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Eye-Fi adds WiFi, geotagging to any camera

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Apple gave a lot of airtime this week to the new geotagging features in iPhoto 09, which allows users to organize and search photos based on the GPS data assigned to them. Eye-Fi's SD memory cards will enable any camera to tag photos with a location, making the cards a great camera upgrade for iLife 09 users.

While many modern smartphones can tag their photos with GPS coordinates (including the iPhone and iPod touch), mobile cameras often leave a lot to be desired in terms of quality. To take decent pictures, most users rely on dedicated point and shoot cameras.

Adding GPS features to a camera just for geotagging the photos it takes isn't very practical, but a Mountain View-based company has packed WiFi features into an SD memory card, enabling the chip to perform an iPod touch-style WiFi location lookup using wireless base station data from Skyhook Wireless.

In addition to geotagging photos taken by any camera using the cards, the Eye-Fi card can also wirelessly upload the photos to iPhoto, as well as directly to a wide variety of online services, including Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, Evernote, and MobileMe.

The 2GB cards start at $79.99 for a basic WiFi enabled "Home" card without geotagging, $99 for a "Share" version with online upload features, and $129.99 for an "Explore" card with both the geotagging features and WiFi syncing to online services. The Explore version includes a year subscription to Wayport WiFi network access, which usually costs $14.95.


post #2 of 36
Very cool.... if only geo tagging my photos were on my list of priorities for the next few years. The back yard, the beach, skiing, my kids playing... none really need geo tagging. If I win the lottery and start traveling all over the world then yeah, definitely. Cool feature though and cheaper than replacing a perfectly good camera.
post #3 of 36
Title should read 'Eye-Fi adds WiFi, geotagging to any SD Camera.

There's still a lot of high end cameras that use CF cards (which I use as well). Would be nice to see that feature on CF cards.
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Using its built-in Wi-Fi, the Eye-Fi Card locates any surrounding Wi-Fi networks as you take pictures.

This will really be useful when I'm backpacking. \
post #5 of 36
What about for cameras that require CF cards? \
post #6 of 36
Here's another product that seems to be popular

http://photofinder.atpinc.com/


I love the idea of Geotagging....just wish I traveled more. \
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post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by silver99 View Post

Title should read 'Eye-Fi adds WiFi, geotagging to any SD Camera.

There's still a lot of high end cameras that use CF cards (which I use as well). Would be nice to see that feature on CF cards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by axc51 View Post

What about for cameras that require CF cards? \

Isn't it using SDIO? I don't know if there is an equivalent mode for CF. There are CF WiFi cards, but I don't know if they work without special drivers, and most of them have a bulge sticking out the end, so they don't fit in cameras.
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by axc51 View Post

What about for cameras that require CF cards? \

You can put the SD card in a CF converter.

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post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Here's another product that seems to be popular

http://photofinder.atpinc.com/


I love the idea of Geotagging....just wish I traveled more. \

that looks pretty sweet - it looks to be a GPS receiver that basically adds the EXIF info to the images based on time stamp... genius. and you can add any USB card reader to get even more memory card support...


reviews seem good:
http://www.pocketgpsworld.com/atp-ph...nder-a4032.php


and it uses a good GPS chipset:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SiRFstar_III
post #10 of 36
From what I can gather from their crappy website (forums are down, there's not much info), Eye-Fi doesn't seem to support RAW format either. So much for ANY camera claim.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

From what I can gather from their crappy website (forums are down, there's not much info), Eye-Fi doesn't seem to support RAW format either. So much for ANY camera claim.

Don't all cameras support JPG? I don't know of a camera that shoots raw that doesn't support JPG. I don't think a lot of people would want to wait for raw files to transmit.

Anyways, it seems to support any SD camera, just that you have to shoot JPG to do it.
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post

that looks pretty sweet - it looks to be a GPS receiver that basically adds the EXIF info to the images based on time stamp... genius. and you can add any USB card reader to get even more memory card support...

reviews seem good:
http://www.pocketgpsworld.com/atp-ph...nder-a4032.php

and it uses a good GPS chipset:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SiRFstar_III

I am not sure this is correct. From what I read, it looks like it uses the Skyhooks Geotagging service and does NOT have a built in GPS tagging system. http://www.eye.fi/services/geotagging/ This simply connects to a local SkyHooks wireless access point and and gets the GPS coordinates for that. Not much use unless you are backpacking in a city with SkyHooks wireless.

The review you are referring to is the review of the ATP Photo Finder, not the Eye-Fi. Eye-Fi does NOT have GPS, just Wi-Fi. Just wanted to clear this up.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaujanolo View Post

I am not sure this is correct. From what I read, it looks like it uses the Skyhooks Geotagging service and does NOT have a built in GPS tagging system. http://www.eye.fi/services/geotagging/ This simply connects to a local SkyHooks wireless access point and and gets the GPS coordinates for that. Not much use unless you are backpacking in a city with SkyHooks wireless.

