Push Button and Go! No-Fuss GPS Tracker

A small black module hung from my shoulder strap, its L.E.D. blinking as I hiked into the woods. With the push of a button — yes, one button only — I’d triggered the device to begin recording GPS points and track my route for an hour-long hike.

As GPS devices come, I’ve not found a simpler product than the AGL3080 Data Logger. Made by AMOD Technology Co. of Taiwan, the unit was brought to market initially for photographers looking to track exact geographic points where their pictures were taken.

AMOD - GPS device.jpg

AMOD Data Logger product offers one-button tracking ease

It can do double duty as a basic GPS tracker for hikers, skiers, or backpackers as well. The device hangs on a clip and is constantly on while you move outdoors. It performs the simple task of recording your GPS position at a rate of up to once per second for many hours in a row.

The result, once downloaded at home, is a detailed GPS track with every twist and turn revealed. The track can be superimposed on a map on your computer screen for an accurate track of your route outdoors.

I track my routes and then upload the GPS data points to the mapping site EveryTrail.com. The AGL3080 Data Logger saves GPS points in a text format that can be read and interpreted by dozens of sites and similar map programs.

AMOD - GPS map 2.jpg

AMOD Data Logger map; red line tracks hike through every twist and turn

After a hike, I plug the Data Logger into my laptop with a USB cord. It then appears as a “storage device” on my desktop, allowing me to open and save complete GPS logs with a couple clicks.

The EveryTrail site takes the GPS points and automatically syncs them on a Google map. You can zoom in and out to study a route and also see your distance, speed, and elevation changes on the go. You can view my recent tracks, including “9 Mile Creek Hike” and “No Name Alleycat,” the latter which tracks an urban bike race I rode last week.

While the AMOD is a great solution for no-fuss GPS tracking, the device is far from an ideal device for the outdoors. The unit is not waterproof, so put it away in the rain. Its case is plastic and could break if dropped outside on hard ground.

Worse, I have found its GPS satellite connection to be finicky — it occasionally has trouble finding a signal. Multiple times the device has recorded routes with large inaccuracies where my track is off.

AMOD - GPS device - image 2.jpg

Easy operation is a hallmark, including just two buttons and tiny lighted icons

Overall, the Data Logger is a fun toy but I have trouble trusting it as a serious GPS tool. It has recording errors about one out of every five times I use it. But I love the unit’s no-fuss operation and because of that I use it a couple times a week to track my training routes or wilderness adventures.

Info on the Data Logger is on AMOD Technology Co.‘s site, www.amod.com.tw. Or stores like Amazon.com sell the unit for as little as $65 (what I paid) or $79 for a rechargeable model shipping new for 2012.

—Stephen Regenold is editor of GearJunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.

Posted by Adam - 01/06/2012 10:05 AM

What would you recommend that is more rugged and is a little more reliable?

Posted by Preston Spratt - 01/06/2012 10:58 AM

If you have a smart phone just use Google MyTracks. It essentially does the same thing and allows you to upload or e-mail your track anywhere. Check it Out and it is free

Posted by Paula - 01/06/2012 12:16 PM

I’d recommend getting a SPOT. It’s rugged. It’s more reliable. I’ve had one for three years. This good device has three buttons. Two send your location and messages you pre-wrote to up to ten cell phones or e-mail @ddresses. The OK button sends your OK message, the Help button sends your request for your friends to lend a hand, and the Emergency button sends your location direct to 911/Search&Rescue. The SPOT has saved many people’s lives!
Check out my reviews and mentions of the SPOT at my paddling group’s website kayakyak.blogspot.com — search on SPOT to find the posts I’ve mentioned it.

Posted by Editor - 01/06/2012 03:12 PM

We use SPOT devices all the time and love them. But this little AMOD device tracks up to once per second, creating an exact track of your route. SPOT gives waypoints along a route and has much different features built in. Different use scenario altogether.

Re the smartphone idea — yes, that works, too! This AMOD can be used for 24 hours straight (before a reset) and also has a loooong battery life for wilderness trips. It’s just a different and much simpler (and cheaper) solution.

All of these options are good and have their place.

Posted by ChrisG - 01/06/2012 05:49 PM

Before I broke down and bought a real GPS watch for logging runs, I was using the Holux M-241 GPS Tracker. A single AA battery lasts > 18 hours. It works fine with Sanyo eneloop batteries. The small display is great to check coordinates, GPS-based compass, GPS-based elvevation, distance traveled, or distance from start.

Posted by Scott - 01/07/2012 04:35 PM

We use the I-gotU GPS logger. It’s very small, waterproof, the batteries last for 48hrs or so, and the reception is pretty decent. It has only one button on it, and no display.

Posted by Pete - 01/12/2012 03:26 PM

I have used the AMOD in multiple adventure races. I start it, put it in a waterproof bag, tuck it in the top of my pack and go. For events that prohibit the use of navigational GPS (AR and Orienteering) this is a light, legal option that allows you to do post event analysis or blogs. I’ve used mine for three years with no issues. If you set it to record one data point every six seconds, you can store 10 days worth of tracks.

Posted by whiskers - 02/01/2012 06:36 AM

I’ve been using Garmin 62s all summer long. Thanks to the ability to load custom maps, I was able to choose different return routes a couple times because of inexperienced hikers coming with me. It wasn’t easy to load the maps (you have to take the image of the park/trail, map it onto the terrain in Google Earth, save as .kml, and then hope the GPS doesn’t complain about it – like if the image is too large).

The unit’s pretty rugged, has good battery life, but can be bulky and slow in operation. I’ve used it for logging, navigation, and photo tagging. I wish there existed a smaller unit with a larger touchscreen utilizing Google Maps – because Google Maps is starting to have trails mapped. Smartphones need not apply with their poor battery life, the need to download map data, and fragility.

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Posted by Bemar - 01/30/2013 02:13 AM

Apps displayed at end…

Posted by Aldrich - 01/30/2013 05:57 AM

Superbly great tracking… AGL3080 Data Logger is an unique stuff and 60% world has been into action with its features. Interpretation of the texts through the sites is a remarkable point that goes through the series of collecting the evidences. I agree with the signal connectivity which is quite an issue with most individuals and this will continue once any new supporter appears.

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