$$ - Bonus Web Review: GiSTEQ

Note: This article complements Dr John Goswell's Introduction to Geo-Photography.

GiSTEQ produces an integrated solution for geo-tagging photographs. It is called PhotoTrackr. This is a neat little unit weighs in at 68g including the rechargeable Li-ion battery. The package contains the GPS data logger, the software, a lanyard, a USB to mini-USB cable, a rechargeable battery, a 240V charger and a 12V charger for use in cars. There is also a sticky pad for mounting the unit on the car dashboard.

Operation is simple. Load the GPS data to your computer, load the photos and let the software tag the photos. If the software is unable to get a close match with the time stamp on the photo, it asks if you wish to tag the photo with the nearest time match (both times are displayed). Once the photos are tagged the software looks to find the closest street address for each. Whilst this may be useful for travel photos, it is a time consuming process and can be turned off if needed.

The software then allows you to run a slideshow, or to locate the photos on a Google Earth map. You are able to view the locations of the photographs, or just view the recorded track.

One good feature is that once a GPS fix is made, the software can display the satellite time, thus enabling the camera time to be synchronised.

This unit enables logging by time or by distance, that is, it can be set to record at a set time interval eg 30 seconds, or when the unit has travelled a set distance, eg 10 metres. Waypoints (points of interest) can be tagged. A brilliant feature it that can be set to turn off when there has been no movement (for an adjustable period of time). A vibration sensor turns the unit back on when movement occurs. This power saving can extend the logging time from 32 hours to a very impressive 2,000 hours (standby) on a single charge.

The unit speaks to you, to tell you when it is searching for the satellites and when it has found a fix.

The GiSTEQ unit is available through Expansys Australia for $A136.95. Mine arrived 6 days after ordering and included an adapter plug for the 240V charger.

Criticisms

Although installation is straightforward the program takes some fiddling to set up fully. Once installed there is no immediate option to run the program. No icon is installed on the Desktop and the program does not automatically run when the data logger is plugged in to the computer. Going to Programs and manually running the program the first time brings up a registration panel. Once the details have been entered the program requires re-starting. On re-starting the program states that it cannot find a database so it loads a default database. I have yet to find a way to remove this now that my own databases have been added.

In order to use the upload mapping feature, user is required to obtain a free Google map API from Google (Gmail account is required).

It appears that the program is sensitive to the order of operations (download the tracklog first). I had one batch of photos fail to geo-tag because I had forgotten to download the tracklog first. The program did not re-tag the images once I had corrected my omission.

Conclusion

A small, neat unit, which is at times a little fiddly to use. The long battery life, the power saving mode, and the ability to recharge in the car set it apart from many of the other data loggers, and make it very suitable for long trips.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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