gps logging my day at zoo

GPS is helpful when you are travelling or just on a day exploring, as it can be interesting to know the route you travelled. Several EOS cameras have built-in GPS that can track the route you travel as well as record the GPS location in each picture’s EXIF data.

Using GPS track log in Lightroom

I recently visited the local zoo, ZSL Whipsnade, with an EOS 7D Mark II. I switched on the GPS and activated the track log function. I wanted to be able to see where I had been during the day on the map in Lightroom.

Since the camera needs to keep  the GPS functioning even when the camera is switched off there is an affect on battery life. I had opted to reduce the refresh to one minute intervals, but after nearly 600 shots and almost six hours at the zoo the LP-E6N battery in my EOS 7D Mark II was almost flat.

The track log is stored in the camera’s internal memory and needs to be transferred to a memory card. It works this way since if it wrote to the memory card what happens when you change card? Your track log might not be complete for the day. Once you transfer the track log from the camera to the card it is removed from the camera memory.

Canon track log not readable by Lightroom

GPSbabel converts canon gps log to gpx

Convert Canon log format to GPX with GPSBabel

 

When I got back from my trip I found that the Lightroom map module was not able to read the .LOG file that was on my memory card. A quick search soon found a tool to convert the Canon format file to something that Lightroom could work with and found GPSBabel.**

Using GPSBabel is relatively straightforward. The hardest part is knowing which format to select to convert from and which to convert to. I selected “NMEA 0183 Sentences” for the camera log file, and converted to GPX XML format. Conversion took a fraction of a second and the created track log was then readable in the Lightroom map module.

** GPSBabel is available for Mac and Windows machines.

Once the converted file was opened, it showed as an overlay on the map. The orange markers show the number of pictures taken in that vicinity.


 

In the main having the GPS info in the picture is helpful, unless you were taking pictures from somewhere you shouldn’t have been. If you shoot landscapes the information can help you or a picture library find your pictures by their location. Furthermore the GPS tag is automatic and would be better than a miss-spelled caption or location tag you manually added to the picture.


GP-E2 GPS receiver for other EOS cameras

EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 gps receiver

EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 gps receiver

Only a few EOS cameras have GPS receivers built-in. For the rest of the EOS cameras you’ll need the GP-E2 GPS receiver accessory for your camera.


I’ll post some pictures from my day at the zoo in another blog post, but to whet your appetite here’s a picture of the zoo’s elephants. The elephants are taken for a walk round the zoo almost every afternoon. On the way they often stop to help out with a bit of gardening 🙂

Whipsnade zoo elephants

Elephants on the downs at Whipsnade Zoo