For 10 years, Evermore technologies have been designing GPS systems for the mainstream consumer. As well as data loggers and for image tracking that photographers can use, the devices can also be used for fleet management, asset tracking and timing reference.
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Evermore BT-R800: Specification
- General: L1 1575.42MHz, C/A code, 16-channel all in view tracking
- Sensitivity: -158 dBm (typical)
- Update Rate: 1Hz
- Accuracy Position: <15m(95%) without S/A
- Velocity: 0.1 m/sec without S/A
- Time: ± 100ns synchronized to GPS time
- Acquisition Cold start: 34 sec (average)
- Warm start: 33 sec (average)
- Hot start: 3.5 sec (average)
- Dynamics Altitude: 18,000m Max
- Velocity: 500m/s
- Acceleration: 2g Max
- Reacquisition Time: 0.1 second
- Datum: WGS-84
- DGPS: WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS
- Protocol: NMEA-0183 V2.3 , 8-None-1
- Baud rate: Auto Adjustment 4800 -115200 bps
- NMEA Message Default: GGA, GSA, GSV, RMC
- Operation Temperature: -10oC to 60oC
- Storage Temperature: -20oC to 85oC
- Operating Humidity: 5% to 90% non-condensing
- Antenna: Built-in Patch Antenna
- Interface connector: Wireless interface
- Battery: Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery 3.7V/1000mAh
- Operation Current: 70mA (Typical)
- Operation Time: 12hrs, after fully charged, in continuous
- Charging time: 4hrs. (Typical)
- Dimension/Weight: 73x45x20mm/60g
- WAAS Accuracy: Position: 3m CEP, Velocity: 0.05m/sec
Evermore BT-R800: Overview
GPS (Global Positioning System) is a navigation system which uses satellites orbiting earth to track your location and GPS units will then store the information to correlate with your EXIF data from your photographs later.
The small Evermore BT-R800 GPS tracking system is unassuming in its design. It's a bit bigger than a matchbox and has only one button to switch between powering the instrument on, tracking your movements and the bluetooth connection.
Two LED lights sit next to the power button and they have a satellite symbol which is to denote when a link has been achieved. The other is for showing when a bluetooth connection has been enabled.
Unlike the Sony GPS CS1KA, the green GPS light is solid until a link is achieved and will then give a steady blink.
Evermore BT-R800: Installing
The included CD is the smaller 3in size and sits in your CD trays inner divot. Loading it into the computer launches the installation software and a simple list will be shown on a window for you to download the applications you need. Applications available include the GPS viewer and Photologr utilities, manual and it also comes with Google Earth and Adobe Reader.
Clicking on each option will download them and it's a straightforward if lengthy way of doing it. The option to download everything would be an added bonus.
The manual gives a straightforward explanation of what to do step by step and after downloading and installing Photologr, it suggests to download Google Earth if you don't already have it.
After installation, your photos have to be loaded into the GPS program and this is done by loading the pictures into a folder called photographs which is found in the Evermore folder on the C: drive. If you want an original copy left in a certain folder of your computer, you'll have to copy the files over instead of dragging them into the folder.
The information from the EXIF data on the photographs in that folder will then be matched with the information from the GPS unit when it's downloaded.
Evermore BT-R800: In use
The GPS unit can be charged through a mains adapter or attaching it to your computer via the USB lead. Although the unit comes with a charger and 2-pin plug, it only comes with another 2-pin adapter, not a UK adapter so a travel plug would be necessary for use in the UK.
The unit can take a long time to charge but will give you 12hrs of solid power when fully charged which is more than enough for many trips out and about. Evermore claim a 4hr charge time from the mains but I found it took longer. I also discovered that the included plug is quite weighty and it kept falling out of the UK adapter I had to use.
One thing I noticed about the Sony unit was that it had to be left outside the bag so it could get a direct signal from the satellite. The Evermore unit doesn't need this and can be put in your pocket or gadget bag
To enable GPS connection, the power button has to be held down for over 3 seconds and a solid green light will emit from the LED with the satellite icon illustrating that it's searching for a signal. It takes around five minutes to get a connection to the satellite and my only complaint is that when the connection is made, the green blinking light is difficult to see in bright sunlight.
