Easy Showily – Ultralight GPS

Earlier this year I looked into Ultralight GPS Units. I ended up trying out the Garmin Forerunner 405, but wasn't thrilled with it. I liked the watch form-factor, but it was clunky to use and was missing an Altimeter. It also came with a weird USB-cable which made field-charging it somewhat difficult.

In the end, I decided a basic GPS logger is all I needed. A GPS logger will record waypoints – show basic lat|long information on a screen and they usually run on easily field-replaceable batteries. It doesn't come with a fancy color screen and map data like the traditional GPS units.

The Easy Showily , as awkward as the name might be – came up trumps. This is a deceptively excellent device.

showily

First and foremost – the device is incredibly small and light – weighing in at 1.3 oz without batteries.

Secondly – it has amazing battery life. I used AAA Energizer Lithium Batteries and got over 20 hours of logging-time per pair. A pair weighs in at 0.3 oz.

Digging a little deeper – the cap comes off and reveals a USB plug. The device is elegantly simple – in that it does not require drivers or special software to operate. The USB connection exposes a typical thumb-drive (albeit with a meagre 5Mb of storage), and as the GPS unit logs data, it simply writes the way points to a file on the drive.

wintec1000_200

When you insert the device into a PC, windows detects it as a Thumb Drive and auto-runs the Win_Tool.exe application installed on the thumb drive. This application proceeds to unpack the data file into many different formats – a GPX file – the most common GPS exchange file format, and a collection of HTML and Javascript files that it then proceed to open a browser on – which uses Google Maps to display your way-points. I get all the benefits of Google Maps terrain data without needing to install special mapping software on my machine.

screen

A side-bar allows you to show each GPS ˜track' (a collection of way points), and overlay other information – such as ˜push-pin' data, direction, speed etc.

Ideal for multi-day trips, the Easily Showily can store almost 100,000 way points. When logging aggressively – as a way-point every 10 seconds – that's over 23days of continuous data assuming 12 hrs of hiking a day!

It's chocked full of other features like power-saving shake-activated mode, photo-location-tagging software, multiple recording modes (bike, walk, run, car etc) and more.

Costs about $99 from ˜Buy GPS Now'.

And the point of carrying a GPS? So I can easily crank out maps like this one of our Pasayten Trip.

13 thoughts on “Easy Showily – Ultralight GPS

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  2. Josh

    Have you played with the photo tagging portion of this? I’m interested in the logging feature but I really want to know if it can add gps coordinates to my photos.

    Thanks!

  3. brett Post author

    Josh – not enough to give you a good answer. I played with it a little, and it seemed to do the right thing, but I’m not 100% sure. If it get the chance this weekend, i’ll give it a whirl and let you know.

  4. mick F

    I have just bought this from ebay and mainly for Geo-tagging photos and it si brilliant, very pleased.

    can leave it in camera bag (in a side pocket) or in my shirt pocket and works perfectly.
    LOVE it! (had it for 2 days )

    Also takes 2 rechargable AAA, which is NOT obvious from any other source!

  5. Shawn

    Can the unit display and track distance while you are carrying it? I would love to have a way to know what distance I covered over a given amount of time.

  6. brett Post author

    Shawn – no, the LCD interface is really limited. The beauty of this device is as a simple tracker vs. a full functional GPS unit.

  7. Shawn

    Found another gps logger with an LCD screen for about $65 by Holux. I plan to do some testing and will try to report on it in a few weeks. I will take it out for a 3 night trip in May. Just FYI.

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  9. Matthew

    Hey all. I just posted the other day about the Holux M-241 Over here: http://oodaboo.com/42913/ . It’s pretty darn cool. I like the fact that you can have it log by time or distance. Meaning you can actually tell it every time I move XX number of feet/meters from my last position log it. It will also tell you your Altitude and Distance as the crow flies or total route distance. Very slick little device.
    Brett, I was searching for others who have been trying this route as well. Good write up on the Wintec device. It does two things I wish the Holux would do. It mounts as external media which makes it descent for Mac users. I also like the fact that it runs on AAAs like the rest of my equipment does.

    Cheers
    Matthew

  10. SailingYYC

    Matthew, I purchased the Easy Showily and while it does directly mount for access, it presents only the necessary applications and support files to run the Windows programs in the “USB Memory Key” side of the device.

    Unfortunately you must run the tool in Windows for it to read the data logs out of the non-accessible side of the device.

    I do use the Easily Showily with Parallels 4 without any problems.

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