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on July 20, 2008
I bought this to use with my MacBook Pro, running Windows XP.

The hardware is phenomenal. I bought a cell phone belt carrier to fit it. When I am in my pickup, with the device between me and the seat, it still tracks. It tracks from inside the saddle bags on my ATV. Phenomenal...

However, the Windows software is pretty... ah, basic. It records the GPS coordinates and displays them on a Google earth map. When I tried to write the GPS data to the photos, it records something, I don't know what. Unfortunately, in Adobe Bridge, when you try to actually read the GPS data in EXIF, all you get is the altitude, (in meters), and the file hangs up and will just keep trying to read the GPS data. If you export your images to Flickr, directly from the software, GPS data doesn't go with it. So, basically, what you can do with this in Windows with this phenomenal piece of hardware is look at a map with your pictures at the appropriate coordinates. That's pretty much it.

As far as the Mac software they just came out with - it looks like a really great app. Unfortunately, they are only releasing a restricted version of the app and making you pay $25 for the "pro" version. Also, unfortunately, despite multiple attempts, their software won't recognize their own GPS device, so I can't use the Mac software.

Their tech support is pretty weak. No telephone tech support. They do respond to your emails, but they just give generic advice - like "Did you try different USB ports?" The printed manual is one page. The manual on the CD is about 6 pages. There is a website manual for both Mac and Windows versions, which I found equally unhelpful.

I am waiting for the software to catch up with phenomenal hardware...
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on August 18, 2009
The GiSTEQ CD110 GPS logger and PhotoTrackr software together with a PC are a complex system trying to do a simple thing, add accurate location information to photos. In this review I'll try to answer some of the questions I had when making a purchasing decision to hopefully help you do the same.

CD110 Pros: GPS performance, configurability, size, replaceable battery
CD110 Cons: Poor lanyard design, battery cover

PhotoTrackr Pros: Versatile, simple interface, Google Maps API integration, no activation code (v2.4)
PhotoTrackr Cons: Not entirely user-proof

Firmware: v4.2
Platform 1: Windows Vista SP1 (32-bit) with PhotoTracker v2.3.821.0
Platform 2: Windows XP SP3 with PhotoTrackr v2.4.610.1

When I received the CD111 I was surprised by the packaging, it was in a compact sleeved box like a typical mobile phone. Everything inside was individually wrapped conveying a sense of quality. The logger itself is small and quite light, measuring 3" x 1-3/4" x 7/8" and 2.4 ounces, battery installed.

The battery resembles a mobile phone slab style battery and fits behind a sliding cover. While the logger was charging prior to first use I decided to install the lanyard. Unlike most lanyard rings where you thread the lanyard under a bar and then loop it on itself, the battery cover actually forms one side of the lanyard ring and when the cover is removed the lanyard is slipped in from the side. Closing the cover closes the ring and traps the lanyard. This is a poor design because the cover is retained by a weak spring latch so if the cover loosens there is the risk that the logger will separate from the lanyard and be lost.

The package includes a printed manual, something rarely seen these days. It's a small booklet that is essentially a reprint of the electronic help file but given the number of features that can be performed by the three buttons it's nice to be able to toss a small manual into your camera bag.

According to the manual, when the logger is charging a green indicator flashes, going solid when charging is complete. Contrary to the description in the manual, what I have found is that powering the unit for charging actually turns it on and the LEDs flash in accordance with the normal power on scheme (both red and green LEDs). If the unit is plugged into a USB charger however, it can be turned off via the normal power button and the green LED will flash until the unit is charged at which time the LED will turn off. Curiously, if the unit is plugged into a computer USB for charging, it cannot be turned off via the normal power button and the LEDs behave as previously described.

The package came with v2.3 of the PhotoTrackr software. This software requires activation and there is a 3 activation limit. I installed v2.3 on my Vista system and it worked immediately with no problems, even upgrading itself to the latest v2.3 build and upgrading the logger to firmware v4.2. I was impressed that this was all done without leaving the program, a benefit to those who are squeamish about standalone updaters.
A quick check of the GiSTEQ website showed that v2.4 of the PhotoTrackr software was available and best of all, it required no activation. I installed PhotoTrackr v2.4 on my XP system without any problems. Luckily, firmware v4.2 is compatible with both of the current v2.3 and v2.4 software versions. Software features discussed in this review will apply to both versions unless otherwise stated.

The logger talks and makes other noises. The voice says, "satellites positioning", "satellites fixed" and "low battery". The other noises seem to have been lifted from Windows system sounds. Volume can be controlled in four steps, off, low, medium and high. The LEDs flash to indicate power on (green), satellites fixed (red), and USB communications (orange). These can also be extinguished by putting the device in "stealth" mode.

