Useful Travel Items: GPS tracker

Meet my GPS tracker.

It’s an i-Got-U GPS tracker which I bought from Maplin about five years ago for about £40. There are more complex and more expensive trackers on the market but this one does what I want it to. I clip it onto my bag or my coat or put it in the window of a vehicle and it happily records where I’ve gone. It records one data point every five or ten or sixty seconds, depending on how you’ve got it set up and you can then find out all sorts from it about your journey.

It’s not a transmitter. It can’t send my location even in an emergency and I can’t look at what it’s recorded until I plug it into my laptop. But I don’t use it to find out where I am. I use it to find out where I’ve been. It comes with a bit of clever if clunky software that maps my route onto a Google map and gives me half a dozen different graphs.

This is my snowmobiling trip in Svalbard in November 2015. I can see just how far I went – 22-odd miles return, at a maximum speed of 41.7 km/hr, it took us a bit over two hours and we reached an altitude of 70.5 m at the top of the valley. Absolutely none of these details registered in my brain at the time. It was dark, the snowmobile was a bit scary and a bit too fast for my liking and I though the entire route was pretty much flat and as for how long it took, it was long enough for my hands to go numb on the way home.

I can export this data and stick it onto a Google map which I can then annotate to my heart’s content. I’ve added a few yellow arrows to show what we stopped for and (roughly!) where. It’s handy, I’ve added these maps to a few posts in the past:

As for the GPS itself – it’s simple to use. One button, two LEDs (admittedly, buried under the plastic where you have difficulty seeing them in bright light). Press the button to switch it on, give it a minute or two to find the satellites and then be on your way. It comes with a little silicone case which means it’s a little less delicate than it could be, it’s more or less rainproof, although it’s not actually waterproof. It does come with a unique USB charging cable – don’t go losing that because I’m not sure you can actually get a replacement. It doesn’t need charging often, it has a pretty good battery life but my one big criticism is that it doesn’t tell me when it’s full and needs emptying and I’m a little too nervous of losing or misplacing any of my data tracks to empty it unless I have to. When it’s full, it just stops recording.

If this sounds perfect for your wants – I’m sorry, it’s discontinued. I intended to put an Amazon affiliate link here and I can’t. You can look at its page on Maplin’s website if you want, but you can’t buy it. Sorry about that but I hope you enjoyed looking at what I do with it.