Request for your feedback

Submitted: Monday, May 26, 2003 at 14:37
ThreadID: 5122 Views:2550 Replies:14 FollowUps:23
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Note - this post has been posted by the ExplorOz Team on behalf of SAT--TRAK24.

The SAT--TRAK24 service is now in the final stages of testing and now is your chance to get involved by having your say on a proposed optional feature called "Outback Guardian".

The concept of "Outback Guardian" is an optional service using the SAT--TRAK24 system whereby an explorer (you) plans an off the beaten track travel plan by entering waypoints and estimated time of arrival for each into the SAT--TRAK24 system. The waypoints, dates and eta times are uploaded to SAT--TRAK24 operations where each point/time of the journey is automatically monitored for compliance until the last point of the journey. If for any reason the explorer does not meet a place and time the system alerts the monitor. The travellers last position is checked and polled for the most current position and if they are not where they said they would be then contact with them would be made to establish if all is OK. If no contact confirmation is received or satisfied as pre-arranged a search/locating plan would be commenced.

You are being asked what you think of the concept of "Outback Guardian" and to make suggestions, forward ideas etc. Please provide your feedback by posting replies.

For more information about the soon to be released new communication network called SAT--TRAK24 please see the feature article
Satellite Communicationson ExplorOz.SAT-TRAK24
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Reply By: Member - Melissa - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 14:49

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 14:49
Hi Ray,

The concept sounds OK but some questions/issues I can see are:
1) Travel plans can be flexible. What happens if you load your plan with waypoints, dates and ETA's then once you're out there change your mind? eg. nice spot...let's stay 3 nights instead of 1.
2) ETA's are difficult to know if you haven't been somewhere before. Time between waypoints is based on a direct line and doesn't take into account condition of the track etc.
3) Re Outback Guardian contacting you if you're in the sticks. If some line of communication existed and someone was in strife, wouldn't they already have initiated contact with someone? If they can't be contacted how do you know that they haven't just decided to deviate from their planned route?
4) Considering the above point, it seems possible to me that an unnecessary and costly search could be initiated at considerable expense to presumably, the traveller.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 21083

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:08

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:08
Thank you Melissa,
The driver has full control over editting waypoints, ETAs during travel etc. The searches are fully coordinated with RFDS as per usual, only that the ST24 network provides an accurate pinpoint sending the actual coordinate. The Guardian is simply what it means, someone checking on you at your request. I can think of times when someone might like the backup, eg. travelling solo at night. It is a optional feature that you can turn on or off for short periods of time, or longer if necessary depending on your perceived risk of the situation.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13781

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:24

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:24
Hi Michelle & Others,

I will wait with interest to hear more about this system. One thing that has just occured to me is the possibility of those at home being able to contact us through this system or at least help pinpoint our position.

About 10 years ago we had the police out searching for us because of a family emergency at home. We'd only been away a couple of nights which was very lucky because although our family knew our destination and rough itinery the only specifics we'd given them (because we'd set off with a "suck it and see" plan) was we'd probably call into Bribie Is for a couple of nights. Luckily we were still there. Beyond that the search area would have been anywhere between SE Qld and Perth.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
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FollowupID: 13786

Reply By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 14:50

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 14:50
Is this not merely a more sophisticated version of the "Senntinal" function you offer?

Given the nature of "off the beaten track travel", you would need to provide a method for the traveller to update/adjust these times "on the fly". Otherwise you'd likely be following up every traveller at every waypoint. Life just ain't that serious.
Rohan (Sydney)
AnswerID: 21084

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:09

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:09
Thank you Rohan,
The Sentinel is to check that you return to the stationery vehicle, wherease the Guardian checks on your travel progress and that you reach where you intend to reach. Obviously with this level of technology the user has full control to adjust the waypoints/etas.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13782

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:49

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:49
Michelle, if you forget, and fail to arrive at the designated ETA (and presumably an alert has be signalled), can the user shut down the alert easily? Is it just a button push? Is the alert cancellation automatic or is is there a human being monitoring the system that then advises the authorities you are safe and well?Life just ain't that serious.
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 13789

