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GPS Coordinates in Theta App too coarse and not enough decimal places in the Lat Long. Theta V

Exactly - i have STOPPED using my theta partly due to this bullshit issue that could easily be fixed.

I still think we can force Ricoh to fix it if users start complaining about the issue to support.

Also there is a way to create a plugin to rewrite exif data including location data. It can be written with just a button click and when you click on it it writes location to the last panorama saved. Or it can be extended to write more details and along with location it can write photographer’s name & copyright that a user can setup at the beginning of using the plugin.

Do you know if Ricoh allow to use more than one plugin at the same time. I do not want to loose access to Time Shift plugin? That plugin is a reason I have decided to stick with Theta cameras even knowing about a problem with location on their V camera. At least with exif data plugin we can stay with Ricoh and fix a problem with location data. I will try to ask on their developer board if anybody interested to write this plugin for free or for some reasonable fee.

I have put a request at their developer’s forum at
https://developers.theta360.com/en/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4777

If nobody’s interested I will dig deeper in their api and see if I can do it myself.

I use a tool called Geosetter - it allows you to take the GPX file off the same damn phone (usually accurate to 3-4m), and locate your photospheres properly.

I am exploring this option too.

So far we have the following options:
1.Make Ricoh to fix their Theta app. Preferable but I do not think we can even make them to acknowledge the problem
2. Develop a plugin that can re-write a current location to the last panorama with just a click of a button in plugin. It would be great but may not work with other plugins at the same time. I would skip it as without an ability to use Time Shift plugin both V and Z1 are just 360 cameras and there are plenty of other brands with correct location recorded that can be used instead.
3.Write a standalone app that will rewrite location with just a click of a button to the last saved on a camera panorama. Possibly can be automated without any clicking involved by monitoring a specific folder and apply correction automatically to any new panorama written into it. That would be a preferable option for me as
a) we can still run Time Shift plugin and the app at the same time.
b) there are plenty of android developers that can develop the app and they do not need to be familiar with Theta Plugin SDK.

  1. Use GNSS logger app. I have checked some of them and even tried but some of them is hard to setup the way that the logged time is close to a time when picture has been taken.

So the logger needs to either allow to create a waypoint manually straight after a panorama was taken or the logger needs to log location quite often(every one 1 sec) For the two loggers I have tested “Gps Logger” seems to be able to do all that. I have tested it around my house and it is pretty damn close. All points created were near the path I walked and layed within 1-2 meters of the actual location. I used my RTK though but I am using gov NTRIP Caster(AUSCORS) that is way to far away from me(100km). I can get FloatRTK using it and even Full RTK but only if I find an open space on my land and get a steady fix on 14 satellites. It is a tiny spot though as I have a lot of big trees around and my house also covers a lot of a sky. So when I tested it with GPS Logger I was only on 80-100cm accuracy and DGPS fix.

There is a 5th option but so far I have no luck with it. There are a few apps that can geotag photos but most of them are also put all these details plus date/time and even temperature on a photo and seem to be complicated with features that we do not need.

So far the 4th option is the only one I can use now. Thanks for letting me know about Geosetter, I will try it. At the same time I will explore an opportunity from the 3rd option. I will try to find someone who can write an app or see if I can do it myself.

Can you please advise what app you use on Android to write a log with location? I thought Geosetter is that app. However after googling and reading your reply I realised it is just desktop software for updating location data in panoramas. I use GPicSync for the same type of a task.

The GPS Logger app for Android I have mentioned as a location logger app is screwing something with time in their GPX log.
GPicSync cannot correct location using the GPX log created by GPS Logger. It just cannot find any close match by time(I set it to 10sec proximity in GPicSync ). The difference between the actual date/time in panorama metadata and the GPX log datetime is somehow coming in hours. I have tried to play Daylight correction in GPicSync for my time zone but it does not help at all.

ok, figured out what’s wrong with the logger. It just stops working in background about 2 minutes after it’s made inactive on a smartphone. The solution to it is simple, turn off any battery optimization in the app settings and it will log even when you turn the screen off manually.

The only thing else that needs to be mentioned the app called “GPSLogger” not “GPS Logger for Android” The second one can work as a logger but has too many settings and does not want to log every second. The “GpsLogger” is super easy to setup, logs every second and you can even create waypoints manually instead of logging location as track points every second automatically. Here is a link to the app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.basicairdata.graziano.gpslogger&hl=en_AU

The software GPicSync that is used on a desktop with correcting location in images from the GPX log file can be found at https://sourceforge.net/projects/gpicsync/

I no longer have faith that Ricoh will ever address this issue.

