FINIS gets out of the pool with open water GPS tracker
By Ben Coxworth
February 27, 2012
For those of us who just swim lengths in pools, keeping track of where we've swum is pretty easy. When it comes to triathletes and other people who swim in lakes or the open ocean, however, there aren't any lane markers to look back on. Instead, they can now use the Hydro Tracker GPS, made by California water sports tech company FINIS. The waterproof device attaches to the user's goggle straps, then uses GPS technology to create a map of where they've been, while also recording performance data.
The Hydro Tracker doesn't require any calibration - it features two-button operation, and using it pretty much just consists of turning it on when one hits the water. Because its goggle-strap attachment method keeps it located on the back of the head, it is able to maintain a fairly consistent GPS signal connection ... assuming the user doesn't swim on their back too much, presumably.
It's powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, that's good for up to 16 hours of use per charge. In order to come close to that 16-hour figure, users will want to adjust the GPS data sampling rate, so that information is gathered at farther-spaced intervals.
Once the day's swim is over, data can be downloaded from the Hydro Tracker into the user's PC or Mac. There, their route can be viewed on Google Maps, in map or satellite settings. Information such as speed, distance traveled and accumulated time can be obtained from any point on that route map, and can be compared with the user's data from those same points on other days. Users can also keep track of their performance stats and set training goals on the FINIS Streamline Training Log, which can accessed for free online.
Of course, just because the device is waterproof doesn't mean that it has to be used in the water. It can also be placed in a neoprene armband and worn on runs, hikes or bike trips, where it will provide additional information such as elevation.
The Hydro Tracker GPS is available now via the FINIS website, for US$129.99.