SPOT GPS Tracking Device: Climbers and Outdoor Adventurers Take Heart

Finding a quality, real time GPS tracking device that is going to work in the rugged outdoors is a top priority for campers, climbers, and outdoor adventurers.  The SPOT GPS Tracking Device tries to meet this need for this particular market.  The problem with many of the other traditional tracking units is that they suffer from a reliance upon the cell phone networks.  When you use the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger you don’t need to be in cell phone range for the device to work, making it perfect for those who adventure well off the beaten path.

The obvious reason for this being a desirable trait in the tracker is one of safety.  Even if you have the best of the best in tracking equipment but it is unable to transmit your signal over a network so that others know where you are your tracking equipment is useless.  It is money thrown down the drain.  The SPOT GPS avoids this serious pitfall by relying upon commercial satellites instead of cell phone networks to communicate its data.

How the SPOT GPS Tracking Device Works

Since this particular GPS tracking unit works differently from all others that I have come across it seems important that we come to an understanding of how it works if we are to understand it fully.  The graphic below is from the SPOT GPS website (

Spot GPS Tracking Device How It Works

  1. The process begins with GPS satellites broadcasting a signal containing information that a GPS device can use for trilateration.
  2. The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger receives these signals from its GPS antenna and process the information in its  onboard GPS chip.  This process is again called trilateration and is the bedrock of all effective GPS tracking.  It then sends this position information to commercial satellites to move along the chain.
  3. Once it receives your message, the communication satellite will then relay it back down to earth for one of the satellite antennas to pick up.
  4. These satellite antennas are connected to a global network that will route the information generated by your SPOT and send a central processing station where it can be stored and then communicated via the methods you selected.
  5. The final step of the process is the actual delivery of your message.  This can be through email, via a text message, or by means of telephone contact with the GEOS Rescue Coordination Center

The whole design of this system is really quiet remarkable and I am really surprised that more personal GPS tracking devices do not utilize this technology.

SPOT GPS Coverage

Tracking coverage is an incredibly important element in the purchase of any safety GPS tracking device.  You need to know that you are going to be able to use your device when you need it.  Here is a map of the SPOT’s coverage as indicated on the SPOT website (

SPOT GPS Tracking Device Coverage Map

As you can clearly see, coverage is best in North America, Europe, and Australia.  East Asia also has good coverage and so does the northern portion of South America.

One additional word about the coverage – this is map focuses on step 2 and 3 from above (SPOT and satellite communication).  That means that if you are in a place where you cannot get a GPS signal then you are not going to be able to use it to track your location or use it to contact emergency personnel.

Pre-order the SPOT 2 Satellite GPS Messenger – Orange (PRE-ORDER) now!

3 Uncommon Ways To Use the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

1.  GPS  Safety Device For Driving

Sometimes our driving takes us to paths that do not get cell phone reception.  At such times it becomes important for us to have a way to successfully notify emergency personnel in the advent of a car crash or other medical emergency.  Services like OnStar are simply not going to cut it since they rely heavily on cell phone networks to transmit their information.

That is where SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger comes in.  Through its ability to contact first responders via satellites it can still get travelers the help that they need.  Here is an excerpt from a story about the how the SPOT was used in this exact role:

[SPOT helped save an ] elderly man with chest pains on the remote Alaska Highway of British Columbia. With no phone service, Gary Sleeper used his SPOT Messenger to alert the Emergency Response Center that he was in an emergency situation and needed assistance.

When the International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center (IERCC) received his 911 message … [the IERCC] immediately notified the Canadian authorities, which dispatched a paramedic to intercept the man and his father on the highway. “I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see an ambulance appear. We transferred my father to the ambulance and he was rushed to Fort Nelson while receiving evaluation and medical treatment.”

This small GPS tracking device has a large impact on this family that day even though it was being used in an uncommon way.

2.  Child GPS Tracking Device

One very common application of GPS tracking is for children.  You see it in a wide range of devices and ideas.  The features of the SPOT GPS that would lend itself well to this application are the SOS button, the Help button, the Check-In/OK button, and Custom Message button.   Have three different ways to communicate with your child makes it much easier for them to communicate accurately with you, their parent.

Here is just a touch of some of the different ways that you could use these different communication options in a child GPS function:

  • SOS button – This would obviously be used for the worst case scenarios.  If you child is hurt, in an accident, or kidnapped they should press this button.  This will notify you and the authorities about your child’s location.  I’m not certain the that the police will be notified per se, but at least you know some government agency will be.
  • Help button – This is designed for non-emergencies and to notify parents of your need for help.  Is your child lost on their way home?  Are they stuck at school because you forgot to pick them up?  Are they stranded at a county fair because they got seperated from the pack?  These would all be proper uses of the Help button.
  • Check-In/OK button – This could be used by a kid who is wanting to let their parent know that they got to school, baseball practice, or a friends house okay.  It could also be a way for them to let you know that they have been thinking of you and just wanted to say I love you.
  • Custom Message button -  You can make up to three custom messages with the SPOT GPS tracking device.  Use your imagination or discuss with your child how these three messages should be used and what their content should be.

While this sounds like a great candidate for use as a child tracking device there is one major concern that one should be aware of.  It is that the device is fairly large when compared with some of the smaller child tracking devices like the Amber Alert GPS.  The larger the device, the more likely it will be discovered and discarded in the event of a kidnapping.  This is the exactly the situation in which you want your covert GPS tracking device to stay hidden!

3.  Bring Me Stuff Device

This is a going to be a very uncommon use of this device, but I thought it was so interesting that I’d put it down anyway.  Imagine a very rich man who travels around a lot but has certain things that he wants constantly – like chocolate or massages.  He has hired a bunch of people to cater to his wishes but he doesn’t want to drag an entourage with him every single time he is out on the town.  A man like this just has to take a long a SPOT GPS tracking device and he is no more than a button away from delicious chocolate or a relaxing massage.

Once he presses the help or custom message button his people will be notified of his express desire can be dispatched forthwith to cater to his every need!  Now that is living in the lap of luxury.

Buy The SPOT GPS Tracking Device

If you are interested in purchasing the the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger then you can pre-order it using the link below.  This product is expected to ship sometime in October 2009.

Pre-order the SPOT 2 Satellite GPS Messenger – Orange (PRE-ORDER) now!

SPOT GPS Tracker In The News

An elderly man was saved by the Spot GPS Tracker after having a very serious ATV accident that left him unconscious.  Luckily, the man’s son had a SPOT that he has just recently activated.  Within minutes of the accident the 9-1-1 button was pressed and emergency personnel were notified of the distress signal.  Shortly after that a rescue team was on the scene and the injured man was taken by helicopter to the nearest hospital.  This just goes to show you the power of a GPS tracking system when adventuring in the great outdoors!