You are seemingly very correct!!!

I was very excited the other day when I heard about the new devices. However, I quickly soured when I realized that they are not using GPS but rather that they are using proximity based upon wifi signals. I have found this (with the 2g iPhone) to be highly problematic at best and woefully unreliable.

Additionally, as you have pointed out... there is not support of RAW files... which automatically de-qualifies the product in my opinion.
post #14 of 36
A far cheaper solution is to buy the iphone app 'Trails' which costs $2. You can just have it sit there open tracking how you move as well as timestamps. Then, if your camera time is synchronized with your iphone time, you can use a free mac app like GPSPhotoLinker which will take the timestamps from the camera and the iPhone and match them up, geotagging your photos. This works even if you don't have a data connection on the iphone, and its total cost is $2, and uses gps instead of wifi (making it far more accurate, and more useful in a variety of circumstances). Admittedly, your battery drains faster, but you can always buy an extender for $50 which is still less than this eye fi thing, and is useful in a variety of situations beyond geotagging.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

This will really be useful when I'm backpacking. \

Not in the least, and about as useful when I'm bicycling in Scotland and the Yorkshire Highlands. It adds wi-fi, but not geotagging.

I quickly headed for the article thinking that they had a GPS as well (not likely given the volume of the SD card). It's just a bad summary.


Sheldon
post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaujanolo View Post

I am not sure this is correct. From what I read, it looks like it uses the Skyhooks Geotagging service and does NOT have a built in GPS tagging system. http://www.eye.fi/services/geotagging/ This simply connects to a local SkyHooks wireless access point and and gets the GPS coordinates for that. Not much use unless you are backpacking in a city with SkyHooks wireless.

The review you are referring to is the review of the ATP Photo Finder, not the Eye-Fi. Eye-Fi does NOT have GPS, just Wi-Fi. Just wanted to clear this up.



Hence the reason i quoted the post that mentioned the ATP Photo Finder as a (better) alternative.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...77&postcount=9
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

From what I can gather from their crappy website (forums are down, there's not much info), Eye-Fi doesn't seem to support RAW format either. So much for ANY camera claim.

Now which RAW format would this be? RAW is not a standard format, it is simply a very propriety format used by the camera manufacturer for storing the raw data from the camera. DNG support would probably be a more realistic approach, though few camera companies seem to use DNG at this point.
post #18 of 36
Greetings, this is my first time posting here but I feel compelled to respond.

Over and around Christmas, I had purchased 2 cards for family and friends through Amazon. Unfortunately, the first one failed after 5 shots, so I endeavored to return it and by another card at a local Best Buy. The result? That one ALSO failed. The situation occurred on a new Unibody Mac, so I called Customer Support the next day and asked them what happened? It seems the day before they had just pushed out a software update which may have bricked both cards. Needless to say, I was disappointed - the fact that a faulty Mac Software update could brick two separate cards was troubling and the fact that I bought the card separately suggests its either a systemic issue (the software or their hardware).

I kept one more for a gift on Christmas day for a non-technical family member. In the process of setting it up for her on her PC, it literally took two hours to configure the Wifi. For some odd reason, configuration of Wi-fi requires that one of Eye-Fi's central servers to be up. Further, when the access point was manually configured the photos loaded at a crawl or not at all. Given the fact you need to leave the camera on, the point of being able to upload pictures seem to be defeated. I might as well pop the card and upload the pictures myself.

If you look at their forums, many people were traumatized by their Eye-Fi experience that day. There are other posts to suggest they have hardware quality issues as well (cards either DOA or soon after the annual mark). Needless to say, at nearly 4x the cost of a "normal" card, I expect reliability. I don't think folks think about this issue but the reliability of their memory cards are paramount. If your card fails at the moment that you're taking a shot, perhaps THE shot, nothing can take that moment back. It is for all these reasons that I would urge fellow AppleInsider members caution when purchasing an Eye-Fi. At minimum due your due diligence before spending upwards of $80 for their cards.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

Now which RAW format would this be? RAW is not a standard format, it is simply a very propriety format used by the camera manufacturer for storing the raw data from the camera. DNG support would probably be a more realistic approach, though few camera companies seem to use DNG at this point.

I don't see how it has to be specific to one format. The code in the device could just send any new files in any appropriate format and just send it. But I doubt anyone would be happy with how long it takes to send.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

You can put the SD card in a CF converter.

K

That is an option, but a very, very slow one! I do have one of those converters (not always easy to find), but it's reserved for emergency use only to be able to use my point-and-shot's memory cards in my DSLR if I run out of space on my CFs. Still, as you point out, it's an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Don't all cameras support JPG? I don't know of a camera that shoots raw that doesn't support JPG. I don't think a lot of people would want to wait for raw files to transmit.

