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Drivers Manual

DSLR Camera - Nikon D90, D5000 - 32

Description

Issues

  • Only one camera can be interfaced in the entire setup
  • Driver for the D3, D80, D300 and D700 is not supported by Windows 7 and higher
  • For Windows 7 and higher use the universal WIA Compatible driver instead

New

  • Driver for the D90 and D5000 is supported by Windows 7 (QINSy April 2011 Release, and later)

This driver with user-interface can be used to:

  1. control a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera
  2. capture images automatically
  3. update on-the-fly the captured images with GPS time and co-ordinates.


These captured and geo-tagged images (jpg format) can be viewed using a Navigation Display, the Line Data Manager, or with Google Earth.

The driver currently supports the following DSLR cameras:

Nikon D3, D80, D90, D300, D700 and D5000.

Typical Application

A DSLR camera is mounted on a vehicle, e.g. a car, and interfaced to QINSy, together with a GPS, a motion and a heading sensor.

The Controller may for example generate a fix every 100 meters , triggering the DSLR camera to capture an image.
All images are automatically stored in a user-defined folder on the QINSy computer, updated with the exact location at time of capturing.

The image filename may also contain user-defined name specifiers, like project name, line-name, position co-ordinates, sequence number, etc., in order to make further processing and archiving easy.

Driver Information

Driver

DSLR Camera - Nikon

Interface Type USB

Driver class type

Freebase

UTC Driver (question)

No

Input / Output Input and Output

Executable

DrvQPSFreeBaseUI.exe

Related Systems
Related Pages  

Interfacing Notes

All Nikon cameras are connected with to QINSy computer using a USB interface.

It is recommended to use the UC-E4 USB cable, supplied with your camera. Connect the camera directly to the computer; do not connect the cable via a USB hub or keyboard.

It is important that the correct Windows drivers are installed for communication between your camera and the Windows operating system.
These drivers are normally supplied with your camera, or instructions how to obtain them come with the camera's documentation.

You may use the following quick check:

If you can see the camera's icon and storage space using the Windows Explorer, then you can start the Controller to go on-line and proceed using this QINSy driver without any (connection) problem.

If you can not see the camera in the Windows Explorer, then there is no need to go online: you must first solve this problem.

Notification for Nikon D80 users:

Go to your camera's settings menu, and make sure to set USB option to PTP (not Mass Storage). Disconnect the USB cable to see the settings.

Database Setup

Add an AIS System and select the required "DSLR Camera - Nikon Dxx" driver from the list.

No other interfacing settings are required, but make sure that there is already a successful USB connection. See Interfacing Notes for more information about this.

Notice that this driver is handled internally as an AIS system, but no extra data is stored in the database during recording. All on-line acquired images are stored as *.jpg files in a separate folder.

Online

Note

When the camera is disconnected or switched off while on-line, you must go off-line and on-line again in order to re-establish a connection.


The driver has user-interface and therefore will always be present in the Windows task-bar.

When going on-line for the first time, locate the driver and change the Node Setup and some default Options parameters:


The driver's dialog has an upper and a lower pane and four buttons in the middle.

The upper pane is reserved to show three different menus, a Node Setup, a Camera and an Options menu, which are accessible using the three menu buttons.

The lower pane is used for displaying all kinds of information, warnings and error messages. You may clear the entire message list using the [Clear ] button.


Driver Layout Menu: Node Setup

Select the button [ Node Setup ] to activate the Node Setup menu.

This menu is normally only needed during setup time. When finished, you may check the options in the Options menu, or go to the Camera menu.

Notice there is no Apply or OK button in order to activate modifications, so changes will have effect immediately.

Vehicle:

Select the object that the camera is located on.

Computation:

Select the computation for the node location of the camera.

Node:

Select the node location of the camera.
Notice that a valid vehicle, computation and node must be selected, in order to capture images.

Camera Orientation:

Enter the camera orientation, in degrees (0°..360°), relative to the vehicle's heading.
This information will be stored as EXIF metadata

Camera Tilt:

Enter the camera tilt angle, in degrees (-90°..+90°).
-90° means camera looking down, 0° means horizontal

Camera Latency:

Enter the latency in milliseconds. This is the time between the capture command send and the actual time of capture. See Tips and Tricks below for more information about this.

Copyright:

Enter your own free text. This copyright information will be stored as EXIF Metadata.