My seat of the pants comparison to Garmin and Magellan GPS devices is that the GiSTEQ performance is comparable. I was concerned that the MTK GPS chipset might not meet expectations formed by experience with the SiRF III chipset but these concerns are unfounded. The warm and cold acquisition times are comparable and reasonable.

My last concern with the hardware was the driver vs. driverless argument. This has turned out to be a non-issue. Since a program has to be used to write location information to my photo files (geocoding) my real concern should have been how does geocoding affect my workflow and does the need for a device driver affect this process? The answers are, workflow isn't affected and the need for a driver is transparent to geocoding (in this case).

Geocoding can be done any time after both photos and corresponding GPS log are downloaded to your computer. Within PhotoTrackr there is an "Add Images" function which writes location data to the EXIF information within the photo file. The photos are not copied so additional disk space is not used.

Leveraging the Google Maps API is brilliant. Whether you love or hate Google you can't argue with the fact that it works as well as many and better than most. In addition to the map view you have access to Google's satellite photos. Viewing your photos in the context of a satellite photo seems very intuitive.

I use Google Picasa and the program's integration with Picasa is seamless. From within PhotoTrackr I select the photos to be uploaded and the destination folder. Click, and off they go. I can even downsize the photos so they take less space. The two features that I miss are embossing (I like to emboss a copyright onto each uploaded photo) and the ability to create new folders. The latter can still be done from my browser so the workaround is pretty painless.

When the logger is first connected to the computer it sets its timezone based on the computer's timezone. I changed the timezone on my XP computer and also set the clock 5 minutes fast to verify that the logger uses the initial setup to determine the logger timezone and GPS time for synchronization purposes. Connecting the logger to computers in different timezones does not affect the synchronization time. Synchronization is important because your camera clock must be set to the logger clock in order for the software to match a place to a photo. Note that it is the time embedded within the photo's EXIF data that is matched to the waypoint time within the GPS log that is matched and not the file creation times that are used.

Logging parameters can be set from within PhotoTrackr when the logger is connected. There are a lot of customizable parameters and changing any of them is very straight forward. Type in the new value, click OK and you're done.

I made the mistake of deleting a log file and breaking its associations with the corresponding photos. After a little trial and error I restored the photos and log files by simply re-importing them. Luckily, when PhotoTrackr deletes a file it only deletes the reference to it from the database. The file (log or photo) is intact on disk.

The CB111 is a decent GPS logger with a full feature set. Once set to your preferences you should rarely have to mess with it, aside from charging it and turning it on and off. The PhotoTrackr software is the real star of the show, and it works extremely well. Eliminating the activation feature is a huge improvement. In fact, if you have any compatibility questions you should simply download the software from GiSTEQ's website and test it yourself. The program comes with sample photos and log files so you can test compatibility with your system, your photo sharing site and your workflow. GiSTEQ has created a walled garden with their software so you can do almost everything needed without leaving the program and that is quite an accomplishment.
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on March 30, 2010
I bought this just before we were to leave on a cruise because I wanted to see the "trail" across the Gulf of Mexico. I did a couple of local test trips with photos and the linkage software worked just fine. I tried to put a wrist strap/lanyard onto it and since the lanyard holes have the battery door on one side, I had a problem. The string kept slipping out in the tiny space where the battery door closes. So, I have given up on that idea and bought a very small cell phone carrier and have hooked it onto my camera bag straps. I like the size of the PhotoTrackr but do wish that I could attach a tether and have it not come loose. I may yet try using a wire in the tether holes and see if I could connect a wrist strap to that.

On the cruise, I periodically charged it and placed it into the window of our balcony cabin. The "trail" it recorded was somewhat intermittent, so I need to do some studying. I also have a PhotoTrackr Lite but the battery door is held in place by duct tape. I think that this model is better constructed. It is very user friendly. I have mixed feelings about having a rechargable battery instead of replacable batteries. It announces when the battery charge is low and that is nice. On a 7 day cruise, I charged it 3 times. It is likely that I could space out charging more often but it will take more experience.
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on May 24, 2010
This is the worst solution. The hardware is unreliable, satellite acquisition required a battery pull at times. The button functionality is very unclear; and the device just feels cheap. This is the epitome of "Made In Taiwan."

The software is buggy, clunky and unintuitive- I have a batch of pictures it thinks were taken in China (somehow the system had the reciprocal of my true longitude, placing me, and my pics somewhere in far western Tibet.) The drivers for Windows 7 are buggy. The software is clunky and unintuitive, the drivers for Windows 7 are not stable; I had to reinstall them several times, after each reboot of my computer. Despite claiming a Mac version, the supplied software requires a $20 purchase to enable the actual geotagging of the photos.