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:26

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:26
Rohan,
The alert will not go off before an attempt from the network to the vehicle has been made. The Guardian will contact you before any search procedures are stated. It is my understanding that subscribers can define their own procedures for what level of action to take next. eg. you might want the next step to be a phone call on your sat phone if you have one. You might want the next step to be a phone call made to a nominated family member and so on until the emergency has reached the point of a search being deemed necessary.
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FollowupID: 13797

Reply By: Member - Mike (SA) - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 16:39

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 16:39
The concept is good in theory but could fall over in the event of "no show". Aviation has the SARTIME, this concept predicated on search actions when time expires. In the 4WD world I see us having to post a bond to cover possible search costs. It then begs question on who is responsible for a search which shouldn't have been started in the first place ie system stuff up!
Not withstanding the above I see SAT-TRAK24 as being a very exciting development and one I would support.
regards
MikeToo little time in the bush!
AnswerID: 21101

Reply By: Member - George- Monday, May 26, 2003 at 16:54

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 16:54
I agree with all previous comments.
The reason we go away is to enjoy the outback travel and have the flexibility to plan each day as you go, not withstanding that you have an overall target destination.
Most of the time we travel along tracks that we have not been on before so it would be difficult to predict ETA's.
There are many instances where predicted ETA's are not adhered to because of machanical problems, punctures, flash flooding etc. none of which are a life threatening situation for most outback travellers, but simply a time set back.
However the system has merit, but will ultimately depend on cost compared to other systems, i.e. HF radio, Oziexplore etc.Just made it, King Edward River
AnswerID: 21106

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:18

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:18
George,
Yes the competition is HF radio networks to some degree but not the equipment itself as they are very different in terms of reliability and function. An HF relies on propogation of signal and proximity to base stations however ST24 relies on the satellites, which as most GPS users, and satphone users now are very reliable. The improvement in satellite coverage is achieved by better receiver/transceivers - eg. external GPS re-radiating antennas. Same with ST24, an external antenna is mounted to the outside of the vehicle - eg. roofrack, gutter mount, anywhere to achieve best coverage.

OziExplorer is not a communication network or communcation equipment. It is a purely mapping software, however I guess you mention it to make the comparison between runing the combiantion of HF radio for contact and a GPS with OziExplorer to achieve the same navigational display effect that you envisage from SAT--TRAK24. If this is the comparison, then the costs are indeed cheaper with SAT--TRAK24 - you don't need to own a laptop or buy digital maps or buy mapping software or a gps or the HF radio - the SAT--TRAK24 system includes all those functions into the one unit so there's less gadgets and gizmos!ExplorOz
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:51

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:51
Michelle, can you run a moving map from Sat-Trak, or does one still need OziExplorer plus GPS plus lap top?Life just ain't that serious.
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 13791

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:30

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:30
Absolutely you can run moving map from SAT--TRAK24 - that's the whole point of the navigational display. It combines the onboard mapping, full navigational functions (eg. create your own waypoints) and you can drive using the onscreen map (the super vga is great for this and what we will be taking on the CSR in a few weeks time to trial).
As I've said, this is all early days for the testing and application to be consolidated but the technology and equipment, the network and all is up and running. With the SAT--TRAK24 system you would not need a laptop, nor digital maps, nor a gps, nor OziExplorer mapping software. This is all loaded into the Super VGA with the mapping engine and interface to the satellite network, rather than an onboard gps unit to feed back the coordinate data to your map.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13798

Follow Up By: Member - George (WA) - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 19:20

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 19:20
Thanks Michelle,
Your comments are interesting, I will look forward to your assesment of the system after your return from the CSRJust made it, King Edward River
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Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 17:20

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 17:20
An EPIRB would do the same function. They can be made to trigger on heavy impact (with tree/rock/rollover) or manually set off for medical emegencies or serious mechanical problems, and can be located by sattelite to within a relatively small area (~400 m x 400 m). Cost $300-500 last for 5-10 years, not dependant on vehicle battery, and are proof positive that there is a problem when activated.

The 4WD application of SAT-TRACK24 would seem to be limited. It unfortunately seems like "technology without a purpose", as the existing "outback emergency" infrastructure is already in place and is probably more appropriate.

