Mechanics of the Trackstick II
The Trackstick II contains receptors for signals emitted by 24 satellites orbiting the Earth. Using that information, the Trackstick II can determine its location. The signal is so powerful that the Trackstick II can determine where it is anywhere on Earth, to approximately 8 feet (2.5 meters) [source: Trackstick]. From the darkest, deepest woods to your best friend's home, the Trackstick II will remember where you went.
Let's say that at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, you were driving past a beautiful waterfall. At that moment, the Trackstick II will use information from the satellites to determine the date and time, your latitude and longitude, the speed and direction at which you're driving, your altitude, and even the temperature. It then stores this information as a logged file on its flash memory device. The Trackstick II contains 1 MB worth of memory, allowing you to save several weeks of travel before saving files to your computer.
The number of recordings that a Trackstick II makes on a given trip is up to you and your battery power. The Trackstick II runs on two AAA batteries for 16 to 36 hours, depending on what kind of battery is used. To prolong battery life, you have the option to use a power safe mode, in which the Trackstick II stays in sleep mode and only records a location every 15 seconds. If you don't want to lose a minute of your adventures, you can keep the Trackstick II in full power mode and bring along extra batteries.
Trackstick II comes with an integrated USB connector so that you can download your files to a computer. To retrieve information from the Trackstick II, you'll need a Windows PC loaded with Trackstick's software, Trackstick Manager. Using Trackstick Manager, you can choose what information you'd like and how you'd like to view it -- perhaps you'd like to see that spectacular waterfall we just mentioned on Google Earth? On the next page, we'll take a further look at how to use Trackstick II.