Pet Photography And Tracking

We’ve seen numerous products geared toward tracking the location and activities of your pets, two in the last month, but we feel sure you can make more functional devices than those you can purchase. Let’s look at a few and consider our options.

A camera called Pet’s Eye View hangs from your pet’s collar and takes photos in your choice of 1, 5, and 15 minute intervals. While the concept is good, the execution is poor: it can only take up to 35 images at 640 x 480px with no other resolution options available, and it has no expandable media slot. We also dislike the lack of GPS tracking, but wouldn’t really expect that for the $45 price.

For GPS pet tracking, Garmin has recently introduced their Astro System, which consists of a collar with a GPS and a tracking unit. Like most Garmin GPS product, this one is functional, full featured, and a great match of function and technology. We like live pet location tracking, we just don’t have $600 to spend on keeping tabs on the dog.

A homemade solution we like a lot more than the two commercial ones is [J. Perthold]’s CatCam. Starting with a $20 keychain camera with a 1.3 megapixel resolution and an SD card slot, [Perthold] removed the casing and connected the board to an Attiny2313 microcontroller programmed to trigger the camera periodically. He built a small lightweight case for his modded camera and strapped it to his cat, [Mr. Lee]. This works out to essentially the same product as the Pet’s Eye View camera, but at least twice as good by almost every applicable metric.

One thing we love about the CatCam is the fact that it uses SD media. If you were to use an Eye-Fi instead of regular media, you could have a camera that is superior to the Pet’s Eye View and does geotagging all in one package. It’s not as useful as true live GPS, but at least you’ll know exactly where your pet went when you collect the photos. In addition, if the dog is still within your home network’s range, you should be able to see images as they stream in. If building an Eye-Fi enabled CatCam is too much work, consider using and Eye-Fi with CHDK in a Canon camera. This will give you the timed photography and the geotagging in an easy to build package. Hopefully you pick a small camera unless your pet has a strong neck. You could use some of time-lapse photography techniques we posted earlier to time whatever device you end up using.

11 thoughts on “Pet Photography And Tracking

  1. i was just looking into this yesterday. my cat is jumping from my 2nd story balcony to a tree and then climbing to the roof. i can hear him up there running aroung doing cat things.

    since it is night time, i didn’t really want to take pics. i looked at this for gps but at us$200, i just don’t care that much.

    the eye-fi is accurate within 20 meters. that is terrible for cat racking. i doubt he ranges that far.

    did you miss the cat tracker on mr lee’s site?
    it is us$47 and tiny. i am ordering it tonight.

  2. For most if the time a catcam would be equal to tossing your camera on the couch and letting it take pictures there, since cats spend a lot of time sleeping and a lot of time on one spot pondering or laying in wait for prey.
    You’d have to hit just the right time but even then I think it’s not pleasant for the poor thing to have a thing tied to its neck and not the thing to do, a dog is more flexible in that area I think.

  3. I think a good solution would be the GPS/GSM route. Use a telit or similar GPS/GSM module which can send the GPS position via a txt to your phone when you txt a keyword to the device. Its been done before but the modules are expensive.


  4. Any one who wants the peace of mind that comes from knowing where their personal assets are.Beside monitoring your teens driving from the comfort of your home through a computer.And for companies with multiple vehicles imagine being able to save a lot of money and increase productivity with the use of a simple device.That’s why my GPS Tracking Device is one of the best in the business and work for you 24/7.Don’t wait another day.Hop on it now and save for your teens and your business future.

  5. I just picked up one of the NetGEo pet cams for $15 brand new at Goodwill. The price tags on it showed it had been on closeout at Target, so keep your eyes open. If there is a way to tap into the timer and make it trigger a better camera I’d love to hear it, I’m not skilled enough to figure it out.

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