(Note: SARTIME is used in aviation in IFR (Instrument flying regulations) conditions. Aircraft do not get "flat tyres", or" bogged" mid air. They can effectively plan how long it is going to take, and if this varies even by 10 minutes an "emergency" can safely be called if there is no effective communication with the aircraft. Not really an effective comparison...)
AnswerID: 21109

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:22

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:22
Hi GaryInOz,
The SAT--TRAK24 network operations coordinate rescues with the existing infrastructures on your behalf as part of the service - eg. RAA for roadside assistance, recovery or RFDS for people emergency/airlift etc.

The SAT--TRAK24 is already operational in other industries, eg. transport, marine, government but without the tourism/navigation option.

The navigational aspect is only being released in the next month and is ideally suited to outback travellers where mapping/plotting, waypointing, ETAs etc are a natual part of trip planning and trip activity.

Hope this helps clarify.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13785

Reply By: barnsy - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 17:26

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 17:26
Sounds good in theory, I am interested in the set up costs.
Is the inital installation of the tranciever $1300 plus an additional $1300 for the pocket pc plus a monitoring cost per month $$$

A Satellite phone will cost me under $1000 ok the monthly charge would be more but I have more options with the phone. I can use Gps to get my position and let people know were i am.

cheers
AnswerID: 21111

Reply By: Speighty - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 18:11

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 18:11
I am going to sound like a real pain to all involved with this proposed Satellite communication system. I ask this question "what are you trying to do?" To me, it spells the death knell to what outback travel is all about- mystery, the unknown, risk (and there is some for heavens sake), excitement of not knowing what's around the next bend, sand hill or creek crossing. Travel in the outback should remain a challenge, and those who venture into the vastness of this great country need to do their preparations, make contingency plans, carry spares, travel with a mate or two, hire or buy an HF radio, and then get out and do it.
SAT-TRAK24 will remove the concept of taking responsibility for one's own actions (or inaction) which to me, is what this country should be fostering.
Your track reports and the other info you offer 4 wheelers is great, but don't spoil the fun by making outback travel as safe as driving on the highway. If you do, we will have lost one great advantage of living in OZ.
I think an EPIRB is about the best thing one could carry, and then it should only be used if personal life is threatened. Most of us could not afford the cost of searches,
and like someone else questioned 'who pays for a false search, or any search for that matter?'
AnswerID: 21118

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:27

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:27
Hi Speighty,
Yes it does take the risk out of travel doesn't it. And some of us would not choose this service, but there are a hell of a lot of people that would. One thing about people is that they are often concerned about keeping in touch with family in case of an at home emergency and do not want to stay out of touch for too long. You also mention that you would take an HF and/or Epirb when in fact this system will do that and more for the same, or even cheaper price of the 2 items combined so that's part of the appeal of the communication system.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13787

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 19:07

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 19:07
Michelle, Is it possible with the SAT-TRAK24 alone to notify the HQ of the TYPE of "emergency" ie. "I have three flat tyres, two beyond repair, will need (an air drop of??) another spare?" RAA/RACV/RACQ/NRMA aren't much good to you in the middle of the Simpson, and it really isn't a RFDS type of emegency.

With a HF at least you would have direct access to people around you who may be able to help with a loan spare. It still seems like adding another middleman when it really isn't necessary (you can set up "checkpoints/checktimes" already with the RFDS on HF if you are at all concerned). Lat. and Long. still available to recovery team from EPIRB with same accuracy as GPS. EPIRB's don't break are capable of withstanding extremely hostile environments. HF (and to a lesser extent UHF) allows help from the nearest person available, along with communication of the exact nature and extent of problems. The combination of HF/EPIRB is also failsafe, if one goes you still have the other (in the case of the HF malfunctioning you will end up being in a medical emergency after a few days anyway, lack of food/water, so activation of the EPIRB is appropriate).

Peace of mind??? leave the SAT-TRAK out in 40 degree heat for a week, dunk it 6' deep in water a few times, drop it repeatedly on concrete, let it live on top of a jackhammer for a day and throw it under several tens of kg weight (or have a look at what EPIRB's have to go through to get certified!) . If it can survive that I would believe you have an adequate piece of safety gear, failing that it is just another paperweight, because you can bet your bottom dollar that that sort of treatment will occur in the outback (by design or fate). If the SAT-TRAK24 was to be taken seriously as a sole safety communication device it would have to have a robustness equal to the EPIRB.

