iGotU GPS Tracking Data Logger Review

by Joe Mueller on October 7, 2010

The i-GotU is a GPS tracking data logger created by Mobile Action. There are two main models under the i-GotU brand, the GT-120 and the GT-600. This review deals specifically with the i-GotU GT-600 and will discuss the main features listed by Mobile Action for this personal tracking device. After that, we will take a look at some of the various applications of this device – several of which will stray from the applications proposed by Mobile Action in their promotional material. This device is not a real time GPS tracking device, so it will only be tested in in data logging activities. Finally, we will take a look at the overall rating given to the device.

i-GotU Review Highlights

  • GPS sensor works great outdoors but looses signal indoors
  • Reading instructions on product operation is a must and does take some time to get used to
  • Sport tracking feature is useful and accurate, but could be better
  • Serves multiple purposes, making it more useful than some devices because of the software package included

Features

The i-GotU comes with the following list of features (taken from the i-GotU website):

Fun & Easy

The i-GotU is relatively easy to use, once you get a basic understanding of what it is you have to do to get it working. As an example, I figured out how to get the basic tracking down after one or two uses but have yet to figure out how to use the motion sensor capability of the device. To turn the device on, simply press and hold the one button on the device until the blue light comes on in the top left hand corner. To turn off the device, press the same button and hold it until the red light appears in the top left hand corner. Simple enough.

But when I follow the instructions printed on the back of the i-GotU packaging for the motion activated tracking feature I was unable to get the device to activate no matter how fast I would go. Here is the picture of the instructions on the packaging:

iGot-U Motion Detector

There must be a setting in the @Trip software that I have to turn on for the device to power on automatically when it senses motion, I just haven’t had the time to search for and figure out exactly what I have to do for it. At the very least, the instructions on how to do this could be improved.

Power Saving

Since I have not been able to activate the motion sensor I am unsure of just how battery saving the device is. I have been able to run the device for 5+ hours without having to charge it while I have been capturing my location at the most frequent rate permitted. Even after running it for 5+ hours I would only plug the device into my computer long enough to download the data to the @Trip software for analysis. I continued this behavior for 3 weeks and have not run out of battery yet, bringing the total amount of tracking to over 16 hours with very little charge time during that 3 week period. Overall the battery life has been pretty impressive.

@trip Service

The @trip service is an online community where you can share your travels, photos, and insights with other iGotU users. I created a profile in all of 1 minute and shared my first trip in less than 20 seconds after that. It is seamlessly integrated with the software that downloads onto your PC and works like a charm. When you share a link with your friends they can view your trip in 3D using a Google Earth plugin – a neat feature if you ask me. The appearance of the trip pages could look better, but it they definitely are a lot nicer than anything I could put together myself. Overall, the @trip service is a nice addition for the traveler who likes to share his adventures with family and friends over the internet.

@trip Software

The @trip Software, which includes the @Trip PC, Sports Analyzer, and Where I Am application, is both useful and feature rich. @Trip PC allows you to log your travels and integrate picture that you took from a digital camera into the journey. It also uploads your trips to the internet very easily. Here is a trip my family took to the zoo where we had the GPS tracking device attached to the stroller: Trip to the Zoo . Most of the pictures were taking at the beginning of the trip since the phone we took them on, an HTC Incredible running the Android OS, was running low on battery.

The Sports Analyzer is also very simple to use and easy to understand. The interface is pretty intuitive and the graphs are pretty interesting/helpful for not very serious sports people to understand and analyze. Here is a screen shot of the service:

Sports Analyzer iGotu GT600

Locate & geotag photos

Geotagging photos with the iGotU’s software was a breeze. All I had to do was open the trip and import the folder that had all the photos that I took with my camera. It really was that simple. There is a pretty easy to follow online demo of the process that Mobile Action put together. It can be found here: Photo Locator: Locating my photos easily

The only thing that you want to be sure of is that your digital camera is actually set to the correct time. If you don’t know how to do this on your digital camera I recommend that you pull out your manual and figure it out. I was able to find it pretty easily on my camera, but I know not everyone has the same camera. If you can’t do this, the geotagging feature won’t work because it uses the time stamp on the photo to sync it up with the location that was gathered from the iGotU.

Detect where I am in real time

I have never been able to detect where I am in real time with the iGotU. This is probably because I have always been indoors when trying to use this feature – and the iGotU did not have very good GPS results when indoors. This may service may work great when outside at a cafe or park or some other historic or beautiful destination, but when I was in my home or in class I was not able to find my location.

Record & analyze detailed routes

The iGotU definitely does let you record and analyze detailed routes. In fact, over the course of 3-4 weeks I got to use the device to record my bike commute to and from work in the efforts to see just how detailed and useful the GPS tracking function on this device can be. Overall, I was very impressed with the accuracy of the device and how the information is presented to the user. There were, however, a few drawbacks to the device.

