Locosystech NaviGPS BGT-11 Review

Locosystech NaviGPS BGT-11

This summer I needed a GPS logger for some field work. After looking through a few different possibilities, none of which were particularily satisfying, I finally found the (ununiquely named) NaviGPS GPS from GPS Central for $200 Canadian. At the time, there weren’t any reviews of it online. I’ve come to depend on reviews whenever I buy something so I figure I’ll do my part and post my review of it. While digging up the company link, I noticed on they’ve changed the name to a ‘GT-11’ and redone the layout of the website. Looks better now. I’m not sure the name is any better though. Sounds like a car. Anyway, I also noticed they have drivers for Mac, XP and Linux so that’s a plus if you need that. 1/18/2007 Edit: It looks like the name has changed again. It appears to be called an Amaryllo Trip Tracker now. Not sure what has changed but the picture sure looks the same as my unit except the big A logo.

So the main reasons I bought the Navilink were the:

  • Rechargeable battery
  • USB Cable (more convenient than the more common serial cable)
  • Automatic data logging with adjustable interval
  • Accepts SD Card (also has it’s own internal storage of ~2 Mb). It seems to take about 20 kb per 100 records with NMEA data (which you don’t really need) and 7 kb without. I could have messed up the decimal but I think that translates into 100 continous months of 10 second interval data on a 2 Gb card.
  • Waterproof (Almost all the handheld GPS’s are though)
  • Bluetooth real-time communication (can make a PDA into a powerful GPS)
  • USB real-time communication (can make a laptop into an even more powerful GPS)
  • Screen (unlike most data loggers)
  • Car, usb, and house power charging
  • Fairly cheap
The connections of the Locosystech NaviGPS BGT-11

Now so I don’t sound like a total shill, I did have a few problems with it:

  • I never tried the bluetooth so I can’t vouch for that.
  • The USB connection to a laptop worked easily and well. Except for one time when the mapping software decided to plot it’s location about a minute off from the true location being displayed on the GPS. I assume this was some sort of input setting in the mapping software that got messed up because it only happened once.
  • It doesn’t like fog. Any thick fog caused it to lose it’s signal. I haven’t tried enough GPS’s to know if this is a common problem. The boat’s GPS did not lose its signal.
  • It really needs to be in a window. In a boat cabin it lost signal pretty quickly if it wasn’t right next to a window. Perhaps a car would have better luck though.
  • It went crazy a couple times and decided I was moving 999 miles per hour to an incorrect location. Turning it off and on did fix this immediately and it appears that the recorded log did not show this.
  • The battery only lasted about 14 hours for me (10 second logging if it that mattered). I didn’t test this rigorously though since after the first failure I kept it plugged in. It’s also possible the non-Bluetooth version would last longer. This could be a problem for real wilderness applications since the battery is internal and you can’t carry spares.
  • It can’t display maps. I didn’t buy it planning on that but I thought I better mention it.
  • A minor annoyance is that if it loses signal, it no longer displays your track or last know position. This could be bad if you were say lost in the fog.
A GPS track from the Locosystech NaviGPS BGT-11

So overall I was very satisfied with it. I was just looking for a GPS logger and all the extra features were icing. After three months of almost daily logging on the ocean, it still appears to be working perfectly. I would be worried about battery life if I was going for a long outdoor adventure but it’s great for boat or car trips. It also works very well as a USB plug in for a laptop with mapping software but can still function independently. And the logged track looks very good. I can see where we stopped to do some work and see the path we went through the islands. So if you’re looking for a very basic handheld GPS combined with a very good logger and Bluetooth and USB connectable, this is your gadget.

1/21/2007-Edit: There’s another NaviGPS review up and if you’re looking to use the NaviGPS with Linux it looks like he’s put some work into that too.