GPS embedded snapshot cameras, versus geotagging using tracks from handheld GPS

Started by QuestionsGPS, April 04, 2013, 02:19:30 AM

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I was thinking about getting a snapshot camera with an embedded GPS inside of it, to geotag photos so I can know where I took my photos at. Right now, I use BaseCamp with the GPS tracks from my Garmin Oregon 450, to find coordinates for my pictures. I was wondering what tends to work better?

The drawback with geotagging photos using my GPS unit tracks, I have to make sure I tell it to adjust the time by negative 20 seconds (or whatever the difference happens to be at the time of snapping a photo), so that the camera's time stamps can be synced with the GPS. In addition, if I happen to clear the GPS track log before I have the chance to geotagg a photo, that's an obvious problem. I also have my tracks set to record every 100th of a mile, so I don't know if that would throw off the accuracy of a photo?

On the other hand, since most people don't leave their digital cameras on the entire time when on a hike, I would be worried if it takes a while for a GPS embedded snapshot camera to get a good enough fix on satellites to get a decent geotagg location for its pictures?

What's better? Which tends to be more accurate?


Are you really just taking "snapshots" (as opposed to using a high quality camera like a DSLR)? If so, then a smartphone will do it all. I have thousands of dollars worth of photo gear - Nikon D80 and some expensive lenses. Also have a small Canon camera and very expensive professional video gear. I hardly ever use them these days. The pictures from my iPhone are "good enough" for most things, and it's always with me anyway.

It will automatically geotag all the photos, but I have actually turned that feature off because when I post things on the web I would prefer that strangers *don't* know where I am.  ;)

Indrid Cold

Quote from: Boyd on April 04, 2013, 03:39:47 AM
The pictures from my iPhone are "good enough" for most things, and it's always with me anyway.

It will automatically geotag all the photos, but I have actually turned that feature off because when I post things on the web I would prefer that strangers *don't* know where I am.  ;)
If so, then a smartphone will do it all.

EXIF-fi GPS/EXIF viewer and editor is worth a look to add to your toolbox.


Since I don't already have a smartphone, and it costs $30/month or so to have one, that's why I was curious about a GPS snapshot camera, versus using the camera I already have with my Oregon 450 to sync the time stamps with GPS locations.


Part of the reason I am asking about GPS snapshot cameras, I'm going to a family reunion in Hawaii in May.  Since I'm planning on snorkeling when there, I'm debating between getting an underwater camera case to use with the digital camera I've already had since 2007, versus buying an underwater digital camera that can be used to 33 ft underwater.  I'm trying to make a comparison, and don't know if I should let a feature like built in GPS influence my decision that much?

The digital underwater camera just went on sale at Costco in my area because a newer version is coming in.  However, since this camera is a more recent model than the one from 2007, I'm wondering if the picture quality would be better than a camera from 2007, or not really.  It also has a built in GPS, so I'm not sure if that means it would be a better camera, or if to make up for putting that feature in they have to make other aspects lower quality.

I'm not sure how much you know about cameras, but the camera I still own from 2007 is a Canon Powershot A720 IS, and the one I'm thinking about getting which is waterproof and GPS is a Nikon Coolpix AW100.

I found a site comparing specifications of the two  My Canon Powershot A720 IS has wider aperture, faster max shutter speed, and longer exposures.  The Nikon AW100 has a CMOS instead of the CCD sensor, higher max ISO capacity, larger sensor, etc.  So, I feel confused since I don't know too much about cameras.


I bought the Nikon AW100 underwater camera a year ago.  I don't use the GPS geo-tagging feature on it.  I have been very pleased with the camera and have taken around 2,000 pics. with it; of which about 600 have been underwater... John Pennekamp Nat'l Marine Sanctuary, FL and St. Martin.  For a robust, waterproof, dropproof, coldproof (14 deg. F) it does a good job.  For a Professional photographer they might find fault with some of the pics. in certain conditions, but for $224 for a factory refurbished (B&H Photo in NY), (90 day Nikon warranty) it is hard to beat this camera for someone wanting a compact for extreme conditions.  The display is 3" and a lot more resolution than the most other cameras in this category.

A lot of snapshot underwater cameras have a fatal problem with water intrusion around the battery & memory card door, due to accidentally opening.  Nikon has done a good job with a fairly fail proof way of locking the battery door, 2 operations required to open the door.


Be aware that GPS signals do not penetrate water very far.  I would not expect geo-tagging to work well, if at all, while underwater.


Quotecan I use my GPS underwater?
Answer:  No.  Just a few millimeters of  "solid" water will severely attenuate the GPS signal.



Quote from: maps4gps on April 08, 2013, 08:40:00 AM
Be aware that GPS signals do not penetrate water very far.  I would not expect geo-tagging to work well, if at all, while underwater.

I'm not so concerned about GPS signal under water, as I've actually found out it doesn't at all work by experimenting with the IPX7 rating of my Oregon 450 by placing it underwater in a huge glass bowl out of curiosity.  Immediately I got the "lost signal" message.

My real concern is I'm trying to figure out whether this particular underwater camera could double as my above water along with underwater camera, versus just buying an underwater case to use on my regular camera.  I asked about how accurate GPS integration in a camera is because that feature could be a potential plus in influencing my buying decision.  That's why I was curious about how accurate GPS cameras are, compared to the"Geotagg Photos using Track" feature in BaseCamp with my Oregon 450 is already capable of. 

I guess on one hand, having GPS integration may make geotagging much more hassle free, and you don't have to worry about the problem of getting the wrong geotaggs because you didn't realize you should have synced their clocks by a minute and thirty seconds.  Although, on the other hand, since GPS needs to get a fix on the satellites in space when you turn it on, I'm not sure if having to turn the camera on and having to wait would limit the accuracy of this method of geotagging, versus my traditional BaseCamp/syncing Oregon 450 method because that option leaves the GPS on for hours?


As far as my Nikon AW100 camera it is the only camera I grab any time I take a camera now.  It takes good pictures above and below water and even decent pictures in very low light conditions, without flash, as long as your subject is still. 

The geo-tagging feature was not something that interested me so it never affected my decision. I did try it once just to see how it worked and it does take a few moments for the satellites to be received, not something I would want to wait on everytime I would want to take a picture.  One of the pluses of this cameara is the fairly quick cycle time from power up to being able to take a picture, as long as the GPS is turned off.   If I were going to geo-tag several pictures in a day, I would probably leave it on all the time and take extra batteries and expect to replace them a lot sooner.  I did buy 2 cheap made in Japan spare batteries, online, when I first got the camera for around $29 and included another charger.  They have performed well.

My only interest was for an extreme enviroment compact camera that takes good pictures and in that respect it has exceeded my expectations.