The Great Big SPOT Thread

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by John E Davies, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. m0to

    m0to Under the Big Hard Sun

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    I bought on last week and like Jonz said, it works! I would prefer a guest login or some API so I could integrate it with my site. Its not much use to me to track myself when I'm actually riding :-)
  2. Adventure Trio

    Adventure Trio Wandering

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Wandering south....
    Used a SPOT 3 weeks ago on a ride through Mendocina NF in varied tree canopy. About 90% of my tracking messages made it through and 100% of my "I'm OK" messages made it to my wife.

    She was able to track us and have a great meal waiting when we arrived. :evil


    The only snag was that I bought one on my own and was told that it was one of the X-Mas gifts that she had on her list for me. Glad I had it on that ride.....

    She still wanted to wrap the box and put it under the tree.


    -Terry
  3. TomW

    TomW Long timer

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    Made the return 800-mile trip from Houston to Fort Payne yesterday with the SPOT in tracking mode on the dash of the car. it missed 5 track points in a 12-1/2 hour trip. What's that -- 75 10-minute track points? About 93% success; not too bad for a partially obstructed view of the sky. Oddly, 4 of the 5 misses were consecutive points in East Texas (either a black hole, or satellite geometry problem??).

    Just a little more data for the heap.

    Cheers.
  4. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    This is going to revolutionize my off roading in Idaho. I love to ride by myself, this it going to offer me endless opportunities that I could only dream about last year.
    As soon as I saw one and heard first hand from our local search and rescue folks how it worked I called and applied to be a dealer and ordered 20 of them to sell at my store.
  5. John E Davies

    John E Davies Runs at Mouth Adventurer

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    Too bad it doesn't do anything about those pesky Brown Bears.....

    I just received a SPOT for Xmas and am eager to try it out.
  6. 12bnkd

    12bnkd UP for any Adventure

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    I like the way it works, have a few suggestions of what I would like to see added, will read the other posting here and see if there made yet but love it so far :)
  7. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    Got this reply:

    Thank you for your interest.

    You are indeed correct. Your wish is many other people wish and developers are working on it.
    This modification should be up and running soon.

    Regards,
    R-

    Hmmm, wonder what "soon" means?
  8. Lucky_Devil

    Lucky_Devil Master Lurker

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    Thanks for posting the response you received... I was wondering if you had ever heard back from them.

    "soon" sounds purposely vague... :bluduh
  9. garrobito

    garrobito Stromtrooper

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vallejo, the door napa valley
    ...After read all reviews.. specially from spotmaker... One spot are add at my list for my trip to patagonia next year..
    Looks like a sweet equipment... Also I carry a EPIRB too... just in case...:norton:norton:D:rofl
  10. TomW

    TomW Long timer

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    Interesting test today. About 145 mi, 5 hour, 15 minute ride in NE Alabama/NW Georgia (Lookout Mt. and environs) with SPOT strapped to pillion (photo). This was the best place I could think of that would give it a decent view of the sky without being shielded by my body in a tank bag -- save sticking it on top of my helmet. It sees more of the sky there than it does on the dashboard of the car where I've been having better than 90% success with messages in tracking mode.

    [​IMG]

    Results were a little disappointing. Of approximately 30 10-minute intervals in tracking mode, 16 messages made it through. I was riding secondary and tertiary paved and dirt roads (no single or dual track trails) so there was little overhanging vegetation, not that there are any leaves on the trees now anyway. Most of the points agreed with the Garmin GPS track except for two: one was about a mile off and the second was about 10 miles off. On the way back home it missed 4 consecutive messages while riding on top of the mountain. The spurious locations are more troubling.

    I can't come up with a good explanation for the difference in performance between the cage and bike. Yes, the antennas were pointing up and the batteries have maybe 300 messages on them (the 30% capacity alarm signal was not going off). Temps were in the 50s, clear sky, no wind, barometric pressure 30.05 inches, etc. etc. Great biking weather.

    Suggestions anyone? Next I'll test OK message throughput.

    Question: if you're moving when you hit the OK button does it send the same location three times over 20 minutes, or is the location updated each time it sends? I suspect it's the former, right?

    Cheers.
  11. offroute

    offroute Been here awhile

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    TomW, Your experience is consistent with mine. I think you'll find that canyons and trees may degrade the TRACK performance further.
    -Offrotue
  12. SpotMaker

    SpotMaker Been here awhile

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    It is the former. It is a triple redundant packet. All messages are identical (and contain a location from right after you activated check in mode).

    I'd like it if you could elaborate on the points you believe to be 10 miles off. We have recorded literally MILLIONS of fixes with the GPS chipset in SPoT units. The worst error we've ever seen is around 100 yards, and that's under abysmal signal conditions with a 2D GPS fix.

