Anyone who’s lost a suitcase because it disappeared off the baggage claim carousel or ended up at the wrong airport is always a little afraid that it could happen again. For our trip to Peru and Bolivia, where I took along my drone, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. So I bought myself a GPS transmitter that you just attach to your bag, camera, or backpack. TrackR, as the transmitters are called, could still be found on Indiegogo a couple of months ago. Now they’re available on the open market for about $30 apiece.
With a diameter of just 31 mm and a thickness of 3.5 mm, the TrackR is really small and can fit in any pocket. Thanks to its convenient loop, it fits on any key ring or can be attached to your camera.
The battery is good for a year, and the device’s speaker attains a volume of up to 85 dB. The device connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. So if you’re trying to find an object that has a TrackR attached to it, you can use the handy app to activate a signal, or you can look on a map to see where the object you’re looking for is located.
No Bluetooth, No Location
Unfortunately, the problem is actually the Bluetooth connection, which is needed even if you just want to see the GPS signal on the map. When I tried it on the plane before take-off to quickly check and see if our bags and my drone knapsack were all set to fly with us to Peru, the Bluetooth connection sadly only extended far enough to find my suitcase and the drone, but not Daria’s suitcase. So if the bag is still in Zurich and I’m already in Peru, the app will unfortunately fail to produce any results, which is why the TrackR won’t provide me with the answer to my problem.
The Power of Community to Help
So since the TrackR doesn’t have enough of a range to find your[DZ1] object regardless of where it is in the world, it now has a built-in system that alerts you as soon as another person with a TrackR app and switched-on Bluetooth is near your item. Up until a couple of months ago, there weren’t too many of us, but the community is growing, as you can see from this map.
Since I enjoy supporting crowdfunding campaigns, I’m very happy with this particular campaign. The service and the TrackR function flawlessly. If had just one wish, it would be to have a tracker that works without a live Bluetooth connection and that can alert me to its location as long as I have a GPS signal. Or it could send me the info on its previous location before the GPS signal was lost.
I can heartily recommend the TrackR to anyone who finds themselves looking for their keys at home on a regular basis. The beeping signal triggered by your smartphone functions without a hitch and even helped me locate my GoPro in the closet.
Thanks to an attentive reader I noticed that the TrackR itself actually has no GPS transmitter installed, it simply connects to the smartphone via bluetooth and thus uses GPS data from the phone. With the crowdGPS the manufacturer expects that all TrackR users have activated their Bluetooth at any time and so contribute to the updates of the current object location.