What is SPOT?

SPOT is a small GPS satellite messenger. It’s shown actual size above. It allows us to send a few short, pre-defined messages even when we’re out of mobile phone range. It sends these messages on our behalf to a list of email contacts and in some cases also by SMS and facebook. It also updates this page in real-time. The messages contain the coordinates where the message was sent from, the type of message and the time along with our pre-written mesage.

I thought it was important to have some sort of communications considering we’re well out of mobile range a lot of the time. A satellite phone was a bit expensive, so we settled on SPOT as a compromise. The tracking data will be available to family and friends via the blog.

The main message it can send is an SOS. This message is to indicate a life-threatening emergency at our location and this gets sent direct to the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre so they can send out the cavalry. Hopefully that button never needs to be pushed, but it’s great peace of mind knowing that help is there if we need it. At least they’ll know where to go to find the bodies.

Next on the list is the Help button. We’re mainly using this one to let our contacts know that we’ve got car trouble and to arrange vehicle help.  We’re covered Australia wide with the RACV for the car and caravan.  Hope we don’t need to push this button either.

The custom message button is one that we’ll be using to highlight waypoints of interest.  Places where we parked the car and set off on foot.  Things like that.

The Check In/OK button is what we’ll push every night when we get to a new camp so everybody knows we’ve arrived safely.

SPOT also has the ability to provide a breadcrumb trail of our location every 10 minutes.  So, from this page you will be able to track our movements each day in realtime. If you need to call us during the day then using this page to time the call to line up with when we’re near a town may be a good idea 🙂  The tracker will only be on when we’re towing or touring.

So by using the SPOT effectively family and friends will know whether we’re moving or have safely setup camp or whether we need a bit of help.

A couple of videos explaining it a bit better.

SPOT Personal Tracker: Advanced Technology
Roadside assistance anywhere
SPOT Rescue Alert: Injured Snowmobiler Rescued From Remote Alaskan Backcountry

    How-to videos

Check-In/OK and Custom Message features
Tracking feature
Help feature
SOS feature