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GeoSpatial Experts' logo. Click here to visit the GeoSpatial Experts website! Pentax digicam gets GPS abilities
(Wednesday, February 1, 2006 - 11:58 EST)

Thornton, Colorado-based GeoSpatial Experts has apparently created a new solution for tagging photographs with location information courtesy of a GPS, we hear from reader Conrad Fischer.

Currently being demonstrated at the ESRI Federal Users Conference in Washington D.C., the concept is a little different from most GPS digital camera solutions. Ordinarily, you either have to connect the GPS to the camera by a cable, or use a specific GPS accessory that plugs into / onto the camera body (for example, a GPS CompactFlash card).

GeoSpatial's latest solution to the problem lets you use a camera that has no physical connection to the GPS unit, indeed a camera model that was never even designed with GPS connectivity in mind. Instead, you carry both a handheld GPS receiver (which is set to record your track), and capture your photos with a digital camera. As each photo is captured, the camera's date and time is recorded in the EXIF header, as you'd expect.

At some point in your session, you have to take a photo of the GPS unit itself. When you get back home, this photo allows a comparison of the time recorded by the camera, and the real-world time of the photo as displayed on the GPS receiver. This must be entered manually by the user, but then allows the software to backtrack, combining the route recorded by the GPS and the times recorded by the camera to determine where each photo was taken.

A bundle consisting of a Pentax Optio WPi digital camera, Garmin GPS 60 series receiver, and the required software can be purchased for somewhere from $711 to $1105, depending on the exact GPS model and options. Alternatively, the PC-only software can be purchased separately for $229, for use with your own camera and GPS. (The GeoSpatial website claims any camera and GPS can be used, but not being GPS experts ourselves, we'd recommend double-checking your GPS can download route data to your PC in the appropriate format before purchasing).

Thanks to Conrad Fischer for this item!

Original Source Press Release:

GeoSpatial Experts Announces Pentax-Garmin Product Bundle, Plans Demo at ESRI Federal Conference

THORNTON, COLO., 30 January 2006 - GeoSpatial Experts today unveiled a new GPS photo mapping product bundle that includes a Pentax digital camera, Garmin handheld GPS receiver and the GeoSpatial Experts GPS-Photo Link software. GeoSpatial Experts will be demonstrating all three products January 31-February 2 at the ESRI Federal Users Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Pentax-Garmin package is the third GPS-Photo Link mapping product bundle offered by GeoSpatial Experts, the one-stop shop for photographic mapping needs. Due to the relatively low cost of the camera and GPS receiver, GeoSpatial Experts views this as the perfect hardware/software combination for first-time photo mapping users.

"As resellers of Pentax and Garmin products, we are now able to offer clients another complete GPS-photo mapping solution," said Rick Bobbitt, GeoSpatial Experts president. "When clients purchase the Pentax camera and Garmin handheld GPS along with our GPS-Photo Link software, they receive a significant price discount on all three products."

GeoSpatial Experts is the developer of GPS-Photo Link, a digital image mapping software that saves time and money by automatically linking digital photographic images to GPS location data in the GIS environment. GPS-Photo Link creates web pages in which the watermarked photographs are integrated with satellite imagery, street maps, and any other GIS-based mapping layer.

As a reseller for Pentax, GeoSpatial Experts has selected the Pentax Optio WPi waterproof digital camera for inclusion in the product bundle. The Pentax Optio WPi is a lightweight, 6.0-megapixel camera that is waterproof and dustproof and considered ideal for use in the field by GPS mapping professionals. The camera can shoot underwater photos at a depth of five feet for up to 30 minutes and comes with a 3X zoom and rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

"We personally reviewed several digital cameras and selected the Pentax Optio because it is waterproof, more rugged and relatively less expensive than others," said Bobbitt.

The Garmin GPS60 Series was selected by GeoSpatial Experts for similar reasons. It is waterproof, compact and rugged. The Garmin GPS60 series of handheld GPS receivers was designed specifically for mapping in difficult terrain and has built-in differential correction capabilities via the Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS). The ability to add memory makes this Garmin series a favorite for GIS mapping project involving collection of hundreds or thousands of data points in a day. Receivers in the GPS60 Series offer 28-hour battery lives and user-friendly interfaces.

"Together, the Pentax Optio WPi camera and Garmin 60 provide the best capabilities for GPS photo mapping, primarily because they are designed for use in the wet and rugged environments where our GIS clients most often find themselves," said Bobbitt. "There is no need to link the camera and GPS receiver with a cord; the user just takes a photo of the GPS screen at the beginning of each day's mapping, and the GPS-Photo Link software automatically synchronizes the photos to their correct locations."

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