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Author Topic: The camera industry in difficulty?  (Read 17964 times)

Rob C

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #60 on: December 27, 2016, 05:52:11 am »

Rob, just for you:

I don't know if your "cellphone" is actually a "smartphone" or not.
However, if it is actually a smartphone then it will have two methods to determine its location.
The first one, as you have discovered, is rather inaccurate and it uses a system of triangulation from nearby microwave towers to figure out where it is.
The second method uses the built-in GPS unit and this is VERY accurate - to within a metre.

I have navigated myself thousands of kilometres through parts of Africa where signposts, if they ever existed, are now non-existent.
Particularly helpful in parts of Namibia (and other places) where one cannot even find another person to ask directions if lost.
I stress that the smartphone was on "aeroplane" mode - there was no network access anyway once I left Windhoek or other large centres - so the only way the smartphone knew where it was was the built-in GPS.

So, do a bit checking with the particular model of phone that you own - it may well have a built-in GPS - and, if so, a very accurate method of location determination.
In an emergency scenario it is possible that an accurate location determination might be very helpful.

Tony Jay

Hi Tony,

Just come onto this thread again, so sorry for the rude delay in response!

Yes, my cellphone is, reputedly, smart; it's a venerable Samsung Galaxy Ace GT - S5830 and on its second battery in all that time. It's currently on charge, and as I don't want to take it off until that's done, I can't check out the possible alternatives to location-finding. It does have the capability to work off the USB in the car, as the salesman insisted on demonstrating before I bought, but I have never thought of using that either. I don't really want to speak to anybody unless I'm at home and at ease, and as I now seldom drive anywhere that I don't already know by instinct almost rather better than by sight, navigation in that sense is not a priority, though I am certain that in our France-crossing driving days, it would have been better than the maps my wife used to read for us.

Truth to tell, my entire relationship with the cellphone was based on the concept of emergency, strong in my mind because of the permanent heart problems I have. After wasting some good image situations by using that device, I stopped, determined never again to waste an opportunity by using a poor relation to the already (some imagine) poor relation D200 I usually cart around when the Muse half-promises to accompany me...

Part of the problem is, I'm certain, age-related: I find it hard to remember how to use modern devices if, once deciphered, I don't utilise them, constantly.

Best wishes for 2017, and don't go falling off Scottish cliffs!

Rob

Tony Jay

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #61 on: December 27, 2016, 07:10:44 am »

Hi Rob,

I can confirm that your model Smartphone does indeed have a built-in GPS.
As long as you have an appropriate app installed to take advantage of the GPS you are good to go!

Tony Jay
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Rob C

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2016, 02:02:55 pm »

Hi Rob,

I can confirm that your model Smartphone does indeed have a built-in GPS.
As long as you have an appropriate app installed to take advantage of the GPS you are good to go!

Tony Jay


Hi Tony,

Yes, but I tried it again yesterday and it says, more or less: "make sure to have open skies available (I assume to get a satellite fix) and connect to a larger power source." In that case, I imagine they mean that connecting to the USB socket in the car it would be okay - insofar as power goes, but would simply having more power make it any less inaccurate than in my free-standing test, where it made the battery dive very rapidly? I guess I need a connection wire to try it out in the car... Looking into the cellphone's controls, I note that the GPS thing is currently switched off to conserve power. A friend gave me his old sat.nav car unit, but I've never used it: I know where I am going around here - perhaps only too well! Worse, it's unikely I'm going anywhere much else.

But hey, thank you for your interest and research!

;-)

Rob

razrblck

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2016, 10:39:58 am »

GPS on modern phones need a data connection to properly work (either WiFi or 3G/4G) unlike the dedicated satnav systems. This might be your issue, Rob!
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2016, 03:08:22 pm »

GPS on modern phones need a data connection to properly work (either WiFi or 3G/4G) unlike the dedicated satnav systems. This might be your issue, Rob!
No they don't.  You just need to get a GPS app for the phone that uses the GPS chip without needing the data connection.  Garmin, TomTom and others offer such apps for the smart phones.  There's even a free one called maps.me.  They even work with the phone in Airplane mode making it possible to track your flight if you are at a window seat.

Apple/Samsung doesn't ship such an app with their phones because of contractual obligations with the carriers but there are many GPS apps for these phones that do not have these restrictions.
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pegelli

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2016, 03:25:51 pm »

GPS on modern phones need a data connection to properly work (either WiFi or 3G/4G) unlike the dedicated satnav systems. This might be your issue, Rob!
Even Google maps can work with just a GPS signal without WiFi or 3G/4G connection. Just download the maps into memory (a standard function) and you have a fully functional SatNav without any network connection.
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pieter, aka pegelli

Tony Jay

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2016, 04:23:48 pm »

GPS on modern phones need a data connection to properly work (either WiFi or 3G/4G) unlike the dedicated satnav systems. This might be your issue, Rob!
This is complete rubbish!

