Spatial News Review
by: GeoCommunity Staff, Dec. 1999
I recently had he pleasure of “test driving” Kodak’s new Digital Science Field Imaging System (FIS 265).
This system is the latest product from Kodak, developed as a Field imaging tool bringing together the
functionality of the Kodak DC265 Digital Camera, the Garmin GPS III+ GPS, and ArcView GIS
version 3.x. The package has been put together to enable users to quickly and easily incorporate
digital imagery and related GPS coordinates into ArcView GIS.
Kodak Digital Science Field Imaging System (FIS265)
About the Camera
I won’t go into to many details about the camera (see Kodak DC265 for more) but I will list off some of the
main features. The camera uses memory cards which enable you to store a relatively large
number of digital images (additional cards are also available from Kodak). A battery charger and four AA
rechargeable batteries are provided so you have a constant supply of fresh batteries. The DC265 is highly
customizable - watermark properties can be set to display date, time, text, and logos. Advanced
exposure settings let you take control over the external flash, exposure, and aperture settings. Advanced
focus settings enable you to set multi-spot, single spot and manual focus as the default setting. Other
advanced settings will enable you to set image file type (FPX, or JPG), auto rotate, or quick burst options.
Other camera features:
- Digital 3X zoom lens
- Mode dial to set Capture/Review/Connect/Info modes
- Thumbnail picture review
- Self timer
- Protect from deletion
- Slide show
- Video - to view images on Television
- Built in flash
- Album settings
- Record Sounds
Options for image resolution:
- High 1536x1024
- Med 1152x768
- Low 768x512
The FIS265 has an optional setting that enables you to capture and store audio clips - a very cool feature!
Simply take a picture, review the image, press and hold the “Record” button. Your comments will be
recorded and saved in a corresponding .WAV file when downloaded data to your PC. The camera will take
approximately 30 images (1024x1536) and store them on a single memory card when capturing images using
the default quality setting. Optionally, there is an enhanced or super quality setting - I didn’t use this option.
When its time to download images to your PC you have an option of using serial cable connection, USB
cable, or infrared transceiver. A CD accompanies the camera and contains proprietary mounter software.
Kodak picture easy software enables you to organize and enhance images. Additional software shipped with the camera includes
TWAIN and Macintosh software. The programs are relatively simple to use and are provided to facilitate the
interaction between your camera and PC, enabling you to view, select, manipulate, and save your data to a
- PC with 486/66 MHz or Pentium Processor
- 16 MB RAM
- 50 MB Hard disk space
- serial port, USB port, or PCMCIA card reader
- Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0
- CD-ROM drive
- 256 colours
About the Garmin GPS III+
The system comes with a mounting bracket that holds the camera and the GPS unit. The GPS comes with a
cable which plugs into the camera’s serial port. When first getting started, the camera is set to GPS capture.
In order to commence taking pictures with associated GPS data you must first run a companion script which
reminds the camera to take “GPS Pictures”. Activating this script will ensure that when you turn on the
camera, a script is automatically run which activates the GPS Receiver and initiates interaction between the
GPS unit and the digital camera. I’m not about to go into too much detail concerning operation of the GPS,
however, I will advize potential users to carefully follow the instruction given in the FIS265 user’s guide
and to ensure that you have set the GPS to Interact in “Text Out” mode (see p 3-4). The accompanying
documentation is excellent and easy to follow. It took me about 5 minutes to follow instructions and get the
camera communicating properly with the GPS.
Taking GPS Pictures
Once again, I don’t plan on getting into the details of taking pictures, however, I will briefly discuss what is
involved in capturing images with associated GPS data. When you power on the camera the unit goes
through a start-up script to establish communications with the GPS - the first time you turn on the unit the
GPS will need to locate satellites in order to determine your location. The camera then displays a message
stating “ready to take GPS image”. Take images as you normally would and you will notice the processing
takes a little longer since now your images are being tagged and water-marked with GPS data. Users have
complete control over several GPS-Camera options including the number of images taken per location, GPS
activation at start-up, when to update GPS coordinates, and image bearing settings.
GPS Images are water marked with the following information - note, users have control over the position
and display of watermarks (ie. Bottom, top, opaque, transparent):
- UTC Time and Date and bearing
- PS Status (2D, 3D, 2D differential, and 3D differential)
Loading Images on PC
Digital images are transferred to your PC using PCMCIA Slot, USB cable, or infrared transceiver. I chose
to connect via serial port and experienced no problems whatsoever. You will have to make sure that your
PC detects the unit and is connected to the appropriate Com port (see documentation if necessary). If all
accompanying software has been properly installed you will need to simply connect the camera to the PC
using a serial cable. Next, the camera mode dial is turned to “Connect Mode” and the camera power turned
on. Windows users select the My computer/DC265 Zoom Camera icon and a folder will be displayed
containing the images captured as files. Simply drag and drop these files into a folder on the local machine.
