Friday, June 22, 2012

iGotU GT-800 GPS Logger - Review

iGotU GT-800 GPS Logger
I've been experimenting with different methods of geo-tagging my photos. The last experiment I tried was with my Samsung smart-phone, plus a free application from the Google market-place. It works fine but it made me realize that for long trekking trips, it would be more advisable to have a dedicated GPS logger. After some research, I decided to go with the igotU GT-800 (yes, I know its a very strange name). Reviews were mostly positive, and the price (though not cheap), seemed reasonable. The following features attracted me to this device over others:

1. IPX 7 water-proof (1 meter underwater for 30 minutes).
2. Small size (you can wear it like a watch, with the supplied strap).
3. Motion sensor which automatically puts it to sleep when not moving - thereby conserving battery power.
4. Comes with software to geo-tag your photos, and then show them on the map.
5. Has lots of bonus features such as pedometer, current speed, compass etc.

In short, a geeky device. Just my sort of thing.

I was a little wary of the battery as it runs on a rechargeable battery. Ideally, I would have preferred a device that runs on AA batteries, so that I could carry spares with me, when it runs out of juice. The GT-800 comes with a rechargeable battery that charges via USB. This would be a problem for long treks where there is no access to electricity, but since I have resolved that problem with a Voltaic solar charger, this should no longer be an issue. In fact, when I first received the device, I charged it with the solar charger, just to make sure everything will work in the wilderness, when we go for our trek in Ladakh next month.

The GT-800 is equipped with a SiRF Star III Low Power chipset. It has difficulty getting a satellite lock-on while indoors (but since I've faced that problems with all GPS devices, I don't consider that to be a problem). Once we are outdoors, however, it acquires the satellite lock very easily.

The device is very light, and comfortably fits my hand (with the supplied strap). I kept it on me the whole day and it felt like I was wearing a watch - abeit a big watch that seems like it is crying for attention with its bright yellow bezel.

At the end of the day, I downloaded all the photos that I took with my camera (I had made sure that both the camera and the GPS logger time are in sync).

The supplied software "@trip PC" (yes, another strange name) is straight-forward. It installs the device drivers (software works on Windows 7 and Windows Vista only - as per the CD), and launches a simple-to-use interface.

@trip PC Software
Using the software, you can download the GPS data from the device, and use that data to geo-tag your photos, or create a trip report or both. A simple wizard-style interface guides you through the process of creating your trip, and geo-tagging your photos.

Wizard interface guides you through the process.
The software comes with different styles for creating your trip report.

Trip styple.
Once you trip is created, and the photos are geo-tagged, you can view them directly on the map, or even lauch Google Earth and view them via Google Earth.

Photos tagged and shown on the map.
This is definitely a handy little device - especially for someone like me who:
1. Loves outdoors and long treks and
2. Loves Photography.

If you fall in the above category, then this is a must-buy.

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