Node Results:

The current position of the selected node.
Displayed are the UTC time, Easting/Northing in Grid or Lat/Lon on WGS84 and the Height on Vertical datum. This information will be stored as EXIF metadata.
The indicator cycles when valid positions are received. Notice that without a valid position no images will be captured.


Driver Layout Menu: Options

Select the button [ Options ] to activate the Options menu

Image Destination:

Define where the captured images should be stored automatically. You may use the [ Browse... ] option to use another folder than the listed sub folders from the current project.

Image Folder:

Use the button to browse for another folder than a sub folder from the current project.

Image Filename:

The name of the captured images. Notice that the extension will automatically be jpg.
A suffix (counter) will be added automatically when the image already exist.
Usage:
Enter your own free text, plus you may use the following format specifiers:
#P=Project name, #S=Storage file, #L=Mainline, #F=Fix
%d=day, %m=month, %y=year, %j=JD
%H=hours, %M=minutes, %S=seconds
Use #GRID or #GEO for position co-ordinates
Use #C for a unique incremented counter

Store EXIF (GPS, etc):

It is highly recommended to be enable this option.
Update the image with EXIF metadata, like GPS, copyright, etc...
This option is by default enabled.

Store Trajectory (QCT):

Enable to store a daily camera trajectory log file, in the project's Logfile folder.
QCT Format (comma separated):
"Time, Image Name, Easting, Northing, Height, Orientation, Roll, Pitch<CR><LF>"
This option is by default enabled.

Create PRO (Line Data):

Store position of each captured image as point objects to a Linedata (*.pro) file.
These points objects can be viewed using a Navigation Display, or with the Line Data Manager.
This option is by default enabled.

This line data file is always located in the project's Linedata folder and has the following name convention:
<driver's system name> <dd-mm-yyyy>.pro, where driver's system name is the name of the system as entered in the Database template Setup.

This file may be selected in the Navigation Display (View Properties, Layers, Line Databases) in order to show the exact location of each captured image as point object.
Notice that this file is only updated to disk when the Capture Mode/When option is changed (e.g. to [On Hold]), or when a Manual Capture action is performed.
The radius of each point object reflects the SOG (speed over ground) in survey units/sec of the vehicle at time of capture.
A red coloured point object indicates that the image was not captured for some reason.

Create KML (Google Earth):

Enabled to create a KML file with every captured image, in the same folder, with the same filename.
KML files can be opened with Google Earth.
This option is by default disabled.

Display Positions:

The position results as displayed in de Node Setup and Camera menu will be as Easting/Northing (Grid) or as Lat/Lon (Geo) on the WGS84 datum.
This option is by default set to Grid

Show Tooltips:

When hoovering the mouse over the left column rows, you will get some more information. Disable if this becomes annoying.
This option is by default enabled.

Lock Settings:

You may lock the user-interface settings, in order to prevent making changes by mistake.


Driver Layout Menu: Camera

Select the button [ Camera ] to activate the Camera menu.

This menu should be active during normal operations:

When the camera is not connected to the power DC, but running on batteries, then the blue bar on the right side will indicate whether the battery is full (100%) or almost empty. If the battery capacity drops below 20%, a notification warning will be displayed every minute in the message list below.

Capture Mode:

Select the capture mode for capturing images automatically:

  • Manually
    No images will be captured automatically, they will only be captured when action Manual Capture is selected.
  • On Time
    The DSLR camera is triggered to capture an image when a certain time period has elapsed.
    This time period depends on the selected Time interval.
  • On Fix
    The DSLR camera is triggered to capture an image when the Controller generates a fix event.
    Fix eventing parameters are defined in the Controller's Session Setup.
  • On Fix (Odd)
    The DSLR camera is triggered to capture an image when the Controller generates a fix event with an odd fix number.
    Fix eventing parameters are defined in the Controller's Session Setup.
  • On Fix (Even)
    The DSLR camera is triggered to capture an image when the Controller generates a fix event with an even fix number.
    Fix eventing parameters are defined in the Controller's Session Setup.

Time Interval:

Enter the capture time interval in seconds, when capture mode is on time.
For example, if you want to capture an image every half a minute , leave this value to 30 (default)

Fix Interval:

Enter the capture fix interval, when capture mode is on fix.
Fix events are generated by the Controller.
If you want to capture an image every fix event, then set this value to 1 (default)

When:

  • [On Hold]
    No image will be captured automatically.
    Notice that this setting is always selected when going on-line, in order to prevent capturing images immediately during start-up and initialization time.
  • Always
    Images will be captured when the time interval has elapsed (mode On Time), or when a fix event has been generated (mode On Fix).
  • Only When Recording
    Images will only be captured automatically when the Controller is recording.

