Sony unwraps GPS add-on for digital cameras

Sony will soon start selling a small GPS unit that can be used to add location information to digital pictures, the company said Wednesday.

Sony will soon start selling a small GPS (global positioning system) unit that can be used to add location information to digital pictures, the company said Wednesday.

The 9 centimeter long GPS-CS1 unit is intended to be attached to a belt and worn throughout the day as pictures are being taken. Every 15 seconds it records the current location and the time thus building up a record of exactly where the user has been during the day. Later that data can be matched with the time stamp on the digital images to work out where the picture was taken.

Sony supplies an application called GPS Image Tracker to handle this data matching and it's recorded in the meta data stored in the JPEG file. A new version of Sony's Motion Picture Browser software now allows users to browse pictures by location and not just by date. Existing users will be able to upgrade their software.

While Sony will only guarantee the GPS system works with its digital still cameras it should be compatible with any digital camera that produces JPEG images compatible with the EXIF2.1 standard, said Masayo Endo, a spokeswoman for the company in Tokyo.

The GPS unit will run for about 10 hours on a AA cell and the unit's internal 31M byte memory can store about 15 days straight worth of GPS data. The triangular unit measures 9 cms long by 4 cms wide and weighs 55 grams.

The GPS-CS1 will be launched in September in the U.S. and Japan and will cost around US$150. Details on other parts of the world have not yet been announced.

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