01.Telespial Systems Trackstick II
Telespial Systems Trackstick II
Dimensions 11.5cm x 3cm x 2cm
Car Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are becoming increasingly common. But what alternative GPS options are available if you do not own a car or don’t wish to lug around a handheld unit?
The Telespial Systems Trackstick II is not a GPS device in the traditional sense, as it does not supply you with on-the-go directions. Instead, the product can be used to check out where you've been once you’ve completed your trip. It also enables you to ‘geotag’ – identifying, via Google Earth, the geographical location, time and date of any photos you take. The powerful software supplied allows you to integrate your photos with the locations logged by the Trackstick II.
We struggled a little with the software due to the sheer range of options and an initially unintuitive interface. Once we reset our measurements from U.S. to metric, we didn’t need to change them again.
After loading the Trackstick II with two alkaline AAA batteries, we took it for a spin around southern Sydney and found it did a good job tracking us throughout our journey. By connecting its USB port to a computer with the downloaded software it delivers location, time and speed.
An alkaline battery life claim of 16 hours for recording every five seconds, and up to three days for recording every 15 seconds, means it will likely need substantial replacements if you are travelling for long periods, but these times can be extended with rechargeable batteries.
Once the free Google Earth software is downloaded, the Trackstick II software enables seamless integration into Google Earth with your photos, along with the tracking information, claiming to store months of data.
At $299 we thought the price was a little high so we compared a cheaper alternative product, the I-GotU GT-100 by Mobile Action ($80), but found that while its software was very intuitive, it dropped the signal too often to be useful.
For travellers who wish to track themselves and record memories with photos, this device is ideal but may require a little extra patience getting familiar with the software. However, for a similar price you can purchase a handheld GPS device of only marginally greater size and weight that gives you the same sort of information and has a display to show where you are.
Please note: this information was current as of December 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.