Automatic Geotagging with GPS Compact Flash Card

GPS Enabled Compact Flash

Geotagging photos is a great way to add another level of organization to your photo collection, but it can be quite time consuming if done manually. There are devices you can carry with you that record your location while shooting so you can sync up your images after the fact and apply geotag information, but that’s still extra work and those devices can cost more than a memory card. Some cameras have GPS and geotagging built-in, but it’s far from mainstream.

A new company, Geo-Card, has come up with a different solution to geotagging photos on-the-fly. These new Compact Flash cards have a built-in GPS receiver and microcontroller that automatically inserts geotag information right into your photos as they are written to the card — and they’re fast enough to keep up with even the fastest of cameras at 15fps. The cards are available in 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB capacities.

The GPS receiver and microcontroller fit snugly inside the standard CF card shell, so it’s compatible with any camera that accepts Compact Flash cards. The GPS receiver has 20-channel support, and has a very low power consumption. The microcontroller also has low power consumption, and the firmware can be updated by plugging the card into any card reader — which allows for updates and support for future camera models.


You can’t… I made everything up; these cards don’t really exist — and if they do, I don’t know about them. I’m sure that the technology isn’t that far off, and you might expect to see something like this within the next couple of years. I do know that as soon as somebody makes one that works, I’m all over it.

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About Brian Auer

a photography enthusiast from North Idaho. He's also the guy behind the Epic Edits Weblog. As a hobbyist photographer since 2003, his passion has been to constantly improve his photography skill set, to share his own knowledge with others, and to become an integral part of the photographic community.

24 thoughts on “Automatic Geotagging with GPS Compact Flash Card

  1. Antoine Khater

    You almost got me here Brian 🙂 Being a techno geek I was surprised that I missed this one …

    BTW one of the easiest way to geotag is to get one of those GPS built specially for photography and they are not that expensive (starts at $100) here is one

  2. Brian Auer Post author

    Yeah, but wouldn’t this be way cool? No extra work, just take the picture.

    I’ve been very much considering picking up one of those “pocket” gps trackers… maybe Santa will bring me one.

  3. Jim Goldstein

    A while back there was a device you could attached to your flash hot shoe.
    A quick search to jostle my memory comes up with the JOBO PhotoGPS
    Frankly I’m not convinced I need GPS coordinates for every shot.
    To your idea it’d be neat, but it sure wouldn’t work for that small a device… not yet. GPS tracking can be really challenging even with a full size antenna. Perhaps sometime in the future 🙂

  4. Brian Auer Post author

    I think you’re right Jim — the antenna is the hard part. I’ve seen GPS receiver chips that measure 5mm x 5mm x .8mm, but without the antenna.

  5. Drew

    I was taken in by this post. how very evil. I have a device that while it doesn’t automatically add the GPS data on the memory card it does add geotagging data to the photo very easily. I’m giving one away on my blog in December. The device is a GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr and it works great. I’ve done many photowalks while using it.

  6. Max

    I love this idea. Perhaps you can submit a patent application for it. There is already SD card with wifi. Many cell phones have GPS unit. It may be possible to get a GPS into a CF card.


  7. racenviper

    Leave it to Sony….

    The Canon 40D has a USB connection to connect devices. This review gives the suggestion that a GPS and other USB devices can be connectted to the camera. The wireless grip

    Here is another acticle on GPS tagged photos.

    You could always carry a second gps camera and just take a casual picture to mark the spot.

  8. Pingback: What Would You Pay for a GPS Compact Flash Card?

  9. Brian Auer Post author

    Close, but not exactly what I was describing. That camera uses a GPS Flash card, yes. But those GPS CF cards are ONLY GPS units and they have a big bulky chunk of extra hardware hanging off of them. That type of technology is on the right track, they just need to keep making it smaller until it all fits inside the standard card footprint.

  10. Bruce

    My pulse went up… then down reading this Brain 😉

    I’d thought for a moment I’d missed a key development here! I guess one problem would be that if you changed cameras you likely couldn’t migrate it e.g. if the new camera has SD. The real advantage of data loggers, as I’ve been researching is that they are platform-independent. They work with your dSLR, your point-and-click (who carries their dSLR everywhere?), and your smart phone.

  11. Neil Creek

    It didn’t even take a year from your joke post:

    It’s not GPS geotagging, but I believe it uses wi-fi triangluation to determine position. So you’re rather limited as to where the geotagging will work. It can’t be too long though till we see full-on GPS technology like this!

  12. Brian Auer Post author

    Partly inspired by the Eye-Fi card and partly inspired by the cameras with built-in GPS — but mostly a figment of my imagination. It would be kinda neat to have something like this, but it looks like the camera manufacturers are going to be the ones including GPS technology in their cameras down the road.

  13. Brian Auer Post author

    Haha, well… patents cost lots of money to file. I’ve done patent work in the past, but for the companies I worked for — it’s such a tedious and resource intensive process. If I had the resources, I certainly would!

  14. Dino De Lellis

    We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that the technology will finally reach to market , preferably in our lifetime heheh.

    But judging on how fast technological development is moving I’d say that’s a very good possibility , but the real question is how high it’s price tag will be, hopefully not too high that we end up simply dreaming about owning one.

  15. Randy

    Have you seen Mac iphoto 9.0. Geo-tagging is a new feature. I have the new Sony Alpha a350. Would love to have this GPS enabled Compact Flash card.

  16. Chris

    I have been dreaming for a product like this as long as i can remember. Canon thinks this is worth at least $700. that’s what they charge for the WFT-E3A, which allows you to plug in a usb gps. In the mean time I’ve built my web site, which helps people to geocode and share their pictures and videos and VR’s with an easy drag and drop interface. Take a look and let me know what you think.

  17. me

    GPS units need to be able to send/recieve from sats, puting the reciever into the heart of a digital camera would be crazy due to likelihood of reflection/refraction of signal. on the fly geo tagging won’t come in the form of flash cards, it’ll be USB or built into expensive cameras as it’s a useless function to many

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