I had hoped to write a feature comparing the latest GPS travel logging devices that are becoming popular in schools but sadly, one of the main contenders, the Trackstick, appears to be no longer available in the UK. However, Data Harvest came to my rescue with its i-gotU GT120 GPS Travel Logger which must be the smallest of these devices, weighing in at just 21 grammes and measuring a diminutive 44.5mm x 28.5mm x 13mm!
What is a travel logger? Let me explain. These devices are handheld GPS satellite receivers and loggers. They can automatically take a GPS reading and remember it. So if you’re out on a hike for example, or a school field trip (or, in my case, walking the dog), as long as the logger has clear access to the sky it will happily store all the GPS readings that will record your journey until you tell it to stop.
A travel logger can automatically add photo GPS locations so you can map your pictures. On return to base, you just download the data into the @Trip software which comes with the logger and a track of your movements is plotted over a Google Map and/or a satellite image. Being able to select waypoints along the track allows you to link these to photos or movies you have shot en route. Thus you create an animated trip journal that brings the journey back to life by plotting the route and playing back the photos and even the YouTube videos with the exact locations on 3D maps.
It is now easy to share trip or outdoor sport activities with others through the free @trip travel-blog hosting site, in common file formats (Internet Explorer MHTML or Google KMZ for example) or through popular web albums like Picasa and Flickr. Originally designed for hikers and holidaymakers to plot their movements (and keeping tabs on family members!), these devices have obvious educational uses too.
Being water resistant, the i-gotU GT120 is ideal for recording outdoor activities on school journeys, field trips and other activities. By taking your digital camera along as well, any photographs you take can be plotted on to the map, showing not only the picture but also exactly where and when you took it! (Apple's new iPhoto software can now handle GPS data too.)
For your £47.50 you get an i-gotU GPS Travel Logger, USB connection cable, mini CD-Rom containing software, drivers and user guide and a minuscule protective carrying case. In use I found that it was deceptively easy to start the logging but the sequence and meaning of the red and blue LED indicator lights takes a bit of getting use to. The pdf format user guide is rather skimpy and I would have liked to see more detail here.
The problem with such a small device is twofold. First, where do you mount it so that it will always face towards the sky, unimpeded? Second, it’s going to get lost if children are given responsibility for it. The former concern can be addressed by adding a strip of adhesive Velcro to the underside of the case and putting a reciprocal Velcro patch on whatever you are going to mount the device to. The second problem can be overcome by keeping the device in the hands of a responsible adult. I tried walking with it held in my hand and, although inconvenient, it was largely successful. However, I did get a number of spurious plots now and again. It also worked very well sliding about on the dashboard of the car during another journey...
Altogether the i-gotU GT120 works very well indeed and adds a whole new dimension to school visits and field trips. Recommended.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 4
Ease of use 4
Value for money 4
GPS travel logger, with USB cable, mini CD-Rom containing software, drivers and user guide, and carry case, £47.50
Data Harvest Group Ltd
1 Eden Court, Leighton Buzzard, Beds LU7 4FY
Tel. 01525 373666
Example i-gotU trip on @trip website