- Automatically geotags photos as you shoot.
- Light and compact.
- Runs on camera's battery power. No need for separate battery.
- Somewhat pricey for a small, one-function unit.
- Blocks flash from popping up when mounted on accessory shoe.
I love using geotagged photos, but I hate the pan-and-point geotagging utilities on the popular photo sites. Unfortunately, there are very few cameras on the market with built-in GPS and geotagging. The iPhone3G and other smartphones can getotag images, but what I've been craving is automatic geotagging matched with a high-quality digital SLR camera.
That wish came true with the introduction of the GP-1 GPS accessory from Nikon for its D3, D700, D300, D2X, D2XS, D2HS, D200, and D90 models. I used the GP-1 with Nikon's terrific D90 DSLR on a western US trip that included skiing (sub-freezing temps) and desert travel.
The GP-1 is a very lightweight (less than an ounce), compact (about 2x2 inches) GPS receiver that simply feeds coordinates to the camera, which automatically embeds the GPS data in each image's exchangeable image file (EXIF).
Once the coordinates are embedded in EXIF, your photos are automatically geotagged when uploaded to popular photo sites such as Flickr and Panaramio. Data captured and embedded in EXIF by the GP-1 includes latitude, longitude, altitude, and heading. Also, many photo management software products use GPS/geotag data to perform handy services such as grouping your photos by location.
Installation, Use, Sample Image
The GP-1 is easy to install and use. It is designed to mount securely on the camera's accessory shoe. This mounting location, however, prevents the automatic flash from popping up, and of course takes up the shoe mount. The GP-1 comes with a nylon mount that clips onto the strap, and that was my preferred spot.
Just plug in the included cable (it comes with a cable for the D90, as well as a 10-pin cable for all of the other compatible Nikon models) and set up the GPS in the camera's menu.
The GP-1 is powered by the camera battery, and when setup and cabling is complete, an indicator light on the back of the GP-1 indicates status: blinking red = no signal; blinking green = three (minimum) satellites tracked, GPS recorded; steady green = good signal, four or more satellites. In order to conserve battery power, the G-1 does not stay powered up at all times, so you need to check the indicator light or camera display to make sure the GP-1 is ready when you want to capture position data. Simply half-press the shutter button (as you would to engage autofocus) to wake up the GP-1 and get a status update.
Here is a sample geotagged image I shot at Arches National Park with a GP-1-equipped D90, and uploaded to Panaramio.
Overall, the GP-1 is a terrific, if somewhat pricey, accessory for the geotagging hobbyist or for professionals who need to automatically capture and embed highly accurate position data with photos.