Experience with the GPS logger Holux M-241. We work from under Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Inspired by the last to become GPS loggers.
I would like to talk about the GPS-logger (GPS Receiver / Data Logger) Holux M-241, its features, capabilities, ease of use. Maybe someone will find this review useful in choosing such a device.
I needed a logger to create bike trails, ski walks and snap photos to coordinates. I bought this device in Dealextreme back in 2011 for about the same price for which it is now sold there, something around $ 70. Of course, there are newer and cheaper devices, but for some features they lose to this logger.

(Photos of the device borrowed from Dealextreme)

One more photo

When I chose a logger for myself, looking at small mean reviews of devices, I spent a lot of time to form an idea of ​​the functions I need.
As a result, I came to such requirements:
1. The power source is necessarily removable, preferably standard AA or AAA batteries. Indeed, if there is an outing beyond the limits of civilization for> 4 days, there will be nowhere to recharge, and collecting a dozen batteries of a special form factor is not optimal. It's easier to take a stock of standard batteries, and you can buy them in almost any remote village. Yes, and the proprietary form factor of the batteries is alarming, today analogues are produced, and in a year or two - try to buy such ones.
2. Navigation is optional.
3. Bluetooth is desired. To make it easier to connect to a laptop, for example, when driving in a car with location tracking enabled in the corresponding programs (Oziexplorer, SAS. Planet, etc.).
4. Ability to save a location point (POI) yourself.
5. And if there is also a screen to view the current coordinates, altitude, speed - it will be generally good ...

Therefore, the choice fell on the Holux M-241.

I'll start with general characteristics.
1. Dual Bluetooth + USB cable interface (For those who do not need Bluetooth and need more battery life, in the setting there is the possibility of disconnecting it).
2. Powered by one AA cell. (The official documentation states that you can’t use rechargeable batteries, only alkaline ones. But I personally use batteries, and I don’t have any problems with that. Of course, maybe using batteries will have less sensitivity or battery life, but I have enough sensitivity. And for autonomy, it works for 8-10 hours on my batteries (2500mAh), it lasted 12-14 hours on "fresh" batteries.)
3. The backlit LCD display shows information about location, speed, date, time.
4. The memory capacity is designed for 130,000 positions, including longitude, latitude, time and altitude. (The parameter “speed” was added to firmware version v1.13, so the volume of the journal was reduced to about 100,000 positions).
5. Personal settings, including the ability to register by time (1,5,10,15,30,60,120 sec), or by distance (50,100,150,300,500,1000 meters). It is possible to switch miles / kilometers).

The device is built on a MTK chip (MediaTek) (yes ... yes ... pretty old and voracious).
The antenna is built-in.
32 parallel channels.
Sensitivity up to -159dBm.
Fully compatible with Bluetooth Serial Port Profile (SPP).
LCD display (32mmX8.9mm / 128X32pix)
Support NMEA0183 V 3.01 protocol.
Compact and lightweight. Dimensions 32.1mmX30mmX74.5mm. Weight (without battery) <39g.
Operating temperature 0-50 degrees. Storage temperature -10- + 60 degrees. (In winter, in the breast pocket, he successfully used it for skiing in the forest at -25, the battery lasted for 5-6 hours).
Repositioning time <0.1 sec, hot start 1 sec, warm start 33 sec, cold start 36 sec. (In urban areas, a cold start can take up to 2-3 minutes).
The accuracy of measuring speed is 0.1 M / s.
Horizontal deviation 95% of the time <2.2M. Vertical deviation 95% of the time <5M.

Included is a software disc (this software is also available on the manufacturer’s website www.holux.com): drivers for Windows 98 / 2K / XP / Vista / 7, Linux, Mac. Firmware v1.12 (without the “speed” parameter for 130,000 positions) and v1.13, instructions for use, the Holux logger Utility utility (Windows only) for configuration, downloading results to a computer, converting track formats, recording gps data in Exif photos. There is also a Holux ezTour for Logger program (Windows only) for working with tracks. The capabilities of these programs will be discussed below.

