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  1. #1
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Electronic hiking devices

    Do you use one? Which one, and why?

    In my early twenties I used to go for three day hikes in the mountains by myself and wouldn't tell anyone where I was going. Those carefree days are long gone now as I've gotten older, wiser, and met my wife who for some reason wants to know my whereabouts. There was also a tragic event in the family where two members were lost for several days, then found deceased. My wife has never, ever held me back from going wandering and photographing in the bush by myself (there's a zero % chance of finding a hiking/photographing partner), but that doesn't stop the I'm never going to see you again look in her eyes when I head out the door.

    I do have a small GPS device that plots way points or points back to the car, but I'm looking for something a little more elaborate. About a year ago I read an article about a satellite device that one subscribes to where my wife could log onto their website and track my progress in real time. As I recall, it would take a reading of my location every half hour or so, and also came with a "Mayday" feature for situations where rescue was needed. Anyone know what I'm talking about, and could you provide a link?

    Thanks,

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  2. #2
    bobwysiwyg's Avatar
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    Do you mean PLB's? Personal Locator Beacons? I'm not sure, but I think these are specifically meant to assist in rescue, not routine third-party use to locate you.
    WYSIWYG - At least that's my goal.

    Portfolio-http://apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=25518

  3. #3
    Robert Oliver's Avatar
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    this is for emergency use only... but pretty cool.. the missus won't be able to track online, but a live saving device..

    http://www.acrterrafix.com/
    Last edited by Robert Oliver; 07-16-2008 at 12:19 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: forgot link

  4. #4
    Robert Oliver's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_tracking

    from the worldwide leader in sometimes unreliable information.

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I think a flare gun and a gps unit would have you covered.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  6. #6
    Paul Cocklin's Avatar
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    www.findmespot.com

    I just bought one for my upcoming trip to Mexico, and other future trips. I love it so far. $149 at REI, then $99 for an anual subscription to the company, $8 a year for up to $100K USD in emergency evacuation insurance, including usage for helicopter rescue. I think $49 for an annual subscription to enable the 'tracking' feature, but there was a special and I only paid $25.

    It's really cool. I tried it out on a 3 day trip to Reno from where I live. It's got a button to push to send an 'OK' signal, including a customized email and text message to whoever you choose. The track feature doesn't send a message, but they are beta testing (and it seems to work fine) the webpage where the tracks show up. It's powered by Google maps, and when you press the ok, it sends, along with your customized message, lat and long, as well as a link that pinpoints your location on googlemaps.

    It's way cool.

    It's also got the emergency button, which gets relayed to who ever the closest emergency response people are, as well as an "I need help" button which doesn't notify the authorities, but rather your personal selections by email and text message.

    I love it. I am not in any way affiliated with the company other than being a happy customer.

    The SPOT. It's great! No coverage in subsaharan Africa, though.

  7. #7
    areaeleven's Avatar
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    Murray of the north,

    I believe what yer looking for is this:

    http://www.findmespot.ca/en/

    The SPOT Satellite Messenger. Pretty neat. I might get one for myself as I tend to go way into the backcountry without telling anyone as well. Unlike you I haven't grown up yet

    Hope that helps. Stay safe!

    c.

  8. #8

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    What about a cell phone and topo map (each), for instant updates?
    "Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould

  9. #9
    Paul Cocklin's Avatar
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    Forgot to mention, the SPOT's day-glo orange (think black box) about 1.5 inches thick, 3 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall, floats, is waterproof to 1 meter, is fairly light, has a great waistbelt clip, not a cheap one that doesn't work well, the batteries are supposed to last 1 year of being turned on (very low power draw), uh let's see, what else, you can have multiple SPOT messengers on one account, it's great for photography! If you're in the woods and come across a spot you want to find again, or wish to see on a map, just send an "OK!" and when you get home you can reference it. The only downside to that usage is that you can't customize the 'ok' message from the unit, only from your account on their website, so it's not changeable in the field. You can't mark a spot and call it something, although if you have a normal gps, you could mark lat and long and make field notes.

    It's awesome! I got it because my girlfriend was always paranoid that something will happen to me. She said that something happening would be bad enough, but not knowing would be what kills her. So now she'll know (within a reasonable amount of time). I made a deal with her that I would send twice a day, 9AM and 9PM. I'm allowed to miss one by accident, but once I miss two, she notifies the authority.

    I'm planning some trips to some rough parts of South America next year, so this will come in handy.

    Whoops, Chris is right, you would want the canadian website.
    Last edited by Paul Cocklin; 07-16-2008 at 01:01 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I find internet access to my wife's and my joint bank account to be a reliable indication where she is or has been .

    Matt

    P.S. - it works well the other way too

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