Can MS AutoRoute / Streets & Trips be used to geotag photos?
The short version of my question:

I will soon be going to Ireland. I will be taking many photos and I want to geo-tag them. Can MS AutoRoute / Streets & Trips act as a data logger?

The longer description of the problem that I am trying to solve:

I have been checking out different solutions for my Nikon D300 camera. I will also be employing some version of remote control/remote shutter on the camera. The problem is that most GPS units and remotes want to use the same 10-pin connector on the camera. Most GPS units don't have a 10-pin pass-through for the remote. Therefore, using both a GPS and remote is problematic.

I have found a few combination of GPS/remote that will physically fit together, but for one reason or another they are not elegant solutions. Limited or poor functionality, too many gadgets hanging off the camera, etc, etc.

So, I have decided that using a "standalone", self-powered GPS/data logger is probably the best way to go, for me. I'm not thrilled with the idea of adding more post-production steps to the photography process, but I'm even less thrilled with the idea of dragging around a camera that has a bunch of dongles loosely hanging off of it and getting in the way of the actual shooting of the photos!

With the overall goal of dragging as little kit as possible along on my vacation, my current idea is to use a USB GPS unit on a netbook, and then use some kind of software to guide my driving journey, while also logging data to use to geo-tag my photos.

Will Microsoft AutoRoute / Streets & Trips work for my intended purposes?

(Thanks in advance for any help! And apologies for the lengthy question and if this has previously been covered here. I'm new to the forum.)
In my own feeble defense, I DID do a search of the forum before posting my question. My mistake was that I searched for "geo tag" and "geo-tag", which returned zero results. I was not familiar with the term "geo coding" until just now.

Sorry for the clueless newbie mistake!

That said, I am still interested to hear what others may suggest as solutions using MS software and/or any other suggested solutions specifically for the Nikon D300.

Ken in Regina
Originally Posted by Tagger
The short version of my question:

I will soon be going to Ireland. I will be taking many photos and I want to geo-tag them. Can MS Auto/Streets act as a data logger?
The short answer is:


Streets&Trips will record your track. It will also export the track to a GPX file, which you will need for any post-production geotagging program. But I'm pretty sure Streets&Trips omits the date/time data for each track point when it exports to the GPX file. That information is critical for the geotagging program to match the date/time stamp in the EXIF info of the image file to the nearest track point in the track file.

You need a program called GPSGate. It lets you share one GPS input signal between two or more GPS applications on your laptop/netbook (two apps with the cheap Express version, more on the more expensive full version).

That means you can use Streets&Trips for navigation and a separate program for dedicated data logging.

You can check this page to see if there are any free data loggers listed:

Free GPS Software - An Up-to-Date List

Marvin Hlavac
Hi Tagger, and welcome to the forums. Here is a thread that contains related information that may be of help:

Thanks Marvin! (I have already copied that little tutorial. Nice post)
Thanks a bunch for the tips, Ken. The "free" page may yield some good results.

Frankly, I'm kind of surprised at how complicated all of this is. I guess that I expected to find a nice convergent device.

First and foremost, I'm disappointed that Nikon's on-camera "solution" doesnt include a simple pass-through port for a remote. This would seem to be a no-brainer.

Second, I'm disappointed that the hardware/software solutions for the GPS devices don't include simple data-logging capability. It would seem to me that modern battery and volatile memory technology doesnt take up much physical space and is cheap enough to incorporate into these devices without raising cost significantly.

All that I can figure is that market demand may not be high enough to warrant the inclusion...??
Although, if a relative newbie to GPS and photography, such as myself, has had the thought, then I would guess that thousands/millions of others have had the same ideas. And as none of this technology is exactly new....well, then why am I struggling to find an easy, user-friendly solution? Frustrating...

I do have a Delorme Earthmate unit that is 2004 vintage....and a Garmin Nuvi 255W, but neither have Ireland maps. And it seems that MS AutoRoute wont work for geo-tagging photos and/or data logging....and Garmin wants ~$75USD for Euro maps, also with no data logging. So neither of these units are any help.

