Sony unwraps GPS add-on for digital cameras

Sony will soon start selling a small GPS unit that can be used to add location information to digital pictures, the company said Wednesday.

Sony will soon start selling a small global positioning system unit that can be used to add location information to digital pictures.

The nine-centimetre long GPS-CS1 unit is intended to be attached to a belt and worn throughout the day as pictures are being taken. Every 15 seconds it records the current location and the time, building up a record of exactly where the user has been during the day. Later that data can be matched with the time stamp on the digital images to work out where the picture was taken.

Sony supplies an application called GPS Image Tracker to handle this data matching and it's recorded in the meta data stored in the JPEG file. A new version of Sony's Motion Picture Browser software now allows users to browse pictures by location and not just by date. Existing users will be able to upgrade their software.

While Sony would only guarantee the GPS system worked with its digital still cameras it should be compatible with any digital camera that produced JPEG images compatible with the EXIF2.1 standard, a Sony spokesperson, Masayo Endo, said.

The GPS unit will run for about 10 hours on a AA cell and the unit's internal 31MB memory can store about 15 days straight worth of GPS data. The triangular unit is 9cm x 4cm and weighs 55g.

The GPS-CS1 will be launched in September in the US and Japan and will cost about $US150. Details on a European launch have not yet been announced.

Sony has also announced its DSC-T10 digital still camera. The 7.2-megapixel camera boasts - as its key features - a high sensitivity of ISO1000 and optical image stabilisation. Both features can minimise blur on shots, particularly in low light conditions.

Other features include a 2.5-inch LCD screen and 3X optical zoom lens. It also has 56MB of internal memory so you can still take pictures even if you forget a Memory Stick card.

The DSC-T10 is 2.1cm thick and measures 9cm x 5.5cm. It weighs 165g with battery and memory card and will be available this month in the US and Japan for about $US400.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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