Thursday, September 08, 2011

Geotagging II

I rambled at length in previous posts about my interest in geotagging. In my recent comparison of cameras I even talked about geotagging. In the GPS section of that post I linked to a Picasaweb album that had GPS data from the Lumix.

Yesterday I put the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 to the test. The results weren't pretty.

We went to the Memphis Zoo and I wanted to use this trip to compare my previous geotagging process with the built-in capabilities of the Lumix.

I enabled GPSLogger on my wife's BlackBerry Curve and set it to log every 30 seconds.

As soon as I arrived I turned on the Lumix and enabled GPS. That was the first mistake.

The Lumix took more than 5 minutes to obtain a GPS location fix. Consequently my first pictures didn't have GPS location in their EXIF data. Then the Lumix began obtaining GPS locations every 5 minutes.

When we returned home I used GeoSetter to compare the GPS locations.

Here's the result.

The top set of markers is from the Lumix and the bottom is from GPSLogger.

The first thing to notice is the absence of markers in the Lumix set near the bottom center. This is the entrance to the Zoo and the Lumix hadn't obtained a fix yet. To be fair I have to acknowledge that I started GPSLogger before I left home. The next thing is to notice that the Lumix seems to have fewer markers than the BlackBerry. This is because the Lumix tends to cluster photographs as it only renews its location every 5 minutes. Another thing is the Lumix has one photograph tagged as being in the middle of a small pond. Let's just say that I didn't get wet so this indicates a lack of accuracy on the part of the Lumix's GPS.

The other issue I observed is impact on battery life on each device. With the GPSLogger frequency set to 30 seconds it had no noticeable impact on the BlackBerry Curve's battery. I didn't fully charge the Lumix's battery before I left as it indicated a full battery although it had been used several times on that charge. During the day the Lumix's battery indicator dropped to 2 of 3 and then 1 of 3. When I returned home to offload the photos it began flashing red. I could do a more comprehensive test of the impact of the GPS on the Lumix's battery life but given the ineffectiveness of the Lumix's GPS who cares?

Perhaps I have the bar set unrealistically high. If your interest in geotagging is to tag your photos with which part of a town you are in then the Lumix does fine but carry an extra battery. And if you're lost the Lumix will even show you where you are every 5 minutes. When it obtains a GPS fix it I have it set to show the town and landmark. It kept displaying "Memphis Zoo."

On the other hand GPSLogger and a BlackBerry is a first class method to geotag your photos.

Oh and if you have an Android phone? Don't even bother.

No comments: