We have used quite a variety of GPS equipped cameras for the last 5 years
and the results have been quite mixed.  Most of the cameras have been point
and shoot Nikons (P6000, P510, P520, AW100, etc.) and two Panasonics.  Also
tried Nikon's GPS1 plug-in GPS on a DSLR and the relatively new D5300 DSLR
with GPS built in. The bottom line for all the cameras is that all they all
work, but they take a long time to get a GPS fix. The GPS also drains the
battery.  And the GPS is not all that accurate.

We are now using a good quality Garmin GPS (like the GPSmap G2sc) and
leaving it running during the entire field day. Then we download the tracks
from the GPS and use the excellent free software, Geosetter, to geotag the
photos. This method is much more accurate and reliable than the in-camera
GPS. It is easy and works great - with all cameras.  All you have to do is
record the time offset between your GPS and your camera. That is a critical
input parameter.  You can take a picture of the GPS screen displaying the
time with your camera to use for this time offset.  Or you can set your
camera time with the GPS so there is no time offset.

This is much easier than it may sound. We resisted geotagging this way for
years, but we finally realized that the camera GPS systems will never be
that good. 

Peter Morrison
Executive Director
Pacific Biodiversity Institute
PO Box 298
Winthrop, WA 98862

-----Original Message-----
From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news
[mailto:ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU] On Behalf Of Jacob Hadle
Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2015 11:53 AM
Subject: [ECOLOG-L] Built in GPS unit in Point and shoot cameras


I have a question for those of you who are familiar with point and shoot
digital cameras that have built-in GPS units. A project I have acquired this
summer involves a plant inventory on a ~7,000 acres site (open and dense
canopy areas). In part, the protocol requires us to take a picture of each
plant species and document their latitude and longitude coordinates. To
optimizes my time effectively, using a camera that geotags each picture
would seem to work well.  

The main interests I have in the point and shoot camera in not so much how
the quality the picture takes, but how accurate the camera will pick up
coordinates. I have spent a considerable amount of time online, and calling
local camera stores researching which point and shoot camera would have the
best GPS quality; however, I have found very little information about the
accuracy and performance in these built-in GPS units. I am currently looking
into the Canon PowerShot D20 or the Ricoh G700 SE-M.

If anyone has experience using digital cameras with built-in GPS units in
the field, I would truly appreciate your thoughts. 

Most grateful,


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