Review: GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr Mini DPL900

Reviewed by John Krill NOCCC #3160

Note: I purchased this product from B&H Photo Video. I own it and therefore do not feel obligated to write a nice review. If fact it isn’t a nice review.

The PhotoTrackr is a small device that tracks your trip and allows you to use the tracking information to embed GPS data into your photos.

GMail Account Required

Before I start my review it should be noted that this device requires you have a GMail account. It you have no interest in getting a GMail account then you can skip this review entirely.

Installation Not For The Lighthearted

If you can get through the installation process you just may enjoy the product. That’s a big IF with this program.

The PhotoTrackr provides a quick start guide but no magnifying glass to read the thing with. Type is so small everyone may have trouble reading the guide. So before you begin I recommend you go over the guide very carefully and take notes.

For the installation you need to be using an administrator account. And be sure during setup you select All Users can use the software.

Update Versions Of The Software Available Online

Not really. They have the software at the GiSTEQ website but I’ll save you the trouble and just tell you the software has NEVER been updated. Last updated or originally created in 2009.

Is This The End Of The Bad News?

Not Really. In order to use the software you need to get a Google Maps API. The application will direct you to the proper page and there you will read that the API is no longer required. Problem is because the GiSTEQ software has NEVER been updated you still need the key to use the application.

And good luck in figuring out what is the correct key is.

Oh and you need that GMail account to get the key.

That’s It?

Not really. The application gives no hint to where to put the key.

OK I’ll tell you. It’s in the Setup menu.

So How Difficult Is The Installation?

Do you know what a COM port is? When you finally get the Driver and the Application installed you then plug-in the PhotoTrackr device. Have it turned on. Depending on the OS you’re using you will get some kind of pop-up telling you the USB port that the device is plugged into. REMEMBER the USB port number since this only happens the first time you plug-in the PhotoTrackr.

Now start the application, if you haven’t already. You will probably see the Auto-start Wizard. You need to sync the clock in your camera with the clock in your PhotoTrackr. Do it now. Then ignore the rest of the Wizard.

With the PhotoTrackr plugged in a USB port and it is ON.

If you managed to get that Google Maps API then go to the Setup menu and under the Software tab and insert the API in the correct location. If you think you can by pass this step then good luck to you.

Also under the Software tab you should select a local directory to save the tracker files.

Also if you haven’t got the PhotoTrackr plugged in and on you can’t save the Setup data.

More Setup.

I should mention you need to do this next step BEFORE you try to Save. I thought you should be just as confused as I was during the installation process.

You remember the USB port number? You need it now. Under the Hardware tab in Setup you need to manually select the correct USB port since the software is brain dead and can’t do it automatically. Don’t see USB under the list of ports? Only see COM1 through gosh who knows what COM number? You want to select COM1 For USB 1 etc. Then you need to click the Connect button. Again the software is brain dead at this stage. If you forgot the USB number just start selecting COM ports and clicking the Connect.

One more thing. Give the Phototrackr and the application a little time before you try to Connect to the Phototrackr. It takes time for the Phototrackr to get ready.

Oh One More Thing?

Really? I recommend that you delete all users under USER Management Menu. Then put at least yourself in there as a User. By doing this you also delete all trip records made by the users you deleted. This is a good thing because those user’s Trip Records are useless. They come with the Application.

Also the application lists trips by oldest first. As you create more trip records they will be at the bottom of the list. Maybe you can reverse the list order. Maybe.

What It Does

The PhotoTrackr will keep a record of your trip. It will record GPS data at the interval time you assigned under the Setup Menu. You can also manually put in a GPS location, called a WayPoint, by clicking the button on the PhotoTrackr.

Downloading the information in the PhotoTrackr is easy enough but there is a gotcha with the data. If you plan to use the PhotoTrackr software to embed GPS data into your pictures they have to be JPG images. Since I shoot in RAW mode I didn’t check this part out. I planned all along to use LightRoon 4 and it’s Mapping abilities to do this task.

So How Do I Embed GPS Using A Tracker File?

Easy. Not Really. Under the Trip Records menu you have the option of Exporting a Trip Database. Only problem it’s useless. No other programs use it. It’s more of a backup file.

So What To Do?

I finally figured out how to get the correct type of trip record. For LightRoom 4 it’s a GPX file. So how did I manage to export a GPX file?

In the panel with the list of Trip Records right click the trip you need. You will see a list of files types to export. GPX is one of them.

So why isn’t this up in the Menu bar where all good Windows Apps have every command listed? I think this is an APPLE OS thing. I’ve noticed apps that start out in life as an APPLE application don’t have all commands available through the MENU bar. I have the same problem with Adobe LightRoom.

Get On With It And Tell Us What You Think

Once I figured out all of the above stuff I can now get a GPX file and load it into Lightroom and drag all the photos onto the map and watch them snap into the correct location. COOL. The GPS data also gets embedded into the image. The whole process doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Getting all this figured out took ALL day.

If you have a GMail account and can figure out the correct API, and get it into the software, the program isn’t too bad. Do I recommend it for you? NO. Spend a little more money and get something that may be a little more useful.

The product is available at B & H Photo Video and you can read the specification for this device there. B & H also had the lowest price. $45.