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Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Hero 9 for telemetry
[ Edited ]

Hey everyone,

I have briefly been testing the telemetry capabilities of the HERO9. The first difference I see with the HERO8 is the addition of two metadata streams: MRV Frame Skip and LRV Frame Skip.

On the GPS front, my unit seems slightly worse than my Hero 8, in terms of accuracy and reliabiliy. The weather was overcast so maybe that played a role, but I've had many instances where the GPS path went nuts. It seems to acquire a lock (bright white GPS icon) much more easily than the 8, they might have changed some thresholds there.

Has anyone had different results? It might just be my unit, which also has the widespread touchscreen unresponsiveness issue, so I might need to have it replaced.

Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry
[ Edited ]

Ok. I just went for a drive to test the H9 GPS against the H8. Things are not looking good, at least for my H9 unit. I really hope I got a defective one, or that this is solveable via firmware.

 

Conditions were pretty bad: overcast and inside a city. I had the cameras mounted on the gas tank of my motorcycle, so I was probably covering some of the satellites with my body. Still, the H8 produced pretty decent results while the 9 is completely unusable. And, even worse, it reports good fix and precision values even when the location is dozens of kilometers away.

 

Samples with worse than 2D fix or 625 Precision have been filtered out.

Clip one (4k 25P linear hypersmooth boost on both cameras, H9 has horizon levelling on)

Hero8 (some errors but close)
1h8.png

 

Hero9 (miles away)
1h9.png

Clip 2 (same settings)

Hero8 (good)
2h8.png

Hero9 (just registered the initial location)
2h9.png

Clip 3 (same settings)

Hero8 (good)
3h8.png

Hero9 (at least it's in the same neighborhood. Close but bad. Elevation freaked out)
3h9.png

In some of my tests, the H9 seems to get the first position right and then go nuts. So I thought maybe the processor was unable to process the horizontal levelling, hypersmooth, high resolution and the GPS data on top of that. I decided to use modest settings to give the processor a rest.

Clip 4 (1080 25P Wide Hypersmooth off)

Hero8 (good)
4h8.png

Hero 9 (first and last positions seem ok. The rest is a visit to the ocean)
4h9.png

Clip 5 (same settings)

Hero 8 (good)
5h8.png

Hero9 (good first 100 meters, then nuts)
5h9.png

Clip 6 (same settings)

Hero8 (good)
6h8.png

Hero9 (probably decent first and last positions, the rest is unusable)
6h9.png

I was honestly not expecting the Hero8 to perform this well on such bad conditions. When I do these tests I also record the data with a GPS smartwatch as a benchmark, which tends to get coordinates always right, except on tunnels (props to them, I don't think they use cellular data, just GPS+GLONASS, so the same resources as the GoPro). In this case the Hero8 performed close to the watch, so I have excluded the watch from the analysis. I would have expected some of the glitches present in the H9 (clips 3 and 5), but the trend is very hard to ignore. Either my unit is broken or there is a serious firmware/hardware issue with the Hero9 GPS.

I would appreciate it if someone else shared their experiences, or even their files. You can create screenshots like these with https://goprotelemetryextractor.com/free/

Nomad
Posts: 7,021
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

I'll happily share my files with you.  I have a double mount so I have been using the Hero 8 and Hero 9 side by side.  I mentioned in another post that the GoPro Hero 8 GPS icon will light up and stay steady.  The GoPro Hero 9 GPS icon will light up, go dark, light up, go dark as if it's acquiring a signal and then losing it again.  

 

One thing I did read was that someone had GPS data on the first chapter of his recording but none on subsequent chapters.  He found that disabling hypersmooth meant the rest of the chapters would have GPS data retained on them.  I'm hoping this points to a simple firmware error with the GPS but so far, the Hero 9 is proving to be terrible when it comes to GPS data.

Hiker
Posts: 13
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

My Hero 9 GPS peformance is near identical to Irishmanpdx, and very disappointing considering that I have a Hero 8 that has no GPS Issues. I did do a test after doing a manual firmware reload, via the SD card, and doing Factory Reset.  I took the Hero 9 out and just walked a mile without recording, but just watching the GPS indicator. For the entire walk the GPS indicator was solid white, which was really good to see! I than did the same walk with the camera recording.  When I got back to the office I loaded the Hero file and ran Telemetry Extractor on it to analyze the data. While the 1080p 60 video looked just fine, the GPS was all over the place and not useable.

I'm trying to be patient to see what the Gopro support folks determine. I have about two weeks to play with before I have to send it back for a refund if this can't be resolved.

hero9.jpg
Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

Thanks for your report @buckaroo60 This looks consistent with my experience (quick GPS lock, very bad GPS data).

Do you recall if you had the mounting fingers open or closed while recording? It's a very wild guess, but the touchscreen problem seems to have correlation with whether the camera is mounted or hand-held, so I was wondering if this could have a similar cause (magnetic disturbances?). Some people are showing good results with their Hero9 GPS data, which suggests the problem is only present in some faulty units (seeing other bad reports in the forum and on Facebook. Considering how niche the use of GPS data is, this seems quite widespread) or it only happens under certain conditions.

