Ricoh Corporation a US-based manufacturer of specialized digital imaging devices launched the Pro G3. The Pro G3 is a high-resolution digital camera that embeds captured images with GPS coordinate information received from either its on-board GPS unit or from external GPS devices.
Once these captured ‘geo-images’ are transferred to a PC, they are automatically converted to shape files or merged to geo-databases for instant integration into GIS. Points representing each image’s position may be hovered over to display a thumbnail, or clicked on to access the full-size image.
In addition to storing GPS data in the image, the camera also utilizes a user-configurable data dictionary for tagging pictures with workflow-related information. These attributes are easily accessible from the GIS layer table for automated database integration.
FEMA has adopted the Pro G3 to photograph storm damage in the southeast United States, while archeologists in Maine use it to scout out dig sites; the camera is being used to track hiking trail conditions; the U.S. military is using the camera in Iraq; universities, advertising agencies, insurance agents, realtors, government agencies, engineers, National Park personnel, farmers, and even museums are finding that their GIS workflows have been optimized since adopting the camera.