Picking it up for around S$189, this is a newer breed of bluetooth GPS receiver units with the added ability to log your waypoints without a computer (i.e. you could plant it anywhere). Using the stand-alone travel recorder feature, this is ideal for travelers (e.g. Popagandi) who wish record the journey they’ve taken through the day (logs over 100,000 records).
A red button on the receiver lets you tag points-of-interest (POI) on the go so when you import the KML file into Google Earth, you can attach media such as photo annotations taken at that point in time. At Ming’s potluck party last night, Piotr warned me that Estee was hitting that button repeatedly thinking that it’d do something special 😛
This receiver also provides real-time tracking in Google Earth (had to pay US$20 for Google’s Plus version) and it works over Bluetooth with my Mac, though not so well with Windows XP (still trying to get it to work). There are plenty of features, so here’s a brief look at its specs:
Qstarz Bluetooth GPS Travel Recorder (BT-Q1000)
– MTK chipset with high sensitivity -158dBm and 32-Channel tracking
– Lower power consumption up to 32hrs for travel recording
– Stand-Alone travel recorder to log over 100,000 records
– Easily switch Travel Recorder to LOG mode or NAV mode (Navigation + Log)
– Support Multi-mode setting to record data Vehicle, Bicycle, Jog
– Support button push manually to memorize your location immediately
– Draw your navigation path immediately on Google Earth as default
– Active NMEA protocol VTG / GLL manually via Qstarz setup tool.
– Backup your travel record as CSV / NMEA / Google Earth file format.
– Fast Position Fix, Cold start 36s, Warm start 33s, Hot start 1s
– WAAS+EGNOS support
– Auto On-Off function for smart power control
– Personal/Portable Navigation (PDA, Smartphone, PC, etc.)
It’s no use having slick hardware without slick software. Besides Google Earth, I’ve been trying to find web services which would allow me to have a real-time GPS mapping on my blog. I’m hoping to integrate a real-time map overlay onto my livecasting videos in future. While I haven’t found one, I did come across some interesting web services that work with GPS.
bliin lets you share your location and geo-tagged photos from your handset in real-time. You can find and follow your friends across the world and share photos, videos and messages via your phone and PC over the web. There’s POCKETbliin for GPS-equipped mobile phones, or bliinGPSXS for Mac and PC to show you’re out there and alive. Think of it as a friendster based on geography (technically, a GPS-based social network).
So far I understand that I could use this GPS unit for geotagging photos (and possibly videos), so it would be more searchable in places like Flickr and Youtube. Incidentally, services like Google Earth and EveryTrail let you upload GPS coordinates to share your photos too.
Another service I’ve been using recently upgraded. Called Plazes, this one pings network connections to establish your location and give you a neat map widget to plug on your blog. Great for non-GPS users who don’t need precision.
Still I wonder… has anyone has come across a real-time GPS mapping solution for blogs?
BTW: If you’re interested in the GPS unit I got, like the Solio solar charger I picked up last month, I bought this at Hardware House Computer, #02-001L. Suntec City Mall. Call to check at 6338-6267. I like how I can ask “is this the lowest price?” and they drop it like its hot.