JOBO photoGPS on Mac OSX

In 2008 JOBO released a GPS device to assist with geotagging photos that sits in the hot-shoe of your favourite DSLR camera called the JOBO photoGPS. It’s a very convenient unit that takes a non-GPS capable DSLR and gives it GPS abilities. I use mine on my Canon 450D, and they can be found online at places such as B&H. This is a quick review.

From their website:

    • Recording time: approx. 0.2 sec
    • Storage capacity: approx. 1 000 recorded locations
    • Accuracy: approx. 10 m
    • Geo-data: via Tele Atlas map material (country, city, street, POI)
    • Camera connection: standard hot-shoe (ISO 518:2006)
    • Supported file formats: JPEG, RAW with XMP sidecar file
    • Power supply: internal rechargeable Li-poly battery (120 mAh)
    • Status information: via 2 LEDs
    • PC connection: USB 2.0
    • Battery charging: via USB 2.0
    • GeoHint button
    • Supported operating systems: Windows XP (SP2) and Vista (SP1), MAC available from 2008
    • Dimensions: 68 x 20 x 43 mm (excl. adapter)
    • Weight: 80 g
    • Incl. USB cable, CD-ROM with photoGPS matching software, organiser and viewing software

They stated that by the end of 2008 they would have Mac software available for this, and whilst it was a little late (made available early 2009) it is now available.

Lets cover the positive points first:

The system works & is relatively easy to use. The device stores satellite data time in it’s internal memory and will automatically wake from sleep and capture using the flash signaling coming via the hot shoe connector. The final tagged images produced work perfectly well with the “places” support in iPhoto 09, Flickr and any other service supporting location info in the EXIF data. The software can also export a KML file for use with external apps such as Google Earth, and can create XMP sidecar files for tagging RAW images which can be used in Aperture and Lightroom.

You pretty much import your photos to a folder, then plug in the photoGPS device via USB and import the GPS data – it will then pull satellite data down from the JOBO servers and match the coordinates – it will then time-match with the images from your camera and with a simple click the EXIF data in the images is updated with location information.

Geotagging technology is provided by Geotate and according to their website is pretty quick:

“Geotate automatic geotagging technology uses a 0.2 second GPS acquisition signal to capture a RAW GPS signal as part of the usual photo moment, ensuring no delays for the user.

In comparison, a traditional streaming GPS device will take a few seconds to find the satellite signals, around thirty seconds to download satellite orbit information, and a few more seconds to calculate the user’s position.”

So that answers the “how quick does it get a signal lock” question 🙂

Now the negative:
On a Mac, users have come to expect a reasonable amount of integration, and this for me is where the JOBO software falls down. I personally use iPhoto (or previously Aperture) & import my photos from my camera directly into my library. Now that iPhoto and Aperture have a library file that cannot be directly browsed, the JOBO photoGPS Mac OSX software causes a speed-bump in this easy workflow that we are all used to.

The JOBO software cannot use the iPhoto/Aperture browse capability that OSX offers – it can only read images from a folder that can be browsed – there is not even support for drag and drop.

That means you need to import your photos via the Mac OSX Image Capture application to a folder, then run the JOBO photoGPS app on those photos. Then you finally import these images into iPhoto (or Aperture/Lightroom etc).

When all is said and done, I find this unit really useful. Could it be better? Yes of course – but I can only hope JOBO work to integrate it more into Mac OSX and make the tagging of photos in an iPhoto Library more convenient.


13 thoughts on “JOBO photoGPS on Mac OSX

  1. This is a smart solution. We don't have to spend over $1000 to get GPS function on Canon's EOS.Question 1: After the “manual” process, will the Geo information embedded to each RAW file? In case we shot with RAW+JPG, will this software tag both files at the same time?Question 2: If you delete photos after you shot and change multiple CF cards, will the software still be able tag them?Question 3: How to charge the battery without a computer? How long does it last?Question 4: How fast does it respond to first picture? You turn on the camera and ready to shot. How do you know the GPS unit is ready? We all know it takes a while for GPS unit to find satellites.Thank you in advance.

  2. Thanks for the good feedback.Answer 1: It doesn't embed info into the RAW file – it creates an XMP sidecar file that you can import with the file into Aperture or Lightroom. I haven't played with this much I'm sorry. Answer 2: Yes – it keeps a record of when every shot was taken & matches them together – it handles deleted files and changed memory cards without issue.Answer 3: Charging the battery can be done with a USB power adaper – they are available as car chargers or wall chargers from most electronics stores (mini-USB charger for mobile phones work too). Battery life is pretty good – I've shot a full 8gig cards worth of photos (JPG so lots of photos) and it still had juice left at the end of the day.Answer 4: There's a button on the side that does a quick sat check – recommended to hit that before you start shooting. As for lock on for the GS signal, it seems fast although no specific feedback available from the unit. Even on single shots it's gotten the location almost spot on for me.Hope this helps.Regards,Shane.

