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It’s several years since I needed to log GPS data in a situation where I couldn’t use a mobile phone app, but now I need to track people and objects in situations that are more tricky, muddy, mobile and unpredictable. I’m partly interested in how to use GPS in situations where its not going to produce results that seem accurate. What can we learn from ‘doubtful data’, that may not be about accurate positioning, but could be about types of movement, or the chaotic nature of a situation. As the work progresses there will be more posts about that work, but for now something more practical.

Data loggers are becoming much cheaper. They tend to show relatively little information, anything from a lat long number, to a simple on/off/recharge light, but they are GPS receivers and data loggers that save that data for up to 1,000,000 data points, with battery life up to about 12 hours. The data is then downloaded either via GPRS, Bluetooth or a USB cable. Most makes tend to be PC based, with little or no mention of whether the device is compatible with a Mac.

The Amod AGL3080  advertises its Mac compatibility (£65 delivered from US), Qstarz devices are also said to be Mac compatible on photo geotagging forums but I can’t find that information on their site. Their sports recorder (BT-Q1300ST) (£80 delivered from Canada) looks like it might be useful for the work I’m developing, and its one of the smallest and thinnest I’ve seen.

Canmore produce a small route logger, (GT-730FL-S) (£32 delivered from Canada) although the documentation is said to be very vaigue, and it isn’t Mac compatible. The Holux M-241 is similar and offers more visual feedback than others on the device itself (£44). It is delivered within the UK, so I bought this one as I needed it quickly for testing next week. It would be great to be able to test all of them. There’s also the igotu travel logger (£40),

Even the Mac compatible devices don’t necessarily come with Mac software, but freeware is available such as GPSbabel, or Houdah which is $29.

Battery life, and kind of battery is also part of the choice. The Holux takes an AA battery, which is of course replaceable in the field if necessary, unlike the rechargeable ones.

For pet tracking, the G-Paws seems to be most popular (£24), which might be useful for a dog tracking project I hope to begin later this year.

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