Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Looking for Android compatible GPS loggers

I spent quite a lot of today looking at GPS loggers. I was planning to buy the GlobalSat DG-200 GPS logger, until I realised that you need its windows specific software to download the tracklog from the device. It appears that it does not connect as a mass storage device. I looked at many other GPS models, such as the Garmin eTrex and Garmin eTrex h (reportedly the h is much better / more sensitive), and the i-gotU GT-600 and GT-120. But they all required specialist software / drivers to download data from the device, and all feature internal memory only, so you can't use a microSD card then remove it from the device to read it.

Eventually I found some software for Android that can read the tracklogs from bluetooth GPS loggers that use the MTK GPS chipset: AndroidMTK. But it only works via bluetooth. One GPS logger that uses the MTK chipset and bluetooth is the Holux M-241. But when I checked the Amazon reviews, they weren't great. A few people reported that it was unreliable to use, sometimes loosing tracklogs.

A couple of other bluetooth MTK chipset GPS loggers are the iBlue 747 and Qstarz BT-Q818XT, but these both cost around £50-60.

So it seems my best bet is probably going to be a Garmin eTrex 10. I'm pretty sure this can be used in USB mass storage mode, so it will work with my android tablet over USB. If not, it uses microSD, so that can be used to copy the tracklog via a USB card reader instead. Amazon reviews seem to be positive on the device's sensitivity and accuracy. If I'm patient I can hopefully pick one up for around £40. More than I wanted to spend, but not really expensive either.

The bad thing about the eTrex is that it is quite a bit larger than a simple logger, which is the main reason why I sold my Garmin 76CSx. Still, the eTrex 10 is smaller than the 76CSx. As a slight bonus, some of the reviewers stated that although the eTrex is no good for mapping, it can still be used for uploading a route and then checking that you are following the route.

I spent all of the morning (and some of the rest of the day) planning one thing to do when I'm in Japan (visit Mt Aso).

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