Select Action:

Notice that a selected action is only performed when using the Action button on the next row.

The following actions can be selected:

  • [None]
    The action button on the next row will not be visible.
  • Connect to the device
    Notice that when going on-line, the driver will try to connect to the DSLR camera at initialization time. However, if the camera was disconnected from the computer, or still switched off, you may connect and switch the camera on while staying on-line. In that case you have to use this action in order to connect the driver with the camera. A message will be displayed in the messages list whether this action was successful or not.
    This trick does not work when you switch the camera off and on while already on-line. In that case you should go offline and then on-line again.
  • Get device settings information
    A dialog will be invoked showing some relevant camera settings that can be changed, e.g. the shutter speed, the image resolution size, or the jpg compression level.

    Some settings may be read-only, this depends on the Mode dial selection on the camera itself (Auto, P, S, A, or M). If you change a setting and press the OK button, you will see a notification in the messages list whether this change was successful or not.
  • Reset unique filename counter
    This action only has effect when using the #C format specifier in the image file name (see Options menu). It will set the counter back to 1, so the next captured image will have '001' in its filename.
  • Synchronize device with UTC time
    The internal time of the DSLR camera will be set to the current UTC time.
  • Synchronize device with local time
    The internal time of the DSLR camera will be set to the current local computer time. This might be useful when you want to use the camera also for personal use (e.g. holiday), so all your holiday pictures will be time stamped with local time.
  • Manual Capture
    When the camera is not busy you can always take a picture using this manual capture action.

Action:

The action that will be performed depends on the Select Action setting on the previous row. See explanation above.

Image:

Filename of the last captured image. Use the button to view the image with your default viewer.

Information:

UTC Time and file size of the last captured image.

Position:

Position co-ordinates of the last captured image.
Easting/Northing in Grid or Lat/Lon on WGS84 and Height on Vertical datum.
This information is also stored as EXIF metadata.

Additional Information


Performance

Connect the camera with Power DC in, instead of running on batteries. This will normally also prevent the camera from going into sleep mode.

Performance

Use a solid state drive (SSD) as location for the image destination folder.

Performance For Image Transfer use Move instead of Copy.

Troubleshooting

Always check that the camera, when connected via USB to your computer, is recognized by the Windows Operating system.
If Windows does not recognize the camera, then Qinsy won't either.
See Interfacing Notes for more details about this.

Troubleshooting

When the camera is disconnected or switched off while on-line, you must go off-line and on-line again in order to re-establish a connection.

Troubleshooting / Performance

Capturing interval is too short in order for Qinsy to store the images to disk and trigger the next photo which results in missing photos.

  • This is probably caused by the fact that also the RAW image file is stored, or that the jpg image resolution is too high.
    Select action Get device settings information and increase the Compression Level and / or decrease the Image Size.
  • Also make sure that RAW storage is disabled.
  • Finally, try to capture without auto focus being enabled.

Calibrate Latency

Notice that, due to the characteristics of digital cameras, there will always be a latency. This is the time difference between the moment of the capture command, and the timestamp of the captured image. The latency is often variable and depends on camera settings. E.g. if the camera is auto focusing, the latency can be up to 800 milliseconds! Under normal conditions the latency is small, around 100ms.

If exact and accurate timing is important for your application, you may use the following calibration procedure in order to try determining the camera latency:

  • Step 1)
    Use a Generic Display and add a General Item 'Time', with format 'HH:MM:SS.sss'. Important is to set the refresh rate of the display to 10Hz:

  • Step 2)
    Focus on your computer screen and take a picture of this display, using the Manual Capture command:

  • Step 3)
    View the image with your default image viewer, and compare the time in the Generic Display, with the time of the image, as displayed in the Information row in the driver's Camera menu.

    The difference in milliseconds can then be entered in the Node Setup menu.
    The GPS location and time, stored as EXIF Metadata in the image, will be corrected for every new captured image.
Camera Settings
  • Auto focus must be disabled. Sometimes the auto focusing fails, then camera keeps on trying, and when it already receives the next trigger, it may stop.
  • Please use a fixed focus lens e.g. f=20mm
  • Focus it to infinity, set the camera focus to "manual" and fix the focus ring on the lens by using a piece of tape (is very common in the photogrammetry).