@irishmanpdx Would be interesting to have a look at your results too, especially that side by side comparison with the 8. Feel free to send them to my email or grab screenshots from the Map View in https://goprotelemetryextractor.com/free/

GoPro is looking into this. Obviously what we all want to know is if this is a hardware or a firmware problem.

Hiker
Posts: 13
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

Juan,

 

When I did the test I had the Hero 9 camera mounted on a short hand support. The camera was not held at all in my hands, and was kept upright during the test. One thing that I forgot to mention, is I didn't see the same flickering on and off of the GPS indicator like I did earlier. For this test it stayed a solid white color, but unfortunately the data points are way off. I'm wondering if the Factory Reset that I did prior to this 2nd test did something to stabilize the signal lock. Note, the sky was overcast and not clear.

 

To address your question about electrical noise I just walked a similar route with my Hero 6 which I happen to have with me. As you can see in the attached graphic, after using your Telemetry Extractor, it did a pretty good darn job of tracking being a 6th generation unit! What's nice about the Hero 6 is the GPS strength/lock indicator is on the main front screen, so I can actually watch it as I'm recording. That's not the case for the Hero 9, where the indicator is located on the Preference screen.

 

What do you think?

 

Mike

hero6.jpg
Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry
[ Edited ]

So my hypothesis was actually the opposite: that opening the fingers and mounting the camera somewhere could produce bad results, whereas hand holding the camera with the mounting fingers closed would record good GPS data. It's probably bogus, but I have seen some good hand-held samples and bad mounted ones. Probably a coincidence.

Other than that. These tests and comparisons are probably good data for the GoPro team working on this

PS: Factory resets and firmware reinstalls very rarely make any change. I know the support teams always recommends them as a first measure, but that's probably so the user has a default setup before they start debugging, or a last resort when support does not know what to suggest. Very rarely a solution

Hiker
Posts: 13
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry
[ Edited ]

I originally thought that maybe the internal processor couldn't handle all the tasks at once 4K 30, horizon leveling and GPS tracking, so I reduced the video to just 1080p 60fps to reduce the processor load. Unfortunately, I got the same results. Juan, you indicated that some Hero 9's are tracking just fine. If everyone is using the lastest firmware, it would definitely point to a hardware issue.

Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

I've got samples from a different unit. Similar problem. In this case the only data the Hero9 recorded is labelled as inaccurate by the Fix and Precision values. The Hero8 data is perfect in the exact same conditions.

Hero8:
8.png

Hero9:
9.png

Tourist
Posts: 3
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

I'm watching where this goes - The Hero 9 is my first gopro and I cannot get a decent GPS signal.  Even with it solid white, after a short recording I go to stickers in the app and it shoes the GPS only over the stickers - indicating no GPS was recorder.  I finally got one to show with the camera mounted on an RC car that goes about 20mph - the gps showed 12mph max, and hovered around 2-3 mph for sections I was going at least 15...   clear skys.  I only added the spedometer but I was going back and forth on a gravel road... maybe I should look at the positioning as well to see if it's accurate.

 

What Windows apps are available to get this data / gauges into a program like Resolve for editing?    I tried Dashware with the same RC car footage, and tried extracting the gps info with the Telemetry extractor... it's loads into Dashware, but the guages do not budge - maybe it doesn't recognize the hero 9 files??   

 

It's frustrating because as a mountain biker I was looking forward to this feature.. it's not a deal breaker for the camera, but sure is a bummer...

Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry
There's nothing that supports Resolve for now, I would say. Both Dashware and Virb Edit will work well after exporting the data with the Extractor, but that's only if your data is good, which does not seem to be the case. You'll have to wait until GoPro fixes this, I'm afraid.
Hiker
Posts: 42
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

I'm not so sure that Factory Reset doesn't help. A few years ago my Hero5 Black's GPS icon never lit up no matter how long I left it turned on and I could never get GPS data. Out of desperation I finally did a Factory Reset and it immediately fixed the problem!

 

Now my Hero8 Black that I've had for a year NEVER, not a single time, produced useable GPS data. A few days ago I remembered what fixed my H5B and did a Factory Reset on my Hero8 Black and did a test run for about 10 minutes. Well the GPS data was almost perfect!!! Of course I will have to test it a lot more to make sure that wasn't just a total fluke, but nevertheless it was the first time it recorded GPS data that made some sense.

Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry
[ Edited ]

I got a new Hero 9 unit and tested its GPS capabilities alongside my 8. 

Summary:

- Some Hero 9 units perform much better than others. So there could be a hardware factor. While my first Hero9 was unusable for GPS use, this one is acceptable quite often.

- This one performed "well", but still not like the Hero 8.

