Geotate is a very interesting British company who were showing their automatic geotagging technology at Photokina. Now there are a number of geotagging products out there, some of which rely on GPS and some like EyeFi that refer to surrounding WiFi networks. I have a little Sony lanyard GPS receiver and it stores locations to its internal flash memory. The problem with GPS receivers is that they take time to get a fix on your position by finding satellite signals, measuring their distance, decoding satellite data and finally calculating the position. Geotate’s technology uses a “capture and process”-based approach, which relies on capturing a sample of the ambient GPS satellite signal and storing that. Processing is done off-line and as a result Geotate’s technology tags in less than a second whereas traditional GPS receiver can take up to 30 seconds to get a fix. Since only the raw satellite data is being captured, the Geotate device does not ever store the actual fix, so the geotagging process must happen on the computer. Cameras with built-in GPS receivers like the Nikon Coolpix P6000 or their GP-1 GPS accessory write the geotag information directly into the metadata of each image. However, most people who geotag using GPS use GPS dongles like my Sony and have to combine the GPS track that the device captures with their images based on timestamps – a computer-based after the shoot activity.

Geotate have a nice white paper on their technology here and below is Paul Gough from Geotate explaining how it works and some of the benefits at Photokina. I hope to see their technology built into real devices that consumers can buy soon.

The hotshoe-mounted device shown in the video will be sold by Jobo. You can see more information here.