    A 10 mile error (or even a one mile error) is essentially contrary to certain laws of physics.

    Since the check in message that is successfully received might be the third attempt, and that third message may be sent up to 20 minutes after the GPS fix was obtained, you would only have to be traveling 30 MPH to have moved 10 miles between the time the GPS reading was taken and the message successfully got through. Is is possible that this was the case?
  13. aciurczak

    aciurczak Been here awhile

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    I used mine on Thursday for a half-day ride up and around Mt. Hamilton and Mines Road here in the bay area. Parts of Mt. Hamilton road are within some significant tree cover, and for much of it the sky is only visible in one direction. The tracking feature got 18 messages in, and missed 5 opportunities. (78% success rate) I have it sitting inside my tankbag in an upper pocket, which keeps the proper orientation for the device. FWIW, none of the misses were consecutive, so it got at least one track message in within 20 minutes throughout.
  14. TomW

    TomW Long timer

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    I agree that it sounds unlikely; however....

    Re: your last comment, I was in tracking mode; therefore, the location would only be sent once. Actually, the location that was 10 miles off was sent when I was parked. The next SPOT tracking message sent from the exact same location was correct. I can send you the SPOT message log if you'd like.

    Comparing times with the Garmin's track log, the other spurious SPOT locaton was a little over 4 miles off, not 1 mile as I originally thought. As a control, I checked a couple other locations and the SPOT and Garmin locations are dead on with a few seconds SPOT lag time applied to the points when I was in motion. I've plotted up the anomalous locations and paired them with the Garmin GPS location from the same time. The Garmin locations are recorded every few seconds and plot on the map as a true record of where I was. The image file is a bit big, so I'll PM it to you.

    All GPSs I've had will occasionally throw out a weird location -- that's why the max speed on the things sometimes reads 542 mph, and, sure enough, when I go back through the track log, there's a flyer in there. I'm curious to learn what the issue is here.

    Cheers.
  15. UK Jimbo

    UK Jimbo Been here awhile

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  16. TomW

    TomW Long timer

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    Interesting reviews, raising some good questions (in the pre-production era). I see SPoT addressed most of them in their production units. Unfortunately, the reviewers don't have a significant follow-up test of production SPoTs in normal everyday use. (I think the most recent review was dated 1 November.)

    Regarding the issue raised in the review about the use of a single antenna for both GPS reception and transmission of data to Globalstar: the two services' frequency allocations are adjacent for all practical purposes, so that shouldn't be a problem.

    Cheers.
  17. northidaho

    northidaho high side slide ride

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    JE Davies, put that thing to use around Spokaloo and tell me how it works. I got the OK to buy a GPS for myself for Christmas, but this might be better. I know how to use a map, a GPS would be cool, but neither can summon help.
  18. John E Davies

    John E Davies Runs at Mouth Adventurer

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    I'll be doing some casual testing from my car, but won't be able to do much in those deep wooded canyons until late Spring. If I were a winter sports nut, I could do some testing there right away, but I get cold too easily ;( My bike is asleep in the basement at the moment.

    I don't consider a gps a toy - I recommend that you definitely put one on your shopping list, after the SPOT.
  19. JimC

    JimC Long timer

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    If you buy a good GPS and learn how to use it, it will proably keep you from getting into situations where you need the SPOT.

    A good GPS will add to your enjoyment and safety on every ride you take. The SPOT will help you in an emergency situation, which if the Gods smile on you, you may never encounter. I look at the Spot as a valuable tool that provides a service that we have long needed. But if I could only choose one of the two, it would be my GPS. The decision wouldn't even be close.

    Jim in Sacramento
  20. northidaho

    northidaho high side slide ride

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    CDA, ID
    I tend to adventure close to home. As a result I usually know right where I am. Trouble is, trouble comes, and I often am alone. I dont worry the moto breakdown much. Just a real pain till I can get help to drag it or fix it. But if I get broken, then time does matter.

    The snow is deep here and I was crosscountry skiing last week. I knew exactly where I was. I was East of Hayden Lake, 1/2 mile E of Burnt Cabin Saddle. I came around a corner and spooked the biggest bull moose I have ever seen that wasnt stuffed. :eek1

    He was laying in the trail and got up real upset, something about me nearly crashing into him.:yikes I remember seeing the snot flying and his ears layed back and hearing the crush of his hooves in the snow and then, he lowered his head and came for me. Thats about when I fell down trying to get turned around. :cry As I was cursing myself for being such a spaz and falling down it dawned on me that this could wind up being very, very bad.
    Thats when I heard my dogs tear into him. :clap The two of them distracted him enough for me to get up and get enough distance that he couldnt see me very good any more. And there it became clear that he was standing his ground but not coming any closer. It also became clear that my cell phone was just expensive junk, and had he trompled me I would have been screwed. So the spot has been on my list of ideas.