Sony will soon start selling a small GPS (global positioning system) unit that can be used to add location information to digital pictures, the company announced today.

The 9cm long GPS-CS1 unit is intended to be attached to a belt and worn throughout the day as pictures are being taken. Every 15 seconds it records the current location and the time thus building up a record of exactly where the user has been during the day. Later that data can be matched with the time stamp on the digital images to work out where the picture was taken.

Sony supplies an application called GPS Image Tracker to handle this data matching and it's recorded in the meta data stored in the JPEG file. A new version of Sony's Motion Picture Browser software now allows users to browse pictures by location and not just by date. Existing users will be able to upgrade their software.

EXIF 2.1 compatible

While Sony will only guarantee the GPS system works with its digital still cameras it should be compatible with any digital camera that produces JPEG images compatible with the EXIF 2.1 standard, said Masayo Endo, a spokeswoman for the company in Tokyo.

The GPS unit will run for about ten hours on a AA cell and the unit's internal 31MB memory can store about 15 days straight worth of GPS data. The triangular unit measures 9cm long by 4cm wide and weighs 55g.

The GPS-CS1 will be launched in September in the US and Japan and will cost around $150. Details on a European launch have not yet been announced.

New camera too

Sony also announced its DSC-T10 digital still camera. The 7.2-megapixel camera boasts as its key features a high sensitivity of ISO1000 and optical image stabilisation. Both features can minimise blur on shots, particularly in low light conditions, said Sony.

Other features include a 2.5in LCD (liquid crystal display) screen and 3X optical zoom lens. It also has 56MB of internal memory so you can still take pictures even if you forget a Memory Stick card.

The DSC-T10 is 2.1cm thick and measures 9cm wide and 5.5cm tall. It weighs 165g with battery and memory card. It will be available this month in the US and Japan for about $400.