We just returned from a two week holiday in Scotland. I hauled my complete photo gear (which added almost 10kg to my backpack…aww) with me because I planned to spend quite some time photographing. It turned out that the scottish weather can be rather challenging to the passionate photographer but that’s another story. Of course I took my Holux M-241 GPS logger with me because I wanted to geotag all our photos. I also decided to take my small 13″ notebook with me, just in case the GPS logging device runs out of storage. As it turned out at the end this wouldn’t have been necessary. More on that later on.
I just took a few AA-batteries with me so we went to a Tesco supermarket and for some reason I bought a 12-pack Tesco-branded cheapo batteries. Soon it turned out to be a bad decision because the M-241 ran out of battery after about 3 hours of logging. After that I bought some decent Duracell Plus batteries and got about 10-11 hours of logging with them. I could leave the logger turned on the whole day without worrying about it. My advice: don’t save on batteries. Buy some high quality batteries to make sure you get a decent run time without having to check the battery indicator every now and then during the day.
I’m always using a 5 second logging interval on the M-241 and using this setting the M-241 was able to cover the entire journey without running out of space. The M-241 can save up to 131037 GPS records. This results in 15 twelve-hour periods with a 5 second interval. That easily covers a two week holiday and in most cases even a 3 week holiday. If you want to have daily backups of the log records you may want to take a notebook with you or consider buying one of these small netbooks which are ideal for traveling.
When I got back I downloaded the log records using BT747 to my Mac and converted them to a Google Earth .kml file. Of the 1500+ photos we took only a third survived the selection process and so I ended up with 493 nice photos in Aperture 2. I imported them into a new Ovolab GeoPhoto project and selected the rather large (21 MB) .kml file as track point source. It took GeoPhoto a long time to match the 53000 or so track points to my photos. It even looked as it had crashed (spinning beachball). But after about 5 minutes all photos showed up as geotagged. See my post about geotagging on the Mac for more information about the geotagging workflow I use.
This screenshot shows the geotagged photos with GeoPhoto’s Google Earth integration.
Someone reported a problem with corrupted data when his M-241 ran out of battery. I ran out of battery about 20 times in the last two weeks but this problem never showed up. When trying to open the .kml file with all the 53000 track points Google Earth finds some weird dates in the file which date back to 1935. At this point it’s under investigation whether this is just a conversion issue or if the Holux indeed reported wrong log records. This may have been occurred when the battery ran out of power while writing a log record. Whatsoever, it would only have an impact if you want to have a look at your route in Google Earth or Google Maps. It will most likely have no impact on the photo geotagging process itself.
Make sure you always use the latest firmware version though.
I’d like to conclude this post with some impressions from Scotland.