Did you actually read the whole of the thread?
I have been thousands of kilometres from any data connections using the dedicated GPS unit that actually comes built-in to all modern smartphones.
If you had also been paying attention you would have noted me telling Rob that the triangulation method (that does use microwave towers and needs data) is actually very inaccurate while the dedicated GPS in the phone is very accurate.

Tony Jay
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Rob C

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #67 on: December 31, 2016, 08:02:37 am »

I am not clear at all about this stuff about apps. If my Samsung already enables me to find a satellite (which is why I think it tells me to work under open skies to find location), doesn't that mean that it already contains an app? Or, is there a further thing that indeed has to be downloaded? As I say, it does show me a spot on its map where it thinks I am, badly, and does tell me to use a bigger power source.

The cellphone works via my home contract for Internet, not any local WiFi into which I have to tune; so, I assume that when it gives me a reading for location, it is taking that reading off a combination of local cellphone signal transmitters and also satellite, or why the need for open skies? Wouldn't it just work perfectly well without sky access if it depended only on relay transmitters?

The worst problem is not accuracy, but battery depletion if used without access to bigger power units.

Rob

BrownBear

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #68 on: December 31, 2016, 09:02:33 am »

The worst problem is not accuracy, but battery depletion if used without access to bigger power units.

There it is. 

The GPS in our truck croaked at just the wrong moment, so my wife turned on the map function in her iPhone (standard feature). It worked well and in some details was better than the Garmin in the truck. But it sucked power like a kid drinking a milkshake. Fortunately we had a charge cord in the truck, or it would have died long before we reached our destination.
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pegelli

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #69 on: December 31, 2016, 09:32:17 am »

There it is. 

The GPS in our truck croaked at just the wrong moment, so my wife turned on the map function in her iPhone (standard feature). It worked well and in some details was better than the Garmin in the truck. But it sucked power like a kid drinking a milkshake. Fortunately we had a charge cord in the truck, or it would have died long before we reached our destination.
It's probably more the screen then the GPS by itself that sucks the power. At least that's my experience with my old S4mini with an aging battery. Put the screen in lower intensity and off when on a long stretch of straight road, then you can manage much longer trips.
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pieter, aka pegelli

Tony Jay

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #70 on: December 31, 2016, 05:05:43 pm »

I am not clear at all about this stuff about apps. If my Samsung already enables me to find a satellite (which is why I think it tells me to work under open skies to find location), doesn't that mean that it already contains an app? Or, is there a further thing that indeed has to be downloaded? As I say, it does show me a spot on its map where it thinks I am, badly, and does tell me to use a bigger power source.

The cellphone works via my home contract for Internet, not any local WiFi into which I have to tune; so, I assume that when it gives me a reading for location, it is taking that reading off a combination of local cellphone signal transmitters and also satellite, or why the need for open skies? Wouldn't it just work perfectly well without sky access if it depended only on relay transmitters?

The worst problem is not accuracy, but battery depletion if used without access to bigger power units.

Rob
Maybe you do already have an app installed.
Just having a GPS unit in the phone is not enough.
Without the phone having some graphical way of showing YOU where it is the fact that the phone itself knows where it is becomes a complete non sequitur - hence the need for an app.

Also, as I mentioned in an earlier post: a smartphone will either use triangulation from local microwave towers or it will use its GPS unit. It does not use a combination of the two. My suggestion is to not waste data (money) and to make sure that one uses the GPS when one needs to find one's way around precisely because it does not cost data (money) and the GPS unit is MUCH more accurate.

As for power requirements particularly when driving - just use the 9V option in your vehicle (the cigarette lighter) to keep the phone charged.
I kept my smartphone charged for five weeks in just this way when travelling in Africa in 2015 while using it as a GPS.
Never made one phone call during that time.
In addition one can buy (relatively cheaply) what I call USB batteries that one charges via USB cable and then one can draw power, again via a USB cable to the phone that will keep it charged for several days.
I own a couple of these batteries and took them to Africa as well, as an emergency back-up in case all the camera batteries were drained and I did not have another charging option. As it turned out that was never the case and I did not actually need to use them.

In Australia the Nissan Patrol that I use for photographic expeditions has 12 9V sockets that continually run or charge a multitude of devices including fridges, GPS units, Smartphones, two laptops, charging for satellite phones, and charging batteries for a combination of five still and video cameras. The vehicle has two extra deep cycle batteries to deal with this and what is called a step-up charger that keeps these batteries in tip-top condition.
I also have a large solar blanket to keep these large deep-cycle batteries charged if the vehicle is not moving for any length of time. When on photography expeditions I will often be far away from 240 V mains power for days to weeks at a time.

The point I am making is that it is actually pretty simple to get around the limitations of the battery that is built-in to a smartphone. Consider that current Samsung phones just use a simple USB cable for charging rather than more complicated options of earlier generation phones. Nothing more than a USB cable (it comes with the phone) and a simple 9V plug that has a USB port is all that is required for what would essentially be infinite power while driving. Any general electronics store stocks items such as these and they are cheap.

Tony Jay
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razrblck

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #71 on: January 01, 2017, 04:34:23 am »

Wow guys, calm down.  :D I said they need data connection to properly work.

