Tag Archives: GPS

First Geotaggings

While on The Mountain this weekend, I schlepped my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx with me wherever I drove. My intent was to take a bunch of images at Prentice Cooper, and figure out how to get them tagged from the tracks on the GPS. I played with it some while I was on The Mountain, saved my tracks, and then came home.

However, there was an important fact I wasn’t aware of. When you save a track on the Garmin, the timestamps disappear, making the data virtually useless for geotagging!! Fortunately, my MacBook Pro had one of the tracks I used while on The Mountain, so not all was lost. However, I got trapped by another anomaly.

I tried to set my camera to the same time as the GPS. Of course, the GPS time was perfect, but the camera time needed some adjustment, so I set it against a known good time source. What I neglected to do was check the timezones for the two devices. My camera was still on Central Time, but my GPS was on Mountain Time (probably from the Big Drive last year). And my geotagging software wanted to use the system time (Central Time) to line everything up. Combine all that, and you have photos that didn’t tag in the right place, and some images that had no data whatsoever.

Now that I have the times lined up, and using the track from my MBP, I now have some images geotagged correctly. Pretty cool stuff. I didn’t know it, but if you look at an image in Preview on the Mac, you can get additional data about it, some of which is the GPS data. From there, you get a “Where’s Waldo” look at the globe to see where the photo is from, and a button to send you to Google Maps to see the detailed location. That’s pretty cool.

I can tell there’s some goodness in the data from the geotagging effort that I haven’t yet begun to tap. I kinda feel like I’m getting to the party late on this technology, but I think I’m becoming a quick study.

So which software am I using? Right now, GPSPhotoLinker seems to be getting me the most mileage, but I suspect HoudahGeo will buy me more usefulness for images for which I have no data. The batch processing from GPSPhotoLinker is slick, and really hums right along. HoudahGeo is integrated with GoogleEarth, and I suspect that’ll make it pretty easy to tag the old trips.

Watch for more fun and games as I figure out how to exploit this new technology! (Well, new to me, anyway.)

New Gear: Garmin nüvi 260W

With a big road trip in front of us, especially to places we’ve never been, it made some sense to get a good turn-by-turn GPS for the trip. We landed on the Garmin nüvi 260W.

I’ve been a fan of Garmin devices for a long time, having owned at least three other Garmin GPS units over the years. I really wanted to stick with Garmin. Fortunately, Best Buy was willing to help with that, and had the nüvi 260W on sale.

I don’t know if there’s any specific thing that this GPS does better or different than anyone else. There are soooo many GPS units out there nowadays! However, I like the widescreen format of the 260W, and it claims it will do off-road routing. That’s a feature I hope to take advantage of during this trip!

The base map set is also one I trust — City Navigator NT 2009. I’ve had great results with the previous versions of this map set, and expect nothing less with this latest version. The accuracy’s been pretty good with previous versions, I’ve just never had the turn-by-turn functionality available in the past. It’ll be fun to play with that.

I’ll do some dry runs with the unit this week, but I expect nothing but good results. Stay tuned!

Garmin and the Mac

One of the challenges with relying on my Macs for almost everything has been the lack of support for my GPS — not by Apple, but by Garmin. I have a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx, and had planned to pick up Windows XP and VMWare’s Fusion in order to use my GPS on my MacBook.

As it ends up, Garmin may have caught up with the Mac wave.

After having bought the North American map suite, I started looking around to see what the state of the Garmin-Apple relationship was, and was surprised to find that there was some kind of big announcement at the last MacWorld. I started poking around and found the Garmin and the Mac page off Garmin’s site. On it, I found a utility to convert my maps from the PC to the Mac, and a new software project called Bobcat. From what I can tell from a few days of playing with it, it sure looks like it’s able to pull everything I’ve been using on my GPS to my Mac. Way cool.

And, since the only thing I was gonna buy XP/Fusion for was my GPS, that means I saved about $140!!!

Deauxmayne Doin’s

Ya know, there’s nothing like instant gratification. A close second is almost instant gratification. This afternoon, I had three doses of almost instant gratification.

Yesterday, I pulled the trigger on ordering a 320GB harddrive for The Little MacBook That Could. With that upgrade, there’s really nothing else I need to do that little beastie. I got the drive from OWC, who specializes in all kinds of Mac upgrades and goodies. Along with the drive, I ordered an inexpensive external housing for use in transferring data around from the old 120GB drive to the new 320GB drive.

