Even when I was a youngster, I had a thing about maps. I loved to read them and try to figure out the best way to get to another place. I still treasure paper maps and charts. I often find my car GPS a little confining in spite of it being a great tool.
The GPS unit in my boat is exceptionally useful especially when a buoy disappears on the White Oak River where we live near Emerald Isle, NC.
However, I have been wanting a simple way to take a GPS track and import it to my computer and attach photos to it. Over Christmas, one of the gifts from my oldest daughter was a small device called i-gotU which does exactly that.
While the device is far from perfect, I have had a lot of fun creating trips, geo-tagging photos and viewing those photos through Google Earth.
The igot-U costs just under $70 so it is relatively inexpensive way to have some GPS fun. Unfortunately it only works with Windows computers so my Mac friends will just have to chalk this up as another slight from the world of GPS. I got my first non-Macintosh computer just to play with GPS.
The i-gotU is very simple to work. You turn the unit on when go outside and wait for it to acquire a signal. That is accomplished easily on days when the sky is clear, and there is no rain. You can tell it has acquired a signal when the pink and blue lights flash simultaneously.
As long as you keep the device face side up, it will record your trip whether you are walking or traveling by some powered mode. Because the weather is still cool, I have not tried it in our boat yet, but I have had good luck with both foot travel and vehicular trips.
Once you have synced the time of your digital camera and the i-gotU it is fairly easy to have the photos placed on a GPS track. If you spend a fair amount of time at one of your stops, you will likely have to adjust the photos on the map. That is easily done with the trip editor. Just remove the photo from the map and adjust the time which the i-gotU has attached to the photo. It shows you where the photo is on the map as you make the adjustments.
This trip to the Third Street Beach at Emerald Isle is a sample of what you can create. Since I went for a walk on the beach a couple of times and also went grocery shopping for a few minutes, it took some work to get the photos in the right spots. In spite of the manual editing, I still find this easier and more useful than Panoramio which I also use.
The one problem that I have run into is that when I choose the geo-tag photo option and make adjustments so that the photos are properly located on the track, I end up having to make the same adjustments if I want to use the already properly geo-tagged photos to create a trip. It seems as if the program overwrites it own corrected geo-tagging.
Here is an example of a geo-tagged Picasa Web Album that I did with the same photos in the trip.
Still the i-gotU is a great techno-toy and will certainly provide me with many hours of entertainment until I can afford a camera that automatically geo-tags photos.
I think the i-gotU will be especially useful when I am describing where I have taken my boat. Usually it is hard to describe a boat's location using landmarks unless you are talking to someone who has been to the same spot. The i-gotU will fix that problem.
I am sure there are more expensive devices, but there are probably none as small and as much fun.