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D5300s GPS - how reliable?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by James8arthur, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. James8arthur

    James8arthur Well-Known Member

    Hi guys
    Will one or two of you please check this location for me on Google Maps -

    I took a photo of an ancient stepwell here called Chand Bawri using my D5300 (built in GPS).
    Google maps actually says the location is NW of my GPS coords, can you see it? (They have even listed it as a hotel for Gods sake).
    What I want to know is can my Cameras GPS be that far off the real location, ie could the real location be Googles marker?

    Another source says Chand Bawri is slightly north of Googles marker.

    So what's the best way to make sure I get a good approximation? Take more than a few photos? I should have used my phone too!

    Note the actual stepwell is impossible to see clearly on the map because it's so tiny. But on other photos where I've compared with Google Maps, I've never been shocked at the results my camera gave.

    Going back next year anyway so will get another shot at it :)

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Google Earth has the middle of the stepping well at: lat 27 deg 00 min 26.36 sec lon 76 degrees 36 min 24.45 secs

    PS your location is about 300 km away
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  3. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    All GPS can be unreliable for a single reading if there are insufficient satellites in view, if the signal bounces, or if something slows it down. GPS is only really reliable with constant regular readings and some level of translation of the signal. My phone is better at it than my camera, but even my phone every now and then records me as being many meters away from where I really am.

    So over a number of minutes and hours, I'd expect the GPS in the 5300 to be 'reasonably reliable', but a single point of data being completely out isn't a surprise.

    300km suggests something else is going on though :)
    Roger Hicks and ChrisNewman like this.
  4. James8arthur

    James8arthur Well-Known Member

    @Pete. Out of all the Chand Bawris that popped up in the search box of Google Earth while you were typing, you picked the wrong one :) However, I'll be visiting that one too.

    @Tony. There's more than one. Pete found the biggest one in the world, did you see his?

    The one I want is 'L' shapped and you couldn't fit a car though it... I'll find the exact location anyway, I'll probably film myself travelling from the gate at Ranisar Talab to the well, hopefully help a few other travellers find it too when I post the resulting epic on You Tube.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You didn't say that it was a generic name ! As I have used GPS in the UK it is normally accurate to about 6 m. Whether that is true in India I couldn't say. We were surprised at work to find GPS readings from a data-logger used to map an instrument position were wrong by random amounts up to 500 m.
  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    This was my phone GPS using an app, before I used the right settings. In this instance, I was leaving too long between samples. Right in the middle of the walk, it decided I was a fair distance away for one reading.

  7. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    My D800 doesn’t have GPS built in. I decided data showing where I’d taken my photos would be a huge advantage, and bought the Solmeta Geotagger Pro 2, which has the additional features of working as a wireless remote, and logging where I walk. I leave the logging at the default 10-second intervals. After a walk, I can upload the data to Google Earth, and it will draw a line on the map showing where I’ve been. Normally it’s very accurate, but sometimes I see some strange zigzags at the start, presumably because it had only found a few satellites. I can see similar effects if I enter a lightweight building which admits partial signals.

    Had you just switched the GPS on immediately before you took the photo? Were there surroundings that might have limited access to satellites?

    EightBitTony likes this.
  8. James8arthur

    James8arthur Well-Known Member

    Hey guys.
    Okay, maybe I should leave the GPS on too, just before I set off looking around the streets (I've actually got 4-5 batteries so the drain on them won't matter too much
    Chris - you might be right on the surroundings too, the area I was in was was pretty tight with houses & shops, not much sky to be seen.

  9. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    They generally need a clear sky view. When GPS in phones was new I used to rely on the mapping to find my way when travelling on business. Nowadays they use both GPS and the phone mast locations to provide a location but with GPS only finding the way out of, say, Rome old city, coukd tske some time.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  10. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I don’t know anything about battery drain through a D5300's GPS, but my Solmeta Geotagger Pro 2 weighs about 50 g, only about 60% of the weight of the D800’s battery. The Pro 2 claims power for “up to 8 hours” from its internal 500mAh battery before it switches over to using the D800’s 1900mAh battery (although I don’t think my 4 year old unit still holds its charge for that long). So unless the D5300's GPS is much thirstier, it shouldn’t run your batteries down very fast. (Frustratingly, although my Geotagger Pro 2 has its own battery, and will report GPS location on it, it won’t log my route unless it’s connected to the camera.) (Solmeta have now replaced it with a more versatile unit, with a more secure connector and larger battery, but on the downside, that’s doubled its weight.)

