Sony Australia Ltd GPS-CS1
- Well priced, simple to use
- Some issues getting a signal, software not as robust as some alternatives
If you're interested in keeping thorough records of where you've taken photos, or of mapping out particularly interesting snaps, this device may be for you. It isn't as advanced as some other units on the market, but the simplicity may work in its favour for less experienced users.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
If you're a regular photo buff, the concept of geotracking your pictures may not be new to you. For most people, however, this is a foreign term. In a nutshell, it involves inputting GPS coordinates into a hidden chunk of data in your pictures, which allows mapping programs to pinpoint exactly where a shot was captured.
Sony's GPS-CS1 is a small GPS tracker that does just this. By carrying it around with you when you're snapping away, you can record the locations of every shot you take and store them for later use.
There are a variety of devices available on the market that do a similar thing, but many of them operate using Bluetooth connections and are quite a bit more complex than this mode. The CS1 is extremely simple. It doesn't connect to the camera at all, instead it works via timestamps, recording your location at a given time and then matching it with the timestamp on each of your pictures.
To do this you'll need to use the included Sony GPS Image Tracker software which is an extremely easy process. You simply plug the GPS tracker in via the mini USB cable and click 'Import Log Files' which will grab any location data off the unit's 31MB of memory. You can then import any pictures you want and it will match up the data automatically.
The software is extremely basic, making it easy for even novice users to plot their photography experiences; however, at times it can be a little too simple. There are other pieces of software on the market that offer more advanced functionality, like the ability to automatically upload to Flickr, or to create Google Maps with the mapped coordinates. Miraculously, you don't need to use a Sony camera with this software, so even users with other brands will be fine.
In our tests we found the CS1 struggled a little to get a proper signal. Our office is in an area that does have some GPS black spots, but even wandering by the Pacific highway in broad daylight yielded a few issues. Once we actually got a signal, it maintained itself relatively well. The accuracy of the tracking was about as expected, although your location is only recorded once every 15 seconds, so depending on how fast you move around you do get a few errors.
There are a handful of indicator lights on the unit's body, one which shows if you have a signal, one that informs you if the memory is full and one for battery life. A single AA battery is used to power the CS1, and you'll get around 10 hours use before needing a replacement.
Build quality is fairly good; this device is constructed of rugged feeling plastic and should survive plenty of trips into the wild. It comes with a plastic carabiner (a loop) to easily connect it to your belt or bag.
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