Anyways, it seems to support any SD camera, just that you have to shoot JPG to do it.

There's actually not a huge difference between my camera's highest quality JPEGs and it's RAW file sizes.

I think this is much more geared to the pocket camera crowd where the SD memory and JPEG is common (there are a few DSLRs that will take SD cards without an adaptor). I actually just wish the DSLRs included GPS without needing a huge attachment. If a tiny, $300 iPhone can include GPS, surely a $2000 camera could!
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Here's another product that seems to be popular

http://photofinder.atpinc.com/


I love the idea of Geotagging....just wish I traveled more. \

That looks interesting. But I'm leary of letting a device modify my photo files before I've loaded them onto my computer and backed them up! Anyone have any experience with this product?

Edit: Never mind. It looks like it doesn't work with compact flash cards.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


Edit: Never mind. It looks like it doesn't work with compact flash cards.

the ATP device does support CF cards, in fact you can plug a usb card reader into the device and it will read whatever cards the reader supports.


post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by imcquill View Post

A far cheaper solution is to buy the iphone app 'Trails' which costs $2. You can just have it sit there open tracking how you move as well as timestamps. Then, if your camera time is synchronized with your iphone time, you can use a free mac app like GPSPhotoLinker which will take the timestamps from the camera and the iPhone and match them up, geotagging your photos. This works even if you don't have a data connection on the iphone, and its total cost is $2, and uses gps instead of wifi (making it far more accurate, and more useful in a variety of circumstances). Admittedly, your battery drains faster, but you can always buy an extender for $50 which is still less than this eye fi thing, and is useful in a variety of situations beyond geotagging.

this looks very exciting. downloaded the app now, and ill try it all out after work.

thanks for the info!!!
post #24 of 36
Interesting idea, and great to upgrade an existing camera's functionality.

A couple of questions I can't find an answer to...

1) Does it require wifi access at the time of taking the photo, or does it just record the MAC address of local access points and look them up when you're back at home?

2) The skyhookwireless database is 'incomplete' (to be nice) in Australia, though it's getting pretty good in the biggest cities. Anyway, if a wifi point is unrecognised, but I enter the location manually, is there any way of that updating the skyhookwireless database? That way the many unknown tourist spots would, once a couple of people had visited, become known.
... (I've looked for an app on the iPhone that does similar... something that uses the iPhone GPS and collects the visible wifi points around, uploading them to skyhookwireless later on.... No luck).
post #25 of 36
How is it that you can take pictures with an ipod touch?

From the original post..."While many modern smartphones can tag their photos with GPS coordinates (including the iPhone and iPod touch), "
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post

the ATP device does support CF cards, in fact you can plug a usb card reader into the device and it will read whatever cards the reader supports.



Got it. This other page only lists SD, Memory Stick, and MMC cards.

http://photofinder.atpinc.com/what.html
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

This will really be useful when I'm backpacking. \

Except that without any WiFi nodes when you are backpacking, you are SOL.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by umijin View Post

Except that without any WiFi nodes when you are backpacking, you are SOL.

I think you might want to turn up the gain on your sarcasm detector.
post #29 of 36
This article is misleading and deserves some editing. Are the interns writing the articles for AI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple gave a lot of airtime this week to the new geotagging features in iPhoto 09, which allows users to organize and search photos based on the GPS data assigned to them. Eye-Fi's SD memory cards will enable any camera to tag photos with a location, making the cards a great camera upgrade for iLife 09 users.

NO. Not all EyeFi models, just the Explorer - at least upon retail purchase.

Added:
Actually - it seems that EyeFi will allow you to purchase geotagging, webshare, and hotspot access from their site for any of their cards. These features can be added to your account associated with your particular EyeFi card: http://www.eye.fi/services/


Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Adding GPS features to a camera just for geotagging the photos it takes isn't very practical, but a Mountain View-based company has packed WiFi features into an SD memory card, enabling the chip to perform an iPod touch-style WiFi location lookup using wireless base station data from Skyhook Wireless.

Again, only the EXPLORER model and it's NOT GPS. It uses information from Skyhook but relies mostly on a database of available WiFi networks where you are shooting your photos. If you are in an area with no WiFi signal or no MAPPED WiFi signals, you get no geotags. (I have the explorer - geotagging doesn't work well where I live.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In addition to geotagging photos taken by any camera using the cards, the Eye-Fi card can also wirelessly upload the photos to iPhoto, as well as directly to a wide variety of online services, including Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, Evernote, and MobileMe.

This part is salvageable. You should say "All EyeFi cards can do wireless uploads, but in addition the Explorer model can do geotags. You can add geotagging to any EyeFi card after registering the product for a small fee."

