Since our around-the-world journey began in December 2006, we have geotagged virtually all our photos so we can display a map with each one in our travel photo gallery. We do this for our readers; we also do it for ourselves as a step-by-step diary and reminder of where we’ve been.
We recently updated some of our GPS geotagging hardware and software and keep getting asked: “What GPS device are you carrying these days? Any changes?”
As one person remarked, “You guys are the only ones I know geotagging day in and day out. It’s not just a weekend warrior activity.” To put it another way, we’re hard on our gear and test it in all conditions.
We’ll begin with a GPS data logger hardware review in this post and follow up with the GPS geotagging software we use next.
GPS Datalogger Hardware Change
When our previous Sony GPS-CS1 data logger began hiccupping, we knew it was time to re-evaluate. We now also both have Macs (the Sony was not Mac compatible), so a Mac-compatible GPS data logging device was in order.
The following is an evaluation and comparison of the two GPS dataloggers, their main features and key usage considerations.
|Criteria||Amod AGL3080||i-gotU GT-200e||Advantage|
|Size/weight||Light enough to hang on side of bag. Supplied plastic hook broke, so we use our own metal carabiner and attach it to a belt loop or our camera bag.||Exceptionally light – you forget it’s even there. Included velcro strap useful for wearing on your arm or attaching to a bag handle.||i-gotU GT-200e|
|Durability||First device failed after 8 months of use. Manufacturer replaced it for free and second one still works (8 months later).||Failed after four months of regular use. At first it would turn off unexpectedly. Later, it was unable to take readings and would turn off after five minutes. Eventually, it wouldn’t turn on at all.||AMOD AGL3080|
|Can withstand elevation||Held it’s own over two months from Machu Picchu to the Bolivian altiplano.||Fine in high altitude situations in Peru and Bolivia.||Toss-up|
|Power supply||Takes 3 AAA batteries. Lasts about 2 days on full charge.||Charges via USB. Lasts about 2 days on full charge.||Toss-up, depending on how you plan to use it.|
|Mac vs. PC compatibility||Both. Hardware is driverless. Macs immediately recognize device.||Only PC compatible. Possible to access on Mac using Parallels or similar virtual machine.||AMOD AGL3080, particularly for Mac users.|
|Memory||128 MB, 1 million waypoints||64 MB, 262,000 waypoints||AMOD AGL3080|
|Access to data on device||Easy and driverless. Mac OSX and PC operating systems recognize the device as an external hard drive. Raw GPS .log files are easy to access and remove.||Painful. Not driverless, so the device is not visible – either on PC or Mac – as an external hard drive. During our test, we were forced to install bloated, proprietary software to access geodata. Software allows you to export raw data to .gpx.||AMOD AGL3080|
|GPS signal fix, access time||Within 1 minute||Within 1 minute||Toss-up|
|Accurate readings||6 modes, from 1-second to 10-second intervals||5-second interval readings.||Toss-up (we usually used 10-second mode on AMOD)|
|Water resistance||Manufacturer does not highlight it, but we have not had issues when using in damp conditions (i.e., Antarctica)||Water-resistant.||i-gotU GT-200e|
|Power and signal indicators||Bright, easy to see green light when working.||Can be difficult to read indication lights in bright light.||AMOD AGL3080|
|Provided software||AMOD GPS Photo Tracker. We did not use the provided software, since we use other GPS geotagging and photo-linking software.||igotU Travel Blog Software. Proprietary software install required to access data on the device. All-in-one solution seems intended for users that new geotagging. Sometimes the software wouldn’t recognize the device and we’d have to try and restart the machine several times to get it to work. The support staff of this company tried to fix some of these bugs, but it never was a stable process.||AMOD AGL3080|
|Price (from Amazon.com)||$65.00||$98.00||AMOD AGL3080|
|Connector||Standard USB-2 cable.||USB-2 cable (with proprietary output connector from device)||AMOD AGL3080|
i-gotU GT-200e Summary
Size makes this device appealing. It’s good for day hikers, cyclists and weekend warriors who are PC users, new to geotagging and looking for an all-in-one geotagging hardware/software/website display solution.
But we all know size isn’t everything.
If you have any experience with GPS data logging and geotagging, you will probably find the software unnecessarily complicated. If Mobile Action decouples the hardware from the software by allowing driverless direct access to the data on the device, this would be a welcome improvement.
AMOD AGL3080 Summary
For us, the AMOD AGL3080 is notable for its Mac compatibility and easy access to raw data (.log format). Our Mac OSX laptops recognize it as an external hard drive.
Because it takes AAA batteries, it’s possible to use on an extended trek, provided you have replacement batteries or you have rechargeable batteries, a charger, and access to electricity.
Note: If you don’t fully turn off the AMOD AGL3080 device completely before taking the batteries out, you run the risk of corrupting data on its built-in drive. If this happens to you, you’ll have to reformat the drive before using it again (hat tip to Peter Carey for helping us figure this out). This undocumented feature can be challenging at times.
The current winner: AMOD AGL3080.
Disclosure: The igotU GT-200e was provided to us for review by Mobile Action. We applaud their perseverance and for shipping the device to us in South America during our travels there.
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