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GPS Receiver Recommendations

I've had hands-on experience using Tru-Traffic with a few different types of GPS receivers, and they're not equal. The short advice is to get one that uses both of the following

Recording a Trip Log using the GPS Receiver solo vs. Tru-Traffic

Some GPS receivers double as GPS data loggers; they can record their own trip logs ("tracks"), which gives you options:

  1. You can take the GPS receiver in the field solo, let it record the trip logs, then import the trip logs into Tru-Traffic when you return to the office. For Garmin GPS receivers connected with a serial cable, you can download directly into Tru-Traffic; otherwise, you can use software that comes with the GPS receiver or that's freely available to save the trip logs to a file for importing into Tru-Traffic. Advantages of this include
  2. You can connect the GPS receiver to a laptop running Tru-Traffic and operate it as a GPS "mouse", and let the software record the trip logs for you. With the basic GPS receivers that don't have a recording feature, this is your only option. Advantages of this include

A smart phone, iPhone or Android, serves as an example of option #1, a GPS data logger to record trip logs. For recommendations and tips, see John Albeck & Charles Askar's Instructional Guide Mobile Travel Time Data into Tru-Traffic. And here are my own bonus tips:

The USGlobalSat BU-353-S4 USB GPS Receiver serves as an example of option #2, a GPS receiver that works well with Tru-Traffic. It has some appealing features. It includes a magnetic mount, a waterproof casing, and a 5-ft USB cable so you can easily mount it on the roof of a vehicle with good exposure to the sky. It uses the SiRF Star III GPS chipset and an active patch antenna for high accuracy and sensitivity.

The Qstarz BT-Q1000XT Bluetooth Data Logger GPS Receiver serves as an example that gives both option #1 & option #2, a device that can operate as a GPS "mouse" or a GPS data logger and works well with Tru-Traffic.

The figure below, taken from the User's Manual illustrates the penalty in the speed accuracy that you can incur using option #1, if your GPS receiver doesn't include the speed in its self-recorded trip logs. The associated discussion in the user's manual describes the cause and consequences in more detail. As of this writing, the figure is on page 54 in the user's manual.

Noise in calculated GPS speed.

Comparison of some of the features of a sampling of GPS devices.
GPS Device USGlobalSat BU-353-S4 USB GPS Receiver Smart phone, iPhone or Android Qstarz BT-Q1000XT Bluetooth Data Logger GPS Receiver
Mounting options Includes waterproof casing,
roof magnetic mount, suction cup,
& 5' USB cable for clear view of the sky
Sits on your dashboard
or in your phone mount
Sits on your dashboard
Operates with Tru-Traffic
as basic GPS receiver
(i.e., "GPS mouse")
Yes No Yes
Logs GPS trips
for later download
No Yes Yes
Logging capacity (none) Depends on available memory ~400,000 points1
Power options USB cable, plugged into laptop Rechargeable batteries or USB cable Replaceable Li-ion batteries rechargeable with
USB cable or 12VDC car
charger (both included)
Battery life N/A Varies, depending on device, its
age, and number of charge cycles
40 hours
Connection type USB You'll need to transfer the data
to your computer with Tru-Traffic
Both USB (downloading trips) and
Bluetooth (connecting to Tru-Traffic)
Compatible with Windows 10 Yes, but you may need to download the driver separately.
You can use the USB-to-Serial standard driver from Prolific
Not applicable Yes

1Depending on how this GPS data logger is configured, this should store at least 40 hours of trip data.