How do you spell awesome? SPOT Messenger

Tuesday, 03 June 2008
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Spot Messenger Anybody who is an outdoor gadget lover should already know about the SPOT Messenger. The gadget lover that I am, I have been coveting and blogging about it since the fall but this is the first time that I was able to see it in action of an extended period of time.

If you don't know what I am talking about; time to get onboard.

SPOT is the being marketed as the world's first satellite messenger. Developed by satellite phone company, Globalstar, the system piggy backs on their existing technology and allows you to send requests for help...
Spot Messenger Anybody who is an outdoor gadget lover should already know about the SPOT Messenger. The gadget lover that I am, I have been coveting and blogging about it since the fall but this is the first time that I was able to see it in action of an extended period of time.

If you don't know what I am talking about; time to get onboard.

SPOT is the being marketed as the world's first satellite messenger. Developed by satellite phone company, Globalstar, the system piggy backs on their existing technology and allows you to send requests for help.

Sounds similar to a PLB right? In principle it is but; you will find included a whole pile of additional features including the ability to send a pre-assigned message to any email address that you are OK. The email includes the lat and long as well as a link directly to Google maps giving the receiver a picture of where you are. Basically it is the ability to send piece of mind to a loved one back home. Awesome.

Like I said, I have been a big fan but only over the past couple of weeks that the power of the unit really sunk in. Another really cool feature is the ability for the SPOT to track where you are. You can set it to ping the satellite every 30 min allowing jealous friends to follow along your trip via a website.

That's what happened to me when good friend of mine was out solo on the north shore of Lake Superior for the past nine days. Everyday I was able to drop in on his trip and see how he was doing. Couple that with knowing the marine weather for his area, I could understand why he decided to take a break and hunker down on an island on day 4. Awesome.

Spot Tracker Website
Spot Tracker Website.
Click to zoom in.
When helping to plan the trip beforehand, we talked about how the Canadian Coast Guard might appreciate this type of technology but weren't sure how it would be received. My friend filed a float plan and let the CCG know that the spot messenger going to be tracking throughout the trip. The Coast guard knew about the technology but this was the first time that somebody had registered with them the unit on the float plan so they were very intrigued about it and were as excited about seeing it in real life as I was.

On a side note, there are rumours out there of what features SPOT version 2 will have. Of course this is completely unconfirmed, but there is talk of an LEC display giving you your current fix as well as the ability to send 20 second recorded message with your outgoing data, etc. That's a feature I could get behind!

No word of when version 2 will be on the market. Until then, read up more at international.findmespot.com.


David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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