Nikon GP-1

Sometimes you just like to know where you were when you took the photo. Luckily there are many options available for a DSLR and I went with the default Nikon solution.

Last week on a whim I ordered a Nikon GP-1 for my camera. This GPS receiver plugs into my D300s and when it has a lock onto enough GPS satellites (3 or more) it embeds the coordinates and UTC time for when and where you took the picture.

I like it a lot but it’s an imprecise technology. The receiver is only as accurate as the data sources it locks onto, meaning if it locks onto 4 or more satellites, it’s good for ~20 feet or so. My first photos didn’t have any GPS coordinates recorded. Later on I was getting a good signal and got better results.

The default camera settings is to enable Auto Meter off, which from the manual explains

Auto Meter Off

If Enable is selected for GPS > Auto meter off in the setup menu for D3, D700, D300, and D90 cameras, the exposure
meters will turn off automatically after the time specifi ed in the camera Custom Settings menu. This reduces the drain
on the battery but may prevent GPS data from being recorded if the exposure meters are not activated until immediately
before the picture is taken.

I had some problems keeping a lock on the GPS with that feature enabled. Once I disabled the feature, the GPS receiver took a couple of minutes to acquire the satellites. But once it found them, I had a solid green light and was floored as to how accurate the readings were.

If you look at the above map, you can see where the GP-1 did not quite get a lock onto my position. After I disabled Auto Meter Off, the GP-1 put me (correctly) onto 23rd Street. Even with 3 satellites it still puts me in the general vicinity and that’s good enough for my street photography.

After I uploaded the photos to Flickr, I Googled for a tool and found iMapFlickr. After providing a small amount of info I was able to generate the above map in no time. I’ll continue to play around with it but so far it works exactly as I thought it would.