just ordered one of these units off your website
I replied to an earlier e-mail with a link to Microsoft's research site on "PhotoSynth" which uses the GPS data in the EFIX data to creatre a 3D presentation of an item taken with multiple photographs.
This is really interesting research, and a whole new way of looking at managing large quantities of photo's.
Any one had used the Customidea's and please advise on the accuracy?
If the Time (in UTC format) recorded on your accurate, does it recorded at all? The GPS time recorded can be seen when you play back the image from your D200, and it is listed just below the GPS longlitude and latitude.
Interestingly enough I don't think the Mini version was there when this was first posted - perhaps they monitor the forums...
For those of you in the States who've ordered I came home from Maryland today to find it hiding from the blizzard in my mailbox so hopefully yours will arrive shortly. Once the storm breaks hopefully I'll be able to test it out.
Whoo hooo!!!!!!!!!!! Got mine yesterday but finally unwrapped it just now. It locks on pretty fast! Considering the last time it locked on, other side of the pond... it downloaded the almanac pretty quickly -- only had to stand outside in the snow and cold for a minute or two to get lock-on. (Didn't mind; it was fun, really.)
It is MUCH smaller and lighter than I had expected, and a very durable looking construction. Works as advertised; what can I say? Very nice kit, and many thanks, Reuben! (The instructions looked great as well!) I look forward to using it for a series of informal shooting next weekend when a friend is in town and visiting various locations in town.
>Any one had used the Customidea's and please advise on the >accuracy?
In terms of location, it is extremely close to what my more accurate GPS receiver states. On a map, both the CustomIdeas accessory and my Garmin points to the same lot (my location) even though they very slightly diverge to effect of about one hundredth of a second for longitude and about three thousandth of a second for latitude. Very, very close.
They can not guarantee a greater accuracy than standard civilian GPS accuracy (approx 3m to 10m) with WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS support and SA disabled. I consistently saw about 3m to 5m accuracy.
>If the Time (in UTC format) recorded on your accurate, does >it recorded at all?
Yes, it is. I see it in the decoded EXIF data outside of the camera. And, yes, it does appear to be accurate and matches my non-camera UTC clocks (synchronised by NTP).
EDIT: corrected self; the GeoPic DOES have WAAS/EGNOS support -- very nice!
>>Any one had used the Customidea's and please advise on the >>accuracy?
I concur with the accuracy, much better than the 100m GPS is typically good for (I was about 3-4m from the position Google Maps showed, assuming Google Maps is accurate). Oddly enough, the GPS location was exactly at the focus point where my subject was. Of course, if this were intentional it would involve an unlikely sequence of events with the GPS and/or camera able to determine orientation and then modifying the satellite information based on the len's focus setting accordingly so I'm fairly certain it was coincidence, but it's amusing nonetheless.
>Yes, it is. I see it in the decoded EXIF data outside of the >camera. And, yes, it does appear to be accurate and matches >my UTC clocks.
Just as an addition, the timestamp of the file seems to be based on the camera's clock, but embedded in the EXIF information the GPS time is accurate (my camera's clock was off by about a minute). There is likely some software out there someplace that can pull the GPS time and map it to the normal file and EXIF timestamps, maybe Opanda's PowerEXIF editor?
Glad to hear everyone is receiving their units, and they are all working well! I have had a couple of questions over the email and I thought I would just mention that the hotshoe mount is in fact very securely screwed onto the box (I doubt you would be able to remove it if you tried!), so there is no chance of it coming off!!
Also I have put the thing on the new website to pre-order, so if you want to get it then go here:
>Reuben, > >Finally got time to open the package and very quickly try it >out. > >I am really impressed with the build quality and ease of >use, thanks so much for this wonderful product. > >Have some minor questions, whci most probably have to do >with me using a camera-GPS combo for the first time, will >send you those in an e-mail. > >Many thanks, > >Pim
Just a thought that may help all of us who have purchased your unit. As you receive and answer individual's questions, could you post a Q&A on your website with the Question and Answer you gave. That way we could check there first before e-mailing you with the same question, and as new questions come in, we could all monitor them with your answers, in effect learning more about the Unit, how it functions, and better how to operate our cameras with it.
On another note, for the forum monitor, it may be benificial to start a Photo-GPS sub-forum for those of us that are interested in this. Got my vote for this
Just received my unit today...extremely well built. What a great new toy to play with! Since it wasn't snowing or downpouring rain here in Phoenix, I was able to run outside and immediately get a fix!! I can't wait to play with it on one of my outings in the desert. Thanks Reuben for making a VERY nice piece of equipment!!
JohnnyO "What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?
JohnnyO "What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?
Please excuse my elementary question as I can really see a use for this as my family and I travel around the country and overseas quite a bit. However, although I'm familiar with GPS, other than size, weight and convenience, why would this unit be an advantage over a normal GPS unit? Obviously with its display, a traditional GPS unit would serve double duty rather than being so singular in nature.
I think the three reasons you give, size, weight and convenience are pretty good reasons to own one and of course the totally irresistable gotta have it gadget status. I have a handheld GPS also and hanging that off the camera would be much more cumbersome IMHO. Come on...you know you want one...give in, the water's warm
JohnnyO "What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?
JohnnyO "What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?
That's easy: significant weight and space savings.
You can still use a MC-35 GPS cable or a custom-made one and your own GPS receiver, of course. Sometimes, one is space or weight constrainted on trips or just doesn't want to lug around a bulkier unit with longer cables.