Another GPS based device I recently acquired (also thanks to my REI refund) is the SPOT Satellite Messenger. It is generally considered a sort of personal locator beacon (PLB), but those who know better quickly point out that it is based on completely different technology, so it is really in a category of its own.
Each day when I arrived in camp, I would turn on the SPOT, press the OK button, and leave it for the recommended 20 minutes with a clear view of the sky. And each time, it dutifully sent a message to my friends and family that looked like this:
We are safe and having fun rafting Deso/Gray on the Green River! Will try to check in tomorrow! See you soon!
Nearest Location: Fairbanks Crossing, United States
Distance: 23 km(s)
Time:04/14/2008 19:26:59 (US/Mountain)
Everyone commented that it was fun and reassuring to see our location, but they all also said that it was unfortunate that they weren’t able to monitor our progress from one day to the next by seeing each day’s waypoint on a common map.
That being said, there was a way to view all the waypoints on a common map, but it left a lot to be desired. I was able to view all my waypoints on the SPOT website like the image below, but I had to enter my username and password that was also the same one that manages the rest of my SPOT account including my credit card information. I obviously wasn’t going to hand out my personal information to everyone I knew, so this feature was essentially non-existent. What was needed was something similar to my Blogger account or my Motionbased.com account, both of which allow me to share my information with either a selected group of people or the whole world.
Well low and behold, as I write this I find out that all the customer requests to SPOT for a shared page has been answered! My shared page can be seen here. Unfortunately, it is only trying to display messages from the last 24 hours, so my Deso/Gray trip isn’t visible. Hopefully, this will be fixed soon and I can provide an update on how useful the sharing is. Till then…