“ Brand: Mobility Action „
This review covers a product with a rather specific purpose and one that I think will become obsolete in the very near future.
I mention that it's future may be limited and I think this is the case because of the number of GPS enabled devices that are available these days. Your phone may have GPS and very possibly can perform a similar task. Cameras are apparently starting to have GPS possibilities and the convergence of phones with compact camera and GPS ability means that this device will quickly become redundant.
What it is and a little about the operation of it
The i-gotU GPS Travel Logger is a device that uses GPS and records it's position at set intervals for downloading to your PC later. The data can then be interpreted to provide a track of where you've been on a map and to show photos from your camera on the map also.
The device is bundled with software to enable uploading of photos to Flickr or Picasa or to a blog site that is specific to the software (so not directly to your own, existing blog). The software relies on you having the correct time on your camera to record when the photos were taken to match up later (time zone differences are okay as you specify this during the import)
The device is small, waterproof and comes with a small blue silicon case to help protect it when dropped. It has a little belt loop in the case. You can attach a camera or phone strap to the device itself, there isn't one included.
The i-gotU only has one button and two LED lights. The button switches it on and off and can also be pressed to get it to record a location in between the specified times. The lights provide everything you need to know, like if it is operating, is it recording locations. If you don't see the double flash of the two LED's after the chosen interval then it needs to be pointed at the sky again to get a fix.
The device charges via USB, the cable is device specific so don't lose it! Without the cable you canoot charge the device or extract the data from it.
Why I chose it
I love to travel (as do most of us) and I upload many of my photos to the web for friends and family to 'enjoy'. I thought it would be nice to be able to include some geographic data with my photos so they could be shown on a map to put them in context with their actual location.
I also thought it would be kind of nice to be able to see where I've been on a particular trip :-)
How I use it
When I'm away I startup the device when I leave in the morning, it takes about a minute to get it started and it needs to be pointing upwards with a view of the sky (sometimes on a window ledge is sufficient). Once it has a signal (every set period - 10 seconds I have it set to) the two LED's flash (red and blue) twice simultaneously and I know it's ready to go. Then I simply leave it in my pocket, or for greater accuracy I attach it to my backpack where it has more chance of maintaining a good signal.
At the end of the day I attach it to my PC, download the GPS data to the supplied @trip software and when connected to the internet it displays where I've been on a Google map. You then have the option to attach some photos, publish the information to the blogsite, export your trip photos to Flickr or Picasa or create a local page with the map and photos for later viewing (will only work when online because of the interactive map use).
Personally I only use the software to access the data on the device. You can export the GPS data as a Google format file for Google Maps or Google Earth (KML, KMZ) or as a standard GPX data file. If I'm interested in showing people where I went on my own website I'll export the KML file and use that to create my own Google map, this won't show any photos though. The GPX file I use in other software to update the information stored with my photos.
My choice of photo tagging software is GeoSetter. It allows you to correct any difference between your camera time and the actual time, down to a level of seconds. It also plots more accurately in my opinion. The other advantage is that it updates the EXIF data in your photo files so that the geographical data is always with your photo. I then take the tagged photos and upload them to my own site where they are displayed on a map, but as that's not something really specific about this device I won't go into detail.
Battery life and recording capacity
I charge mine every day so have never seen it go flat. The length of time it will operate between charges is dependent on how often it records it's position. I chose 10 second intervals. After a 12 hour day I find I've barely used 3% of it's storage capacity, so if you unload the data regularly then you'll not run into issues with storage either.
The battery doesn't seem to be replaceable, so if it starts to have problems then you may end up throwing it away if you can't open it up.
Specs from the product website
* Dimension: 44.5 x 28.5 x 13 mm
* Weight: 20g
* Built-in SiRF StarIII 65nm low-power chipset
* Built-in GPS patch antenna.
* Built-in flash memory. 65000 waypoints for 30 days( when the logging interval is 15 seconds and use it 8 hours per day)
* Built-in 230mAh Lithium-ion battery.
* Operation time: Up to 30 hours ( when the logging interval is 15 seconds)
* 2 LED for tracking and battery/charger status indication.
* Average acquisition time for cold start: < 35 seconds, hot start: < 1 seconds.
* USB 1.1 interface for PC connection
* Operation temperature: -10 to + 50 degrees centigrade
What the device doesn't do
If you're looking for some help to navigate around a city then this device won't help you unless you connect it to something. Connecting it will be difficult, as it's only USB. There is a Bluetooth version available that can be connected to your phone/PDA and used as a normal GPS receiver.
The i-gotU is of course of limited use indoors and underground, it will simply record a location when it can and the software will plot a line between the two points as it has no other way to replace the missing data. To avoid any wild estimates I try and keep it outside my clothing, otherwise it can sometimes go a bit wild with it's locating.
I find this to be a fun little device, I switch it on and forget about it, then check out the route I took and tag my photos when I'm done. You need the supplied software to make any changes to it's configuration as there is no screen and only one button on the device itself. I particularly like being able to look back at photos on a map and you really get a feel for how well you've explored a city. Sometimes it's nice to see where you went wrong when you got lost, but at that point you probably wish you had a better GPS device!
I would have preferred to get the bluetooth version but it's not an easy product to track down, I found mine in a Maplin store for £49.99. You can buy more accurate GPS devices, like handheld Garmin devices, but they are bigger and more battery hungry. These other devices offer many more useful features however.
(also posted on ciao)
This i-gotU GT-120 is a GPS Device that can record the trace of your journey, auto-add GPS information on the photos taken on your journey, present it in 3rd dimension and export in multiple sharable file formats! The GT-120 is not only compatible with all digital cameras and camera phones, but it also provides you with the coolest GPS tracking gadget while saving you extra expenses on other equipments! Built with a water-resistant hardware design, the i-gotU GT-120 is suitable for rainy days, skiing, water sports or for any outdoor use!