A new Nikon camera will feature GPS on steroids – is it the Nikon Z9?

(Image credit: Glasgow Maritime Academy)

An upcoming Nikon camera will feature GNSS, the GPS-trumping satellite navigation system – and of course, the big question is whether this will be the new Nikon Z9 or another unannounced camera.

It would certainly make sense for the feature to be present in the Nikon Z9, since GPS functionality seems to be limited mainly to flagship and professional bodies these days (with most cameras simply using the manufacturer's app to take GPS data from your smartphone). 

• Read more: Best cameras with GPS

The detail was spotted by Nokishita, on one of the registration documents that Nikon has been busy filing around the globe for its various upcoming cameras. The GNSS-enabled model in question is codenamed “N2014”, which had previously been speculated as the rumored entry level APS-C Nikon Z30.

You may not be familiar with what GNSS means, as it’s not a super-commonly used term. It stands for Global Navigation Satellite System, and is a collective word for multiple different types of satellite-based global positioning tools. This includes the ordinary GPS you’d find on your smartphone, as well as other satellite systems like GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou.

Nikon's mysterious new camera registration (Image credit: @nokishita_c on Twitter)

So what does it mean for a camera to be equipped with GNSS? Well, fundamentally it's the same thing as GPS – but the global nature of GNSS makes it more accurate, more available across the globe, and much more reliable. It adds a layer of redundancy, meaning if one system fails, another can pick up the slack. A photographer will be able to position themselves even in remote places that a standard GPS system wouldn’t be able to reach.

While it’s possible that the GNSS-enabled camera could be a DSLR, it seems overwhelmingly more likely that it’ll be part of the mirrorless Z series. Nikon putting GNSS on a consumer camera will be an industry-wide first, so an educated guess is that it’ll be a professional camera – which certainly points towards the Z9 rather than the Z30. 

With fierce competition in the form of the Canon EOS R3 currently being tested at the Olympics, and whatever new tricks Sony is coming out with, it makes sense that GNSS could be part of a suite of features designed to give Nikon's new flagship a little edge over the competition.

We’ll have to wait and see where this GNSS function ends up, but we’ll bring you the details as soon as we know them. 

Read more:

Nikon mirrorless cameras and lenses
Best Nikon cameras
Best professional cameras

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  

An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.