From your answer to my post above: Managing truck fleets is a different issue, main reason for tracking that is for compliance with the "adequate rest" provisions of the law and compliance with speed limits.
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FollowupID: 13805

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 23:13

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 23:13
GaryInOz, I answered some of your qn further below with some egs of messages you send to notify of the type of emergency just as you have pre-empted. Yes, roadside assist is not much good in the Simpson, but the potential for other ST24 members to be contact to reach you is. Same as it is with the current HF radio network. This is just another network but using more reliable and cheaper hardware. Of course, this is going to take time - years even to grow the network membership so that you can rely on another member being nearby but that's certainly the potential and as you pointed out will reduce the need to call in the sirens.

In terms of the hardware, the "SatTrak" is nothing more than a receiver - a box shaped antenna. The actual operational component is the remote operations HQ that the unit communicates to via satellite. It is not something that is affected by water, dropping, etc. It is not transportable. It is fixed to your vehicle by an approved installer. The navigational unit however, the display interface has been especially sourced to withstand extremes eg. 60c heat. But this is not the critical operational side of the saftey part of the service - it doesn't affect the comms so it is not subject to the tests that an EPIRB must withstand because you are not in possession of the actual functional part of the service only the display interface.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13830

Reply By: Member - Rick - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 18:21

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 18:21
My initial impression is that this is not for me beacause( in order of importance)
1. Still like to pour over maps9yeah, i know, still can do this with the Sat Trak, but papare maps alone is OK for me. My imagination & geographical understanding have not yet deserted me.
2. Just one more gadget to get
3. The KISS principle gets further diluted
4. At that price, not even on the list to save for

I'm happy with the GPS I have.

I'm not into computer based tavel plans/maps, as I want to leave all this/that world behind when I get into the 4x4. My aim is to drive slower, stop more often, boil the billy, & enjoy.

But go for it, if it is for you.

CheersRick (S.A.) - ' It is better to travel hopefully than arrive'
AnswerID: 21120

Reply By: Member - Trevor - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 18:56

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 18:56
I like the idea of those back home (or even overseas) being able to know where we are and all is OK. I usually leave a travel plan and various contact dates etc with a designated person. If we don’t turn up they can at least start to have a serious worry about us. Friends also have some one to contact to find out where we really are.
The concept of being able to send and receive simple messages has great deal of merit as far as I can see.
$10 per week while you are on the road is pretty good value.
Would the system still operate for travel outside of Australia?
Give it a go,
Trev
AnswerID: 21123

Reply By: Member - Bob - Monday, May 26, 2003 at 20:22

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 20:22
I honestly can't see the need for this. It would only be relevant to the solo traveller without any other means of communication. If it could be adapted for use by my daughters, moving around in the cities it would be of more interest. Without wishing to sound too negative it sounds like a case of technology looking for a use.
AnswerID: 21129

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:30

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:30
In many cases, yes it will most be of interest to solo travellers, or to groups of travellers with just one SAT--TRAK24 service. The idea is it combines all the other gizzmos we use into the one unit. And yes, it does work in the city too and is a good way to track where your vehicle is at any time. There is even a security system that will send an alert for unauthorised entry so the insurance policies are looking at reducing premiums if you have this network connected to your vehicle.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13788

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:54

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:54
Michelle, does it really combine ALL the other gizzmos? Does it provide on-demand, nation-wide voice communications?Life just ain't that serious.
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 13792

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:42

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:42
Rohan, yes it combines all gizmos except those that offer voice communications. Voice is expensive and superfluous in remote situations if data can get the message through until you reach cheaper methods of comms such as payphones, friends house etc to have a social chat. I thought this was a hinderance at first, but have now seen the database of pre-configured messages that the users and family/friends will be able to send to save costs. It costs 44c to send a message containing 8bytes. So, SAT--TRAK24 have created a massive list of messages eg.

