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Lunch » Tags » Photography » Reviews » Sony GPS-CS3KA GPS Digital Imaging Accessory (White) » User review

Just About Perfect Save For Fixed Time Interval Between Data Points

  • Aug 13, 2010
The Sony GPS logger can help you to geo-tag your photos with ease. Its most impressive capability is its lengthy battery life. However, the major shortcoming of this unit is it can log data points only in 15 second intervals. Here's a detailed accessment of the pros and cons.

- Software Makes Geo Tagging Your Pictures Easy
Sony really did a bang-up job on the software. The user interface on the software is intuitive and user friendly. It comes with GPS Image Tracker and PMB.

o GPS Image Tracker
After you plug in the unit, the GPS Image Tracker immediately launches and asks if you would like to import the log files. Click on Yes.

> In no time, it shows you a an embedded Google map that traces the path you took. You can zoom in/out of the map or drag to move it. You can see your route overlaid over a satelite image as well. (I took a long drive to the Animal Ark in Reno yesterday, and it traced my route, plus all the pit stops I made along the way. Nice!)

> The right pane on the app contains an area that you can drag and drop the files you want to geo-tag. After you have done that, "push pin" icons are placed on the map with each icon corresponding to an image (it takes about a minute to complete this operation on 3-400 images). Clicking on each icon selects an image on the right pane. Clicking on an thumbnail image on the right pane brings up a larger thumbnail with all the GPS tag information (Latitude Longitude, GPS date-time) as well as file location and file name.

PMB is a picture viewer, editor, and more. The picture viewer, like the GPS Image Tracker, allows you to view the location where the picture was taken on Google Maps. You can seamlessly upload your pictures/videos to eDeco, YouTube, Daily Motion, Photo Bucket, Picasa, and Shutterfly.

- 3 Month's Worth of Logging
The internal memory is able to hold 3 month's worth of data (or over half a million data points: 90 x 24 x 60 x 60 /15 == 518,400).

- 15 Hours Battery Life
No, I'm not just quoting the specs. I use rechargeable batteries and the battery life on this unit is 15+ hours - easy. A word about the battery indicator - it almost always shows 3 full bars of power left even after 12 hours, so it's not a very reliable gauge of battery life.

- Small Size
The unit measures 2 1/4 x 3 inches -- about the size of one of those pagers of yesteryear. Its small size allows it to easily fit in your shirt pocket. Alternatively, you can also attach it to your belt or backpack using the velcroed belt loop on the back of the case.

- GPS Coordinates Recorded At 15 Second Intervals
Although the GPS tracking is very accurate, the accuracy of the geo tracking is limited by the time interval at which every GPS coordinate is recorded. The GPS coordinates are recorded every 15 seconds. There is no way to set the time interval between each data point.

- Some Raw File Formats Not Supported
Some raw file formats such as Canon's CR2 format is not supported.

- Absent PMB & Image Tracker Integration.
There's no way view an image in Image Tracker as an enlarged image in PMB, for example.

- Image Tracker Quirk
You have to manually make time zone offsets/adjustments on the Image Tracker software in order for the geo tagging to work correctly. For example, I have to select GMT -07:00 (an offset of -07:00 from Greewich Mean Time) in order fo the images to be tagged correctly.

- Cumbersome SD Card Tagging
If you want to tag your files right on the unit itself, the unit will tag your file in batches of 60 pictures -- not a recommended method if you have hundreds of pictures to tag.

The software deficiencies aren't that big of a deal because you can avoid them altogether by using third party software. But a major (and rather grave) shortcoming of this unit is it can log data points only in 15 second intervals (there are other units that log data points in 5 second intervals). Personally, it's not a problem for me because it is accurate enough for my purposes. But you may want to take that into account before making a purchase decision.

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Bryan Cu ()
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About this product


GPS Image tracker (GPS-CS3KA) is virtually compatible with any digital still camera and camcorder. Record the time, date and location to each shot you take. You can use with any of camera since now Picture Motion Browser software is included in GPS-CS3KA. Once the images and data are on your PC, the supplied image tracker software synchronizes the photos with latitude, longitude and time reading from the GPS-CS3KA unit. Activate the Picture Motion Browser software are your photos will pop up next to push pins on Google maps by the actual location where you shot the picture.
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