Note: I’ll be writing about the overall features and functionality of Houdah Software’s HoudahGeo geotagging application in the future, but to keep these posts manageable in size, I’m going to break things up and first address HoudahGeo’s compatibility with the Holux M-241 datalogger.
Because this is a new site and a few of the early posts have been about the M-241, a fair number of the first visitors are ending up here due to Holux M-241 searches. So I want to cover the M-241 compatibility aspect of HoudahGeo and HoudahGPS first. I intend to test a variety of GPS dataloggers, GPS software and GPS cameras with both the Mac OS and Windows operating systems as this site grows. Look for a general review of HoudahGeo’s features and performance soon.
HoudahGeo is a full featured commercial Mac geotagging software product that is also capable of importing GPS data from GPS recording devices, including some dedicated GPS dataloggers.
HoudahGeo currently costs $30 for a single user license, but may be downloaded for free and used without a license for projects that require no more than 5 photographs to be geotagged at one time.
HoudahGPS is a free tool intended only for importing GPS data into your computer or for converting GPS data to a different format. HoudahGPS may be downloaded for free here.
HoudahGeo and HoudahGPS Compatible Device List
MTK (iBlue, Qstarz, …)
Wintec WBT-100/WBT-200Wintec WBT-201/WBT-1000
iPhone – GPSRecorder
When I was initially trying to find ways to get GPS data into my Macbook and geotag the corresponding photographs, I came across HoudahGeo which at first seemed like the perfect solution.
HoudahGeo was quite friendly and easy to use as you would typically expect a Mac program to be, but at that time, Houdah Software’s developer had not yet established compatibility with the Holux M-241, my first GPS datalogger. I was surprised, because of the few dataloggers out there, the Holux M-241 was one of the more well-known in what was and still is a fairly small niche market. It turns out that HoudahGeo relies on an open source tool called GPSBabel, and GPSBabel was not yet supporting the Holux M-241.
I had to find another solution to get GPS data into my computer from the M-241.
BT747, another open source project, which runs on Macs and PCs (and supported the M-241) was not the elegant solution I desired, but it got the job done. I wrote about BT747 here just a couple of posts ago and until now I’ve continued to use BT747 as my exclusive means of importing data from the Holux M-241.
Though I could not import data using HoudahGeo, I have been using HoudahGeo to connect GPS coordinates to my photos after I get the GPS data into my computer.
Houdah Software did later attempt to add M-241 support because of M-241 support being added to the open source software Houdah’s geotagging products are based on, GPSBabel. I’ve attempted to use Houdah’s new option for importing data from the Holux M-241 with both HoudahGeo and HoudahGPS a few times, but to no avail. Houdah’s developer acknowledged in the Houdah Forums that he didn’t own an M-241 to test with and I presume that had something to do with the software not working for me after the first M-241 enhancements.
Recently I was tinkering with connecting a Holux M-241 directly to more recent versions of HoudahGeo and HoudahGPS, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Bluetooth icon on my M-241 turn on when attempting connections with both.
I decided to test HoudahGeo and HoudahGPS more thoroughly and report here on whether or not BT747 is still needed by Mac users who use the Holux M-241 as their GPS datalogger. Can Houdah’s products finally eliminate the pesky BT747 step in my geotagging workflow?
HoudahGPS / Holux M-241 Compatibility
We’ll start with HoudahGPS because I like importing my data separately and saving a copy of the data with my photos before geotagging.
You’ll need to pair your M-241 to your Mac via Bluetooth first to use the Bluetooth option. This link will get you started in pairing an M-241 with Bluetooth. You can ignore the information related to an older version of BT747 found on that site’s page.
I must add here that at no time have I been able to get my Holux M-241 to be recognized via USB. My unit may have a defect, or… I may have simply not jumped through the correct hoops in the correct manner. (though how much more difficult should it be than plugging in a USB cable)
Bluetooth is working fine with my device, and I have had the unit far too long to return it. So I continue down the Bluetooth path. Bluetooth would be the connection method I would choose anyway, leaving one less wire to worry about at my workstation. But I do wish I knew why my USB connection attempts don’t work.
So, does HoudahGPS work?
Clicking on the acquire button in the top right corner of the interface after making the obvious parameter selections for a Holux M-241 does indeed result in the M-241′s log files being transferred to my Macbook and saved in the folder I select.
I easily saved a test data log in the GPX format as I do with BT747, and I was able to import the file into HoudahGeo, Houdah’s geotagging application. I then successfully geotagged the photos I took during the time frame the test log was generated.
HoudahGeo / Holux M-241 Compatibility
Next I tried to import the same data directly from the Holux data logger into the HoudahGeo geotagging software, bypassing the process of saving the log file in the computer first as is allowed by HoudahGPS.
This importing process worked seamlessly as well, though I prefer to import and archive my GPS data logs first with my photos, instead of importing directly to geotagging software.
1. For those M-241 users who are less concerned about archiving data and simply want to tag their photos quickly so locations can be accessed by mapping software or online web galleries, importing directly to HoudahGeo‘s latest version is now an option. I experienced no difficulty in inputting GPS coordinates directly via Bluetooth from my Holux M-241. Tagging the corresponding photos with the latest version of HoudahGeo was automatic and hassle free.
2. Using HoudahGPS instead of BT747 for importing log files for archiving now seems to be a legitimate and reasonable option. HoudahGPS has a much simpler and intuitive interface compared to BT747 and for most Mac users it will be a better choice for that single task.
3. The latest version of the free BT747 application is a full featured software option compared to the free HoudahGPS importing utility. BT747 can be used for geotagging in addition to importing data logs. If your budget is limited and you’re willing to plod through its interface to figure it out, BT747 may be a good one stop option for some Mac based Holux M-241 users. I’ve written more about BT 747 here.
4. For now I’ve decided to switch from using BT747 to using HoudahGPS for importing my GPS coordinates from the M-241. The main reason I’m switching is because the couple of downloads from the M-241 to my computer that I’ve done in testing with the latest version of HoudahGPS have both been quite speedy. Though BT747 has been generally reliable in its ability to get data into my computer, its speed has been erratic in the newest version.
Without changing any variables in the interface of BT747, I get surprisingly different speeds and I’ve confirmed that it’s not related to the size of the files being downloaded from the Holux M-241. Occasionally I get a rapid data transmission speed as I always did with the previous versions of BT747, but more typically I get an incredibly slow speed that is quite unpleasant to be forced to wait for. Perplexing.
Since I empty my data logger at the end of each shoot day and save the data log with each day’s photos, I’m quite happy to avoid the frequent data transmission delays of BT747 and stick with the also free HoudahGPS utility as my default importing tool for now. I’ll hope HoudahGPS maintains a consistent data download rate.
If HoudahGPS continues to work well for me when moving GPS data into my computer, I may be hesitant to upgrade when a new version is released. After experiencing the degraded performance of BT747′s more feature rich latest version, I’ll likely follow the ain’t broke, don’t fix it mantra with GPS data log importing utilities in the future.
Images: Screen grabs from Houdah Software’s HoudaGeo geotagging application and HoudahGPS, their GPS data importing and file conversion utility. The last image is a composite showing the 3 straightforward, color coded steps used by HoudahGeo during its geotagging process.