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Old 29-11-2012, 02:40   #1
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Question Spot GPS Messenger

I just wanted to know if anyone is using this GPS safety gizmo?? We are about to embark on our longest trip so far in the boat (only 6 weeks, work tends to gets in the way!!) I am thinking of buying a Spot device and wanted to know if I could download the positioning information it gives to another website....this one for instance? I want to do a travel blog of some sort, so friends/family can keep track of us and something we can save for future reference.

Any ideas on the best/easiest way to go about it? We will be leaving on 15th/16th December, so any advice before that would be great.

Cheers, Del
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Old 29-11-2012, 04:24   #2
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

If you are ony going to do coastal trips around Australia then Spot should be ok but as it operates on the Globalstar system it has some big blackspot holes in its coverage.

Check out this link:-

SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger Coverage Map

Another good tracker with a lot of other built in features to consider is the Delorme Inreach which is reasonably priced and operates on the Iridium system which is far superior than Globalstar & has worldwide coiverage.

InReach
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Old 29-11-2012, 04:26   #3
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark welsh View Post
I just wanted to know if anyone is using this GPS safety gizmo?? We are about to embark on our longest trip so far in the boat (only 6 weeks, work tends to gets in the way!!) I am thinking of buying a Spot device and wanted to know if I could download the positioning information it gives to another website....this one for instance? I want to do a travel blog of some sort, so friends/family can keep track of us and something we can save for future reference.

Any ideas on the best/easiest way to go about it? We will be leaving on 15th/16th December, so any advice before that would be great.

Cheers, Del
Thought my friend was doing putting Spot tracks on his blog, but no he was using something else.

Maybe this is what you were looking for:
Track me with the SPOT Satellite Messenger | Jeffrey Donenfeld


Several discussions on Spot on CF:

spot - Google Search


Is Spot a replacement for EPIRB/PLB on CF?

spot - Google Search
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Old 29-11-2012, 05:45   #4
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

You didn't say were you are planning to travel?

As long as you don't plan to use it for safety, it is a fine gaget for letting friends and family follow your progress.

It has blind spots over both the Pacific and Atlantic.

Here are several CF Discussions that have already been had about SPOT

S.P.O.T. Messenger or PLB

Spot, Spot II, Spot Connect

Spot Connect Satellite Messenger
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Old 29-11-2012, 05:59   #5
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Thake a look to this page Map Baloo – Amazzonia Sempre….
I thake the idea and the original php code from
dev/n0ll Blog Archive Armatura Borealis & SPOT tracking
BlueWaterSailing Reiserute

It use xml and php to read and store the data from the spot server (the free service store the data for only few days so you need to copy it) a kml (google earth file) to show the planned route and a simple javascript to create a google map with all the data on a web page.

RUGGERO
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:02   #6
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Thanks for all of your help regarding the Spot Messenger. I think that we will invest in one, just so friends/family can follow our progress. For the record, we are planning on leaving Esperance, WA and heading south and then depending upon the winds and conditions we will either head to Tasmania or track back up towards Kangaroo Is. We will take our time coming back from there. We only have 6 weeks, so are limited by time constraints, so SA is looking the most probable destination.

Cheers, Del
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Old 04-12-2012, 20:45   #7
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

I was not able to find a tool that allowed me to easily share my position with my children from anywhere in the world so I've developed one and set it up so anyone can use it for free.

You can use the tool to send position reports via text message from anywhere and then share the map page with anyone. You just need a satellite phone (or cell phone) that can send text messages.

If you want to help me test the tool:
http://www.bluewatersailingdata.com/map.php
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:43   #8
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post
I was not able to find a tool that allowed me to easily share my position with my children from anywhere in the world so I've developed one and set it up so anyone can use it for free.

You can use the tool to send position reports via text message from anywhere and then share the map page with anyone. You just need a satellite phone (or cell phone) that can send text messages.

If you want to help me test the tool:
BLUEWATERSAILINGDATA.COM
Hi Shanedennis,

I know the issues that you went through to find a suitable service to do this. I am currently going through the same process for a forthcoming passage from St Martin to Vanuatu in March 2013. I have the Satphone which is an Iridium Extreme but the add on applications to do the tracking can get quite expensive with subscription fees etc and I am looking at options.

Your application while in its early beta stage looks great and I congratulate you on the work that you have done on it so far.

I have a couple of initial suggestions / questions for you:-

- Could you add a tracking line on the map that joins up the points that SMS messages have been received for?

- When you put your mouse over one of the green points on the map it shows the SMS message text. Could it also be preceded with the time & date because on a long passage one would need to refer to the messages on the RH side to find the same text to see what the date & time that was associated with the text was.This would also be very handy when reviewing the data after you have completed the passage.