All going well
Will contact by phone tomorrow
Next major stop over in a few days
All are well
Please phone contact 1 asap
Visit webpage for information/update
Vehicle damage need transporting
Caravan/trailer suspension problem

and there are tons of these. These are all on-demand either from family/friends using the SAT--TRAK24 website interface to contact you, or using your in-vehicle LCD screen to select the message and send.

Also, if you choose you can type in your own message but will be charged at 44c per 8bytes. I like the idea that it keeps the chat down and communications to essentials when travelling remote. My observations of use of valuabel remote comms is that it is often wasted on chatting and stories between vehicles. Keep in mind that this system also enables convoys to communicate between one another if out of radio range (either due to poor HF propigation) or distance from UHF.ExplorOz
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FollowupID: 13799

Reply By: Member - Willem- Monday, May 26, 2003 at 21:03

Monday, May 26, 2003 at 21:03
To me it sounds too much like a derivative of George Orwells BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.

Yes the concept has merit and it may be of use in limited circumstances by government departments but it is not for me. When I disappear into the bush I wish to set my own aganda.Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
AnswerID: 21137

Follow Up By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 22:11

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 22:11
Yes I thought the same "BIG BROTHER is watching"Around Oz 06/2004
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Reply By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 04:26

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 04:26
I "only" have a portable HF radio and have come across people with the latest auto-tuning Barrett and Codan radios and "on command" still don't get a guarantee of picking up the emergency channels or anyone else for that matter. Same as for Sat phones. We carry two EPIRBS for use in emergencies.

Also, nobody ever seems to use or know of the term, "bush survival". In the most extreme conditions ie. W.A. Canning Stock Route you sign in at the Wiluna or Halls Creek police stations with the common dog f*ck sense that you take enough water and first aid supplies in the event of an emergency. People should be taking mandatory courses in basic bush survival before relying on Laptop GPS's, HF and satphones.
You just never know what may, oops, "will" happen.
If you roll your vehicle and end up with the gearstick through your chest....well too bad - even the RFDS are restricted to limited areas.

Last weekend up at Mundaring (Perth) I came across some of the latest 4WDs - no recovery gear or anything - just the almighty Laptop with the cute GPS. Good for them especially since they're on the so-called challenging Western 4WDer tracks..
Pick the average front passenger and get them to navigate using a compass and map - there's a different story.

Sorry Sat Trak 24 or whatever your name is but if anybody is truly in the sh*t wouldn't you call on the local emergency services anyway - same as the EPIRB's purpose (in which case the state govt/police/emergency services pays for it), or do you have a special crane copter that flies in and airlifts everybody out? HAHA
Just another critic.
AnswerID: 21182

Reply By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 15:59

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 15:59
Thank you everyone for your input, but it appears that we haven't supplied with with enough information to understand the concept of the SAT--TRAK24 network operations yet, so you could hardly appreciate the notion of "The Guardian".

You will soon be seeing official Press Releases across the media and pricing etc is soon to be published that will clarify some of the issues that it is fairly clear are not yet understood by some.

The SAT--TRAK24 network has generated serious interest and commitment throughout the industry already with the national RAA network already involved for the coordination of roadside assistance and the RFDS for the coordination of rescues. The ST24 network provides these organisations with far better emergency alerts than the old EBIRBs, and is cheaper than the new EBIRBS.

For people entering the recreation and looking to setup their vehicles the features of family/friends contact, the piece of mind and security provided by the system alone will make this a very positive bit of equipment to have.ExplorOz
AnswerID: 21213

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:57

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 16:57
Thanks Michelle. I studied their web-site (because I am interested) but came away with insufficient information to understand how it all works, in practice. I believe ExplorOz has been trialling/testing the system. Can you post a "hands-on" description of how you used the system?Life just ain't that serious.
Rohan (Sydney)
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Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:51

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 17:51
Yes Rohan,
You are correct and I have made this comment to the owner/developer of the network but they are foccusing on product delivery/equipment trialling at the moment and will be relying on ExplorOz to provide the PR and launch to the public initially. This is an example of the industry recognising the power of our audience, ie. the size of our audience and shows precisely how ExplorOz will work with the industry to assist in promoting products.

