Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Toy ! - I love Gadgets and GPS is cool ....

So we've got this dog that loooooovvvveesss to wander. Pretty sure she's got bluetick coonhound in her. Once she's out the door, she's gone. Hours later she'll come back. If she's with her sister, they stay out even longer.

So of course I use this as an excuse to buy a new gadget :-). I've had my eye on the Garmin Astro 220 for a while, but was waiting for the price to drop.

This thing is FUN. Both the collar and the receiver have GPS, so even if the collar goes out of range it still stores the tracking information that you can download later. Out of the box I was getting a range of about 1 mile. I ordered the external antenna for the handheld (magnetic mount to car roof) and with that I'm getting a range of over three miles.

The handunit is a regular GPS - so I did all the routing turn by turn stuff, and then found out about geocaching ! -- that is really cool. My nieces were over for the weekend and we found some hidden treasure. We also used it to play long-distance hide and seek. Most fun !

The mapping software that comes with it for the PC is ok, best thing is that you can view the data in Google Earth. Remember the Family Circus cartoons and how they would have tracks for where the kids went ? ... it's exactly like that. Here's an example of Abby's route for a first outing ....

In the Google Earth app, you can zoom in and follow the route. Great detail. I figure another great application for the unit would be to hide it in the car when your teenager wants to go out. When they come back you can pull the data and see what route they took, how long they were in each spot, and even at what speed they were traveling ! -- no monthly fees !


Anonymous said...

You need kids.