I picked up my GPS logger today (it arrived on Friday but I haven’t had a chance to go to the post office until today). I feel like this is my first chance of doing a proper “review” blog, so we’ll see how I go.
I was looking for a device that could record where I went for ~ 4 weeks without needing to download or upload data on the way. Long battery life was essential (>10 hours at least). I didn’t need any kind of display or ability to actually navigate / use it as a GPS. I couldn’t find anything suitable until a friend put my onto this device. The data is stored on the device so I simply download it when I get home.
Firstly, big thumbs up to i-gotU for providing plastic packaging that wasn’t impossible to get into. Everything was securely held yet I managed to easily get everything out without even resorting to scissors. The package included the GPS logger, soft plastic case, cable, wrist strap, driver/software/manual CD and carboard cover with basic specs and instructions.
Secondly, thumbs down for not using a standard micro USB connection. Most of my devices now use this (I’m not an Apple person), so I was looking at taking minimal cabling. Unfortunately the GT-600 has some kind of proprietary, or simply not common, connection so I’ll have to take its own special cable (16g for those who are counting).
I’ve just installed the software (device driver and program to manage data and devices), which was provided on mini-CD. Nice to have it provided on a CD rather than having to download, although I understand this can be an additional cost and waste of resources, especially if the software goes out of date and needs to be updated online anyway.
I’m impressed with the options in the hardware setup. Firstly, you can use normal manual on/off control or you can actually schedule the unit to turn on and off at particular scheduled times. Pretty cool, though not something I’ll be using this trip.
There are 6 modes for setting tracking parameters, based around how fast you expect to be. I’m interpreting the icons as: walking, running, cycling, scootering, sailing, driving. Within this you can set the tracking interval (every x seconds or minutes) and can use a ‘smart tracking mode’ which increases the tracking frequency (decrease interval) if you’re travelling faster. Default is tracking every 5s, which gives a battery life of ~30hours. Increasing the tracking interval increases the battery life if power saving is turned on (e.g. tracking every minute gives ~200hrs battery life) so I’m guessing power saving basically turns the device off for the minute between GPS points.
Circular Logging presumably deletes old data points when it runs out of space (it gives me a message to download/backup data then clear it before changing this setting). I think Button Control stops the on/off button on the device working so I guess it works purely on motion detection – if you’re moving, it’s on. Motion Detection means that when you’re not moving, it doesn’t record so I can turn it on at the start of the day and off at the end and not worry about stopping it at every photo opportunity, meal and rest stop. It should autosleep itself and re-start when I start moving again. If Motion Detection is off, Button Control MUST be on (hence my assumptions). The Advanced window simply asks whether I want it to automatically power on while charging (default set to “no”). Not sure why this isn’t on the main menu with the rest of it.
I’m not sure how I swap between modes. I think whichever one I have highlighted in the settings box will be the one that applies.
This is where it’s important to realise that the logger itself is just a small white box (41g for those who are counting!) with a single button for on/off, a couple of LED lights to indicate on/off, GPS status and low battery and a port for charging / data download. All of the settings must be handled through a computer. This is fine, especially as it probably saves a lot of weight, cost and potential problems, but means I need to get it right before I go. The logger also has a small hole through one corner to attach a lanyard (not supplied).
The packaging states it can hold 262,000 records. At a tracking interval of 5s, this is over 350 hours (correct me if I’m wrong – 350 x 60 = 21,000 minutes. 21,000 x 12 (12 samples every minute) = 252,000). This is definitely enough for a 4 week trip, even if I walked non stop for 10 hours a day every day.
I’m planning my first multi day hike next week so I’ll get a chance to test it in some slightly challenging country (hills and tall trees). I’m pretty excited about this device as it is pretty much exactly what I was looking for so hopefully it meets my expectations.
On other updates, my Solar Wrap Mini’s can successfully charge my phone (I’ll try to do some proper timed stats on that in the future). I tried setting up wifi connection between my camera and the computer, then read the instructions and realised I needed a wireless access point (ie router) which I don’t have, so that ruined that idea. I’ll have to stick to connecting with my . . . . standard micro USB cable!!