We will be the first in the industry to use the system in the field with the complete navigational functions and this will be occuring during our CSR trip in just a few weeks and our site will be displaying for all the world to see our progress via the internet using mapping underlays and actual gps positioning (data sent via the SAT--TRAK24 satelllite network.

It's takes me a while to understand technology and applications like this but I've had the advantage of being included in discussions about the product evolution for the last few months. Once you get your head around what it can do then you'll realise what all the fuss is about.
SAT--TRAK24 are entrusting ExplorOz to translate its use in this market to our audience. I have also made suggestions/recommendations from our perceived viewpoint of market interest/demands/need etc.

You are being advised PRE delivery of the product to us and we wont really be able to provide a full review until the conclusion of the trip.ExplorOz
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 19:38

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 19:38
Michelle, thanks for the detailed responses to this, and other questions above. You have answered them all so I won't post further comments, unless I come up with a new question.

I look forward to your test and test report on the product. Despite some comments above, I don't see this is as removing any of the adventure, just as a beter "fail-safe" than is provided by HF or Sat Phones.

The cost seems to be reasonable when you consider it also replaces GPS, lap top etc. Its just a pity most of us have all this gear already so selling a "big spend" on duplicating existing equipment could be difficult.Life just ain't that serious.
Rohan (Sydney)
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Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 22:59

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 22:59
Rohan I think that's exactly the point - this equipment and service is only now becoming available and if you're already setup with EPIRBs, HF radio etc then you are unlikely to want to reinvest unless you can afford to and can justify the expense to replace your navigation and safety equipment. The biggest opportunity for SAT--TRAK24 is not converting existing travellers who are already deeply invested into their equipment but to the very growing market of newcomers to outback touring. Just look at the increases in vehicle manufacture, the increases in caravan registrations, the increasing numbers of people who go to 4WD shows etc each year - the market is continually getting bigger. Makes you wish you'd waited....almost, but then think of all the great places you've already been and seen... the great nights camping in the outback... I simply can't wait to get going on our CSR trip...shame its not a holiday, its all work... just different office (and no daycare!).ExplorOz
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 09:46

Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 09:46
I'll swap your CSR office with my Sydney city office (and day care) any day.

Life just ain't that serious.
Rohan (Sydney)
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Follow Up By: BJW - Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 10:08

Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 10:08
As a senior search and rescue officer with Australia's national search and rescue agency, AusSAR, I work in the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC AUSTRALIA) in Canberra; part of my duties is operation of the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system which detects signals from 121.5MHz and 406MHz distress beacons. You know them as EPIRBs, PLBs and (for aviators) ELTs. I am concerned by some of the things I hear in regard to use of these distress beacons. To put it simply they work very well but there are differences in the 'SAR' response to the simple analogue 121.5MHz beacon and the digitial 406Mhz beacon. Suffice to say that detection is not necessarily instantaneous and the solutions do not produce pin-point accuracy. Search and Rescue can take anything from a couple of hours to overnight depending on weather, terrain, location and availablity of rescue resources. Ourselves and the state and territory police are the SAR authorities in Australia. RFDS do not have any responsibility for search and rescue unless they are used/tasked by one of the SAR authorities. The best way to obtain help in an emergency (whether it be a breakdown or when a life is in "grave and imminent danger" (ie - in a distress situation) is by radio or telephone or some form of direct communications (possibly such as SAT TRAC24). From a SAR perspective the absolute best way to get help is to "communicate" and say who you are, where your are and what help you want (so that the response can be customized to your situation) than it is to activate a distress beacon and just wait for help. We deal daily with "non-distress" activations of distress beacons and our resources are often being wasted (at great cost) to assist someone who could have helped themselves quicker and better if they had been able to communicate. I think SAT TRACK24 has enormouse potential to provide a service that will "take some weight" off the SAR system in Australia. My only concern is how the system will respond to "nil contact" from one of their members because the police and not RFDS will be responsible for any SAR response . I would like to discuss this more with the SAR TRACK24 people if they are interested. regards BJW
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FollowupID: 13849

Reply By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 22:20

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 22:20
Micheal this sounds good so far. As a future past and future round Aussie traveler I have been looking into gps,hf radios, satphones, epirbs etc. to equipt for a trip next year. look forward to more info.Around Oz 06/2004
AnswerID: 21242

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