I spent hours and hours tinkering with it, and a full Saturday afternoon carrying it around taking pictures. Check out the support forums, the latest real activity is over 2 years old.

Don't waste your time. Hard to believe Amazon even has it available for purchase.
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on October 9, 2009
The product works well - on JPGs. Since I shoot RAW, I was very disappointed at the inability to add the GPS information 1st to my RAW photos' EXIF information as a group to be carried over to my post-processing conversion to JPG.

I really didn't understand the instructions for it very well & now wished I had left it turned on my entire 2.5wk trip so that I didn't have so many separate "trips" from my one trip. Now I know.

The instructions you can download from their site was better than included with the purchased product.

So now I have to remember after each or all JPG conversions to run it through the software to add the GPS info to it, whereas if I could have done that with my set of RAW files immediately after upload. So with it only working on JPGs, it's easy to lose track of which ones had been geo-tagged and which ones did not.
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on November 2, 2010
i gave it a solid month to try. My use?: I just started to make a website (blogging) and i'm active in hikes. i've tried all diferent types of scenrios on how to use and operate. the manual is terrible. you kinda have to figure it out as you go along. yeah, it might be like that for all gagets, but then when you think you have it down, a problem would arise and give you a headache. the software is really bad, well, the instructions to use the program. it seems like you can't operate the device as instructed or as it says.
sure, they (Gisteq) has a forum, and it is just filled with problems. They try their best to help you out and trouble shoot. After many attempts of epic fail, i'm sending the product back. trust me when i say that i have a hard time on just giving stuff up and i research for many hours on how to use, troubleshooting, etc... i really had good hopes, but just ended up stressing out.
my advice is just to do good research, and you'll see a lot of negative reviews.
i'd say: if you're not making a website, or don't really care on how it looks on your maps (lines all over the place, eventhough you DID NOT turn it on), than you can get by. If you envision trails and geotagging pics on your route, look else where.
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on May 1, 2008
I looked long and hard at the different trackers and I'm sure if I tried each and every one they would have features that I'm missing. The reason I got this one is the motion sensor. The unit is very controllable as to the time before "going to sleep" can be set in minutes, the tracking set in distance covered (in feet) or time between readings in seconds (every-X_seconds). So charge it up for 30 hours of continual use or weeks of it turning itself on when it detects motion and off after 5 minutes of no motion. The aquisition is fairly quick and once aquired locks on well. The unit can be connected with a usb cable to a laptop using Microsoft streets and trips and will show your current location constantly thus becoming an onboard map system. You can see reviews at [...] for more info.
I tried it behind the seat of my nissan P.U. and was surprised it could catch some signal (not always) even with a shirt stuffed over it.
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on October 9, 2010
It took a few practice runs to get this integrated into my workflow properly. The software is not particularly intuitive, and it took a little faith to trust that this device was actually logging every movement that was made. I just throw it in my backpack and forget that I have it, then sync up my edited photos with exif data intact (file -> save as in Adobe Photoshop NOT save for web). I have to go into the folder to retrieve the newly created files that contain the geotagged exif data after embedding it as it saves a copy rather than embedding into the files you loaded. However, uploading these photos to Flickr will allow you to see the geotagged location on their map with a single click to add the location to the your map. It's unfortunate that geotagging is not yet a standard feature on DSLRs and higher end point and shoot cameras, however, this is an effective enough solution in the meantime. Just practice with it first before going out for that big trip :)
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on August 1, 2016
I have used the PhotoTrackr off and on since 2010 and it has performed well. The software has been the largest issue. Now that the company is now defunked and the software is no longer supported it would be advisable to look elsewhere for a solution. If you can find an open source software solution all the better. R.
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on April 2, 2009
I've just purchased this, and will be returning it.

The hardware is great (I don't even mind the flashing lights, which you can't see in sunlight anyway). It will sync itself within a reasonable time, and the auto shutoff feature is great.

The problem is the software simply doesn't work for me. Having set the time on my camera as instructed, it insists on thinking that the tracks are 8 hours ahead (which I suspect is GMT!)... the time on the photos is correct, and when you view the tracks they're correct as well. The issue only comes up when you try and geocode your photos (isn't that the sole purpose of this device!?). There seems no way to resolve this.

Don't bother to try and contact their Tech Support. If you call them, you're told to email. If you email them, you will never get a response (1 week and counting!). Their Tech Support Forum is basically a porn site, and contains no useful information.
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