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January 14, 2008

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Kevin Jaako

Hi Richard,

Great review. Good spotting on the missing filesystem date/timestamps! I completely missed that. Good eye!

I agree, the 1Hz logging is definitely on the excessive side. 128Mb is ALOT of space for text-based log files, and the AGL3080 eats through it in a mere 70 hours. That being said, I do enjoy the fact that there's no frequency-select switch, though. It keeps the design very smooth and streamlined. Maybe some sort of motion sensor, as you mentioned, could do the trick- or even just scaling back the logging frequency when the GPS speed-field drops.

Anyway, great review! Thanks for the heads up on the AMOD trial offer, I'll keep checking back.

Cheers!
KJ

Max Deployment

Just wanted to thank you for your review. I know (knew) nothing about this stuff and I take very few pictures; instead, I was looking for a GPS "tracker" and didn't want to pay $400+ for a unit. So far, this has been a good solution for me, and the price was right. The best part is Mac compatibility--no problems with my iBook G4. I would also like to see less-frequent logging and longer battery life.

What's funny is that even when it's sitting still, the track looks like the unit was strapped to a dog on speed. (Maybe that's just the nature of GPS.)

Anyway, thanks again. Extremely helpful info. I'll be sure to pass this along to my photographer friend.

Einar Værnes

Hi, I have a question:
Can any of those loggers give me data on UTM format?

Richard Akerman

I haven't seen any devices that provide Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) by default, but I think you could run the data through gpsbabel in order to get this format.

http://www.gpsbabel.org/

coder

Thanks for the reviews. I found the amod website:
http://www.amod.com.tw/Product/?tLGIqc6FuoJK
Note you have to type the .com.tw

They have new firmware updates posted 2/15/2008. It implies that the logging interval can be adjusted now. Have you tried that? Also, how long did the battery last? I prefer one that is driverless with the log files accessible like this and PC/Mac compat. However their website doesn't give me great confidence, so I just want to get a little more info so that I can trust it will work.

Thomas

Hello Richard!

Thanks for your reviews so far. For my final decision what to buy would be interesting: In http://scilib.typepad.com/techreviews/2007/11/qstarz-bt-q-100.html you write "I recommend this unit as [the Qstarz BT-Q1000 is] the best logger I have tested so far."
Is this still valid or is the AGL3080 better (and if so, by what means)?
Most important to me is the gps-receiver-quality - the rest is just the cream on the pie...

Thanks,
Thomas from Austria

Mike

Thanks for the great review. I'm going on a backpacking trip for a couple months - Because I won't have my own computer that I can install software onto finding a driverless device was import so that I can email the data logs to myself at internet cafe's(either that or get something like the ATP Photo Finder which can write to your SD card directly).

Like the post from 'coder' mentioned, I noticed on the Amod website that there are 6 logging modes supported. I would be very interested to know what the different modes do - a longer logging window would be the deal breaker for me.

willem

Once again
Ok this seems to be the right one for me. Mac compatible (even though the other GPS logging devices have been made mac compatible by mario with the BT747, still i guess i like it when i can just hook it on and copy the log data to my hard drive) and with a so called Waypoint marker.
One question about this, what does the logg file look like when the waypoint marker is pressed? Is it simply embedded in the logfile with some extra (meta)data, or does it start a new logfile? How does this work?
Thanks again
willem

Shivanand

A very nice review. I am in the market for a GPS logger, and the AMOD AGL3080 looks very interesting (since I have a mac and a PC). I do most of my tagging on the mac and move to the pc for image editing.

I have two questions that are still un-answered.
1. Same as Thomas above, is it better than Qstarz BT-Q1000.
2. I use camera RAW (Canon). Does this work with Adobe Lightroom to store the data along with the raw file?! (I'm trying to consolidate my work flow)

Nathan Youngman

I am having trouble choosing between the AMOD AGL3080 and the Wintec WBT-201, which seem to have the best support on Mac for the moment. Other than that HoudahGeo recommends the Wintec, I had trouble finding reviews... besides one German one comparing to the iBlue 747 (which is equivalent to the Qstar, I believe). There is a review of the AMOD that talks about the data it stores... it can record everything, signal quality data and such which could be useful for cleaning up a math and mapping it. The 2.0 firmware update seems to address most of the suggested improvements above. On the other hand, I like that the Wintec is smaller and has bluetooth and a rechargeable LiIon battery (USB). Its logging is more configurable, but it always records less. The MTK-based Qstarz, etc. may be the best of both, there are 3 Mac solutions to read the data, but nothing that looks particularly solid/usable for serious use.

alpa

Just received the AMOD AGL3080. Drove home with it. Here are the 6 logging modes:

Mode 1: GGA/GSA/RMC/VTG->1 sec
GSV -> 5 sec 72 hours
Mode 2: Only RMC->1 sec 288 hours
Mode 3: GGA/GSA/RMC/VTG->5 sec 360 hours
Mode 4: Only RMC->5 sec 1440 hours
Mode 5: GGA/GSA/RMC/VTG->10 sec 720 hours
Mode 6: Only RMC->10 sec 2880 hours

And when you press the 'Mark' button, the following line is inserted into the NMEA formatted log file:

$ADPMB,5,0

I'm trying to figure out a way to convert this tag to standard NMEA format so that gpsbabel can understand it.

