Downloading Sony GPS Assist Data Manually

After having bought a new Sony DSC-HX5V digital camera, which is equipped with an integrated GPS, I discovered that it comes with windows-only software for downloading and updating the GPS almanac on the camera (the supplied PMB Portable software runs on Apple OS X, but it does not support downloading the GPS almanac).

After tinkering a bit with tcpdump(1) and friends I found out how to perform the download and update manually:

  1. Download assistme.dat
  2. Download assistme.md5
  3. Verify that the MD5 sum of the assistme.dat file matches the one in the assistme.md5 file
  4. Create a top-level folder hierarchy on the memory card for the camera (not the internal memory of the camera) called PRIVATE/SONY/GPS/
  5. Place the downloaded assistme.dat file in the PRIVATE/SONY/GPS/ folder
  6. Place the memory card in the camera and verify that the GPS Assist Data is valid

I have written a small perl script for automating the above tasks. The script takes the mount point of the memory card as argument.

67 thoughts on “Downloading Sony GPS Assist Data Manually”

  1. Thank you very much for your solution! Sony succeeded in making it very difficult to download their PMB software and when, after a couple of frustrating hours, I discovered your elegant solution, I finally was able to update the GPS assist data again.

  2. This is an incredible tip. It is very strange that Sony doesnt release a simple script for OSX users so that we can update the GPS data in the cameras.

    I just followed the tip and will give this a go in the next few days. I have been very disappointed with the GPS performance of my DSC-HX30V. It takes way too long to acquire location even when outdoors.

    I will post back with results on the weekend.

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for this. I have downloaded the assist file and chked the camera. It says valid period is DEC.31.2012. to JAN.30.2012. How to understand that?

  4. Hi. I know this is a script written for Mac but if you want to make it work on Windows you need to add;
    binmode FILE;
    before you print to the FILE handle,
    otherwise extra 0D characters are added at the end of each line.

    Anthony

  5. Now all we need is a means to update the GPS data from an iPad or other tablet so you don’t need to cart a laptop.

  6. Thank you heaps!
    My wife and I both have SONY DSC-HX5V cameras and we both use Ubuntu (Linux). Until now I didn’t know how to update the GPS Assist Data using Ubuntu but I tried your method and it seems to have worked just fine using Ubuntu. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, much appreciated.

  7. Great little trick. I was going crazy with PMB and all sorts of impossible-to-use tools from SONY!

  8. Thank you for this! It’s much more elegant and straightforward than the bloated PlayMemories Home.

  9. Excellent. Installed this on windows using strawberry perl, windows 7/64. worked straight away. I take my hat off to real perl mongers.

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