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Thread started 28 Jan 2014 (Tuesday) 10:09
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Canon GP-E2 GPS or Other GPS Devices?

 
neacail
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Jan 28, 2014 10:09 |  #1

Let me preface this by indicating that my "day job" is as a geomatics professional. GPS is a huge part of my life, and I'm a bit of a junky when it comes to it. Basically, if there is a GPS device for something, I've got it.

I was annoyed that my 70D doesn't have built in GPS. I was thrilled that my 6D has built in GPS. I was really, really, annoyed when I discovered that the 6D GPS appears to keep running when the camera is shut off, and the camera's battery dies in my bag pretty quickly if I don't remember to shut it off. I don't use a grip on my 6D, as it spends a lot of time on a tripod, and I feel the grip is detrimental to ultimate stability.

Worth noting is that the GPS in my Tough TG-2 does the same frustrating thing: stays on. Which also drives me nuts.

I love GPS in a way few people do, but not at the expense of my 6D's battery. I do carry two extras for it, but the GPS could kill those pretty quick if taking a lot of shots in addition to logging.

I think I need a standalone GPS unit for the cameras.

The obvious choice would be the GP-E2. Can anyone comment on how quickly it eats through AA batteries? Does the GP-E2 have any significant annoyances?

Is it possible to connect a logger (like an actual handheld Garmin device) other than the GP-E2 to the cameras?

I want the lat/long data embedded in images when I take the image. I don't want to have to use the geotagging feature in LR.


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Jan 28, 2014 18:34 |  #2

Like you, I've never met a GPS I didn't like :{)#

My GP-E2 is good for a day or so (that's 24 hr.) on a single AA cell. That may go down however, as I've been shortening the interval between fixes since thelonger update intervals are inclined to give me a wandering fix, unlike my eTrex 30 with GLONASS as well as NavStar (or, for that matter my earlier Garmin handhelds).

You can't hook a Garmin or other GPS directly to the camera; you'd need to get teh appropriate WiFi attachment unit, which includes a port for a USB cable from your GPS.

On the plus side, the GP-E2 actually embeds the coordinates (and bearing, if on-camera) into even your RAW files; on the minus side, it'll only do that for the camera it's attached to; you'll need to run Canon's (furnished) Map Utility to tag anything from any otehr cameras you're using.

I've long been using Breeze Systems' Downloader Pro to apply IPTC metadata to my photos as I download them to my computer; it'll, at the same time, grab location info from my Garmin track files and hang it on the same sidecar that it stores the IPTC data on.

I haven't yet (when I find the time . . . ) sat down in the middle of a field with my cell phone, the GP-E2 and my eTrex for an hour or so to see which is more precise; I'd suspect it'll be the Garmin.


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Jan 28, 2014 20:26 |  #3

Jon wrote in post #16645416 (external link)
Like you, I've never met a GPS I didn't like :{)#

Allow me to amend that - I had occasion to use my father's TomTom this weekend.


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Jan 28, 2014 20:56 as a reply to  @ Jon's post |  #4

Jon, you know something's wrong when your sig line is longer than your message. Time to shorten it buddy! :) Just sayin'

I have GP-E2 that I use with my 5D3. One thing I like about it is that it has its own battery and does not use the camera's battery. That said, I get about two days of use on a single charge (I use rechargeable Eneloops). I use the unit intermittently during the day, and it works quite well. It starts quickly and tags the photos directly.


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rebby
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Jan 28, 2014 21:17 |  #5

I use Eneloops in my GP-E2 as well and have never killed a battery. In fact, I've never even run it low enough to the get battery "warning blinks". I usually leave it running for 16-20hours between changing and recharging the batteries. In short, battery life seems to be very good. The AA battery of the GP-E2 is also an advantage over the GP-E1, the GP-E1 draws off of the camera battery (like, from the sounds of it, the 6d).

If I'm using the GP-E2, I have it connected to the hot shoe of either my 5d3 or 1dx and running in log mode since I usually shoot with 2 or even 3 bodies on any given day. Like others have mentioned, the RAW files of the connected camera have GPS data embedded in them right off the camera. Data includes the lat and long, the altitude, and direction that you were facing when you took the shot. The direction is a very cool feature and something that I never got from an external logging device. All GPS data is readily available in the EXIF and viewable in Aperture (and, most likely, Lightroom as well).

