Use a smartphone like a SPOT Tracker?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Rottweiler, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. Rottweiler

    Rottweiler I'm a Believer

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    How feasible is it to use a smartphone (e.g. Android, iPhone, Blackberry) as if it were a SPOT Tracker?

    Mostly I just want my wife to be able to pull up a web page and see where I'm at, and which way I'm traveling or if stationary. When riding I can't readily send or receive calls at a whim so this would give her a way to have some contact.

    The fact that it would only work in areas with cell coverage is acceptable to me.

    Do the major smartphones have this capability? Is it built-in or does it cost an extra service fee. (I'm already paying a large monthly fee, seems like this ought to be included.)
    #1
  2. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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  3. intothenew

    intothenew Briar Patch Navigator

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    This is a free one for the iPhone.
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  4. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Do it all the time with my PDA.
    It leaves tracks, I can upload geotagged photos. I can set the upload rate based on how much battery power I want to use. It even has location based weather and many other features. It is free, and includes Google maps, searches and directions.

    The software runs in the background and I don't even know it is there unless I want to look at the map.

    www.geoterrestrial.com
    #4
  5. htbyron

    htbyron n00b - now with a thumper

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    Actually, it looks like this app -- InstaMapper -- supports most smartphones, including android, iphone, blackberry, and others. I am looking into it for my Droid.
    #5
  6. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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  7. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    With a mobileMe account, you can locate your iPhone with the "locate iPhone" feature. It's not as good as the app you just used, but it's good to let your wife know- just in case.

    I've used it to find my lost phone. You can make the phone scream for help (a "ring") even if it's on silent. Great when it's fallen between the couch cushions. Probably a cruel joke to play on someone if they're at a movie though. But you have to have access to their account.
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  8. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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    Yep, have the mobilme feature for lost iPhone, but I'm planning to use this tracking feature to populate my adventure trip location on my blog/website and here on my RR.

    Of course I also have a SPOT II on order to do this tracking AND to send "I'm OK" and "HELP!" messages. A little redundancy can't hurt.
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  9. Rottweiler

    Rottweiler I'm a Believer

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    This app looks great - I think that's what I'll try. Thanks for sharing your position, also.
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  10. 65bmwr50

    65bmwr50 Been here awhile

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    On the instamapper website they say that Verizon shuts off the GPS access on their phones. Does anybody use this on their Verizon Android? I am getting a new phone in the next couple of months and I like the Android and I like the instamapper service. I just want to make sure it will work.
    #10
  11. htbyron

    htbyron n00b - now with a thumper

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    They are referring to some blackberrys (corporate users, as I understand it), not to the Motorola Droid or other android phones. I have the droid & GPS works fine for me. In fact, I no longer use my Garmin in the car, because it is so much easier just to use google maps nav with the droid in the car dock.
    #11
  12. walrond

    walrond Earth Wanderer

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    After reading this thread I installed instamapper and Google Latitude on my Sprint Blackberry. I wanted to try out both to see which one I prefer. I have to say that Instamapper draws a better map than the Google Latitude but there is a price to pay for this feature - the battery doesn't last long at all! Plus it is so easy to use. Now my wife tracks my progress home from work on a regular basis so she can figure out when to cook dinner. I very rarely used the SPOT for commuting so she never checked it. It is easier for the both of use. While Instamapper is super convenient, it is not a replacement for the SPOT - just a better city alternative.
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  13. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

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    going to try the instamapper for the 8350i. looks good so far. first few minutes put me right where i am.
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  14. NWBoarder

    NWBoarder Whitmeister

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    When I first saw this thread, I thought it was just crazy talk. :lol3

    I just registered and loaded instamapper, on my BB Bold, and am trying it out.

    Great idea/concept.

    Here is my idea of a really cool motorcycle app:
    Lets say you have 5 or 10 riders in your group going on a multi day trip. All of them would have this app loaded and running on their phones. Everyone knows the destination for lunch and end of the day, and everyone has a different pace, and want to take pictures of different things, and take breaks at different times.

    One of the riders has a SuperHawk with a small tank and poor fuel economy. Lo and behold he doesn't show up at lunch. I whip out my phone and see that SuperHawk rider is stopped on the side of the road 8 miles back, (out of gas).

    Yes it looks like this instamapper can do this, but my question is can it show all 10 of the riders in your group at one time, on one screen?

    And to take it one step further, SuperHawk rider could push a button to indicate what he needs (gas, flat tire, tools, accident, etc). Is that possible (maybe in another app?)


    Thanks for the link to this program!
    #14
  15. stimmer6253472

    stimmer6253472 Been here awhile

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    Blackberry Tracker is another one for blackberry devices. I have used it for a couple years. Works great.
    Jim
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  16. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    I have an HTC Incredible running Android 2.1 on Verizon; the GPS is very much enabled.
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  17. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    There are apps for that, but naturally they don't work (at least not in realtime) in areas where there is no coverage. Most of my rides are in areas where there is no cell coverage - hence the SPOT.
    #17
  18. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    +1 on thanks to intothenew, and +1 to this thread, and of course this forum....always some great info to be had, and this Instamapper is now installed, up and running and the shizz for what I need it for!
    #18
  19. BobbyC

    BobbyC n00b

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    I've been using Google Latitude for over a year now and it works great for BB's.

    I signed up for InstaMapper and it's cool but turning on gps kills my battery so I never use it. Google Lat can use cell sites for location.
    #19
  20. Rottweiler

    Rottweiler I'm a Believer

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    This is good to know, thanks.

    Appears Gog Lat is also available for Android phones. Not sure about iPhone.
    #20