  11. James8arthur

    James8arthur Well-Known Member

    I had actually only been turning the camera on when needed, wait for the GPS signal, shoot, then turn off again. But that's because I've read warnings in magazines & websites about internal GPS draining batteries bu I wouldn't know how much quicker that if I disabled it.

    Found a few clips I filmed last year of Chand Bawdi (the tiny one in my coords). Google's own marker looks exact, my GPS was infact way out. I'm just going to have to be a bit more careful next time, although most of these wells can be seen clearly from maps :)
  12. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I've just found this thread, so apologies for a very late response.
    I have two Garmin GPS units. Surveying nest boxes at a local nature reserve, the two Garmin units gave me identical coordinates, down to the last digit on one survey. Checking the results a week or so later, I got results which were significantly different - good signal strength in all cases. The locations were good - i.e. clear view of the sky, away from roads etc. My mobile phone is too old to act as a referee.

    I also have GPS in my Eos 7D Mk II. Generally very reliable once it's settled, on one outing it stopped recording my new position but delivered the "old" position to the next 4 images - and I wasn't under tree cover. Easily spotted in this case, but taught me to be more suspicious of the results.
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    If you don't know where you are, how is GPS going to help you?

    I use the phrase "don't know where you are" in quite a broad philosophical sense: I can't imagine giving a toss about GPS accuracy when it comes to choosing or indeed using a camera.


    peterba likes this.
  14. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Hi Roger, very few of my photos claim anything artistic, but a fair number are taken to show others precisely what I was looking at (e.g. distant mountain peak, grave monuments in a "local" cemetery i.e. one without directions to where Karl Marx etc. is buried) and GPS and compass heading have been invaluable.
    My Canon 7D Mk II has both GPS and a magnetic compass - and the built-in compass feature is very rare.

    Special software shows my camera's position and direction of pointing on a map.
  15. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    I'm reminded of a TV documentary on William Eggleston, in which the programme presenter commented upon the fact that he (Eggleston) rarely gives titles or dates to his photographs. This elicited the response (I paraphrase) that such details are “just not about photography”. I must admit that I largely concur, and I'd include GPS data.

    Having said this, I suppose I must recognise that - in truth - my view on this derives partly from a total lack of interest in such a feature. Others will, no doubt, have a very different take on this.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  16. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    It might indicate where you are!
    Neither do I. Or perhaps if I had found a wonderful viewpoint from which to take a photograph I would selfishly not wish to publish the coordinates.
  17. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    GPS signals can be subject to interference. It might be rare but it does happen. For anything critical, such as recording positions in a survey, I'd want an independent verification. I found out the hard way, converting GPS to local co-ordinates and aligning with a plot-plan, some positions were OK and others up to 500 m out. Luckily the survey positions were pre-planned to a degree so the errors showed up when all the information was aligned.

    A single, GPS using the normal broadcast signal is generally good to better than 6 m. We most often use GPS when letterboxing*on Dartmoor, especially if the normal map and compass clues are obscure or wrong. Sometimes for very well hidden boxes in grass (and provided GPS coordinates are given) it has been necessary to use 2 GPSs, standoff the location by 50-100 m in two directions and walk a bearing until the paths intersect, that'll reduce the search radius. It's much more fun to use a sighting compass and clues than GPS but you need accurate bearings to start with.

    *letterboxing predates geocaching. Visitors books are hidden and the purpose is to find them. They are signed by means of inked stamps and boxes have a stamp which you take an imprint of. Sadly the boxes are increasingly robbed out. We've had boxes taken within days of being set out which is annoying given the cost and effort to design and have made a themed stamp, locate it, provide direction clues, register it in the system etc. Although box theft is mainly vandalism, every few years the national newspapers run an article on letterboxing and "collecting stamps" as a fun idea for summer. People take it literally and steal the stamp.

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