The log is easily retrieved on my Mac as well. I simply plug in the GP-E2 via USB and launch the Canon MapUtility software. In the software you simply import the log files from the connected device. You can then tag your images within the app or using Aperture (and Lightroom?) if you'd rather. Once the files are imported from the GP-E2 they end up in ~/Documents/Canon Utilities/GPS Log Files, each day has it's own file. I just import these files into the Aperture Places feature (import GPS Track), drag and drop my untagged images (from my second and/or third body) to the track, and click Assign. It's that simple. The only downside to using this flow, aside from the additional work to tag the images, is that no directional data is tagged for these images (which makes sense).

The log is also a great advantage if you want to keep the GP-E2 off body and don't want to bother with the USB camera connection as well. The GP-E2 is fully functional in log mode without being connected to the camera. It's nice to have options anyway.

Another benefit from the GP-E2 is that the reception is really quite good. I've even had very good tracking inside of building which is something that I've never gotten from any of my dedicated GPS devices. Then again, my dedicated GPS devices have never been "top of the line" units either.

Overall I think that the GP-E2 is nice addition to my kit and I'm glad that I bought it. It's really simplified my GPS tagging.


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neacail
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Jan 29, 2014 08:23 as a reply to  @ rebby's post |  #6

Thanks for the feedback everyone . . . you've all made this a very easy decision for me. I'm not worried about going through an AA or two a day, and all of the functionality that is being described is enough to make me almost giddy. :)

I found an article (http://springerphotogr​aphics.com …gp-e2-gps-receiver-hacks/ (external link)) that goes into some good detail with regards to producing a .GPX file of the log and a couple of other interesting tricks.

Now I just have to find one in stock somewhere in this city. I'll start phoning around when the stores open.

Jon wrote in post #16645675 (external link)
Allow me to amend that - I had occasion to use my father's TomTom this weekend.

:lol: I have one device that is going to wind up on a tee and driven into the closest water hazard: my Garmin Approach G6. It isn't very intuitive, and I can't figure the thing out (might help if I read the instruction booklet).


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Jan 29, 2014 17:02 |  #7

neacail wrote in post #16646670 (external link)
Thanks for the feedback everyone . . . you've all made this a very easy decision for me. I'm not worried about going through an AA or two a day, and all of the functionality that is being described is enough to make me almost giddy. :)

I found an article (http://springerphotogr​aphics.com …gp-e2-gps-receiver-hacks/ (external link)) that goes into some good detail with regards to producing a .GPX file of the log and a couple of other interesting tricks.

And thank YOU for finding that. I've played around with GPSBabel to try to convert my log files to something I could use in Garmin's BaseCamp or MapSource, but no go. I was wondering if I was getting a decent file or not. Might just try shipping the tracks into Google Maps, instead. As to automating and adding a GUI interface to the use of EXIFTool for geotagging, GeoSetter (external link) will do that. And, unlike Canon's Map Utility, it lets you tag, after the fact, multiple photos with the same location in one fell swoop. Now all I need is to figure out how to convert a .GPX file to something that MapUtility will think is from a GP-E2!


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Jan 29, 2014 19:34 |  #8

Jon wrote in post #16648086 (external link)
And thank YOU for finding that. I've played around with GPSBabel to try to convert my log files to something I could use in Garmin's BaseCamp or MapSource, but no go. I was wondering if I was getting a decent file or not.

Nope, you're not getting a decent file. There is something buggy in the process. I don't know what it is at this point, but GPSBabel is not able to create a .GPX (or .GDB) or a .KML that will load correctly from a log file from my 6D.

I used http://www.gpsvisualiz​er.com …tle=test&form=g​oogleearth (external link) to create a .KML file from the .LOG file. If you create a .KMZ instead of a .KML, you'll have to change the file extension of the .KMZ to .ZIP and extract the .ZIP file to get at the .KML file inside it.

I then used GPSBabel to convert the .KML file to a Mapsource .GDB file.

The resulting .GDB file loaded no problem in Mapsource.

I expect a .LOG file from the GP-E2 should work as well. I picked mine up after work today, so I'll create a log in it on my way to work tomorrow and play with it a bit in Global Mapper and FME Workbench: to see if I can figure out if it is GPSBabel or the .LOG file that is the issue. I'm leaning towards GPSBabel, as GPS Visualizer was able to convert the file.

When I try to create a .LOG file from the .GDB file using GPSBabel I wind up with an empty file. .LOG to .LOG won't work in GPSBabel either. It could be that there is an option I don't have set correctly.

