Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Want to buy a GPS logging device?

I've continued to think about GPS and geolocation, and thinking about how to, well, be more geo.

Update 2: you can now participate in a bulk buy of a Globalsat DG100-GPS from Expansys.

Some of this in context of Placeblogger, of course, more of it in imagining a future where even MORE photos and media are easily discoverable as being "local". In fact, Jeffrey Veen's Fixing the Web has a modest proposal to geo-enable *everything*:

I wish every device that was capable of talking to the network could send its geolocation. I'd like this to be fundamental—let's send longitude and latitude in the HTTP header of every request. Let's make it as ubiquitous and accessible as the time stamp, user agent, and referring URL.

So, it has to be easy, it has to be (almost) always on, and I need to be able to easily combine geo information with other media -- blog posts, photos, videos, etc. -- that get created along the way.

Enter GPS logging devices. "What is a GPS logger?", you ask. Well, it's a simple GPS receiver that does nothing more than log your location to local memory with a timestamp, which you can later pull off onto your computer as a GPS "track". It's small, it's battery powered, and you can keep it with you all the time. OK, OK, still too complicated.

  1. Buy GPS logger
  2. Turn on and clip to belt
  3. Walk around taking pictures, video, blogging, etc.
  4. Get back to your computer, download the GPS track and the media you've just taken
  5. Run some software to merge your GPS location information with your pictures (e.g. GPS Photo Linker)
  6. Voila! Thousands of your pictures on a map

Of course, this works for keeping track of hiking, biking, running, boating or anything else where you might want to see a map of a route you've taken after the fact.

After a little research on where to buy (I like Expansys and NCIX) and what to buy (this review of the Globalsat DG100-GPS and the Sony GPS-CS1 was immensely helpful -- some photos by the reviewer rakerman on Flickr are good to get a sense of size), I'm pretty sure that the Globalsat DG100-GPS is the unit for me. It charges over USB, has a longer battery life, and a bunch of different logging modes. It can even do "GPS mouse mode", where it can act as a GPS receiver for a laptop (e.g. various mapping software packages on your laptop showing real time location info for when you do have your laptop with you).

The only, only downside is that it really doesn't work all too well with the Mac. As in, it comes with a bunch of crazy Windows software and that's about it. Enter ClueTrust's LoadMyTracks, a Mac app for sending and receiving GPS data tracks to/from various devices. It doesn't *currently* support the Globalsat unit, but...'s where you come in: Want to pay around $100 CDN for a Globalsat DG100-GPS and start geologging your social media? Leave a comment below, and I'll continue talking to Expansys about getting a bulk order in (we'll need to buy 5 or more), including arranging to get a unit to the guys at ClueTrust. I've put emails in to both Expansys and ClueTrust, and the guys at ClueTrust have provisionally said that they should be able to make it work nicely on the Mac. And of course, if you're on Windows, feel free to just take advantage of a bulk order :P

Update: in the comments, Richard Akerman, the person whose review I enjoyed, did a round up of GPS logging and the Mac. Looks like we are on the right track to try and get more support in software...

BarCamp Vancouver 2007 is coming up this weekend already, so unfortunately I don't think I'll have time to grab a unit before then, although I may get my hands on a Bluetooth GPS brick and some Series 60 logging software for my Nokia E61 to go along with Kris' photowalk...

P.S. No, I don't (currently) have any affiliation with Expansys. But I *am* hoping they will take me up on the offer to "sponsor" LoadMyTracks support. Email me back, guys!