“Little Stick – Big Brother”

TrackStick GPS Device


Just last week my girlfriend Jill put a little box gift-wrapped on the dinner table and had me guessing. It was a fairly small box. I guessed electronics – correct, and then something for the bike – potentially. When I uttered the three letters – “GPS” – she smiled broadly. So I opened the little package – and out came a little device called Track Stick. It’s essentially a thick USB drive with a GPS receiver built in. No User Interface, no buttons or displays, just an ON/OFF switch and the USB plug in a weather-proof housing.


You can carry the stick anywhere and it will record your GPS coordinates, altitude, speed, and temperature (even though the latter doesn’t seem to work on my device yet).


Enter www.trackstick.com. There you can download the TrackStick Manager Software. It brings the little stick to life. After plugging in the TrackStick you can transfer the data to the PC and then display them as follows:



A good description of how it works can be found here:




Today I tried this with the bicycle. I went out for a 2 hr bike ride in the morning along A1A going North from Palm Beach Gardens to Jupiter Island turning around at Hobe Sound. But why write about it when you can view it graphically in Google Earth!





If you’re interested in the original data for this trip, here they are:

·       TrackStick data file (85 KB): http://tlausser.com/Tech/GPS/2007/HobeSound.tsf

·       Google Earth file (1122 KB): http://tlausser.com/Tech/GPS/2007/HobeSound.kml


You can zoom in and hover over every tracked waypoint to find the time and speed. It’s also fairly precise as you can tell from this close-up of the PGA Boulevard bridge over the Intracoastal:



Likewise, you can “fly” along and see how fast you were going.



This particular ride was 2 hrs, about 60 km, and the tracklog consisted of about 1000 waypoints. (One can set the sampling frequency of the stick.) At this frequency my 4MB stick should be able to store about 36 hrs worth of data – however, much more if you stop moving. Then the stick stops recording, goes into a standby mode and saves battery life. So you should be able to easily track a weekend outing.


I can’t wait for the next long tailwind-assisted and trackstick-ed ride. My trip reports will never be the same any more!