  3. Thanks a lot!Let's wait to see what will be released next week at PMA. If nothing new come out of Nikon or Canon soon, I will purchase this unit for now. Just can't justify the weigh, size and extra $1000 for Canon's wireless unit for traveling use. Oliver

  4. I have used this jobo gps for the first time last week on my trip to Venice carnival.Took 780 shots of scenes with gps mixed with 1500 other shots where I did not use the gps on a number of cards .It worked well with Canon 5 d2 and 40d. All shots recognised tagged successfully. However there is a physical problem as the unit is loose on the hotshoe.I had to fit a small stickky tape wedged partly under the hotshoe so it did not slide off. It would be good if JOBO was fitting a locking wheel on the shoe attachment, to lock the device like for a flashgun. Then the shoe was secured but the top of the unit slid off , it can separate at the top. It fell on the pavement, and litterally exploded on impact, the casing opened, with a large circuitboard and 2 pieces of casing + a small button, all on street amongst confetti, near missing the canal edge inches away!I am not exagerating, I thought that was the end of my jobo gps. I managed to recover all bits and put it back together, it all clipped back as nothing had happened but now I have secured it all with tape. I downloaded all info without a problem. Conclusion, this is a great accessoiry piece of kit which works well, but the design of it is useless, one needs to be very careful not to loose it. It could be improved on two areas, 1- A locking wheel to prevent from sliding from hotshoe, and 2- a rubber flap of some kind to prevent dust entering the opened usb socket.Any similar thought?Daniel

  5. hi, thanks for the reviewA few questions:1.What happens when you hit the end of the 1000 location max? And how does it let you know that it can't take any more locations.2. do you think the battery will last for the 1000 locations of the unit. is there some way of knowing if the battery is charged fully.3. on the dimensions, it mentions it “excludes adapter”. what adapter? How big is this adapter? does it include the adapter?thank you, in advance.-andrew

  6. 1-Have not yet gone to 1000. did 780 tags on that trip.If you get to 1000, it emits a green signal followed by red signal 4 times I think. showing memory is full. I am going 2 weeks to Bhutan tomorrow, and will probably fill the memory if I cannot find internet access to download. However 1000 is quite a lot. You can always tag the first image of a location and also shoot more images at the same location without the unit, then tag them manually.2- The battery will last more than 1000. it was only 1/3 empty on 780 shots. It only emits for a fraction of a second each time.3-The adapter is what came undone (see my previous blog). The top of the unit slid off the adapter shoe.I guess there must be other adapters available, but I cannot find any?Anyway, it is a useful piece of kit if you want to tag your images.Good luck.Daniel

  7. you can access the iphoto (08) photos easily;in finder rightclick iphoto library and choose show contents of package – the you can drag a link to the data folder to finder index or create a new link, i suppose this could be seen with joboof course would be nicer if jobo simply got access to the data directly, it should be pretty straighforward when i can open the packages this way, probably only tricky thing is to avoid conflicts if iphoto is openan iphoto plugin would be the right thing to use in this case

  8. I recently bought one of these units and after 928 captures found it to be completely unreliable. Multiple captures, and in some instances nearly 100 ended up recording the same location when they are actually spread over tens of kilometres. The software is clumsy to use. Buy a map and work out which country you took the photo in and you will have the same accuracy as a JOBO PhotoGPS unit.

  9. Has someone tested it allready with a RAW-Photo and Aperture 3 with Places (or iPhoto 09)It would be nice to know if it works properly if I shot just RAW-Photos without JPG.Tanks 🙂

  10. Thanks for pointing out that the closed library of iPhoto and Aperture makes things a pain in the butt. A good reason to avoid both products like the plague. Apple seem intent on taking away more and more from the computer user – this is exemplified in the iPad.

  11. A better device is the AMOD 3080. Continuous recording. Just set your camera clock accurately. This way you can also save your travel track. Various freeware to tag the photos. as the files are simply in a flash drive, any system can read the NMEA formatted strings.

  12. I was looking at this because it captures your position when you take the photo but it sounds a bit to flimsy for me. I use an i-gotU device. It works well. It even fell off me (I didn't secure it properly) when I was dog sledding in Fairbanks, Alaska & by some miracle it was found 2 days later, still working. The only thing I don't like about the i-gotU is that it needs to be on all the time & takes GPS readings at whatever interval you set it to, ie 10 seconds, 1 minute etc. It also needs to be plugged into a computer to change the settings.

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