To enable the bluetooth, press the power button twice then hold it down for three seconds and to power off, press the button three times and hold it down for three seconds. The LEDs are multi-coloured to give you warnings such as a solid red light when the memory is full or an orange light if you're still trying to use it and it's lost the GPS signal. The orange light will blink if the memory is full but a connection is still established.
Evermore BT-R800: Downloading
Download the gps logs from the Log folder on your PC after you've transferred it from the unit.
Once you've loaded your images into the photographs folder, you can load the logged data into the log folder to correlate the information.
The Evermore BT-R800 photo logger is USB plug and play enabled so there's no need to download any drivers for it. To download the information, just drag it from the folder and put it into the folder marked Log. I moved the Photograph and Log folders onto my Desktop for convenience.
Launching the Photologr program opens up a window with a small world map on the right which has eight tabs above it for actions such as adding comments to your photos, adjusting the time and sharing photos.
To the left is a button to open the track file and this is the GPS log you loaded from the unit. Once that's loaded in you need to choose whether you'd like the tagging done using all information available or display the data by specifying the date. It will only load in the info with that date which will help if you used it over a number of days.
Some images may come up with no data linked to them and this may be an issue with the time of the camera differing from the datalog. This can be amended by clicking on the DSC tab above the map. Bear in mind on this part that if the time says 1831 and the time is actually 1455 then you have to plus and minus the fields by the numeric values to reach the differing number. So using the above example, I'd need to put -6 into the hours field and 24 into the minutes field changing the 1831 to 1455.
The program loads in the gps log and images before aligning them on the map which is linked to Google Maps.
The path tracked along the canal is red which is where the unit struggled for a signal. Another path is to the right where I took photos of the Bridge of Sighs and is green.
This isn't clearly listed in the manual and it took me a while to figure it out but the manual is converted from Mandarin with sporadic spelling mistakes and rough English.
The manual then states that after the time has been changed, you won't have a problem and all your pictures will be aligned. That's not entirely accurate. The images that weren't allocated before, remained the same despite showing the correct time they were taken.
This is possibly where a design flaw of the unit rears its head. The only way you know if you've lost a signal is by an LED flashing at you. How can you see this when the unit is in your bag? Maybe an audible emitter is a step in the right direction.
I spoke to Julian Lambden of Valueteq, the UK PR company for Evermore and he suggested the time difference may be playing a part in the images not aligning. I tried adjusting the time and the four images that were aligned disappeared and two different images matched up instead.
Evermore BT-R800: Verdict
In a discussion with Jimmy Huang, CEO of Evermore technologies, he told me that the BT-R800 is more precise and offers more features than the Sony GPS CS1KA tracker. This is true to a degree with the stronger signal allowing you to put it in a bag, incorporating bluetooth and having more features on the software, it's just a shame that the software lets it down.
Luckily, Evermore have a lot of backup and contacting them through the site will get you in touch with a technical expert who will do what they can to resolve your issue. Bear in mind that they're in Taiwan, so when we're awake they're asleep.
This is a really good GPS unit and if you're OK with it missing the mark slightly then you won't have a problem with it.
For the record, the map I used for the Sony unit didn't have Peveril castle listed so I thought it was located in the correct place. I later received an email from Google asking if someone could relocate the photograph to where the castle really is. It turns out that it was around half a mile away from the actual site which goes to show that any of the GPS trackers have a chance of getting it wrong.
Evermore BT-R800: Plus points
Show everyone where you've been
Works while in a bag or pocket
Lots of programs available on installation window
Good technical support
Evermore BT-R800: Minus points
Can't tell if it's lost the signal
Can have trouble tallying data
Translation is not the best
Manual assumes things will work
SOFTWARE EASE OF USE
The Evermore BT-R800 GPS photo logger costs around £66 and is available from the Valueteq website here.