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Personal camera for Airborne Photographer (AP)

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ShadowAP:

--- Quote from: Captain Morgan on May 12, 2012, 12:04:32 PM ---If you use the data collected from an attached GPS, it does not record the direction field.  If you import the data from the GPS after the flight, the direction of travel is imported.  This allows RoboGeo to add 180 degrees to the direction to automatically report the direction of the picture.  The substantially decreases the workload of the Observer and automates the post-processing.
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While it is true that the Nikon GPS-1 unit does not record headings, the direction field (Picture Heading), is recorded to the image EXIF data if an attached GPS unit does support this feature.  That is why I use a Solmeta GPS unit with my Nikon DSLRís and not the GPS-1 for this purpose.  The custom Excel worksheet that I created for CAWG takes this heading information from the GPS unit, corrects for the specified magnetic deviation for the area you were imaging and then also asks which seat position you were shooting from, (front right Ė Observer; rear left or right side Scanner/AP), this allows the software to then export the correct true heading of the camera lens.  We donít use RoboGeo here because we have the same functionality using the free Nikon View Nx2 software, our Excel template, and the CAP imaging software for watermarking the images.  The reason why recording the lens heading while imaging is important is the above stated goal of substantially decreasing the workload of the Observer which it does handily and automating the post-processing greatly.

ShadowAP:

--- Quote from: edwardd20 on May 13, 2012, 10:54:01 AM ---
--- Quote from: ShadowAP on May 08, 2012, 01:48:14 AM ---Solmeta Geotagger N3
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I'd like to go back and ask a question. How does the N3 work inside the airplane? I found the GP1 didn't work because the wings blocked the GPS signal with the front seat (MO) being worse than the back seat (MS/AP).

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Actually my GPS unit works great and the suggestion of the wing placement causing interference often mentioned is usually really caused by a camera setting Iíve rarely seen taught in training materials other than my own that I use for my CAP AP classes.

With a Nikon DSLR using a GPS unit the GPS unit draws it power from the camera.  It only draws the power for the GPS while the cameras meter is active; and to acquire and hold the GPS lock the GPS needs power. 

The camera if left alone with the default settings will shut down the meter power several seconds after the shutter button has been depressed halfway in order to conserve the cameras battery. This is usually not enough time for the GPS unit to make its initial acquisition of a solid GPS lock, indicated by a solid green indicator light.  The GPS unit will also lose its GPS lock between shots due to the meter power shutting down between exposures if they are spaced apart and not in a rapid sequence.

To avoid this problem of the GPS losing its power there is a menu setting on the camera that needs to be set.  This optional setting only appears on the cameras setup menu when the GPS is physically connected to the camera body.

With the GPS connected to the body look in the Camera's Settings menu for GPS>Autometer Off.  Set this menu item to Disabled.  By camera default it will set to Enabled.  By setting this to disabled you are telling the camera to keep the camera meter powered on at all times, which will also feed power to the GPS continuously.

Doing this will also drain the camera battery faster than normal, so make sure you always keep a couple of charged spare batteries with the camera at all times.  To help reduce the effects of battery drain simply turn the camera completely off during periods of long inactivity, and turn it back on when you are in the target area.  When you are ready to use it again be sure to check for solid green GPS lock indicator on the GPS and solid non blinking GPS indicator on camera body.

The second alternative mentioned, (which probably wonít help you in the current circumstances) is to not use the Nikon GP-1 for the GPS unit but rather acquire one of the third party units like the Solmeta Geotagger 3.  It has more features, newer tech with better signal acquisition and retention, and better battery management.  It also retails for less.  I only mention this for the sake of persons who do not have a GPS unit yet, but are looking for one.  Read the reviews.

Using my Solmeta GPS with my Nikon DSLR to prove the point Iíve shot GPS tagged images with it for classes inside of buildings numerous times with solid roofs over my head.  Most recently I took an image of CAP members indoors in the middle of a Red Robin Restaurant to demo the principle.   The most extreme example of this was shooting from the interior 2nd floor apartment of a 4 floor apartment building.  Granted it did take a few minutes to get the initial solid GPS lock in the apartment, but it did succeed and the GPS lock held once acquired.

edwardd20:

--- Quote from: ShadowAP on May 13, 2012, 08:01:38 PM ---is usually really caused by a camera setting Iíve rarely seen taught in training materials other than my own that I use for my CAP AP classes.

--- End quote ---

This is great information. Thank you!

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