Introducing The Bad Elf

More and more geocachers are using smartphones and a huge number of those are Apple iPhones. We’ve also seen the Apple iPad find a role in the geocaching world as well. But one of the criticisms is that the GPS sensitivity is not that flash.

Enter the Bad Elf GPS Receiver for iPod touch, iPhone, iPad and iPad2.

This miniature box plugs into the 30-pin dock of your iPhone or iPad to provide you with quality GPS.

It is incredibly simple to use – you simply plug it in, download the free Bad Elf app and you’re away.

Cutting to the really important information – the GPS Specs:

GPS Technical Specs:
  • Fast GPS lock times (45 seconds or less)
  • 60k feet maximum altitude
  • 1000 MPH maximum speed
  • Up to 10Hz position update rate
  • 66-channel MTK GPS chipset

It is compatible with a huge range of apps but, most importantly, it works with the official Geocaching app and Geocaching with Geosphere app.

But is it really that accurate? Well, according to Bad Elf, it is:

Typically, you’ll see the accuracy listed as 10m, after it comes thru the iOS Core Location APIs. The GPS chipset in the Bad Elf GPS actually provides data as precise as 2.5m, but as with any GPS receiver, this depends on your particular environment (interference, sky visibility, shielding, etc).

And what if you already have an iPhone? Doesn’t that have inbuilt GPS? Would the Bad Elf be any better?

In general, yes! The Bad Elf GPS Receiver uses the high-performance MTK3329 chipset, so it’s capable of 2.5m resolution and 10Hz reporting. It can acquire a GPS lock in places the internal GPS will not, such as inside a commercial jet flying at 565mph at 29K feet. It also supports WAAS, so you’ll see better vertical accuracy and at least 10m positional accuracy in almost all conditions. And finally, our receiver does not depend on Assisted GPS data to get a lock, so as long as you have a clear view of the sky, it will get a GPS lock within about 35 seconds.

The Bad Elf retails at US$99.95, so the cost is not huge.

Not convinced? Neither was I, so the kind folks at Bad Elf have given me one to play with and review. Over the next few weeks I’ll be reporting back on how well the Bad Elf works in the field for geocaching, some accuracy benchmarking with other handheld GPS units (including how well it does in an iPhone that already has GPS) and on the other fun things it allows me to do with my iPad.

Stay tuned!



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  1. Papa

    I want to have a turn!!!

  2. Peter Raymond Walker on Facebook

    Papa commented on Its Not About The Numbers:

    I want to have a turn!!!

  3. Aranea

    Looking forward to your reviews to see how it’s working.
    Send it to Canada so we can take it for a test drive in our neck of the woods…
    for research purposes….of course!

  4. Kylie Walker on Facebook

    At this rate, I’ll never get a turn – will just have to buy my own.

  5. Jill Walker on Facebook

    There was a bad elf who lived at our house when you were much younger Kylie the bad elfs real name was Peter Walker – hehehe.

  6. Peter Raymond Walker on Facebook

    Having great fun with the Bad Elf at the moment testing it in the field. I will have a post out on that soon!

    Not sure that I’m willing to share the fun though :p

  7. Lori Smith on Facebook

    sooooo?? how did it do??

  8. Lori Smith on Facebook

    and was it an iphone 4? or 3g?

  9. kjwx

    From all reports, it appears the Bad Elf is proving very popular. Peter has been testing it with his wi-fi iPad and an iPhone 4, I believe, and comparing it with his beloved BB and Etrex. He’s also planning to trial it against his new Oregon 450. The results and increasing accuracy have been so encouraging that I’ve since bought my own Bad Elf to use with my iPad.

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