An approximate calculation of the amount of memory. (rounded down)
Measurement Interval, secTrack length (time) v1.12 (v1.13)
136 hours (27 hours)
5180 hours = 7.5 days (138 hours = 5.7 days)
1015days (11.5days)
fifteen22.5 days (17.3 days)
thirty45 days (34.7 days)
6090 days (69 days)
120180 days (138 days)

Such a volume is quite enough for me.

To work with the logger, the manufacturer provides the HOLUX ezTour for Logger program (unfortunately only under Windows).

Settings window, where you can select the unit of measurement, at what time difference between the points of the track to make them separate, etc.

You can configure the GPS logger both from the device itself, through the display and buttons (which is a good plus), and through the program menu.
You can configure the recording at time intervals (1,5,10,15,30,60,120 sec) or at a distance (50,100,150,300,500,1000 meters). There is also the option to enable overwriting old data if the memory suddenly runs out.
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When unloading tracks, they are divided into separate parts, and not by one track, which is very convenient.
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You can download only part of the required tracks.
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The tracks provide information about the distance, the total time, time of movement and stops, speed and maximum, climb and descent. And all this is drawn on the graphs.
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There is a primitive track editor where you can drag and drop points, delete them, disconnect tracks into parts.
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You can export tracks to the following formats: GPX File (*. Gpx), NMEA0183 File (* .nmea), KML File (* .kml), Excel File (* .csv).
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When exporting to GPX format, it is possible to save in a simplified version (for example, for downloading to the web).
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Export to KMZ or Html is also possible.

For amateur photographers there is a function of geotagging photos. To do this, specify the folder with JPEG photos.
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In this case, the photos are distributed on the track and you can watch their binding to the map and schedule, as well as add a comment.
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If desired, you can upload photo data to Flickr, Locr or Facebook from the program’s interface.
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This photo binding to coordinates does not register information in Exif. This must be done separately. Like this. After these actions, information with coordinates will appear in the exif file.
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You can adjust the time.
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The result of the coordinate binding.

It seems that you can bind the video, but I have not tried it and will not tell you what happens there.
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A map with tracks and linked photos looks like this.
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As I already mentioned, this logger allows you to manually save POI points. When unloading tracks, they are displayed like this. You can attach a photo to them and add a description.
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From the program itself, you can save screenshots of maps with tracks. Here is how it looks.

Try exporting to HTML.
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The result is as follows. Interactive map, with tracks, photos and slideshows. It looks and works a little clumsy, but that is what it is ...
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The program, I think, is quite successful and convenient. There are all the most necessary functions.
For those to whom it seems too functional, the kit comes with a very simple utility - Holux Logger Utility.
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Here you can also configure the settings of the logger.
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Unload tracks. Each is saved in two * .trl and * .kml files. POIs are stored separately from tracks.
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Then these .trl files can be converted to text (.txt), Google Earth (*. Kml), NMEA (*. Txt), GPX (*. Gpx) and enter the time zone.
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Received tracks and POI points can be viewed in any relevant programs. I will not give examples of how the tracks in them look. And here is what a POI file opened in Google Earth looks like.
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To bind photos to coordinates, specify a folder with JPEG, if necessary, enter a temporary correction.
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This is all the functionality of native programs for the logger.

For those who work on Mac OS, do not worry that there is no native software. There are many similar programs, including free ones.
When connecting the Holux M-241 logger to Mac OS 10.8.4 (Mac mini) via USB, I was faced with the fact that it was not detected. I tried to install the USB Cable Driver (Mac) from the manufacturer’s website (CP210x Macintosh OSX Driver v2.1). But it did not help. Here you can take the more recent driver mytracks.zendesk.com/entries/20656011-drivers (CP210x Macintosh OSX VCP Driver v3.1). Direct link www.mytracks4mac.info/download/SiLabsUSBDriverDisk31.dmg . Only after that did it work through USB. This is what it writes in the system log when the device is connected.
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In general, you can connect via Bluetooth. It works great.
For easy uploading of tracks, you can use the free and free GPSBabel utility (http://www.gpsbabel.org). There are packages for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux. You can run from the GUI, or through the console. To run in the console version, use the options shown in the screenshot. The program supports a fairly wide range of devices and formats. Also able to convert from one format to another.

