The AMOD AGL3080 is a "driverless" GPS logger, it shows up on your computer like a USB memory key. It worked fine on Windows (XP) and Mac (OS X 10.4.10). It logs to NMEA 0183 format files with a fixed 1 second interval. Given this logging frequency, and its capacity of approx. 256,000 data points, the total maximum duration for stored tracks is about 70 hours. It uses the SIRFstarIII GPS chipset. It takes 3 AAA batteries.
(Disclosure: AMOD provided me with this GPS for evaluation purposes.)
In general concept the AMOD AGL3080 (available from Amazon.com in the USA) is like an improved Sony GPS-CS1. The CS1 has an older chipset, and for some reason Sony and Apple haven't been able to get it together to get the CS1 to mount as a USB drive on all versions of Mac OS X.
This leaves the AGL3080 in the position of being one of the very few GPS loggers that is easily Mac compatible right out of the box.
As you can see, the AGL3080, the GPS-CS1, and the GiSTEQ DPL700 all have roughly similar designs, with carabiner loops at the top, and compact form factors. The AGL3080 does have a covered USB port, although the cover is not as elaborate as on the Sony. Still either one should protect from spraying water e.g. on a boat ride.
AMOD AGL3080 (black), GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr Lite DPL700 (orange), GPS-CS1 (white)
(in case you're wondering, the photo isn't backwards, I changed the orientation of the GPSes and moved the pen for the second photo)
The AGL3080 has a separate waypoint button, it is however almost identical in size, shape and location to the power button, so it's hard to know which one you're pushing without looking.
There are three LEDs: file system full, GPS tracking, and battery low.
What you get in the box (USB cable, CD, carbiner attachment thing):
There are no user-configurable settings for the AGL3080, it logs tracks from its SIRFstarIII chipset every 1 second. This to me is a rather unfortunate choice, I would rather it log less frequently, perhaps every 10 seconds. The two consequences of this logging frequency are very large individual log files (NMEA 0183 format), and limited (70 hours) total logging time, even though it has a generous 128MB of file storage.
As an example, just a three hour trip to a ski hill generated a 3.1 MB log file; this is larger than the 3 MB maximum for processing log files on GPS visualizer.com
You can of course still work with them locally using e.g. gpsbabel
The tracks themselves are good; about what you would expect from a SIRFstarIII logger. Reasonably good in urban canyon.
Here is the AGL3080 [red] compared against the Qstarz BT-Q1000 [purple] (MTK chipset, 10 second logging interval) and (a partial track from) the Globalsat DG-100 [yellow] (same SIRFstarIII chipset, 30 second logging interval).
They're all about the same when I walk up Gloucester (off by about a block south) and Albert (off by about half a block south). The GPSes were just in my jacket pockets, so it wasn't exactly ideal sky view.
For geocoding photos on a Mac, the package includes JetPhoto 2.9.1 on CD. It's not the Pro version and there is no special AMOD integration - the software is a free download (about 21 MB) for anyone, there is a newer version 2.12, available from http://www.jetphotosoft.com/ (the newer version has improved Leopard compatibility).
I will review JetPhoto in a later posting.
You can of course use other Mac software like HoudahGeo, as the tracks are in a standard format.
On Windows, there is software from AMOD (AMOD GPS Photo Tracker) as well as JetPhoto for Windows.
On the Mac there is some weirdness about the file display - in the Finder, the files show with size, but no date, in a browse window the files all show a date of 18/02/04 and no size - but the files themselves work fine. The date and time are embedded in the filename anyway.
On Windows XP, the files also don't show a date and time, but still work fine.
I would definitely recommend this unit over the Sony GPS-CS1, which has a less-sensitive chipset and lacks consistent Mac compatibility. The ease of use of a driverless model is very compelling. Although the AGL3080 does have a very high logging frequency, this will only create issues if you're on a long trip (longer than one week). You could deal with file management issues by using a laptop, copying files at an Internet cafe, or using a direct USB-to-USB transfer to a memory stick or other USB storage.
UPDATE 2008-01-28: Unfortunately a test using the Sima Hitch USB transfer device was not successful; it did not recognize the AGL3080. END UPDATE
TypePad helpfully ate my entire list of suggested improvements, so let me see what I can remember.
- Increase logging interval from 1 second to 10 seconds; this will increase total track time that can be stored from 70 hours to 700.
- Provide several logging interval options (e.g. using a switch like the DG-100).
- Since the logging interval is so short, add a motion sensor like the GiSTEQ models, so that it doesn't log when you're not moving.
- Change the position and shape of the waypoint button so that you can find and press it without having to look at the GPS.
- Fix the minor Mac Finder display issues.
- Support USB charging of rechargable batteries, like the DG-100.
- Show an indication when the device is connected as a USB drive, and when it is transferring files (currently there is no indication that it is connected).
- UPDATE 2008-01-28: Support the Sima Hitch and other USB / USB OTG transfer devices.
You can see my GPS logger comparison chart for how it stacks up against other models.