With Geo-tagging of images slowly edging its way into the mainstream, Jobo has created the PhotoGPS to allow regular DSLR users with a working hot shoe to get in on the action. But is it worth the bother? We go out and about to find out.
The Jobo PhotoGPS is a small device that fits on the hot shoe on your digital camera and then captures GPS data at the same time as you take an image. The idea is that when you get back to your computer, you download the geographical longitude and latitude co-ordinates before marrying them up with the images you have taken with geotag data.
In addition to the longitude and latitude details the address is also worked out and even the closest points of interest gathered so you can at least see what was nearby when you snapped the picture.
With space for around 1000-recorded locations (remember you still record your images on to the camera), the PhotoGPS device promises an accuracy of around 10m.
The software is basic but fairly easy to use and you can then use your new geo-tagged images in applications like iPhoto on the Mac, Flickr, or probably even the Navpix software from Navman.
Sounds perfect, so what's the catch? Well first is the device itself. It works fine, the battery will last you long enough to do what you want to do without being an issue, but with no locking mechanism our unit kept falling off. Talking to Jobo this shouldn't happen, as a spring is meant to hold it in place, but clearly that spring is prone to losing its grip over time.
Then there is the fact that you've got to use the hot shoe, this will not only affect your battery life, but also mean you can't use the flash. The device hovers over the camera so you can't even opt for the pop-up flash on most DLSRs. Maybe on a bridge model it wouldn't be such an issue but it's something to bear in mind.
Get past the hardware, and the software, although it works, is rudimentary on both the PC and the Mac. You get two windows as if it’s an FTP software application. First you load in the locations you've captured then you load in the images from a folder on your computer before asking it to match up the time on the image with the time on the capture.
Match the two together as if you’re playing snap, and a press of a button later you've added the geo-tagged information to the picture. It's very easy, but you then have to have a second bit of software like Flickr or iPhoto 09 to see what's what. The additional problem is that applications like iPhoto 09 make it very easy to add where you were when you took the picture regardless of whether or not you actually had the GPS data. If you are only taking pictures in known spots and not in the middle of the desert then you can do it considerably cheaper.
At £150 this is an expensive option for tracking where you took an image, and with most high tech phones coming with geotagging features you might be better off taking at least one picture on your iPhone or Nokia and then matching the rest with that location when you get back to your computer.
While the software works, and the application does what is says on the tin, there are too many annoyances and not enough polish to wholeheartedly recommend this.
Yes geo-tagging is likely to be defacto for images as we all become more location aware, I just don't think this is the device to help you do it, unless you really must have geotagging on all your images. But then if you're looking to do that you'll buy a dedicated camera like the P6000 from Nikon and be done with it.