I would consider some other type of convergent device....maybe such as the Archos "tablets", but their website is so devoid of tech data and map pricing (and they wont do tech support unless you are already a customer) that I likely wont go that route.

Ultimately, I think that my solution is going to be an on-camera remote, a dedicated data logger for the camera and the Delorme hardware with MS AutoRoute connected to a netbook for driving navigation. Way more kit, and post-production hassle, than I would prefer to deal with.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your help!

Get a GPS device with data logging capabilities if you don't want to use a separate program to record your tracks. There are quite a few of them on the market. The Delorme GPS has some limitations when used with other than Delorme software that I am sure you are aware of.

The excellent BT-Q1000XT has data logging.

Your best bet for any questions might be to PM GadgetGirl. She's an avid photographer and GPS navigator.

With AutoRoute 2010, you can 'automatically' mark your GPS location whilst navigating. This is the F3 recalculate route feature. What it does is to create a new stop from the GPS coordinates and adds that to the route. This will give you a record of your stop locations for later tagging.

And then there is the hardware question. You probably do not want to lug a laptop around whilst shooting photographs. But there are alternatives. For instance, I use a UMPC, Viliv S5, with AutoRoute on it and that is very pocketable. Outside in Ireland, you will want a nice voluminous rain jacket and the Viliv S5 will fit in one of the usual inside pockets very nicely. If you keep it on, it will also provide a little warmth which might be welcome. Furthermore, it has a USB port so you can download your pics from your camera to the UMPC in the field for review, storage, and security.

I appreciate this is not exactly the sort of all-in-one solution you desire but it is something.
Ken in Regina
Originally Posted by Tagger
Second, I'm disappointed that the hardware/software solutions for the GPS devices don't include simple data-logging capability.
You need to get more familiar with your favorite search engine. There are a number of GPS receivers with data logging capability built in. See Ted's (XposTech) reply for one example that we know does the job. There are more.

But you already have what you need.

I do have a Delorme Earthmate unit that is 2004 vintage....and a Garmin Nuvi 255W, but neither have Ireland maps. And it seems that MS AutoRoute wont work for geo-tagging photos and/or data logging....and Garmin wants ~$75USD for Euro maps, also with no data logging. So neither of these units are any help.
The Nuvi 255W will do absolutely perfectly for your purposes. Just turn it on when you are about to take some pictures and stick it in your pocket while you play photographer. Turn it off when you're done.

When you get home, connect it to the PC and transfer the tracks to Mapsource or Basecamp on the PC. Then save the tracks to a GPX file for use in your geotagging software. The GPS could care less what maps you have in it. Maps are only for humans to be happy seeing where they are. The GPS doesn't need them because it only cares about geographic location and it gets that from the satellites.

Just be sure you have track logging turned on in the Nuvi, of course.

I'm well familiar with search engines. It's just that I've only just now started looking for these things and this forum just happened to be one of the first hits. Lucky for everyone here, eh? :-)

What I am most definitely NOT familiar with are these GPS devices! As evidence, I really had no idea that my Nuvi was capable of providing what I need (after a Euro map upgrade).

Thanks for the tip!
What Ken suggested was you don't even need a Euro upgrade unless you want to physically see on the display where you are. The Nuvi will keep a track with geophysical location, date and time stamps whether the map is there or not.

Would it help if you synchronize the camera's clock to the one in the Nuvi? Then just match the time stamp of each photo with the track.

Ken in Regina
Yes, Ted. I forgot that.


The sequence would be something like this ... On a day when you plan to take photographs do the following:

- Sometime well before you plan to be taking your first picture, start the Nuvi and let it get a position lock. The position isn't relevant. We just want the Nuvi to synch its clock to the satellites.

- Once the Nuvi is ready to navigate, check the time on the Nuvi and set the camera's clock to the same time. Do this as accurately as possible. To the second if possible. This matters because geotagging software tries to match the location in the track log to the photograph by matching the time stamps between the image file and the track points in the track file.

- Now, whenever you are going to be taking photographs, turn on the Nuvi, let it get a location fix and stick it in your pocket while you take pictures. Turn it off again until the next picture taking session.

That process assumes you are mostly going to be walking about and will need to conserve the battery power in the Nuvi.

