So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
QStarz BT-Q1000 Travel Recorder
- Can record places of interest at the press of a button, can log travel routes and easily upload them to Google Earth
- The software might be a little hard to use for the uninitiated
The BT-Q1000 does what it claims: it will track your movements very accurately, as well as record places of interest at the press of a button and map them on Google Earth. It can also be used for navigation when paired with a PDA or notebook computer and GPS software. However, its software interface will confuse the uninitiated.
Price$ 198.00 (AUD)
QStarz's BT-Q1000 Travel Recorder is a Bluetooth GPS device that can be used as a navigation device, or to track your movements and record your places of interest. Best of all, it can upload data to Google Earth to give you a clear visual of where you've been and how long it took you to get there. It's a tiny device that fits comfortably into a pocket and its software offers some good customisation options.
Before using the BT-Q1000, you must install the GPS Travel Recorder Utility, as well as the unit's drivers. You can do this either by using the supplied CD-ROM, or by downloading it from the QStarz Web site. We prefer the latter option as it means we'll get the latest and most stable build.
The Travel Recorder Utility will allow you to set the type of logging you want the device to record, which should be set before you use it because changing the setting will erase the data that's currently on the device. You can choose to log for jogging, cycling or for vehicle travel and if you delve into the advanced and professional settings of the utility, you can even select the interval of the logging and the maximum distance of the logging.
The BT-Q1000 itself has high sensitivity (-158dBm) and 51-channel tracking. It connects to a PC using USB, and your PC must be restarted after its drivers have been installed. Setting it up for use with the Travel Recorder Utility is a little fiddly as you have to venture into the Device Manager, find out which COM port the device is using and then set this port in the software.
Physically, the device has a sliding switch that can be used to change its mode: it has log mode and navigation mode. The way it works is like this: first, you connect the device to the PC and launch the software utility, then you set the type of logging and once that's done, you can disconnect the device and set the switch to 'log' for it to start recording your movements.
If you want to record a point of interest -- a funky little coffee shop that's hidden in the heart of Melbourne while you're on holiday, for example -- then all you have to do is hit the little red button on the top of the device and it'll record the location.
When you get back to the PC, you can use the software utility to download the data, but here is the coolest thing: you can map your travels on Google Earth. Of course, Google Earth must already be installed on your PC, and once you hit the 'Draw Map' button in the software, it will automatically launch Google Earth and give you a visual representation of where you've been. Alternatively, data records can be kept in CSV and NMEA formats.
The applications for this little device are varied. For example, it can be used by cyclists or joggers who wish to log the distances they've travelled, it can be used by couriers to track and time the routes they've taken, or it can be used as a GPS receiver by anyone who has a PDA or notebook computer with GPS software installed (and it'll log the route while it navigates, too).
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