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Old 08-02-2013, 05:40   #1
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Relay Position by SMS Cellphone Network

Most people are aware of the Globalstar SPOT Messenger´s capability to transmit it´s position and a short pre-set message by SMS to Globalstar´s servers.

Another possibility is to use the cellphone network direct from your smartphone to transmit a slightly longer text in real time with position report to ANY cellphone by SMS. The message is received in TWO parts,first the text,followed by the position URL.

When Internet connection is available,clicking this URL automatically opens Google Maps displaying the cellphone´s position.

If not,and you are within cellhone coverage,you can just copy/paste the position received by SMS into your favourite navigation program,whether Windows or Android located.

I innstalled the Mighty Text ´connector´on my smartphone and the transmit/receive programs on my tablet as well as my PC where all SMS messages are copied as received from my SPOT Messenger AND my Galaxy smartphone. Clicking the received SMS messages in Mighty Text,automatically displays the position on Google Maps.

The smartphone nav app Marine Navigator have already agreed to include a special SMS entry area in their next release.

I have found another,although somewhat basic app,which is capable of receiving SPOT positions over internet and displaying them on Google Maps. You only have to insert one or more of the standard SPOT Public URL´s.

I think it is another important safety feature to have on board,the ability to send a position message to family and friends whenever within internet or cellphone range.

Tore
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:05   #2
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

Sure , thats works, Ive had a few problems 200 miles offshore !!!
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:12   #3
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

goboatingnow..

Thanks for your observation and confirmation re cellphone coverage.
Could you tell me the extent of your sailing area?

Tore
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:14   #4
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

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Originally Posted by sinbad7 View Post
goboatingnow..

Thanks for your observation and confirmation re cellphone coverage.
Could you tell me the extent of your sailing area?

Tore
Europe US, Africa and Med and the waters in-between
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:05   #5
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

goboatingnow..

Very useful information from a round the world sailor´s experience with cellphone coverage. Using Mighty Text to receive the SMS positions on your PC or Tablet certainly seems a viable option for family and friends keeping track of your whereabouts.

Tore
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:06   #6
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

Just a tip if you wish to also send attachments with your SMS position message.
At least,if you have a Samsung Galaxy SII etc.

Make sure you tick the two options under Mobile Networks:
Use packet data and Data roaming. Otherwise both sending and receiving attachments will show ´Sending´ or ´Downloading´ forever.

Say you are passing some beauty spot or have a particularly beautiful sunrise/sunset.
You can then choose ´Camera´ as an attachment and snap the pic.

Very useful on inland lakes and waterways.

Happy SMS sailing!!

Tore
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:30   #7
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

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Originally Posted by sinbad7 View Post
goboatingnow..

Very useful information from a round the world sailor´s experience with cellphone coverage. Using Mighty Text to receive the SMS positions on your PC or Tablet certainly seems a viable option for family and friends keeping track of your whereabouts.

Tore
I was being facetious, I have found that in "developed" countries I get upto 20 miles offshore in places , but coverage is very very inconsistent and the problem has got worse since 3G

Elsewhere its all over teh place


In my view short of sailing within 5 miles of a major city, the method is far to variable to be useful.

Dave
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:56   #8
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

Dave..

OK,I missed that one!! All the same,a useful feature for the lakes and inland waterways plus the thousands of ´coastal sailors´. We are not all single handed dare devils engaged in round the world adventures!

And far better coverage than internet,unless you run your boat up to the nearest shopping center.

Tore
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Old 08-02-2013, 15:28   #9
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

Tore, there's no need for special software sending out SMS messages. If you've got an Android phone, Google Maps is integrating the Google Latitude feature, and your phone will broadcast your position automatically every xx minutes. No SMS messaging needed, anyone can read the position, or you can restrict it to a list of people.

There are a number of apps that automatically grab & transmit a cell phone's position that way, so friends who are barhopping can see who is around, among other purposes.

