Eye-Fi Adds Two New Wi-Fi Cards, Adds Geotagging Via W-Fi

Eye-Fi adds two new wireless memory cards to their product line-up

TechCrunch is reporting on two new cards being added to Eye-Fi’s lineup of wireless memory cards. I covered Eye-Fi last in October of last year when they released their 2GB card.

In addition to their 2GB card that directly uploads your photos to any of about a dozen photo sharing sites for $100, Eye-fi now is releasing a cheaper card for $80 that doesn’t include wi-fi uploading but will allow you to wireless transfer your photos from the card to your home computer.

Eye-Fi’s new $130 card though is the one that is more interesting to me. With the new Eye-Fi Explore card, Eye-Fi is now using wi-fi networks to try and auto geotag the photos that you take. Now that’s pretty cool. Although there are separate hand held GPS devices that you can use to try to later merge a file with your camera’s photos to auto geotag, having it happen automatically in the camera sounds much easier.

I haven’t played with the new card yet and I’m not sure exactly how accurate the geotags are, but still auto-geotagging seems pretty cool. Right now wi-fi is using Wayport’s wi-fi hotspots (they claim 10,000+ hotspots, including every McDonalds) and your $130 price includes a year of this service for the memory card. My guess is that the technology probably doesn’t work very well in non-urban areas with no wi-fi around, but in dense urban areas like Manhattan or San Francisco auto-geotagging probably works pretty well.

The new Eye-Fi cards are scheduled to be available on June 6th. More on the new cards here.

I’m still not sure the Eye-Fi card is for me though. I carry two 8GB cards with me and swap them in and out as I need room offloading photos to my MacBook Pro that is always with me. I shoot 200-400 photographs a day and only in RAW. Because I shoot so much I’m just not sure that I could survive on a 2GB card.

The geotagging feature is pretty cool though.

I keep having these fantasies (yes I fantasize about digital cameras) that when the new Canon 5D comes out that it will have some sort of auto geotagging GPS chip inside of it. I’m sure eventually all of the cameras will have GPS included which will make the painful chore of manually geotagging your photos a thing of the past.

Right now, by the way, I use Google Earth and the free software Geotagger for the Mac to do all of the geotagging on my photos. This works much easier than geotagging your photos on Flickr or Zooomr and also geotags at the file level (which can then be autoread by Flickr or Zooomr on upload) making sure that you will always have that information associated with your photo in the EXIF data.

10 Replies to “Eye-Fi Adds Two New Wi-Fi Cards, Adds Geotagging Via W-Fi”

  1. WiFi-based geotagging may have some reasonable use in places like the Bay Area, but would be useless beyond dense urban areas.

    I’ve thought for along time about automated geo tagging.

    I even tried time correlation software only to discover that even my new eTrex Vista HCx doesn’t timestamp track points, rending that function unusable.

    However, replacing my original eTrex Vista with the new HCx (H = High Sensitivity, C = Color, x = expandable memory) taught me something else: signal strength.

    My old Vista had trouble getting a signal in the forest. The new one will get a signal in the depths of my basement! I used to have to strap the old on on top of my backpack to track where I was going. The new one can sit inside.

    Conclusion: Any camera with a built-in GPS will need to have a very sensitive receiver to be useful.

    I’ve looked at devices like the AP Photo Finder that are dedicated for geo tagging photos. I’m skeptical that any of them have high quality GPS receivers like the one in the new HCx. And I’ve learned from experience that it really, really matters.

    Nirvana for me would be a Bluetooth link between a 5D mk II and an eTrex Vista HCx. Alas the HCx doesn’t have bluetooth. πŸ™

  2. heh, i think your post is bringing down the geotagger download site. it’s creeping at 1.5kbs.

    i’ve been looking for something like this card, but i use CF with the Nikon D300. I guess I could use an adapter. what i really would like is a bluetooth card that would allow me to send to my iPhone to upload.

    thanks. i’ve enjoyed lurking your blog.

  3. I don’t see the point of WiFi based geotagging. A pocket GPS receiver (like my gisteq phototrackr) uses GPS naturally and so is available everywhere in the world!

    Oh and I heard the “new 5D” is going to be called the “4D”

  4. Thomas, you might consider picking up a cheap Garmin ($130 or so) GPS and carry it around on a photo jaunt – you can download the track log to the Mac and then use various software to synch it to the exif data on the photos – I use Houdah Geo and LoadMytracks (shareware & freeware) with a Magellan device to do this.

    Really handy when I’m in the middle of nowhere Georgia and take a photo and want to tell people where it was.

  5. @C.S. McDonald – note my previous post… Garmins don’t keep date/time info within their track log, rendering them unusable for function you describe.

  6. The AP Photo Finder actually contains a pretty good GPS unit. Unfortunately, it isn’t compatible with the RAW file format and Lightroom messed up all my “time taken” EXIF data, so it won’t sync any of my shots. FAIL

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