I have been using a 3rd party tool called Geosetter, which you first export the GPX from your mobile (yes the same one running the theta app) and then use this to attach the more detailed location to your images.

This avoids the Theta apps’ low resolution GPS coordinates, which it rounds to 4DP in the Exif.

Then you transfer the thousands of images back onto your mobile and upload to streetview or other location.

I am not happy that Ricoh still hasnt addressed this and I had to develop this insane workaround.

I’ve got got ask two things …

  1. Can you share your workflow on this and

  2. Why do you feel you need this level of accuracy?

6 DP(decimal points) is ok according to this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_degrees as it gives 10cm precision. Still may not be beneficial to those who has a RTK system that can achieve 2cm in accuracy but at least no near that bad example with 3 DP which only records precision of 110m.

If it is possible I would like to see the Theta app code that writes smartphone location to a panorama metadata. as you can see in the thread I have pointed to there seem to be some problem with precision recorded and it affects a workflow with placing Theta panoramas on Google Maps. It brings time consuming corrections to it and it may double or even triple a photographers time required to take and to publish Theta panoramas to GSV.

Hi,

  1. Normal Theta workflow, then export out of phone, open in geosetter, fix GPS locations, put back into phone, upload to streetview.
  2. its a basic requirement. else all images snap to a 30m grid across google maps and streetview.
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@MikeWM, thanks for this information. I think there’s a number of different conversations about the GPS accuracy on this forum and I don’t quite understand the terminology and issues.

Just so you know, I don’t work for RICOH, but I do meet with THETA managers from time to time to relay feedback from the community. This site receives sponsorship from RICOH, but it is independent.

Is the following summary accurate?

You want to use the official RICOH THETA Mobile app (on Android or iOS) to take a still image with higher GPS accuracy than the app currently provides. The current 3 decimal place (example: “lat”: 23.532, “lng”: 23.532) results in greater manual work for the Google StreetView photographer. With the current GPS accuracy, the GSV photographer must sometimes go into the GSV app to manually adjust the placement.


Are there other 360 cameras that provide greater GPS accuracy for GSV? If you know of any, I can put the note of the competitor comparison in my short community report. Thank you for your time.


is it okay if I merge this topic with the topic below? Is this the same issue?

HI Mike, the issue is merely a setting within the app - it is not accuracy - it is resolution of the data attached/transferred to the image.

This applies not only to streetview, but ALL images taken using the GPS from the Theta App.

All other 360 cameras give higher spatial resolution. It is only an issue with the Theta App.

The detail provided to the camera by the Theta App is Lat: DD.DDD+Long DD.DDD
The detail required for any actual use of this gps tag is Lat: DD.DDDDDDD + Long DD.DDDDDDD

The extra decimal places, enable geolocation to within 2-3metres, as is reported by the phone GPS.

When you buypass the app and control the camera using the streetview app, higher spatial resolution data is attached to the image.

Yes you can merge these two topics, they are about the same problem.

We mentioned a few times that when you use StreetView app with Theta cameras instead of the original Theta app there is no problem with location precision. StreetView app is recording a panorama location in its metadata correctly with a location precision provided by a smartphone.
pm4gis has just confirmed it one more time above. That’s why I am confident we can isolate the problem to the Theta app only.

I understand that you do not work for Ricoh so it is merely for bringing it to attention of someone who does and asking them to fix it.
I tried to report it to Ricoh support a few days ago. It does not seem they care to read my notes about the problem existing on two brand new cameras right after I unpacked them. They just sent me to their repair centre which I am sure has no access to the Ricoh Theta app…
I sent them another email asking to read my notes in full and I hope this time they will.

However if you have access to Ricoh and can bring it to their attention they can make it fixed. Without the fix both a V and a Z1 are huge pain to work with Google Street View or any application when accuracy and precision of a panorama location are important.

Now it is a Z1 problem as well. Ricoh is only ruining a customer experience with this great camera by doing nothing to solve the problem dragging it through their app from one model to another.
It won’t take long until customers who are doing Google Street View experience this problem and start turning away from Theta cameras, not recommending it to anyone who works with maps.

This problem is very easy to replicate within 5-10 minutes. Try to capture a small path(50 meters) either with a V or a Z1 taking pictures every 5 meters. I bet when you try to place them on Google maps you most likely to have all 10 mounting on top each other in one spot. Some of them may still be placed alone if path is longer
As for right now they are never placed where they belong and I have seen errors in 50m and even a few 100 meters.

