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How the Trackstick II Works

        Tech | Travel Gadgets

Using the Trackstick II
Find a great jogging route? You can retrace your steps with Trackstick II.
Find a great jogging route? You can retrace your steps with Trackstick II.
© iStockphoto.com/robh

You're all ready to head out on a vacation or a backyard adventure -- how do you put the Trackstick II to use? First, you'll need to give the it at least 15 minutes to determine its location. After installing two AAA batteries, turn the Trackstick II on and take it outside to get an unobstructed view of the sky. Make sure that nothing, particularly metal objects, blocks the sky from the Trackstick II, as the receptors are locating the satellite signals. You'll know that the device is getting a good view after a few minutes, when a green light starts blinking. It will continue to blink as it calculates its location.

After 15 minutes, you're ready to go for a walk or a drive with the Trackstick II. When driving with the Trackstick II, it's best to place the device on the car's dashboard to ensure the most accurate access to the orbiting satellites. If you're going for a walk, putting the device in your pocket will work just fine.

­Now let's say you're heading home from a whirlwind vacation. Since you explore off the beaten path, you've got a digital camera full of photos with only the slightest inclination of where they were taken. Here's where the Trackstick II comes in handy. Using Trackstick Manger, you can relive your entire trip. You can filter results to see what's most interesting to you, be it time and date or where you stopped on a certain day. Trackstick's data files can be exported to Google Earth, among other mapping services, so that you have a bird's-eye view of your route, which is indicated by a red line. The files can also be exported to HTML and emailed, so that if you took the vacation with a distant relative, they can share in the fun as well.

As for those photos you took on your trip, you can examine the data files and use Google Earth to figure out where each was taken. However, you can also sync your camera with Trackstick II and eliminate all that work through geotagging. The Trackstick software checks the date and the time the photo was taken and compares it against a log file of your location. Then it automatically applies a label, and the photo is geotagged. Many photo sharing services, including Flickr, support geotagged photos and put them on a map.

Because Trackstick II records so much information about each trip, there are many different uses for the device, from tagging photos to tracking others. For more fun and interesting gadgets, please see the links on the next page.