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Knapper
12-23-2010, 06:09 PM
Hello everyone-

So I am looking into preliminary logistics behind GPS tracking on our snowcat here at MWObs and one option that seems popular with several online reviews is SPOT (http://www.findmespot.com/en/). I am aware that this is more meant for hiking applications but since the Bombardier snow tractors top speed is 8 mph, this unit should be sufficient for our needs. But I am finding a lot of hidden costs and mixed reviews.

So my questions are: does anyone have any experience with any of their units? Pros/cons from experience? And are there any other options I should examine?

If we can find an affordable, reliable and possibly sharable option, we will look into the possibility of even making this a premium content option for anyone wanting to track our trips up/down. But, nothing is set in stone on this option as we would have to look into costs/legality/safety/etc.

Thanks for any of your input and please try to keep this thread focused on the issue at hand.

Brad
12-23-2010, 06:53 PM
I think some folks here have used a SPOT unit. A friend used one on a hike in S America and I will check with him on his experiences. Keep us posted on what you find out - pros/cons - costs - etc. There might be a data junkie or two or ten here on the forum who would be interested in helping make this happen.

BlueDog
12-23-2010, 11:04 PM
I have one of the newer SPOT II devices. For the most part I've been happy with it. Coverage was great when I was out in the backcountry in Yosemite. I've done several hikes in the Whites with it. In some cases I've found that it fails to send some of the messages on the first part of the trail. Once the trees thin out a bit the coverage is pretty solid. So, I think on the snowcat it would work great.

There's the basic subscription fee. This lets you send the Check In/Out message as well as the "I'm ok messages." The SOS and Help messages you get no matter what.

Tracking is an option. This allows you to set up an online map and your location to be updated every 10 minutes. You can send the link to the maps to friends, family, facebook. You can have active/inactive maps. Which means I can still go back and look at the track and all my checkins from Yosemite in June.

If you plan on sharing it and/or using it for personal treks, they offer for something like $15/yr S&R Insurance. This covers me if I need to call S&R and end up being charged for services.

Bill O
12-24-2010, 07:39 AM
It's not easy to track down all the fees, but from what I can tell it's $150 for year for the basic service and the "follow me". Doesn't seem unreasonable since it would get a lot of use with the obs. Not good for somebody like me who goes hiking like twice a year though.

Could be a good safety device just to have on its own for the Obs, but the tracking might also be kind of fun to follow the cat on the auto road.

Brad
12-24-2010, 10:55 AM
I agree with Bill O. It might be a good safety device for Obs folks. With the measurement and data gathering spreading out across the range it could be good to have a crew take it with them. When they get to a destination, do a check-in. Then again to mark when they leave and head back to the summit.