Thursday, 15 March 2007

GPS-CS1 works on Intel Macs - not Power PCs

OK here's the latest situation with GPS-CS1 support on Macs, following the release of Mac OS X 10.4.9.

If you have an Intel Mac, then the 10.4.9 update will add GPS-CS1 support.
If you have a PPC Mac (G4, G5 etc) then it won't.

It appears that the USB kernel extensions have been updated in the Intel version of Mac OS X, ever since a slightly newer version of Mac OS X 10.4.8 came out with Core 2 Duo Macbooks. 10.4.9 gives these updates to all Intel owners.

The key extension is probably IOUSBMassStorageClass (as the GPS-CS1 should mount as a USB mass storage device) which is at version 1.4.5 on the PPC code, but at version 1.4.7 on the Core 2 Duo Macbooks and now on all Intel Macs running 10.4.9
So if you're an Intel owner, congratulations!

For those of us still running PPC Macs, there are three possible hopes.

1. Try to lobby Apple to do something about this. There is clearly a code change that can be made to fix this problem (it isn't a hardware problem, I can mount my GPS-CS1 on my iMac running Ubuntu).

I raised a bug on Apple's bug reporter system last December and have sent updates whenever we've discovered something new - e.g. the Core 2 Duo support, the fact that the Intel version of 10.4.9 fixes this.

However Apple have not responded beyond automated acknowledgments and the bug status has never been updated. You might be able to help draw their attention to it by sending an email:

Email and ask them to look at bug number 4898558

Even better if you live near an Apple Store, you could try to visit it's Genius Bar and bring this blog and the bug to their attention in person.

2. The source code for version 1.4.5 of IOUSBMassStorageClass is identical for Intel and PPC. If we can get hold of the source code for version 1.4.7 then presumably it can be compiled for Power PC, which we could install ourselves as a custom patch at our own risk. This will probably be released on Apple's Open Source site at some point (I've now added it to the Useful Links section). It took about 6 weeks from the release of 10.4.8 before the source code went online on that site.

3. As Leopard will apparently be a very substantially rewritten version of Mac OS, then perhaps the USB libraries will be updated for Leopard. Then again as Apple don't seem to be aware of this bug, it's possible that any USB updates will actually break GPS-CS1 support for Intel owners again.

As ever I'll keep everyone posted.

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Anonymous said...

I just purchased the GPS-CS! this evening and I connected it to my Intel Imac 1.83 running 10.4.9 and the drive does show up in the Finder. The question I have is how do I make iPhoto or another app use the LOG file present on the drive to "connect" with the pictures?

Stephen said...

Hi Scott,

Use gpsbabel to convert the log files to GPX files to make them more useful. GPS-CS1 files are in NMEA format, and you do not need to rename the files from .log to .nmea or anything else to do this.

I recommend GPSPhotoLinker for geotagging photos from the GPX files (others may be able to suggest other software). Do this to your photos before importing them to iPhoto.

Links to both applications are in the 'Useful Links' section of this blog, and there's info about using them there too.

I will post my own tutorial here when I get time.

RtC said...

Thanks for the excellent reply. I am firing up both of those apps right now and I hope I can make some headway soon.

I was out at the Montreal St. Patrick's Day Parade today taking a few shots...


Youri said...

Hi, I've just bougt a GPS-CS1, after extensively reading various reviews and ofcourse this blog. For now I'll just have to get the log files from my old PC as the device indeed doesn't mount on my late 2005 PPC iBook running 10.4.9. I've emailed Apple about the bug, would be great if they fix it!

I'm also using GPSBabel to convert the log files to GPX and then tag my photos with GPSPhotoLinker. I find GPSPhotoLinker more useful than the supplied Sony software (for Windows) as GPSPhotoLinker also stores city, state and country information (in human readable format) in the EXIF data.

Has anyone tried GeoPhoto? It's quite a nice piece of software, although it's not free.


Amsterdam, the Netherlands

RtC said...

Is there a one-stop solution for this whole setup? I am having a hard time doing all the steps all the time.
1) Convert the NMEA files to GPX file with GPS Babel
2) Import GPX files (s) into GPSPhotolinker
3) Importing pictures into GPSPhotolinker
4) Matching the points and exporting the final product.
5) Using iPhototoGoogleEarth to get a Google map of the pictures

My next question; how does one post the Google KML file for others to see? i.e. I have a website and would love to have folks download the Google file and view the pictures in their Google Earth app.


P.S. Is there a forum to discuss this somewhere?

Stephen said...

Youri - thanks for your support in mailing Apple. I had a play with GeoPhoto after your comment, it looks quite nice - I'd like to see some of those features in iPhoto 7.

RtC - no, I haven't seen a slicker way of doing this yet. PhotoGPSEditor
looks like a good candidate as it will import the GPS-CS1 NMEA log files directly (and it shows you the location on a Google Maps window too) but it doesn't seem to have a batch mode to allow you to match many photos at once (unless I'm just being a bit dim).

Stephen said...

Ignore what I said about not being able to tag multiple photos from multiple GPS-CS1 files with PhotoGPSEditor... if you download the latest version, then you can.

I still like the control you get with GPSPhotoLinker which lets you decide how close a match should be (i.e. match to the nearest waypoint if it is within a certain time offset of the last match and/or within a certain distance, which helps with photos taken during missed GPS signals). I'm not sure how well PhotoGPSEditor copes with this - I'll have a go at comparing the two when I have time.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your great review! i just tried converting my first .log file into a GPX file using GPSBabel+ but when choosing "NMEA 0183 sentences" as input file type, i get the error: "GPX: XML parse error at 1: not well-formed (invalid token)". can you guess what i'm doing wrong?

The first couple of line of my log file are:

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers, Ralf

Stephen said...

Hi Ralf, sorry for the delay in replying. I haven't seen that one I'm afraid, I haven't used GPSBabel for a while as I've been using HoudahGeo, which reads the GPS-CS1 files without conversion.

Perhaps you could try the freeware app HoudahGPS though ( which seems to do various file conversions.

ramon said...


I have mac os Leopard (10.5) on a intel mac and seems like the GPS unit is not recognized when I plug it... I am missing something or do you think that 10.5 does not support it?

iLoader said...

My GPS-CS1 stopped working with 10.5 (Leopard) on my macbook pro either. On 10.4.9 everything was fine :-(
For geotagging I use HoudahGEO in combination with HoudahGPS (both available from It's not free, but offers everything you need.

davosian said...

Has anyone gotten this to work with 10.5 Leopard? I would love to buy the device but I do not want to have to fire up VMWare or Parallels just to get the geotagging information added to my photos. Maybe a third party USB driver will help?