LCS Staff Review by Randy Carlson – General Manager
Garmin recently came out with a new addition to its dog tracking device line – the GTU 10. Garmin’s says it has wide range of application and can be “used for anything that’s important to you”. I have been testing it over the past few weeks to see how well it works and how it would apply to those of us who are running dogs, and my initial tests look pretty good!
First the essentials. The unit is small – very small – and lightweight. It’s about 3” long by 1 ½” wide, and less than 1” in diameter, and it weighs less than 2 ounces. It’s waterproof and shock resistant and fits onto a 1” collar strap nicely. The GTU 10 uses a lithium ion battery and is rechargeable by connecting it to your computer. Depending on settings, the battery life can range from one week to one month!
The next question is “how easy is this thing to use?” The answer is pretty simple, but it does require that you have access to desktop computer or handheld type device with Internet access. You simply go the “mygarmin.com” website and register your unit, and you are ready to start tracking. When you want to see where the unit (or your dog) is located you simply go to the mygarmin.com website and click on “locate device”. This means there is only one piece of hardware, which connects to your dog and that you don’t have to carry a handheld device around. But, there is still plenty of information available to you on the whereabouts of your dog – read on!
The Garmin GTU 10 transmits the location of your dog via AT&T cell service to the mygarmin.com site. You go to the Internet site and see the exact location of your dog on a map screen that is similar to Mapquest or GoogleEarth, which gives you the choice of a “road” view or “aerial” view. You can quickly zoom in our out to the level of detail needed. So, you can see your dog’s location on a desktop computer, or from a cell phone (Iphone, Droid, etc.) while in the field. I have a Droid and it really works like a dream.
Here is another feature that has application for dogs – you have the ability to set what Garmin calls a “geofence” on your map screen. Basically this means you can easily set a perimeter that will send an message if the dog travels outside of the perimeter. The message is sent to you via an email or text message that you establish in the mygarmin.com website. The geofence can be as small as your backyard, or as large as the state in which you reside – really! The first time I used it I set a perimeter around LCS and started driving home and within four minutes I had an email on my phone telling me I had left the perimeter and providing me a link that took me directly to the map screen, and showed my location. It was really amazing.
So, think of it. You are the guy or gal who is running a bird dog or hound that usually stays close, but every so often when your dog cuts a deer track or turkey scent, all bets are off and the chase is on! You know that if you come home without your dog, you might as well not come home at all. Here is a fast and reliable (also known as “peace of mind”) way to relocate your lost dog quickly before it wanders into a roadway at night. Or, you have a dog in the back yard and when the neighbor’s cat saunters by can result in the ability to leap a small building in a single bound – right over the kennel fence. The chase is on and you don’t have a clue on where
There are a few negatives. The most important thing to consider is the unit uses AT&T cell service, and must be in an AT&T coverage area. That doesn’t mean YOU need to have an AT&T phone service (I use Verizon and it works well), it just means the area has to be covered by AT&T or you won’t be able to see your dogs location on the website. The other thing to consider is there is an annual service fee for the AT&T service of $49.95. The first year of coverage is included in the first year of ownership, but following years the annual fee will required to maintain service.
The GTU 10 is easy to use and reliable at helping you find your dog. I think it’s pretty cool and for someone not wanting to go the high tech tracking system route, and just wants to be able to find their dog if it gets lost, it is the answer.