I’m always on the lookout for ways to ditch the PC on the chase. There are two main reasons I use a PC and they are 1) to stream live video and 2) to log my GPS stream with GpsGate. Right now I’m on a quest to find an iPad related solution to #2 and then all I’ll have left is #1 then I can be PC free. This weekend, I decided to take a look in the App Store for some GPS Loggers, and happened to find one that also handles geotagging (in more ways than one) photos. If you follow my blog, you’ll know I wrote an entry regarding logging GPS with GpsGate just a few weeks ago. What this entry talks about, essentially wraps up the first two blog entries of that series into one nice streamlined solution.
In this blog, I am going to talk about GeoLogTag, an app available in the Apple App Store. It costs $4.99 and requires iOS 4.2 or later. If you wish to geotag photos you import to your iPad using the camera connection kit, you will need iOS 5. For this review I used the iPhone app. The iPad app looks even nicer.
You can find GeoLogTag in the App Store here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/geologtag/id294194869?mt=8
Once you start up the app, you are presented with a pretty basic screen to start your GPS log.
It basically tells you to sync your camera clock to the one displayed on the screen. This will ensure your photo capture times match your GPS log and is the key to making this process effortless.
Once you hit the record button it switches to the map view. It’ll show your current position and the last GPS reading it saved.
Also, on this screen there are five buttons across the top. The leftmost one pauses GPS logging. The rightmost one stops it and creates a new saved track. The three buttons in the middle are the GPS collection method: GPS, Wi-Fi and Cellular. The GPS is the most accurate, but drains your battery fastest. If you have your iDevice plugged in while using it, battery life doesn’t matter. The other two use less battery power, but at the expense of reduced accuracy. For this test run, I had it docked in a charging cradle in my car so I selected GPS for the best accuracy. As you drive along, the position it has logged updates and shows you in the map.
There are a couple of things that I didn’t like about this, but they aren’t dealbreakers. The first is there is no way to set the sensitivity of the logger. If you are moving, it appears to take a reading every second, but it doesn’t take extraneous readings while you’re not moving. I’m not sure how that works when you’re stationary for a long time and snap some pictures over that interval. It will probably be ok, since as soon as you start moving it’ll snap another shot so any position extrapolation will be spot on.
The other thing I didn’t like was with the map presentation. Your GPS icon moves as it logs but it doesn’t stay centered. It gets to the edge of the map and just moves the map enough to keep it visible. But, most of the time you’ll be running this app in the background, so who cares?
Once you have logging going and you’re driving around, you can hit the home button and put the app in the background. It will keep logging and you’ll be able to tell as it shows the count bubble on the app icons, just like your e-mail does.
OK, so you’ve started a track and driven around snapping photos and whatnot. When you are finished hit the stop button, it’ll then be added to your tracks list. So, now you can hit the Tracks tab at the bottom of the screen.
You’ll see your most recent tracks at the top and tapping on one brings up the track map.
Now, here’s where the fun starts. Click on the export button in the upper right and it’ll bring up all kinds of options:
You can email yourself the GPX file. I, myself, have a DropBox account which is a brilliant way to quickly transfer files. If you don’t have a DropBox account, it’s free to setup and you get 5GB. I’m going to GPX to DropBox. When you do this for the first time it’ll ask you to login and link to your DropBox account.
Once you do that, it’ll upload the GPX file to your DropBox and it’ll show up so you can access it on your PC DropBox in seconds. Now that we have the GPX file on your desktop, you can open up Google Earth and open that GPX file and it’ll display your track.
So, that is way less complicated than the method I presented in my three part series on GPS logging and geotagging before. Now that you have a GPX file you can geotag photos in Lightroom just as I described in my previous blog series.
This app also has some additional features for geotagging photos itself. If you tap the Geotag tab at the bottom you’ll see four options for geotagging photos automatically. You can automatically geotag photos on your Mac, Flickr, Google+ or SmugMug. I tested this feature with Google+ and it works flawlessly.
Basically what you do is tap on Google+ and it will ask you to Login to your Google+ account, or select one you’ve already connected. To geotag photos automatically, you tap on the red pushpin next to your Google+ account name. The app will then go check all the photos you’ve uploaded to Google+ and find the ones that match timestamps in your GPS logs and automatically geotag them for you.
Once that is finished, you can check out the photos on Google+ and see that it has successfully geotagged them:
So, all in all, I give this app a favorable recommendation as it streamlines the GPS logging and geotagging process without a PC, and since that is my intended goal this suits my needs rather well.
- Has an algorithmic logger that doesn’t log unnecessarily
- Shows a map with your last logged point as well as the track
- Can background the app with no problem
- Shows GPS count on the home screen when backgrounded
- Various export options
- Integration with Google+, Flickr, SmugMug and Mac OS
- GPS pin doesn’t stay centered in the map while tracking
- No Facebook integration