What seemed uncomfortable to me was that the entire set of tracks from the device is unloaded in one file. To separate them, for example, by day, additional steps must be taken. And also, with reference to the Holux M-241 logger, it is not able to unload POI points. If you upload a track to Google Earth, you’ll get something similar.

To further coordinate the coordinates to the photo, you can find several programs, both free and commercial.

From commercial software for Mac OS X, I liked the myTracks program (www.mytracks4mac.info). Which also allows you to upload tracks, edit, snap photos and much more. There are many videos on the site of what it allows you to do.
We try to unload the track and toss photos.
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Next, save the coordinate information in Exif.
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As a result, exif looks like this.

!!! This program has a good plus. She knows how to write information not only in JPEG files, but also in RAW !!!

For example, I registered the GPS information in an Exif file in RAW format, and opened it through the Raw Canon DPP Converter. And Raw Converter perfectly saw this information.
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Tracks with attached photos look like this. Tracks can be divided into parts, duplicated, create folders for them in a hierarchical structure. And much more.
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In general, the program is excellent and worth the money (in the Mac App Store $ 14.99).

For fans of GNU Linux, I can report that there will be no problems with the Holux M-241. On my Linux Debian (Testing, Jessie), the logger was detected immediately, without installing drivers.
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You can also use GPSBabel from the official package repository to upload tracks. To bind the coordinates to the photo, you can use the program GpicSync. There is a version for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux. (I did not get a binary package for Mac OS X, although I installed all the dependent components such as Python, wxPython. The program looked for libraries in completely different ways. Creating symlinks caused some errors, but it still didn’t work. I didn’t really understand it yet , postponed until better times. Has anyone managed to do this?) On the author’s site there is a ready-made deb package for ubuntu, which will work for debian too. Everything worked fine.

As you can see, no matter what OS you work with, the Holux M-241 GPS logger will not cause any special problems. There are many programs for uploading tracks and linking coordinates to photos under any OS. And everyone will be able to choose the right one.

This was information for fans to record their tracks and snap coordinates to photos.
For athletes, this logger will also be useful, you can record the tracks of your workouts, and use the appropriate sites to analyze and collect statistics. For example, I give the tracks of bicycle bikes and what can be done with them.

And a few more photos.
General view of the work.

Current coordinates.

The icon at the bottom left indicates that the POI has been saved.

Speed ​​and altitude.

Settings item and firmware version.

As a result, I want to list the advantages and disadvantages of the Holux M-241 GPS logger.
1. Dual Bluetooth + USB cable.
2. Ability to save a location point (POI) yourself.
3. The presence of a screen for displaying information (with backlight).
4. The ability to change settings without a computer, from the device itself through the menu.
5. The ability to enable overwriting of old data if the memory suddenly runs out.
6. The power source is AA (for some, this may seem like a flaw).
7. Sufficiently functional and convenient "native" software.

1. There is no moisture protection (I already pick and choose ...).
2. Notification about the end of the battery charge is not very successful. (There is no sound notification, and the discharge indicator starts blinking about 60-90 minutes before the shutdown.)

PS Somewhere on the Internet I heard complaints that when you wear the logger in your pocket, they may accidentally buttons are pressed and recording is turned on / off, settings are changed spontaneously. Well, gentlemen, read the manual. There is a screen lock. It is activated by simultaneously pressing two buttons.
At the bottom left is the screen lock icon.

By the way, such a question for those who know, what other software for recording GPS information in exif photos supports RAW format? (I assume that Aperture for Mac can do this, but I'm not sure.)

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