Update to the PLB post: SPOT messenger

As a follow up to the blog entry on Personal Locator Beacons, I wanted to mention that we got a SPOT satellite messenger.

We bought ours at our local REI after seeing that the price there was comparable to other online stores.

So far, we’re pretty happy with it. We successfully tracked ourselves to the hockey rink and back on Saturday, and to my hockey game yesterday.

The device sent email to me and Peter when we hit the “OK” button, and would upload tracks to the findmespot.com website every 20 minutes after we turned on continual tracking.

Here’s one of the emails it sent, while we were at a Quiznos near the ice rink:


“noreply@findmespot.com” to me, peter
Hi! This is Carolyn, checking in with my SPOT device. Click on the link to see where I am!
Unit Number: 0-xxxxxxx
Latitude: 37.4785
Longitude: -122.1861
Nearest Town from unit Location: Florence St, Redwood City, CA, US
Distance to the nearest town: 0 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 02/24/2008 03:00:10
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=37.4785,-122.1861&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

The granularity is awesome; looking at Google maps via the link in the email, we could see which exact parking spot our truck was in.

The only thing I have questions about is the feature by which other people can log in and see my tracks. I can’t see a way to do that via the website without giving people my account log-in information, which clearly isn’t happening. I have an email out to customer service and will update this blog post when I get a response.

Update from customer care:

“Hi Carolyn,
Right now the only way for your family & friends to track you down is by having access to your account, but soon by the end of March we will have a different password to be given to family & friends.
Thank you for your patience,
SPOT USA Customer Service”

So there we go. I’ll let you guys know when this functionality is available!

Update 4/24:
Guest access is now available, yay! You can now manage guest access for the different messenger profiles and create a URL to give to others. The URL can be set public or password-protected. Looking good!

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4 Responses to Update to the PLB post: SPOT messenger

  1. AtlasRider says:

    Your first post got me looking into PLBs, and this is one that I haven’t come across. Looks very cool! I’m looking forward to any more feedback you have about this unit. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Eric Fischer says:

    Oh interesting. Can I ask a couple of stupid questions about it? How big is it? How is the battery life? How frequently does it log when you have continuous tracking turned on?

  3. Stephanie says:

    Sadly, halfway through the first sentence I began trying to figure out what Peter’s middle name was that it could begin with an ‘L’.
    Hrrrm, never thought of the whole marital angle on the ‘where’s Waldo’ issue. One of those things could certainly make you feel closer when only one of you is on a road trip.

  4. Michael says:

    I was looking at this same unit but held off because there wasn’t much data out at the time. Glad to see that you have one, keep us posted on what you think after you’ve used it a while!

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