Now if you walk the same path using the same smartphone and an app for logging GPS to a GPX file you will see that your recorded track points repeat the path you were walking and I bet you won’t see any tracking points mounted on top of each other. You can use GPS Logger app and GPX Viewer extension for Chrome to to view your track recorded by GPSLogger.

Thanks pm4gis for not giving up. May be just two of us can make it fixed especially with your expertise in GIS.

I just mention Google Maps as it is the most common application for both a V and a Z1. V is advertised on Google pages as a suitable hardware for Google Trusted Photographers and I am sure Z1 will be there soon too.

I do understand that the problem is with recording/storing/passing decimal points in the app.

In my vision the Theta app takes a location from the phone(Android most likely uses a float64 variable to store precision up to mm), and try to record it into some variable type that cannot handle more than 3 or 4 DP. It gets rounded in metadata filling the rest decimal points with 0s or 9s and brings it to 50-100cm precision. That’s why on a short path they are shown as taken in one spot.

How exactly it happens that precision is rounded to 3 or 4 DP and what part of the app code it happens we cannot even guess without seeing the Theta app code. However Ricoh can figure it out looking at their code and after they run some tests. Once found they can fix it in seconds and issue an update.

I just want to point to one more thing. Taking panoramas as a business for GSV(Google Street View) application or custom business tours requires that there is no photographer captured in a panorama. Unfortunately all one click 360 cameras I know will capture the photographer because of the way they work.

However what sets apart both Theta V and Z1 is that Ricoh have made a plugin this year called Time Shift that allows a photographer to stand near a camera and not being captured.

That alone adds a lot of value for me using V or Z1. Now with this plugin I do not need to hide, walk away and that’s with my phone placed under a tripod(otherwise location would be wrong). With the use of this plugin I now spend less time on taking each panorama and I am not risking people bumping into my camera setup while I hide or worse grabbing my setup or my phone and running away with it.

So I really want to stick to Theta cameras just because of this plugin alone. No other manufacturer offers something like this. Whoever decided to make this plugin available has made a great favor to Ricoh.
However with this bug with location precision it does make it super difficult and time consuming to use these cameras for commercial work that involves using precise panorama location.

@MikeWM thanks for this detailed information.

I’ve organized this into a slide that we’ll present to a RICOH manager as part of a community feedback meeting.

I’ll summarize these points from you and @pm4gis

  • gps tag applied from mobile app should be DD.DDDDDDD instead of the current DD.DDD (the D is a decimal place)
  • The Google StreetView app records greater accuracy than the RICOH THETA app when used with the same THETA camera
  • link to this forum thread

My opinion:

  • Google StreetView is a popular use case for the THETA and thus, we can make a good case
  • There is authentic user voice from real GSV photographers that would like to improve their workflow on this discussion thread. This helps make a good case. The more GSV photographers that want the feature, the better
  • There is precise testing from authentic photographers with results on this thread. This helps.

To be straightforward with you, I’m unlikely to be able to replicate the test myself before I present the slide. @jcasman and I are helping judges with a RICOH THETA plug-in developer contest and there’s been so many entries that we’re backlogged with testing the plug-ins. We need to finish the testing of the entries ASAP so that we can announce the winners.

Thank you Craig for doing it. If you want I can provide some visual data for the slide. I can take a few panoramas along 25-30 meters path around my house. And while I am taking them I will keep logging my location from my smartphone. Then I put the panoramas on the google maps with their location read from metadata as it has been recorded by the Theta app and add my path from the location log. This way they will see how big the problem is.

And I am sure pm4gis can add something extra as an experienced GIS specialist.

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@MikeWM, thanks for the offer. However, I don’t want to trouble you with extra work until I get initial feedback or questions from my contacts at RICOH. I talk with them on a fairly regular basis, so there’s opportunity to present additional information in the future.

It is not a problem as I would love to see it fixed for my and other user benefits. So I am happy to do whatever it takes to get it fixed.
If it is required please let me know. and I will do it

I am also digging on how Android is using Location class and how you can get location data from it in another app.
Please see it at https://developer.android.com/reference/kotlin/android/location/Location?hl=en

There may be something going bad(or coded wrongly) after Theta gets location data from the Location class and converts it into a format with decimal number.
Another point to check when it is written to a panorama metadata.

Please note that I am not an Android developer but having over 10 years experience in web development(c#, asp.net) and developing small tools for Windows it is not that hard to read a code for another system and their SDK.

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