Kevin Hoyt

I currently carry a Trackstick II device around, but as a Mac user, I've been less than pleased. To get Trackstick data I have to use a VMWare Windows image *and* use specialized software. Seeing these newer devices connecting as drives is a real treat. The Trackstick also seems to lose reception when I put so much as a piece of paper in front of it. It sounds like the AMOD has good reception and Mac support. I'm thrilled! I'd be interested in your perspective on the iBlue 747 as well. Bluetooth seems attractive, but data transfer rates leave me less than impressed.

Oh! And the real reason for this comment - thanks for your review and consideration towards Mac integration!

Thanks again,
Kevin

Ethan

Can the AMOD AGL3080 run without batteries, if plugged in via a USB cable?

Thanks! Fantastic info - very helpful!
/ethan

Richard Akerman

Ethan, without batteries you can access the files on the AGL3080 (mount as a USB drive), but you can't switch it into logging mode - the power light won't even turn on.

Peter

Very useful report. But I have difficulties if I want read the log files in GPSBabel (default input format is Geogrid viewer tracklogs. Is this the correct format for the AMOD?

aris

I have been looking at the AGL3080 and your review has been cited a couple of times. It has been very usefull indeed.

Here is a question I cannot work out from any reviews: how do you set the date/time on the unit?

Thanks!

Richard Akerman

@aris GPS units receive time signals from the GPS satellites; you don't need to set the date/time.

Coos Wernsing

Hi Richard.

Thanks for the review. For this reason I bought the Amod tracker. It gives me the coordinates and tags it with the pictures. So far so good. But if I press "Display on Google Map" the picture is shown and the marker but not the map. Do you know how to solve the problem.

Thank you in advance,
Coos

Jonathan

Hi. I have a question... im planning to go travelling later this year, anywhere from 3 to 6 months. im looking to buy a device like this, that will serve to tag my photos for the entire length of my trip. it seems if i set it to 10 sec intervals RMC only, this might be enough. but if the device fills up after, say two months, is it possible to save the data recorded (eg. on a memory card or by sending to myself by email?), and then to reset the device so as to be able to record data for the remainder of my trip??

Richard Akerman

@Jonathan, it depends on what kind of technology you will have access to. A few points: 1) with the new AMOD firmware, you have more choice of recording intervals 2) if you have access to a computer at some point in the trip, you could copy the files off (or possibly use a USB to USB transfer device) 3) if you want *really* large amounts of logger storage, you could consider two models that take memory cards - the ATP Photo Finder mini (MMC cards) http://scilib.typepad.com/techreviews/2008/09/atp-photofinder.html and the V900 / VGPS-900 (MicroSD cards) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001JJRBU8?ie=UTF8&tag=rtechrev-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001JJRBU8 or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IYWBTK?ie=UTF8&tag=rtechrev-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001IYWBTK

Alex

I am thinking of buying this item and your review is very good. However, I am a bit confused.

Is there any free and easy way of getting this information from the device onto my mac and into my photos?

There is a huge mention of programs but all I want to do is implant my geotag information into my images taken with my camera.

Is there one program that will do this simply? for free preferably.

What format is the data stored in and if this is not a common type what program should I use to convert it and to what format and what program will then read this format?

Sorry about all the questions.

Regards

Alan

Here's something I haven't seen anywhere:
How do you sync the time on the Amod AGL3080 with the time on your camera?

Thom

@Alex: someone else may know of a free solution, but for $13 you can use Tagalog: http://calftrail.com/products.html

@Alan: GPS units set their own time from the satellites. It's up to you to set the time on your camera. Presumably time zone conversions, if necessary, are done in whatever software you use.

@Richard: Thanks for the great review. I think I need to pick up one of these.

Troy

Great review. I am wondering how I gan get this log file to work with the new iLife 09' Places in iPhoto.

Thanks,
Troy

Richard Akerman

@Troy Since iPhoto 09 can't do geotagging from a track log itself, you'll need to use an extra piece of software. HoudahGeo can use the NMEA 0183 format .log files from the AGL3080 directly. See my posting http://scilib.typepad.com/techreviews/2008/01/houdahgeo-for-m.html The popular GraphicConverter software can also it it, but it would (AFAIK) need them converted to GPX format first, you can use the site gpsvisualizer.com to do this or download gpsbabel. Once the photos are geotagged with the external software, iPhoto will be able to use all the Places features for them.

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