I just finished up a month long trip to Japan.
My first thought was to purchase a dedicated GPS tracker. Based on reviews at amazon I ordered an AMOD AGL3080 logger, but unfortunately I reieved a defective module. Without enough time to get a replacement I decided to return this and try using the GPS built into my iPhone and went about searching the iTunes store for the best app to log the GPS coordinates. Placetagger appeared to fit the bill, so I purchased it and logged as much as I could of my trip. The app had pretty good reviews and they recently added an update. Unfortunately the app did not live up to my expectations.
The app has several good feature, a simple to use interface, icloud support, and exports data as a standard GPX file.
Some of the critical problems I ran into
- The app crashes at random times: Once I realized this I was pretty good about checking my phone often to make sure it was still running. But there were several times I forgot. Fortunately it does not loose all the data before the crash and I can see from the log at what point it stopped logging.
- Unable to export some data: I didn’t realize this until way too late. When you choose to export data on the iPhone the app launches a email message with the attached GPX data file, sometimes the file never shows up.
- Appears to stop logging sometimes in the background: I would switch over to mail/instagram etc and often forget to bring Placetagger back to the foreground. It appears that it doesn’t always log when in the background.
- The app won’t show the GPS coordinates on a map outside the US: When you select a GPS log it will just show you a blank map of the US. No idea why the map would be limited in this way. But this was not a big issue for me since the goal here is to get the GPX data file to my desktop to geotag my photos.
With a few changes it could be very good app.
- To start with fix the bugs: Until that is done I would not recommend using this app.
- Pause / Resume: Through the day I would stop for a meal or coffee and don’t need to log, why not let the user pause logging. Perhaps in set intervals of 15 or 30 minutes would be a nice feature that would have the app logging again without the need to go back and select resume.
- Save GPX data files directly to dropbox: The whole point of this is to access the GPX files for tagging, eliminate the extra step of mailing each file.
- View the frequency: The Precision to Battery Life slider is great, but I would like to know how often if is actually logging.