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I want to record GPS coordinates for all of the pictures I take with my Nikon D5300.

Unfortunately, from time to time, after coming back from a photographing expedition, I realize that none of the pictures of the last few days have location information. Looking at the camera's settings, I see that "Record location data" is set to "Off", even though I am 100% sure I never switched it off.

When that happens, I cry for a few minutes then switch it back on, and hope it will last a bit longer.

I could check the setting every morning, but that would take time and I would rather avoid loosing a day's worth of location data.

Question: Why does "Record location data" gets switched off?
If it is when a particular event happens, or after a certain number of days, I can try to mitigate the problem.

Note:

  • I removed the battery for a night to charge it, and upon putting the battery back into the camera, "Record location data" was still on, so it is probably not the reason.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you tested whether popping a battery out for any length of time causes the setting to change? Any other tests? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Jun 3, 2018 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I‘ve seen this before on a D5300, I think this happens whenever you pop the battery out. (I have no sources and am not positive this is true, so I’m not posting this as an answer). To test, try turning GPS on, pulling and reinserting the battery, and see if GPS is still on. If it’s off, you have your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – NoahL
    Jun 3, 2018 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NoahL, Corey: I removed the battery for a night to charge it, and upon putting the battery back into the camera, "Record location data" was still on. So it is probably something else. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 5, 2018 at 11:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not a Nikon shooter, but another theory might be that, if the camera's ever in a spot where it fails to get a GPS fix (large concrete and steel buildings for example), perhaps it automatically turns it off. Just a theory, though... \$\endgroup\$
    – twalberg
    Jun 5, 2018 at 12:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @twalberg: With the setting on, I often take pictures inside then outside and back and forth, with no problem. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 5, 2018 at 14:14

2 Answers 2

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  • According to a blog post and associated comments at Built-in GPS in Nikon D5300, the Nikon D5300 internal GPS is turned off when it is connected to an external GPS, which may include your phone.

    If you connect your camera to your phone, the camera GPS may be turned off, even if your intention was not to use your phone's GPS. For instance, you could have been transferring pictures or using the phone as a remote shutter release.

  • Another possibility is if the camera cannot get a GPS lock after a number of tries, it may turn off GPS to save battery.

    You may be able to increase the likelihood of your phone locking onto GPS by updating the A-GPS data.

    To avoid having to reacquire GPS locks, you can try keeping GPS active by turning on location logging. However, it would likely cause your battery to run down faster. (Consider buying and carrying around multiple batteries.)

  • As a work-around for when you don't catch the problem in time, you can use Google Location History to geotag your photos. Accuracy isn't great, but it's better than nothing.

  • Consider keeping a paper journal of date/time, charging/use schedules, indoor/outdoor use, gps status, etc? A pattern might stand out in a written record that otherwise wouldn't.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 Nice to know, thanks! I haven't connected the camera to any device (I always move pictures by ejecting the SD card) for months and the problem keeps happening, so I guess there are other reasons too, but I will keep this one in mind :-) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2018 at 7:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ You've tried updating A-GPS data and turning on Logging? (To try to keep GPS perpetually activated, though it might burn through battery.) \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jul 17, 2018 at 7:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ The battery already often fails to last the whole day, so I would rather avoid leaving GPS logging on, if possible. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2018 at 7:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ As you wrote in your answer there, "don't expect great accuracy". Obviously camera GPS is hugely better than Google Location history. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2018 at 2:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just tried, connecting to my phone via WiFi does not switch off "Record location data". I did not try connecting to an external GPS, though. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2018 at 2:19
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You can use your phone GPS for logging your position and then sync photos by time with GPSBabel or similar software. Another option is external GPS tracker like GisTEQ, they usually have their own sync software. Works with any camera (obviously), all you need to sync camera and tracker time and timezone before the shooting session. Both options are better than 5300 GPS, which is unreliable and inaccurate.

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