- Is there any way to calculate the distance traveled since the previous transmission? This would be helpful for those who transmitted at the same time each day so that they could see their distance traveled in the previous 24 hour period which is always good to know especially for those on land who are following your progress.

- Once there are numerous boats using your application how would it handle 2 or more boats with the same name? I realise that the SMS transmissions are associated with your satphone number but what about those on shore who just type in the boat name like your example for Sea Change? How would the application determine which boat the wanted to see the details for?

I will also copy this into your feedback tab on the application so that you have everything in the one place.

I will let you know when I think of other things.

Regards,
Steve
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:12   #9
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Thanks for the feedback, Steve. Good suggestions.


It's not really the expense that bothers me with the currently available options, it is their complexity.

I wanted a simple system to track positions and then share them. Sending a SMS/text message is easier than installing hardware, creating online accounts, managing payments etc. Sending a family member a link is just easier than asking them create an acount then log in to a site, navigating through a site to find my boat or on my end programmatically embedding a map in a blog.




The following changes have been made:
1. Tracking line added between points.
2. Date added to points (click).
3. Distance travelled added between points.



When a solution to the two boats/same name issue is completed I will post it here.
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Old 05-12-2012, 15:14   #10
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Hi shanedennis,

I certainly agree with all of your comments about the complexity of both setting up and accessing the commercial tracking applications especially for those following you onshore.

Your one is excellent and is certainly very simple to use & thanks for making the updates so promptly.

Maybe a solution to the issue of > 1 boat with the same name would be to also enter the registration number when searching for it.

Just a minor suggestion but the line between points would have a better contrast from the ocean color if it was in red.

I will let you know of other things if I think of them.

Steve
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:13   #11
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Thanks Steve.

The lines connecting the boat positions have been changed to red, per your suggestion. The generic marker icon has also been replaced with a red sailboat icon.

Regarding two boats with the same name, adding the flag plus registration number is a good idea. This could be an optional field for boat owners to use if a boat with the same name is already entered. for example the text message could be:
Register#[boat name]#[flag]#[rego]

Thanks for your thoughts so far. I started programming in Sydney in the late 80's and have been contributing to the US economy since 1995. Heading back to Australia on a sailboat starting in May 2013.

Shane
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Old 05-12-2012, 18:43   #12
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

I am underway (well, in Marsh Harbour waiting for crew) right now.

I have both SPOT and the DeLorme InReach.

Get the Delorme. It beats Spot on service, and function... Two way comms for just a little bit more $.

It tracks, sends ok or other preprogrammed messages AND you can send and receive text messages with your Bluetooth smart phone or Ipad.

When my spot subscription comes due, I will not renew it.... The only function SPOT wins on is battery life.
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Old 07-12-2012, 16:04   #13
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post
Thanks Steve.

The lines connecting the boat positions have been changed to red, per your suggestion. The generic marker icon has also been replaced with a red sailboat icon.

Regarding two boats with the same name, adding the flag plus registration number is a good idea. This could be an optional field for boat owners to use if a boat with the same name is already entered. for example the text message could be:
Register#[boat name]#[flag]#[rego]

Thanks for your thoughts so far. I started programming in Sydney in the late 80's and have been contributing to the US economy since 1995. Heading back to Australia on a sailboat starting in May 2013.

Shane
Hi Shane, Thanks for making those changes so quickly. Glad to hear that you have a past association with Australia. Your trip in May should be a good one. I am also doing a passage from St Martin to Vanuatu in March 2013.

I suggest that you open a new thread specifically for your great tracking application so that a lot more forum members are aware of it which will help in the testing & keep all the comments together.

Just about to post some more feedback about entering positions, different tracks (journeys) & showing Nm instead of miles.

All the best,
Steve
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:54   #14
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Thanks again for feedback, Steve.

The following changes have been made:
1. Added more coordinate entry formats. The following now work:
12.345
N12.345
N 12 20' 20.50"
N 12 20 20.50
2. Coordinate display is now degrees/minutes/ seconds on boat tracking page.
3. Changed distance unit to nautical miles.

Hope to add a way to handle multiple trips over the next few days. When I do, I will start a new thread to discuss this subject.
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Old 08-12-2012, 21:10   #15
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Re: Spot GPS Messenger

Thanks Shane,

Can you also make the entry format of N (S, E or W) xx xx xxx allowable as this would agree with the display format of long and lat shown on onboard GPS units?

Also once you have done this if a user only sends an sms for one or two digits in the last field will this be interpreted correctly? For example N 12 20 2 or N 12 20 28 as opposed to N 12 20 288.

Regard,
Steve
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