Canon Map Utility in the field test

Canon Map Utility is required for reading from the track memory of Canon GPS devices. How does it work and what else can the software do?

Canon’s GPS-enabled devices include Map Utility as its management software. I had the opportunity to test the Canon GPS solution together with the GPS receiver GP-E2 in practice. Reports on the GP-E2 are already available in Part 1 (Logger) and Part 2 (On the EOS 5D) of the series “Geotagging with Canon”.

Installing Map Utility

Map Utility Installation

Map Utility Installation

Insert the enclosed CD and start the ” Easy Installation “. You should install ImageBrowser EX and Map Utility. For me, only the Image Browser was installed in the first step. Then came the message that an update was available. It was then Map Utility installed. At the time of the test, version was up to date.

Download GPS Tracks from the GP-E2

The most important feature of Map Utility is to download the recorded GPS tracks. That is to my knowledge namely only with this Canon own software possible.

On the tab GPS log files you will find the button below to start the download. Already downloaded tracks will not be saved twice.

Track page in Canon Map Utility Track page in Canon Map Utility

If the track in another program, such as Google Earth, continue to be used, you will find the button for export in KMZ format on the top right.

These were already the track features of Map Utility. Editing is not possible except setting the time zone.

Delete track memory

Delete track memory

To release the memory in the logger, go to Extras – GPS Device Settings. There you will find on the second page the button to delete the tracks from the logger. Above that the setting for the timing interval.

View photos and videos with GPS

You are responsible for transferring the photos to the computer. Map Utility then displays the photos and videos with GPS on a Google map. To do this, drag and drop the desired images in the images tab or import them via the folder on the bottom left. Now the photos are shown looking in the map.

Show photos on the map

Show photos on the map

A common view of photos and tracks is unfortunately not possible. Another weakness of Map Utility occurs when the application is closed. At the next start, the images have disappeared from the Map Utility Map and need to be re-imported.

Photos without GPS data can also be retro-georeferenced with Map Utility on the basis of the recorded tracks (track-based geotagging).

GPS tracks for professionals

If you want to avoid using the Google Earth export (KMZ file) and prefer to use the tracks in better GPS applications, you can access the log data directly with a little work. Map Utility places the original LOG files directly after the download within their own user directory. In my case:

C: Users matthias Documents Canon Utilities GPS Log Files

On closer inspection, these are standard NMEA files with an extra line. At the beginning @ Canon, then the GPS device and the serial number.

The .log file of the desired day (file name is the same date) in a text editor open (I prefer Notepad ++ ). Delete the first line and save it with the new file extension .nmea. Now most GPS programs can do something directly with the file from the GP-E2.

Convert LOG file to NMEA file

Convert LOG file to NMEA file

Unfortunately, Canon Map Utility is still not superfluous, but at least it comes directly to the original GPS tracks

Conclusion Map Utility

Unfortunately, once again confirms my prejudice that included software, especially in the GPS field, is simply bad. So also with Canon’s GPS solution. To download the tracks of GPS cameras and receivers such as the GP-E2, the tool is absolutely necessary. For everything else, really useful tools should be used. For professionals, the direct route to the NMEA data makes sense. This saves you the extra export as a KMZ file.