Over the years manufacturers like Qualcomm have implemented a lot of neat features that rely less on cellular data. They still look for cell towers and WiFi hotspots for quick positioning, and use a data connection to download up-to-date orbital information to speed up the whole process (downloading straight from the satellites is incredibly slow). Your phone will also need to keep its internal clock up do date if you want good accuracy, that also requires an internet connection.

Assisted GPS (A-GPS) devices can get your position in the middle of nowhere with great precision, but they will be slower at first finding your position when not in range of any cell tower or WiFi signal.

On the apps side, as you pointed out, you won't need data connection if you have downloaded your maps. It will only be required for traffic updates or to speed up operations (like finding routes and searching for places). I've even seen applications use cool tricks with the accelerometer to keep your position updated even with complete loss of GPS signal (like in a long tunnel). Downloading maps does not speed up positioning, nor does it improve accuracy.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 04:39:00 am by razrblck »
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Tony Jay

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #72 on: January 01, 2017, 05:19:44 am »

Wow guys, calm down.  :D I said they need data connection to properly work.
Simply untrue.

I have used Smartphones as a GPS as described and can speak from experience - lots of experience.
I don't care whether the smartphone takes a couple of seconds longer to get a fix or not.
I do care about accuracy and using triangulation (and wasting data and money to do it) doesn't cut it.
I can vouch for the accuracy of the GPS unit by itself giving a fix to a metre - this it will do whether I am in a city or a thousand kilometres away from the nearest microwave tower.

Nobody, especially me, said any app or downloading maps improved the accuracy of the GPS.

Tony Jay
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #73 on: January 01, 2017, 05:26:32 am »

Hi,

I down't think GPS sucks a lot of power. I had a small GPS-logger for many years. You put it in the camera bag and it samples position with a few seconds interval. You read out the coordinates to a GPX-file and sync that file with Lightroom. I usually forget to charge it, but with full charge it works for a few days, perhaps a week if battery is new. The whole device is like a small camera battery in size.

The GPS-logger works without maps.

Maps can be helpful, though, as GPS-devices often have an option to stay on roads. So using the map adds some accuracy.

Common GPS is accurate within say 30m, or so, but it can loose accuracy if it can just detect a few satellites.

My A-mount Sonys had built in GPS and I loved it. In general, I love sharing information so being able to geoencode my images have been a godbless. Great pity Sony has removed it on the A7 (FE-mount) models.

In camera GPS has a problem. Lets say we travel 80 km and start shooting. The GPS can take some time to sort out the new position, so the first images may be tagged with the wrong position.

Best regards
Erik




Wow guys, calm down.  :D I said they need data connection to properly work.

Over the years manufacturers like Qualcomm have implemented a lot of neat features that rely less on cellular data. They still look for cell towers and WiFi hotspots for quick positioning, and use a data connection to download up-to-date orbital information to speed up the whole process (downloading straight from the satellites is incredibly slow). Your phone will also need to keep its internal clock up do date if you want good accuracy, that also requires an internet connection.

Assisted GPS (A-GPS) devices can get your position in the middle of nowhere with great precision, but they will be slower at first finding your position when not in range of any cell tower or WiFi signal.

On the apps side, as you pointed out, you won't need data connection if you have downloaded your maps. It will only be required for traffic updates or to speed up operations (like finding routes and searching for places). I've even seen applications use cool tricks with the accelerometer to keep your position updated even with complete loss of GPS signal (like in a long tunnel). Downloading maps does not speed up positioning, nor does it improve accuracy.
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Tony Jay

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #74 on: January 01, 2017, 05:41:43 am »

Using a smartphone as a GPS logger does use less power because there is much less for the GUI to do.
I do GPS logging with the smartphone as well.

Either way, even if one has a less that stellar battery in one's smartphone given the plethora of simple but effective technologies available to maintain its charge there is no real reason for a dead phone.

Tony Jay
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mecrox

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Re: The camera industry in difficulty?
« Reply #75 on: January 01, 2017, 09:10:03 am »

Using a smartphone as a GPS logger does use less power because there is much less for the GUI to do.
I do GPS logging with the smartphone as well.

Either way, even if one has a less that stellar battery in one's smartphone given the plethora of simple but effective technologies available to maintain its charge there is no real reason for a dead phone.

Tony Jay

I have a satnav app on my iPhone which has a low-power mode and it uses very little of the battery when it is engaged. Battery drain is only an issue on full power mode. I don't know or much care how it works but it just does and it doesn't require a continuous mobile or wifi signal either. Very useful all round to reduce unseemly arguments about where we are going and how. My impression is that older smartphones aren't so good for all this, though. They won't have such sophisticated battery management tech or low-power processors and their gps stuff may not be quite so good either. There are plenty of modern but fairly inexpensive smartphones these days. No need to blow the bank with Apple or Samsung. I'd get a modern cheapie rather than wrestle with a much older model of anything, and a rechargeable pocket battery pack can be picked up for a few bucks.
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