electronic brain surgery since 2001

GPS Device for Geotagging

I'm on a quest for a new gadget: I want a GPS device. I'm a complete newbie in this field so the search for my ideal device isn't easy.

Let me explain what I imagine, first. What I like to do, is to use the GPS to track my way when I'm taking photographs. When I'm back home I want to download the tracklog from the GPS and the pictures from the camera. Then I'd like to auto-geotag the images by comparing the timestamps.

I don't want to spend a fortune and don't need any fancy stuff like color displays or mapping functions. I'm willing to spend about 150 to 200 EUR.

My first way went directly to the marketleader's website. Garmin has a good reputation and I immeadiatly found two devices within my price range: the Garmin 201 and the Garmin Foretrex 201. Both share approximatly the same features. Except for the size. The Foretrex is very small, about the size of an MP3 player.

I would have bought one of those if there wasn't a problem. Both devices can only be connected through a serial cable with a PC. That's fine when I'm at home. But when I travel I do not have a PC available. These devices store about 10,000 trackpoints which should be enough for logging a day's walk but wouldn't be enough for a two or three week vacation.

So what I need is a GPS device which is either expandable with a memory card or connectable with my Palm to download the tracklogs to. The expandable units are usually the expensive ones with mapping capabilities so they are out of the race. My Palm has Bluetooth so I looked in that direction.

Most Bluetooth GPS units are so called GPS mouses intended to be used with routing software for notebooks, Palms or PocketPCs. This means they are dumb and always need a connection to a host device. Not what I'm looking for.

A second group of Bluetooth devices are GPS loggers. They have the same functionalities as the GPS mouses but are able to store tracks independent of a host computer in their internal memory.

I found two intesting loggers with Bluetooth. The first one is the Delorme Blue Logger with nice specs but really horrible Amazon comments. The second one is the RoyalTek RBT 3000 which comes with a car charger only by default but seems to be a decent device otherwise.

The problem with these devices is that they are not terrible useful on their own, because they have no display. The holy grail on my quest would be a classical handheld GPS with Bluetooth.

Again I found two products. The most interesting one is the scytex NaviGPS - a very small unit which is even expandable with SD cards. However I only found a retailer in Canada – with customs duty this would be a very expensive solution. With a European or better German retailer this would be my favourite. A second Bluetooth/Handheld device is the Fortuna GPSmart BT but it is expensive and as far as I understand the way how tracks are recorded isn't optimal.

So what's my conclusion? It's hard to find my dream device. It would be great if Garmin would release a Geko or Foretrex with Bluetooth, because from what I've seen their devices seem to have the best user interfaces.

If anyone has tips or even uses a GPS device in a scenario similar to what I described I'd love to hear. I also haven't looked into Linux compatibility yet (which is always a strong must for me) but as far as I understand there is a standard exchange format spoken by most devices and understood by certain Linux software…

gps, hardware, comparison
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