So, we've got it going one way through a couple of steps. I want to see if that can be simplified, and I want to see if we can get it going the other way: all with freeware and opensource tools.


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Jan 29, 2014 19:55 as a reply to  @ neacail's post |  #9

Weird.

I just used the online version GPSBabel (http://www.gpsvisualiz​er.com/gpsbabel/ (external link)), and it gave me a .GDB file that opened no problem in Mapsource.

I've converted the .GDB file to a NMEA GPS file using the link above.

Here is the result:

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There are some differences in the files, the most notable being the first line.

I copied the first line from the first file to the file I created, and it would not import into the Canon Map Utility.

Those other differences are clearly important, but this is the first time I've ever worked with NMEA files, so I'm not sure what everything means.

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Jan 29, 2014 20:00 |  #10

I haven't had to use any conversion utilities at all to use my GP-E2 files in Aperture. I guess that I'll just consider this one of the perks of using Aperture instead of Lightroom.


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Jan 29, 2014 20:20 |  #11

rebby wrote in post #16648493 (external link)
I haven't had to use any conversion utilities at all to use my GP-E2 files in Aperture. I guess that I'll just consider this one of the perks of using Aperture instead of Lightroom.

What I'm trying to do has nothing to do with Lightroom. It has to do with Garmin Map Source and Canon Map Utility: using the Canon log files in Map Source, and trying to fool Map Utility into reading files that weren't created by a Canon GPS unit.


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Jan 29, 2014 20:28 |  #12

neacail wrote in post #16648536 (external link)
What I'm trying to do has nothing to do with Lightroom. It has to do with Garmin Map Source and Canon Map Utility: using the Canon log files in Map Source, and trying to fool Map Utility into reading files that weren't created by a Canon GPS unit.

Ah, hence your need for a standard format. Understood. I should have read closer earlier. My bad.

When I first bought the GP-E2 I was under the understanding that I would NEED to convert the file to use in Aperture. It was a very pleasant surprise that I didn't need to do this.


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Jan 29, 2014 20:40 |  #13

rebby wrote in post #16648568 (external link)
Ah, hence your need for a standard format. Understood. I should have read closer earlier. My bad.

When I first bought the GP-E2 I was under the understanding that I would NEED to convert the file to use in Aperture. It was a very pleasant surprise that I didn't need to do this.

I've bounced off down the rabbit hole.

I'm pretty sure it is all Jon's fault. ;)


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Jan 30, 2014 20:05 |  #14

:{)#

I noticed that Canon swapped the order of the $GPRMC and $GPGGA sentences. That may be what kills alternates (I tried copying the Canon header sentence too, and got the same results you did).

And if you're ever in the DC area, let me know and I'll take you through the Time and Navigation (external link) exhibit at the National Air & Space Museum.


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Jan 31, 2014 08:37 |  #15

Jon wrote in post #16651333 (external link)
:{)#

I noticed that Canon swapped the order of the $GPRMC and $GPGGA sentences. That may be what kills alternates (I tried copying the Canon header sentence too, and got the same results you did).

I still don't have .GPX ---> .LOG working yet for Map Utility.

I've been able to nearly duplicate the Canon .LOG file from my GP-E2 with a .GPX from my Garmin GPSMap 60CS using Notepad++ and Excel (after using GPSBabel to convert the .GPX to .NMEA). It wasn't onerous, it just took some well thought out "find and replace" and some sorting. I have to fudge some values, though.

In using this reference:
http://ianrpubs.unl.ed​u/live/ec157/build/ec1​57.pdf (external link)

I have to create my own values for fields 7 & 8 in the $GPGGA sentence. I just copied the values from the first few entries in the .LOG and used those.

The top .LOG in this screen shot is the file out of my GP-E2. The bottom .LOG is created from the .GPX.

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Here's what the nmea file created from the .GPX looked like before I edited it:

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The issue has to be with the checksum, which I have no idea how to fix.

None of my professional programs could do much with the .LOG file. I tried it with Global Mapper, FME Workbench, and ArcGIS.

I'm going to consult with our GPS programmer when I get a chance. I'm a cartographer, so while I have some of the skills required for this I certainly don't have all of them. I'm hoping, being that he owns a 5Diii and a 7D, that he might be interested in having a look at this.

Jon wrote in post #16651333 (external link)
And if you're ever in the DC area, let me know and I'll take you through the Time and Navigation (external link) exhibit at the National Air & Space Museum.

Now that is an offer that I will take you up on should the day come. :)


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