It’s that simple, images are not stored locally and can be deleted from the camera.
Loading into ArcView
This step is likely the most intriguing to most of us GIS types. The FIS265 comes with a custom ArcView
extension which must be placed in your c:\ESRI\Av_GIS30\Arcview\EXT32 directory (or default location
for your ArcView scripts). I launched the ArcView software, version 3.2 in my case, and created a new
view. Select the File/Extensions option and load the “Kodak Field Imaging System” script.
Initial Kodak Script and dialog
A Kodak icon appears in the ArcView button bar. I simply select the “load all images in a folder” option
and a FIS image theme is then created. The resulting data is contained in a Point theme and also contains an
attribute field which contains the name of the associated image captured at that particular location.
View of loading Kodak Extension
Clicking on any point in the FIS point data theme with the “hotlink” icon (lightning bolt) results in an
image being opened in a new view. The image view functions the same as data views in that you can zoom
in/out and pan around.
ArcView theme Showing Hotlink tool and resulting image
Displplay of Point Theme Attributes
I noticed an important step that must be performed if you plan on reprojecting your FIS point data theme. I
used the ArcView Reproject script in order to convert my FIS data from Geographic coordinates (the
default unit) to UTM Zone16 NAD83 units. This was simple to accomplish, however, you must beware that
in the resulting data theme you must re-set the following theme properties in order to maintain a hotlink to
the image. Set the Theme/Properties/HotLink setting to be as follows:
At first I had some problems with hotlinking my reprojected point data. I soon realized, however, that when
reprojecting in ArcView 3.2 that some of the theme properties are not maintained - an easy fix!
Predefined Action: Link to User Script
We now have our data in the ArcView environment. Locations where we took pictures are geocoded,
reprojected, linked to attribute data, hotlinked to imagery, and ready to be incorporated into a custom
application if necessary. I can think of several projects that I have worked on in the past where we had to
manually georeference picture locations, load a database, associate pictures with the correct data, and
import everything into ArcView. This proved to be a very time consuming process, and required much QC
in order to ensure that we were relating the appropriate pictures and data with the correct point data.
Image Tour of Destin, Florida
The final step involved using the Alta4 ImageMapper extension to produce a hyperlinked image map which
we have uploaded for you to view the results of our photo shoot. On a more personal note, I thought it
would be fun for GeoCommunity/SpatialNews visitors to be able to have a brief tour of our part of the
world and get some glimpses of the beautiful resort area of Destin/Niceville, Northwest Florida - home to
The GeoCommunity Headquarters. (Simply Click on an icon to bring up an image of the corresponding location)
To begin your tour Click Here.
Kodak FIS265 Tips
I don't claim to be a "field imaging system guru" by any means, however, as a result of my test drive, I
can offer several suggestions - thanks to Dr. Douglas Wood of Kodak's Scientific Imaging Systems division for
his input and advice.
- If you wish to record the position of the subject in your photograph
(rather than the position of the photographer) just start the "Take GPS Pictures" script while you are standing next to the
object because this is when the camera captures the GPS data for the image. Then, while the camera is displaying the message "Ready to take GPS
picture" you can step back, compose your picture and press the shutter button to photograph and record the position of the subject.
You can also (optionally) record the direction you are facing when you take the photograph. Just turn on the
"Ask for Image Bearing" option and carry a compass with you in the field. The camera software will prompt
you for the image bearing (N,NE,E,SE,S,SW,W, or NW). The image bearinginformation is also imported into
ArcView by the FIS ArcView extension.
- Once a photo has been taken, selecting the "Take Another Picture" option will recapture your GPS coordinates
- The Garmin GPSIII+ accuracy is +/- 15m without Selective Availability (SA).
SA is variable but can introduce errors as great as 100m. For 1 to 5 meter accuracy, even with SA turned on, you
can operate the FIS265 with an auto-tune differential GPS beacon receiver. For details see the FAQ page on Kodak's
FIS265 web site for more information.
I must say I had lots of fun testing out the new FIS265 and I am going to miss not having it around the office - who knows...
maybe Santa will be nice to me this year! Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of images compared to my
last GPS camera which was a DC240 (although I can't say anything but good things about that product as well). Users of
the FIS265 will be well served by first going over the excellent documentation that accompanies the unit. Most people
will likely have no problems if they do so. The audio recording feature is very cool and the extensive menu options will
likely intimidate some users but is necessary to provide a great deal of custom settings you won't find in other digital cameras.
I'd like to learn more about the GPS functionality, however, time was against me. Field crews are guaranteed to be thrilled with the
time savings that result from using the FIS265 and in a couple of years, I'm sure they will be asking themselves how they ever
managed without one.
Original Kodak FIS265Press Release
Kodak FIS265 Page
Kodak FIS265 FAQ
Garmin GPS III+ Page
Please forward any questions or comments to the author
Return to NewsMagazine