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The 2GB cards start at $79.99 for a basic WiFi enabled "Home" card without geotagging, $99 for a "Share" version with online upload features, and $129.99 for an "Explore" card with both the geotagging features and WiFi syncing to online services. The Explore version includes a year subscription to Wayport WiFi network access, which usually costs $14.95.

True, but you left out half of their product line. They actually have FOUR EyeFi models, including a 4GB model. Again, none of these have geotagging except for the Explorer version. You can see for yourself here: http://bit.ly/gWab

The big thing that bothers me about this article is that the EyeFi (though a nice product - I have one) is NOT new. These have been out for several months, with the explorer a bit more recent.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

I think you might want to turn up the gain on your sarcasm detector.

post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

1) Does it require wifi access at the time of taking the photo, or does it just record the MAC address of local access points and look them up when you're back at home?

You don't need ACCESS but you do need WiFi signals. The card theoretically (b/c I've yet to get my Explorer to work) picks up the MAC address from available WiFi nodes and uses the SkyHook database to plot your location. So, you don't need to be able to login to a node, but you must be near a node to get geotagged.

As to WHEN the tags are actually imprinted on the files, I'm not sure. It may do this when the photos are being uploaded, or earlier if it can get that info from the SkyHook database without logging in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

2) The skyhookwireless database is 'incomplete' (to be nice) in Australia, though it's getting pretty good in the biggest cities. Anyway, if a wifi point is unrecognised, but I enter the location manually, is there any way of that updating the skyhookwireless database? That way the many unknown tourist spots would, once a couple of people had visited, become known.
... (I've looked for an app on the iPhone that does similar... something that uses the iPhone GPS and collects the visible wifi points around, uploading them to skyhookwireless later on.... No luck).

Yes, you can submit a new location - I'm doing that now, b/c in Japan my home lies just outside the mapped area (metropolitan Tokyo). And my guess is that the mapped areas are actually only mapped partially (that is not all wireless nodes are known and maybe gaps in the mapped areas). There can't be complete overlap of wifi signals.

I will probably post a review on my Explorer in my blog in a week or so.
post #32 of 36
Thanks Umijin. You did a great summary of the cards geo-capability.

From eye.fi's forums the the geo-tags get applied when the files are downloaded from the camera using their own file manager. If you don't use their manager you lose the geo-data.

I also get upset when people misuse GPS. GPS is a particular, government run system that gives precise geographical position data anywhere in the world. This uses Skyhook that give an imprecise, guissetament of where you might be located. And if you are not near a Skyhook mapped WiFi device, like me, you get no data.
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post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyuan View Post

Greetings, this is my first time posting here but I feel compelled to respond.

Over and around Christmas, I had purchased 2 cards for family and friends through Amazon. Unfortunately, the first one failed after 5 shots, so I endeavored to return it and by another card at a local Best Buy. The result? That one ALSO failed.

-snip-

If you look at their forums, many people were traumatized by their Eye-Fi experience that day.

-snip-

Actually, they had a huge problem with the overload on their system. So it may not have been your card or the software, but their uploading service itself.
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by imcquill View Post

A far cheaper solution is to buy the iphone app 'Trails' which costs $2. You can just have it sit there open tracking how you move as well as timestamps. Then, if your camera time is synchronized with your iphone time, you can use a free mac app like GPSPhotoLinker which will take the timestamps from the camera and the iPhone and match them up, geotagging your photos. This works even if you don't have a data connection on the iphone, and its total cost is $2, and uses gps instead of wifi (making it far more accurate, and more useful in a variety of circumstances). Admittedly, your battery drains faster, but you can always buy an extender for $50 which is still less than this eye fi thing, and is useful in a variety of situations beyond geotagging.

I think this is a great idea IF you have an iPhone and IF you want to put up with the low resolution camera. I want to tag my photos from my compact digicam which has >4x the resolution of the iPhone camera. That's what this product is targeted towards, not iPhones.
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by umijin View Post

I think this is a great idea IF you have an iPhone and IF you want to put up with the low resolution camera. I want to tag my photos from my compact digicam which has >4x the resolution of the iPhone camera. That's what this product is targeted towards, not iPhones.

imcquill was talking about using the Trails app to create a database of timestamped locations. Then syncing that with the timestamps in the pictures you take with whatever camera you use. (that's where an app like GPSPhotoLinker comes in)

If imcquill was talking about using the iPhone's camera, there wouldn't be a point to using the Trails app, since the iPhone tags the photos automatically.
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Here's another product that seems to be popular

http://photofinder.atpinc.com/


I love the idea of Geotagging....just wish I traveled more. \

The reviews on Amazon are ripping this a new one.

http://www.amazon.com/Tagging-Pictur...1628589&sr=8-1

Out of 10 reviews 6 gave it 1 star, 3 gave it 2 stars and 1 gave it 4 stars. And the 4 star reviewer wants to change his review to 1 star. There were no positive comments at all.
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