The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit is an optional Nikon digital SLR camera accessory that provides a “Geotagging” feature when connected to a supported camera. By tagging your images with GPS data you will not be left questioning down the road “where was that picture taken?”
The Nikon GP-1 works by receiving signals from a number of satellites in space. By using satellite triangulation, the GP-1 accessory allows the camera to “know” where it is on the surface of the Earth. The Nikon GP-1 GPS device records latitude, longitude and altitude and embeds the information in the image EXIF data at the time of capture.
After downloading a geotagged image to a computer, you can view detailed GPS coordinates and map location by using Nikon View NX2 software (free download), or by using other program software that can read GPS EXIF data.
The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit is compatible with the latest Nikon SLR cameras, like the Nikon D3200, D5100, D7000, D300s, D600, D800, D4. The GP-1 is also compatible with older Nikon DSLR models like the D90, D300, D700, and the higher end professional Nikon D3 series digital SLR’s.
You can attach the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit to the camera’s top accessory shoe, or to a camera strap by using the supplied strap adapter GP1-CL1. The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit draws power directly from the camera.
The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit offers three separate connection ports. The “CAMERA” port provides the GP-1 connection to the camera using the supplied cable. The second port (marked with a remote graphic icon), allows you to connect the optional Nikon MC-DC2 remote release cable to the GP-1. The third plug is a USB connector that allows you to attach the camera to a computer while shooting (port found on the back of the Nikon GP-1).
The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit comes supplied with two types of camera cables. The Nikon GP1-CA90 connects the Nikon GP-1 to the Nikon D3200, D5100, D7000 digital SLR, and older Nikon SLR models like the Nikon D90, D5000 and D3100.
The Nikon GP1-CA10 cable connects the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit to the 10-pin remote terminal of compatible Nikon SLR cameras, including the Nikon D600, D800 and the D4, and the older Nikon D3, D3x, and D300.
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Cord Optional Accessory:
The Nikon MC-DC2 enables remote firing of select Nikon digital SLR cameras. The 3.3 foot MC-DC2 remote cord allows you to release the shutter without making direct contact with the camera. Using a remote cable release is a good idea to help prevent camera shake when shooting with a tripod, and it can also be used to activate long exposures (bulb).
Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit Major Features
- Geotag: image positioning information of pictures such as latitude, longitude (Geodetic System WGS84) added to the image.
- Correlation between pictures and maps supported by GPS function and ViewNX2 software (no-charge download from Nikon website) and my Picturetown.
- Acquired data: Latitude, longitude, altitude, time information
- Time required for satellite acquisition: Approx. 45 sec. (cold start), approx. 5 sec. (hot start)
- Power source: Supplied from camera body (or computer using USB connection)
Using the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit with the D90 and D3200 SLR
In order to use the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit with a camera like the Nikon D90 or current D3200, there are a few steps to follow.
To begin you connect the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit to the camera by using the supplied GP1-CA90 cable and attaching it between the “CAMERA’ plug on the GP-1 and the “GPS” port found on the side of the camera (D90, D3100, D3200,D5000,D5100,D7000).
The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit simply slides into the camera’s hot shoe for secure placement. You can also attach the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit to the strap of the camera with the supplied strap adapter.
The next step is to set up the camera by selecting the GPS option found under the camera’s “Set Up” menu (Menu for D90 shown).
The GPS menu on the D90 offers two selections: “Auto meter off” and “Position”. Set “Auto meter off” to the Off setting, since the Nikon GP-1 draws its power from the camera. The camera could otherwise enter sleep mode while using the Nikon GP-1.
In order to activate the Nikon GP-1 unit and set up a GPS connection you need to select the ‘Position’ option in the menu.
Once the Nikon GP-1 receives GPS signals, the ‘Position’ coördinates (Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, UTC) show up in the menu display.
With the Nikon GP-1 attached to a Nikon D90 SLR camera, the GP-1 GPS unit was able to find a signal in as fast as 40 seconds while being used in an open area. It took almost 60 seconds to get a signal when we tested the GP-1 closer to tall buildings.
Once you have captured an image with tagged GPS coordinates, you can use a number of software options to see where the image was shot.
One solution is to use the Nikon ViewNX2 software that comes supplied with Nikon cameras. The below partial screen grab shows an image as seen when opened in Nikon View NX2 software viewer on a MAC platform.
The Nikon ViewNX 2 top tool bar offers a dedicated “Geo Tag” button. One click of the button and the software will automatically load a Google map (internet connection required) and show the place where the selected image was recorded.
The software extends the usual Google Maps application offering a Map, Satellite or a Hybrid view of the place where the picture was recorded. A thumbnail of the image gets displayed at the corresponding point on the map. File name and top line meta data is available as well.
I tested the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit with both the Nikon D90 and the current Nikon D3200 SLR, and the GP-1 accessory performed as promised. The GP-1 tagged the pictures with the correct data, and in most cases managed to pin point the location within 10 meters.
The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit receives a definite recommended rating.
It is as a useful accessory for tagging family vacation and travel photos with location information, and serves as a practical working tool for business applications, law enforcement, geotaggers and geocachers alike.
To learn more about the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit you can download the Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit User Manual (PDF Nikon USA).
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