First, lets deal with the short comings. The first is that GPS tracking does not begin immediately upon turning on the device. This is not that big of a deal since all GPS devices have this drawback, but what did make it particularly annoying in this case is that the process could take several minutes. There area few ways to make the cold start less annoying, like holding the device parallel to the open sky, but getting a GPS fix could take anywhere from fifteen seconds to two and a half minutes.

If you do not realize that the device needs to get a fix from the GPS satellites before you start moving you can come to the conclusion that the iGotU personal GPS tracking device is not very accurate. This is a false conclusion, but that is what it will seem like when you analyze your data and get results like this when traveling the same exact route:

DateDistanceTime
9/36.7100:25:56
9/46.6800:23:58
9/56.3400:22:11
9/67.1700:29:53
9/76.6400:23:59

As you can see, for taking the same exact route each day the difference between the distances is pretty extreme. There is almost a mile difference between the shortest and the longest time! This would make any GPS tracking device very innacurate, but in this case there was user error that created the large discrepancy. I simply did not wait for the iGotU to get a fix before starting my journey and got this bad data as a result.

When I waited until the GPS got a fix I got the following results:

00:25:1500:24:01
DateDistanceTime
9/106.87500:23:50
9/116.848
9/126.862
9/136.8500:23:27
9/146.82500:24:06
9/246.98900:24:36
9/256.84400:23:01
9/266.8500:22:50
9/276.86100:23:29

The results of this data represents a much closer grouping of distances given that I take the same route home from work each night. When you take away the reading from 9/24 (6.989 miles) the largest deviation from the average between the various distances in only 141 feet. That seems very accurate to me.

So what about the reading on 9/24? Why is this so different from all the rest?

Here is a picture that explains it all:

9-25 Sports Analyzer Mistake

I did not take my bike on this route when I started the night of the 25th. This is an error in the GPS personal data logger. To me, its not that big of a deal, but to a seriously hardcore mutli-sport lunatic this might make them a little upset.

In my opinion, the iGotU GT-600 is very accurate – it is just prone to wander a little bit.

Share trips & photos on 3D maps

I mentioned this above when talking about the @Trip service, but you can share trips and photos on 3D maps using the service provided by Mobile Action. It is pretty cool and uses Google Earth to display the 3D images for the end user. I think its cool, but each person is going to get their own mileage out of it. You can check out my demo trip here:

Trip to the Zoo

Applications

The iGotU is branded as a personal GP tracking data logger. As such, it has two main functions – to record the places you go on trips and to record the places you go during sporting activities. As a travel logger and personal fitness GPS the iGotU does a decent job, but it is obviously a trip tracker first and a personal fitness GPS second. I still like using if for both, but the sport side of it could use a little beefing up if it is to hold a candle to GPS tracking watches and other sport specific GPSs. But for an all-in-one device the iGotU is pretty solid for both activities. Over the next couple of weeks I plan on putting together some posts highlighting the iGotU’s strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:

Personal GPS Tracking

  • Travel Logger (Full Post Coming Soon)
  • Sports Tracker (Full Post Coming Soon)

Besides the uses discussed by Mobile Action, I wanted to see if I could use the iGotU as a covert GPS tracking device. It is relatively small and could easily be concealed inside a car. Since there is a lot of interest in tracking down a spouse or a teen driver I thought I would put that to the test and see if the iGotU can pass muster. I plan on testing this personal GPS tracker in the following capacity and posting my results here.

Covert GPS Tracking Device

  • Teen Driver Tracking (Full Post Coming Soon)
  • Spouse Tracking (Full Post Coming Soon)

Check back soon for more ways on how to use the iGotU.

Verdict

I would recommend the iGotU to anyone who is interested in a GPS tracking device that allows you to do more than one activity with the same device. The GPS tracking capabilities are solid and the trip sharing software is simple, easy to use, and practically idiot proof. I wish that some of the operations of the device and software were a little more intuitive, but you can get by with some trial and error, looking over the instructions, or watching some of the walk-throughs online. Overall, I think the iGotU is great way to get into the world of personal GPS tracking.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea December 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

Any news on the covert tracking?

Reply

2 Joe December 2, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Hey Andrea,

The news is that the device still has battery! It has been sitting in the glove compartment of my wife’s car for several weeks now and it is still kicking. I cannot wait to get the data out of it and see what I will be able to see with it. The test run I did was pretty positive so I think we might have found a pretty viable covert GPS tracking device.

We’ll wait and see, but things are looking good.

-Joe

Reply

3 gladys gay September 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

how do i order and what do it look like

Reply

4 Malcolm November 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I need more details on your igotu product what it costs,how big it is, is it available in South Africa? and how it operates.

Reply

5 Joe Mueller November 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hi Malcolm,

The cost will vary depending on who you buy it from, but I think it is on Amazon right now for under $90. The size of the device is pretty small (like smaller than the palm of your hand), but I forget the exact dimensions. A version of the iGot-U that is similar to the one I used has the dimensions of 46 x 41.5 x 14 mm. I am unsure if it is available in any retail store in South Africa.

The iGotU device is a data logger, meaning that it records its own movements throughout the day and a user must download the data from the device in order to know where the device has been.

- Joe

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