back to article Telespial Systems Trackstick Mini GPS

If your business or pleasure activities can be enhanced by accurately recording where you have been and when, then a good passive GPS tracker can be a handy gadget to have. Of course, GPS trackers also have a slight whiff of the ignoble and sneaky about them and rightly so ,as one of their major advantage over a GPS tracking …

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FAIL

Price...

I nearly spat out the tea I was drinking when I read the price. It might be small (ish) but £220 (suggested)? Crikey. One could pick up an Garmin eTrex Vista or Legend for around £140 and they're reasonably small, have massive battery life (I've run one for 23 hours on a pair of AA batteries, how quaint!) and have, not only the precise GPS tracking offered with this device, but also a multitude of additional features (e.g. compass, maps, basic navigation, trip computer and more).

I just don't get it. The pricing needs a re-think. I expected to see a price tag of around £70.

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Gold badge
Thumb Up

Quite a neat data logger

Handy for various transport and wildlife studies. It'd be interesting to find out if it works inside a container on the back of a lorry for things like refrigerated meat transport.

Probably a bit big for tracking a lot of smaller mammals but OK for bigger things like wild boar, deer, bears etc.

The review says an 80 hour life on a standard charge but I suspect that's at a 1 sec sample rate. At a 15 mins sample interval (900x slower) that's nearer 1200 days, over 3 years of use.

I'd guess the other popular options would be pressure and light sensors but you can't have everything.

If they give bulk discounts they could be onto a winner.

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Alternatively...

Go for a iBlue 747A+ battery life is ~30hrs, allows 125,000 way points...all for less than £40. <http://gps.tall-trekkers.com/buy/iblue+747a>

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G2
WTF?

how about...

the most obvious usage mode that i don't see tested is if it can run in tracking mode while being plugged into an usb port to provide it always with power and how long can it last until it fills all the space at maximum sampling speed (5 seconds).

Many vehicles these days have a car radio / cd / mp3 player with at least one or two usb ports (for playing MP3s & stuff). Connecting this thing to power via a usb cable extender while keeping it out of the way in the documents tray on top of the dashboard seems the ideal thing to do.

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WTF?

220!?!?!

Well if you fancy saving ~190 GBP then try this "RTek SiRF Star3GPS Rec/DataLog" - http://tinyurl.com/294tdwr

Ok, it's not waterproof nor have a fancy magnetic holder but it runs for ages using AAA batteries and logs my runs accurately enough.

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Silver badge

GPS accuracy...

The author wrote: "The worst I noticed was a plot a good 40m off target, though the US Air Force would probably regard that as right on the money, so perhaps I am being picky."

Uhm yeah, right. The USAF is a tad more accurate that that. How much more is classified. :-)

Your units accuracy will depend on the clock in the device and the number of sat's it can find.

Also you're plotting your results to a map which itself can be off by as much as 1.5 m based on your Lat/Long. (Without even considering the accuracy of the track vehicle.) You don't notice it because your position is usually snapped to the nearest street. So when you take a device which give you an 'absolute' position, you will not always line up to where you think you should be.

Add in accelerometers... you can get a bit more accuracy. (Imagine without accelerometers, you will track motion in a parked car.) ;-)

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Bronze badge
WTF?

eh? 220 quid! and it doesn't transmit ???

29 quid for an igotu similar device from Maplin last year.

this thing doesn't have any GSM capability ? Basically just passive like the igotu

I don't get where the other 200 quid goes.

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Silver badge

Too late to evaluate its use for PARIS?

See title.

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tas
Alert

There are much better value products out there!

Take the Qstarz BT-Q1000ex: has every feature of the Trackstick except the bundled "magnetic clamp". However, in addition it has:

* sensitivity of -165dBm and 66-Channel tracking due to the cutting edge MTK II chipset. This chipset was so good even in pre-production that Garmin (global leader in satnav) snapped them up like hotcakes.

* geotagger, sports tracker, lap timer all in one.

* 1Hz normal mode down to 5Hz (once every 0.2sec!) ability.

* customizable logging every X seconds, Y meters and Z km/h (X,Y,Z can apply at the same time)

* 1Hz normal mode battery life is 42 hours. If you configure the logging rate to every 5 seconds, I would imagine the battery life is 5 times longer. I know photographers have used the previous very successful Qstarz BT-Q1000 for weeks at a time.

* can store 400,000 datapoints instead of just 16,000 before data is overwritten!

* has a USB and Bluetooth interface for data. USB also for charging.

* USB/Bluetooth interface means it can simultaneously function as a wired and wireless receiver including as a G-Mouse to mobile devices.

* it can take advantage of Assisted GPS where available to guarantee an extremely fast GPS signal acquisition. Not that it needed it in my case, it rarely took longer than 15s to acquire.

* comes bundled with QTravel (geotagging software), QSports (sports tracking) and the very powerful Lap Timing Analysis software.

* comes with on-case switches to instantly toggle between the base 1Hz mode and extreme 5Hz mode, also has a POI/waypoint button to quickly highlight specific waypoints.

* has a built-in vibration sensor to intelligently save power and memory if the device has not been touched for extended period of time.

* url: http://www.qstarz.com/Products/GPS%20Products/BT-Q1000EX-F.htm

All that for less than half the price of the Trackstick! Needless to say, I have one and have had one for about 3 months. I use it mainly for geotagging since I already had a Garmin Forerunner for sports. The main attraction was the phenomenal battery life, software and comprehensiveness of all features I could possibly want in a GPS tracker now or in future at a very affordable price! I have it in my standard bag when I go out. I don't even need to remember to switch it off due to the vibration sensor. It's a true fire and forget it device and a single charge lasts for well over a week for me at normal 1Hz mode.

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Boffin

Compass bearing of travel ? Pedant alert.

Really compass bearing ? Or ground track direction ? Pedantic I know, but they are different. I suspect in this application ground track bearing (indicating approximate direction of travel) rather than compass bearing (indicating the azimuth of the axis of the compass sensor relative to magnetic north, or which way the unit is 'facing',if you prefer) would be more useful.

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