Vincent Cheung

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

GPS + Photos = Awesome

I got my GPS logger today and I took it out on the water with me when I went kayaking on Lake Ontario.

Basically the GPS logger is a small GPS device with no screen and you can connect it to your phone through bluetooth to figure out where you are. That's the basic "GPS" part. The "logger" part records where you've been and you can then download the tracks onto your computer later and do some cool stuff with it.

I got the QStarz BT-Q100Platinum. It works like a charm, is small, and the battery apparently lasts up to 32 hours. I'm not able to get a signal in my apartment, but once I got onto the street, it worked pretty well, although it made some errors with the tall buildings in the way, but out on the water, it was pretty accurate.

My attempt at hand modeling. If it looks bad, it's b/c the photo is not rotated correctly and I'm too lazy to fix this after having already uploaded the photo

Here's the path that I recorded (I rollerbladed to the place, kayaked to Centre Island and back, then rollerbladed home). The path isn't 100% accurate and some of the tracking is off. My rollerblading is not as erratic as the GPS device made it out to be (I was going straight on the road, but it thought that I had veered off the road a couple times and it also thought I was somewhere west of my apartment when I was in the elevator). It seems to be pretty accurate on the open water, but got confused in the city with the tall buildings blocking the satellites.

View Larger Map

That's pretty cool. It gets even cooler when you synchronize your photos to the path to get the exact longitude and latitude where you took each photo (since GPS inherently has timestamps for each data point). Click on the camera to see the photos that I took in that spot. This is all automatic!

View Larger Map

The long/lat info is stored right in the image file and when you upload to Picasa Web Albums, all the location information is automatically shown there as well (check out the map view on the right hand side).

I am definitely going to be doing this on my trips from now on!


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