If you will mostly be driving and just getting out of the car to take pictures and if you have an auto plugin for the Nuvi so it won't be running on battery in the car, just leave the Nuvi on so it's already got a lock when you are ready to jump out of the car to take pictures. The geotagging software won't care how much data is in the track log.

As Terry said, you do not need an update of the maps for your Nuvi unless you want to see where you are on the maps. If you just want to use the Nuvi as your data logger, you don't need any maps in it at all. Whatever you're comfortable with.

Yeah, I should have been more clear in the way I posed my questions.

Indeed, I DO want to use a GPS navigation device whilst driving around Ireland. In the car, maps and POI enabled and running. In addition, I would want to have it along while I am hiking, both in urban and very rural areas. For at least part of the trip I will be making some of these hikes alone. Of course I will also take along whatever good 'ol paper maps I can get my hands on...but part of the fun of Ireland is spotting an interesting place, jumping out of the car and just going. Sometimes a map may not be in hand.

So, yeah, I want Nav/Maps/POI AND data logging. I want this to function in the car and in my pocket.

Ideally the unit would be on camera, tagging shots as I take them. But I am starting to come to the understanding that I can either do on-camera tagging OR have a unit for driving/walking/logging, but probably not a unit that will do all of the above.

Again, one of the main deal-breakers is that I do NOT want to dedicate the 10-pin connector solely to GPS. If I must choose one over the other, then the camera remote control wins out. For my purposes, on this trip, a fully functional remote control (shutter, etc) is the must-have feature. Geo-tagging is a secondary concern. A very close second, for sure, but there is no sense in geo-tagging crappy photos. "Hey! Look here on Google Earth and you can see exactly where I shot these lousy out of focus, under exposed photos! Pretty cool, eh?"

Another deal-breaker on many units is that they dont tag photos shot in RAW format. Or, if they do, you have to find one specifically for Nikon's version of RAW. This cuts the number of possibilities for an on-cam solution way down. Or at least what I have come across thus far. Many more choices for off-cam, non-real time tagging, synch the photos in post production, add yet another step to Photoshop....

I will continue to learn and search for solutions over the next couple of weeks....but, as it stands now, I may end up going with this config:

Get some Euro maps for the Nuvi, use it for driving/walking nav. Synch the Nikon clock to the Nuvi, extract the logs from the Nuvi and use some software solution to tag the photos, after the shoot. The 10-pin connector on the cam will be used for the remote.
The Garmin Euro maps are about $75 and the remote will be somewhere around $100. Total cost around $200-ish.

Alternately, I may use the Delorme GPS that I already have, connected to my netbook, using the free trial version of MS AutoRoute. Obviously I am not going to carry this around while on a walking tour of rainy Connemara....but it should work OK for nav in the car.

I recently gifted someone with a new Panasonic ZS-7 point-and-shoot camera that has built-in GPS photo tagging. It's actually a decent little rig. Nice features and decent optics, as well as the ability to geo-tag photos and HD video. I may just "borrow" this rig back, just for this trip. I'll begin every Nikon photo shoot by taking an establishing shot with the Pana cam, thereby logging the location coordinates. I can then manually tag the Nikon photos later using the data from the Pana cam. Far from the ideal solution, but it should work.

Total cost, to me, for this solution: $0

The zero cost is a consideration for me. Not because I am cheap....but I just dont want to spend hundreds of dollars on some patched together, half-a$$ed, band-aid "solution" with limited functionality that will likely take more time and cause more stress than it will be worth. Not the way to spend those precious vacation hours. The typical autumn Irish weather is also a consideration when deciding what kit to carry and how to carry it. Getting weather gear is probably money better spent.

I also reckon that within the next couple of years that GPS will be standard equipment on many consumer, pro-sumer and professional cameras. I think that I would rather spend my money on a proper implementation then, than spend it on a less than ideal fix now. I would really like to have it now, for this upcoming trip....but I guess that I can wait....

Thanks again to all for the great suggestions! I really do appreciate the tips and your patience. And I still have my ears open....the quest is still alive!...so I am happy for any additional info.

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