Garmin's GTU 10 GPS tracker

Garmin's unique GPS tracker arrives, and it raises a question: what is it for?

by David Arthur   August 6, 2012  

Garmin GTU GPS tracker

First developed for military use, GPS has become almost a standard way of tracking a ride for many  cyclists, as the technology has got smaller, lighter and more affordable.

Finding a niche though is the interesting Garmin GTU 10. Unlike the Edge series of GPS computers, this one doesn't show you any data when you're riding. Instead, it records and transmits your positional data to anyone who wants to view it. Essentially, it's an Edge without the screen.

Who, or what is it for? A good question. Years ago I rode a night time 80-mile mountain bike event, and was kitted out with some very home-brewed GPS equipment that transmitted my position to a Google map, so interested people who chart my progress. It worked rather well, and the few hundred people who followed my progress seemed to enjoy it.

The Garmin GTU 10 saves many hours in the shed. A compact design, it measures just 3in x 1.25in, and just under 1in at its thickest. The rubber power button is waterproof and there's a  mini-USB port underneath a rubber flap. An LED shows its charging state and indicates whether it's on or off. It's supplied in a small zipped pouch that makes it easy to attach to something.

Pondering it's usefulness, we immediately think of Mike Hall's recent record breaking ride around the world. It was possible to follow his progress as he used a Spot tracker. For such epic rides, a GPS tracker has almost become required, certainly if you're racing against the clock.

But what if you're not planning an attempt on Mike's ride? We're certainly not. We could see it being a novel attraction for more down to earth challenges, like sportives or charity rides. You could let your friends and family follow your progress, up and down hills, puncture stops, all from the comfort of their homes.

Another possible use is as an anti-theft device. If you leave your bike in a bike shed outside the office for example, you could leave the Garmin in a saddle bag and, if the worst happens, at least you'll stand a chance of tracking your bicycle. You can set a geofence (virtual boundary) for your device, so if it strays from that bike shed, you'll be the first to know. It's an expensive anti-theft device however. And we're not sure of the practicalities.

Out of the box it's simply a case of charging it up and heading over to Garmin Connect to register it before you can get out and use it. Which we're going to do right and a give it a test.

£149.99 from Garmin.com.

How would you use the GTU 10? Got any ideas for us to demonstrate it?

11 user comments

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How does it transmit? Via GSM?

posted by Gromski [38 posts]
7th August 2012 - 10:10

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I'm guessing the main advantage is a very long battery life? Is this mentioned in the article?

Although running a GSM transmitter is going to be potentially more energy intensive than a screen on a frequent GPS refresh rate setting.

posted by jackh [105 posts]
7th August 2012 - 11:17

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It only works in the US Sad

EdIt: I lie - was looking in the US store. Wonder how much year 2 costs:

Contract is valid across: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK.

posted by phillprice [19 posts]
7th August 2012 - 11:42

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I tried this app out a while back - worked pretty well for a freebie. The wife could see where I was on the way home and have dinner ready ... well, that was my theory anyway.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.greenalp.RealtimeTracker

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posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
7th August 2012 - 13:38

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"Another possible use is as an anti-theft device. If you leave your bike in a bike shed outside the office for example, you could leave the Garmin in a saddle bag and, if the worst happens, at least you'll stand a chance of tracking your bicycle."

Well, maybe. Seems to me you'll simply stand a rather higher chance of having an extra £150 of electronics nicked along with your bike.

I do online logging for long rides (eg last month and last year), but I use an Android phone. You can pick one up, plus an external battery, for half the price of the Garmin - and you're not tied to Garmin's software decisions. And it does a bazillion other things. Larger, of course, and you'll pay a bit more for a waterproof one, but hey.

There's a good review of the GTU here (lots of other good stuff on there too, like reviews of the Xperia Active and bar mount that I use):
http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/06/experimenting-with-using-garmin-gtu-1...

Seems you can't actually publicly share the tracking data at the moment, which seems - er - mental.

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posted by Bez [370 posts]
7th August 2012 - 14:00

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It might be useful for support crews for longer races needing to meet racers at certain points. Such as long distance running or extreme triathlons like Norseman/celtman. Especially if there can be a lot of time difference between expected and actual times so support crews can know where the athlete is.

posted by miffed [163 posts]
7th August 2012 - 16:45

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The UCI could use it to keep track of cyclists whereabouts Surprise Crying

posted by 37monkey [143 posts]
7th August 2012 - 17:01

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Solo touring is the obvious one, riding / walking / skiing in the mountains. Anywhere that you might have to have people find you.

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posted by londondailyphoto [73 posts]
8th August 2012 - 19:42

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You could use it to plot bike rides for leisure and then share the best ones with friends who weren't with you.

posted by spike1 [32 posts]
8th August 2012 - 21:14

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Perfect for verifying a South Downs double ride, or any distance ride where a standard GPS with screen will not have enough battery.

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posted by Silva Shadow [3 posts]
9th August 2012 - 16:36

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In Seattle we have a couple of "races" where riders can ride the course over a weeks span then turn their gps data to a website. This would make it much easier to upload data.

posted by joebass5 [1 posts]
9th August 2012 - 18:52

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