- The way you mount the camera (hand-held, mounted on metal or on plastic) does not seem to have an impact on GPS performance (like it did with touchscreen sensitivity). So probably no grounding issues are involved (at least with this unit)

- Firmware versions (1.0 vs 1.22) did not make any noticeable difference.
- The 9 seems to report more bad data samples (even when the coordinates are good), but also include more extremely bad samples as valid ones.

- The 9 shows a bright white GPS icon ("GPS is ready") much earlier than the 8, even when the GPS is obviously not ready, judging by the results.

Tests (Hero 8 is always on the left, Hero 9 on the right):

The first batch of tests were hand-held. With firmware 1.0 (just unboxed, no updates) on the Hero9. I mounted the camera on different accessories (metal and plastic, which seemed to make no difference).

 

c28.png
- H9 is slightly worse (reports more bad locations).

a2.png

- H9 is slightly worse (reports more bad locations), but usable.

 

a3.png

- H9 is better! Unlike the H8, it does not randomly cross the road.

a4.png

- H9 is slightly worse (more reported bad locations and some actually bad), but usable.

Here I switch to a side-by-side mount on my motorcycle gas tank. Still 1.0 firmware.

 

b1.png
- H9 is unusable despite showing a "GPS ready" icon much much earlier than the H8. H9 labels bad locations as good. H8 is average but usable.

b2.png
- H9 is slightly worse (more bad locations and some good ones reported as bad), but close to usable.

b3.png

- H9 and H8 are both good.

b4.png
- H9 is slightly worse (reports more bad locations) but close to usable.

b5.png
- H9 is unusable when crossing under a bridge. H8 is great despite that.

b6.png
- H9 is slightly worse under challenging conditions (narrow streets). But ok all things considered

Here I update the Hero 9 to firmware 1.22. Still motorcycle mount.
c1.png
- Both good. H9 very marginally worse (reports some bad locations).

c2.png
- H9 is slightly worse (reports some good locations as bad). But usable.

c3.png
- H9 is slightly worse (reports some good locations as bad). But usable.

c4.png
- H9 gets confused under bridges again, but not by much. Close to usable.

I have not included clips where both cameras were unusable due to bad conditions (buildings, foliage...). There were no instances where the H9 was usable and the H8 was not.

Ok, so I'm keeping this Hero 9 (and the 8), but looking forward to firmware improvements!

Sightseer
Posts: 2
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

Hi @kajuna , 

 

First let me say I'm amazed by your product  👏 I was super excited to start testing it with a bunch of clips I recorded with my new Hero9 riding my cafe racer, just to find out the GPS data on the clips is useless, not even one of them is Okeyis... which is quite a bummer. 

 

Here are some screenshots done with your tool:

 



Fail 1

-

First clip, I assume the route is Okeish at that tiny bit in the beegining, but then it goes nuts at the end what makes it useless.

---------

 

Fail 2.png

 

-

Second attemp, This one is completely wrong, there's not even a road there.

---------

 

Close.png

 

-

Thirdt clip, this one isn't that bad. Actually the entire route looks pretty good just until the end, when again it goes crazy. I'm gonna try to make something usefull with this file.

---------

 

________ EXTRA

 

This is the second GoPro Hero 9 I own.  I lost the 1st one right one week after buying it while kitesurfing in Tarifa 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️. It must be somewhere in the atlantic ocean at the moment... However, as I read the entire thread I saw you mentioned there is some cameras that are doing fine with GPS data, then I thought wait a second... let's try with some footage from my 1st Hero9... and boila!! The GPS route is represented very accurately, here is it:

Good.png

 

So.. I guess this confirm what you already mentioned, there is some faulty camras and some other doing a decent job. I hope this helps you with your findings.

 

Do you have any updates on the topic? Do you think it's a good idea to ask GoPro for a replacement camera or wait until they publish a fix or something?

 

Looking forward to properly test your software with my videos!! Looks awesome!

Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry
Hey. Thanks. That's a very useful example. And glad you like the software!

GoPro have scheduled an update that should fix or improve the GPS issues for later this month https://gopro.com/en/us/news/hero9-black-launch-updates

Given that, I suspect they might not replace a camera for this reason until after the firmware is released (but I don't know for sure). Will be interesting to see how the faulty cameras compare with the good ones after the update.

I might replace mine at some point, since the touchscreen issues are not gone with the new firmware (seems like a grounding problem). But for now GPS is more important to me.
Sightseer
Posts: 2
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry
[ Edited ]

Thanks for the update @kajuna, lets hope it gets fixed with the firmware update 🙏

 

I just saw your post about your new app for Windows and Mac. Really looking forward to test it, though I need the source files to be decent before making the expense. Dude these guys from GoPro should hire you to put their **bleep** together in terms of telemetry/GPS stuff!! 

 

Will be back once the firmware update is readyb and I get to test it.

 

 

 

 

Nomad
Posts: 1,110
Re: Hero 9 for telemetry

In case someone missed it. This is now solved with firmware 1.5
https://gopro.com/en/us/support/hero9-black-product-update