Using it on a boat? Nothing new there.
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Old 08-02-2013, 15:28   #10
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

+1 on 20 miles with unobstructed line of sight, and without unreliable signal boosters and directional antennas.

A typical cellphone has enough power to reach a cell tower up to 45 miles away. Depending on the technology of the cell network, the maximum distance may be as low as 22 miles because the signal's travel time messes up too much with the highly accurate timing of the cellphone protocol to work reliably.

So 20 miles is your best scenario. In practical terms do not expect to have reliable connection if the distance to the cell tower is more than 5 miles in flat landscape, or 8 miles from a hill looking down at the tower.

Hope this helps ...
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Old 08-02-2013, 19:51   #11
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

hellosailor...

I agree with you if you have internet connection,BUT,my point was,here is a great way to transmit/receive position reports via the cellphone network which has a far wider coverage than sporadic wifi locations. Installing Mighty Text in your smartphone which pairs with your tablet and PC enables you to send and receive SMS messages from your tablet as well as any PC.

Not a great range,but I have yet to see consistent wifi coverage along any coast without expensive antennas and equipment.

Tore
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Old 08-02-2013, 20:27   #12
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

"I agree with you if you have internet connection,BUT,my point was,here is a great way to transmit/receive position reports via the cellphone network "
Tore, maybe you don't understand, but the google maps /latitude /backitude position sharing system will work over the cellular system without any wifi. SMS works over the cellular control channels, or I should say WORKED over it. These days when you send a text message, it no longer goes over the control channels, it goes out as cellular data via a text message "network" which is in fact just a data protocol. In fact, some carriers have shut down their SMS-aliases for cell phones and exclusively push the messages out as text messages over data, not over the control channels. They've locked them out. If I have a message sent to my SMS-address (which is my phone number at the carrier's sms-gateway domain name) it will be diverted to my carrier's email gateway, and I get billed for an email, as data! In order to get billed for a text message, it has to be sent via the text message "network".

The good news is that these days, all cellular phones are digital phones and there really is no difference between "voice" and "data". "Voice" is simply converted to digital data and sent out as data, the same as text messages and maps and everything else. It is all just data now, and if you have a cellular connection, it is a digital data connection.
So if you've got a cellular connection, you don't need WiFi, and the existing "applications" will still work and still send out your data.

SMS? Is almost always an illusion like a fossil: You're seeing the fossil, not the animal it was made from. Most of the current users don't know what it is, many of the cellular service reps don't know what it is. They only know "text messages" these days.

"Voice" really died with analog phones, which at least in the US have almost entirely been shut down for something like five years now. Cellular now (GSM, 4G-LTE, etc.) is all digital data.

No WiFi required.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:53   #13
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

hellosailor..

Thank you for the detailed explanation. Must admit I am no specialist on SMS but amazed at the possibilities it represents. Although Google Maps/Latitude works fine,I see no reason NOT to use other useful apps and programs. There is presently a virtual explosion of new tablet users,with no connection to the cellphone network. Mighty Text solves that by pairing smartphones with tablets and also PC´s and laptops.

Tore
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:39   #14
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Re: RELAY POSITION BY SMS CELPHONE NETWORK

I don't disagree with you, I just note that "SMS" as we knew it no longer is being used, and all calls are "just" data calls now, allowing for all sorts of apps to work. When AOL Instant Messenger was new, location awareness was radical. Now? Also has become mainstream, the only question really is how often you send it and who you allow to see it.
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Old 15-02-2013, 04:15   #15
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+1 for a spot tracker, or similar device.
Mine makes the Mrs feel a lot better for those times I'm out of phone range because she knows I'm safe and where I am. I have it set up with an OK Checkin, a 7-day distress (I'm stuck here and need assistance within 7 days), a 24 hour distress (as above but I need help quicker) and then it has the mayday button too. I Checkin every day when I stop for the night and at other key moments.
I also use it when hiking, cross country skiing, 4WDriving, hunting etc. (Australia is big - I'm frequently out of phone coverage)
Cheap for the benefit it provides, I reckon.
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