Cyclographing with the PhotoTrackr

So, the PhotoTrackr that I ordered from ThinkGeek arrived last week. This is a tiny little device made by a company called GisTeq. You carry it with you while taking pictures, and once you're back home it links the GPS location to your pictures based on the time that it recorded and the time that you took the picture. It takes a snapshot of your location every 5 seconds so it should have no problems keeping track of pictures' locations even when you're moving quite fast. 

I was very lazy today >_<; I was supposed to wake up at 8 and take a train to mount Fuji to cycle back to Atsugi from there. Instead I woke up, looked outside, decided the weather sucked and slept until 11. Then I looked outside again and realized that the weather was perfect for cycling.. As usual, I went out at random and took a course that would roughly take me towards the mountains, although I was blocked several times by highways and trains appearing on my path.

The trip turned out great because I found a brilliant road just south of OoYama, the big mountain, which is quite a climb to get up there, but once you're there it's a rollercoaster all the way down! There's nobody around, and the road goes right through the forest. It was blocked off for cars too and there were no other cyclists so I had the road all to myself. 

The PhotoTrackr worked brililantly, and it's quite easy to add the GPS location to all the pictures I took. Besides that the PhotoTrackr software shows the full route that you traveled and the exact speed and height of each point that it snapshotted. Brilliant! Here's a pic of the software:

As you can see, it shows the route, the distance and speed. I traveled 34km today at an average speed of 8.71kph (hillclimbing is tough! and I was taking it easy). 

It's not all good though. Compared to Google maps and earth the location is usually off by several meters, which could either be Google's fault or the PhotoTrackr. I'd put my money on the PhotoTrackr before doubting Google, though. Sometimes when the device can't get a signal it does something wonky to try to guess the path until it gets the signal back. Maybe it's using relative movement to guess the current location? I'm not sure how it does it, but it's quite wrong. I kept the device on while walking through the supermarket, and the device was convinced that I had walked to the station and back in under 5 minutes. That could use some work. I haven't quite figured out yet how to turn off the startup voice, or if it's even possible. Japanese people tend to cut off people's intestines with katana swords if you make the slightest noise in public spaces like trains or stations, so I'll have to be careful not to get killed while carrying the GPS around. 

Conclusion: great gadget! Embedding GPS info is a standard by now, so don't be afraid to start using it. 100 years later people will still know how to extract the location from my photo's. My legacy is safe :D

Here's today's pictures on Picasa! (Or click here to view them in Google Earth)

Posted in Cycling , Photography