I-Blue Tripmate 850 GPS Logger
In July 2010, I bought my second GPS Logger for geologging and geotaging photos. My old AMOD 8050 still worked, but this model is better for multiple reasons. I bought it from Semsons, the exclusive US manufacturer.
- It is more sensitive. It works in places that the AMOD did not. At the end of the day, this is what you are looking for.
- It is more accurate, especially when walking. This may just be because the interval times are shorter or because the AMOD had static navigation on or off, but I get an accurate track when walking.
- It has an LCD screen so you can see that it is actually working (ie the speed seems plausible); plus you can now see live your speed/lat/long/alt
- It has a Bluetooth connection so you can see satellite strength on your laptop. The Bluetooth implementation is buggy (you need re-pair each time) and IDK why satellite strength can not be on the built-in LCD display, but it is invaluable in debuggging why you can not get signal in a train, bus, etc. You can also get live Geo data, but you need an app to display it (Microsoft Streets&Trips or Google Earth Pro) which I have not done yet.
- It has AGPS so you can load the Almanac on to it ahead of time and cut your wait time on a cold boot. I did limited testing on this, and it seemed not to help, but I am not confident in my test results.
- It's smaller.
You can only get it to work if you follow a certain set of steps, which you need to find out from experimenting. But I mean that is the fun; make sure to leave time to experiment. The manual is written in poor English; you will need to experiment to figure out how it works. Some stuff is inconsistently or non-robustly, especially surrounding the Bluetooth implementation. Plus you must remember to turn logging on as a separate action!
First Thoughts, sent to Semsons
The UI is very confusing at first – that is what you get with these straight from Asia products. On my first trip I was not logging because when the screen says “Log on” that is the name of the soft button, not a state display. Oh well, I learned now. The logging icon is small; this is difficult because unlike my old AMOD it is not always logging when on. I am going to screw up on this once or twice and not having the log on when going on a trip. The user manual is a bit of a help, but is not written by a native English speaker. The links on your site are dead BTW, but I found what I needed on the manufactures’ site.
There is also new 3.0 firmware (which they call “AP”) At first when I installed the firmware, it bricked the USB connection. I panicked because I did not have a micro USB reader. But I was able to quickly borrow a Nokia phone with a reader. Then the Nokia phone used a different type of USB cable, but luckily it was the same as my Palm Pre. I reinstalled the 3.0 firmware and it worked fine.
Also I really like that I can connect to it via Bluetooth and view live status (including signal strength) on my laptop. It can continue to log even while connected to Bluetooth. This should help a lot more with debugging when I get no signal. I am also interested in seeing how well A-GPS works. You can load A-GPS either with Bluetooth, USB, or MicroSD. This is a little unclear in the user manual which says you can only do either USB or Bluetooth, I forget.
I went on a short walk around the block with the system. It worked awesome! It must be doing some filtering because lines were straight until I turned. My old GPS did not even get a signal. Also, I think my old one was not set up to take too many points.
For me I can handle the weird UI. The most important thing for me is getting a signal at all times (even if signals are a bit inaccurate) for geo tagging, especially on trains and airplanes.
I think GPS loggers will remain a niche product. Geotagging will come to the masses only in phones (iPhone) or in cameras (but this is very difficult). That means that we techies put up with an unpolished UI. The market that is buying GPS loggers now can deal with it. But I think that for the general market, even a very well done separate GPS logger would be too much trouble (batteries, tagging the photos afterwards).
Also I did not try their geotagging software. I recently discovered GeoTagger which works really awesome, unlike JetStudio which I used before. It works perfectly.