Geotagging photos is slowly moving mainstream and as such only certain digital photo devices contain built-in GPS chips that automatically pick up location info when pictures are taken. The problem with these devices such as digital cameras is that automatic geotagging sucks battery power dry like a Dirt Devil sucks crumbs off the kitchen floor. Now a UK-based Philips Research spinoff known as Geotate claims it can make the process of geotagging a whole lot more energy efficient.
The Geotate approach, called Capture and Process, collects only a small amount of info from satellites. The info, rather than being processed in the camera, is processed using a Geotate software program when uploaded to a computer. That way no GPS chip is required to be embedded in the camera, or whatever digital picture-taking device you happen to be using, getting rid of the battery-draining processing in the process.
Capture and Process is alot faster than the usual GPS chip approach as well.Â Because it only captures a small amount of positioning info from GPS satellites and does no internal processing, the almost ubiquitous 30 second GPS lock time is reduced to 200 milliseconds. The info is stored in the camera’s memory and then processed on the computer by comparing the satellite info to a Geotate database of historic satellite positioning satellite. This process only requires 10 millijoules of energy, roughly 1% of the energy required by GPS chip processing.
Capture and Process add-ons for digital cameras should be available by the end of 2008.