The cool thing about ordering from OWC is that I am close enough to them (as UPS drives) that I can order something before 6pm, use regular shipping and always have it waiting for me when I get home from the work the following day. Cool.

I opened the box, and set to installing the 320GB in the external enclosure, attaching it the MacBook after installation. The MacBook had no problem seeing the drive. So far so good.

Then I downloaded Carbon Copy Cloner to do the drive copy from old to new hardware. This piece of software flat rocks. The author distributes in a non-crippled fashion — which is great if you suddenly hear a drive clicking or have some other harddrive disaster-in-the-wings. CCC did a dandy job of duplicating the data onto the new drive, even making it bootable. Now it was time to take the MacBook apart and swap drives.

This is the point where I have to tip my hat to OWC. They have terrific installation videos and manuals for doing everything I’ve needed to do to all my Macs. Really top notch.

So I begin to take the MacBook apart, and get the drive into my hands…. only to discover that the screws are torx. A big fat “D’oh” eminates from the congregation. I don’t have a torx set anywhere (I checked). As it was already 8pm, I frantically checked Best Buy’s website to see if they carry anything like that. Surprisingly, they don’t. That was a shocker. Becky suggested calling Home Depot. I figured if they would talk with me, they wouldn’t have a clue what I was looking for. However, they did talk, they did know what I wanted, and I went to buy it. I picked up a Husky 8-in-1 torx set, and decided to pick up the matching 8-in-1 phillips/slotted set. The torx went down to a T4, and the phillips went down to a #000 — good sizes for working on the little stuff, and seemed to be solidly built.

After getting the old drive removed from the drive tray, I installed the 320GB into it, slide it in, and put it all back together. I hooked up the juice, hit the power button, and crossed my fingers. After a small heart attack moment — it sat on a gray screen a loooong time before the Apple logo popped up — the thing booted, and looked normal. The only weird thing was that the drive wasn’t named the same as it was. I didn’t know if the apps would care, so I changed it to the default “Macintosh HD” name. I hit a couple of apps to ensure that things were working, and all was well. As I write, I’m scanning slides again, and from all appearances, it appears that the MacBook has no idea that it’s had it’s brain swapped.

My second impulse buy yesterday was the Garmin City Navigator NT North America map set for my GPS-60CSx. I’d never bought maps for the old GPS-60CS (stolen a while back), but had always wanted to play with them. However, the old unit didn’t have a lot of storage — 56MB, I think — and that really seemed to limit the usability of the add-on maps. However, the new unit has a card slot, and I’d already dropped a 2GB Micro-SD card into the thing in preparation for one day buying these maps. With that size card, I knew I could put the whole set on the unit.

The maps require a Windows machine for installation, and that meant using Becky’s machine to get them on my GPS. I started the installation, and finally hooked up the GPS via USB. On the old unit, you had to really make sure you had good batteries in it, or you hooked it up to power, as connectivity off the unit was serial, I believe, and that sucked the juice. The new one seems to be able to draw juice from the USB connection, letting you leave it connected as long as the USB port is hot, with no drain on the batteries. That’s cool.

I’ve got to admit that the process for getting the maps on the unit was not well-defined. I had to define a map set, and then start the transfer that to the GPS. After about 90 minutes of work, the maps were on the GPS, and all was well with the world.

And lastly, in the not-so-immediate-gratification department, my copy of Office:Mac 2008 arrived. I ordered it last week, and had been led to believe that it would be another month or so before I’d see it arrive. I guess the slow boat from Redmond to St. Louis got a little boost, and I was the beneficiary of a little surprise. I’ve installed it, but haven’t really started playing with it yet. I do notice that the icons look different than the old version — nice touch, I suppose. For me, the biggest thing I wanna play with is Entourage, and to enjoy the Universal Binary version, rather than having to always run Office under Rosetta.

When I first switched to the Mac, I picked up Office:Mac 2004 and had used Entourage quite a bit for my mail functions. My perception at the time was that it seemed to handle spam better, and was more versatile with rule-based mail activities. It’s been about two years since I’ve used it regularly, so it probably deserves another look after the rewrite.

So big doin’s at the ol’ Deauxmayne tonight, and probably more goodies in the offing. Stay tuned!