SPOT - Alternative Website for viewing maps

Submitted: Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 16:37
ThreadID: 69416 Views:2948 Replies:2 FollowUps:1
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There has been a few threads about the plus and minuses of SPOT satellite personal tracker. I have been using it for nearly a year now and find it gives our friends and family back home a chance to follow our travels from their computer.

The SPOT website is OK for viewing trips, but I thought it was worth mentioning that a guy in the States has set up a much more user friendly website for viewing our travels.

You can checkout his website called SPOT Trip Manager at http://jasonjonas.org/spot/about.jsp. It is a great free website for SPOT users. It allows you to set up separate trips and it also stores your data for ever (not just 30 days).

A couple of us on this forum have been using Jason's site for the past 6 months and find it gives a better output than the SPOT site.

The things that we like are:
- all the positions sent in each trip are joined by a line so it is much easier to follow the traveller's trip
- you can set up whether you want to allow the viewers to your site to be able to download a KML file of your trip
- you can password protect each trip
- for each trip STM (SPOT Trip Manager) shows the first position with an S (Start) and when you pass the end date you set up for the trip, it will show your last position as a F (Finish). Whilst you are travelling, your last sent position it shown as a bike rider. Jason is currently adding more icons for the last sent position).
- you can limit the data shown by specifying a start and end date time. This means you can cut out the positions of where you live if you are worried about showing this sensitive data.

Have a look at one of our trips. The link to the trip is http://jasonjonas.org/spot/tripViewer.do?id=1128 and the password is forum. BTW, I also use the unlimited tracking option shown on the map as orange positions (Fire Eagle). The green positions are manually sent positions with a predefined message (We use a message of 'All is OK at our overnight spot'). To do this I send a manual position at the start of each day so viewers can see where we stopped.

The downsides of Jason's site?
- It usually takes up to 15 minutes for SPOT to send data to STM. This is only a problem with you are tracking someone and want to know where they are that minute.
- The longitude is missing one decimal point - it only tracks to 3 decimal points and it should be 4. Jason is aware of this and is trying to get it fixed. This may mean your position is out by 50 metres.

The upside
- a much more user friendly site without losing your old data.
- we haven't had to activate the emergency signal yet!
Laurie
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Reply By: Michael A (VIC) - Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 20:24

Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 20:24
thanks, we leave this Friday so will give it a trip. Bith SPOT's and Jason's links are on our Facebook page

Michael A
AnswerID: 368018

Reply By: StormyKnight - Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 20:30

Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 20:30
Zebra400, a couple of questions...

Where did you get your spot unit?
How much was it?
Do you have to pay more to enable the live tracking of trips?
How do you "start a trip" & "end a trip"?
Does it use batterys?
Does it need charging?
Does it have a fixed life?
Does it need to have sky access like a GPS (or can it go in the glove box for e.g.?)

Thanks
StormyKnight
AnswerID: 368022

Follow Up By: Zebra400 - Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 21:10

Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 21:10
StormyKnight

- We bought our unit from GPSoZ
When we bought our unit it was $249. Current price is $299.

- Basic plan with unlimited manual tracking is USD115 p.a. Unlimited Auto tracking is an additional USD49.99 p.a.

- To start end a trip in SPOT Trip Manager, you set up a new trip with its own name then give it a start date and time, and an end date and time.

- It uses 2 lithium AA batteries. The batteries are not rechargeable. I have been running my SPOT for 10 months and have still not replaced the initial batteries. SPOT site says you should get approx 14 days for continuous tracking and 9-1-1 mode up to 7 consecutive days. So far we have exceeded these specs by a long way.

- I assume you mean the annual plan????

- Yes, it needs sky access to obtain a GPS signal and send a satellite tracking message. We sit our unit on the dash of the 4WD and it works fine. MTBing is a little more hit and miss and the unit doesn't sit flat all the time and some of the overhanging trees can obstruct the signal.

Laurie


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