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Another Reason not to trust SPOT

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Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby rightstar76 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:55 pm

A PLB would have saved his life. SPOT cost his.

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewto ... aa2d3149e0



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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby The Other Tom » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:16 pm

Thanks for the link. Please educate me on how a PLB operates. It's my understanding that it sends a distress signal to SAR with your location. Is this correct ?
SPOT is supposed to do the same thing, maybe it doesn't really send a signal to SAR ?
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:59 pm

I'm not depending on the Spot to save my life, I carry it so SnowDude knows "I'm OK" if I show up late (it happened before I got the Spot, and I was stranded, but no way to let him know I was ok and would be home the next day). The Spot eliminates unnecessary worrying. I have 1/2 doz or more people on my Spot checks, and they know to get ahold of each other if I send a help message, or if I don't make contact when I get off the trail. I figure its better to be able to say I'm ok than leave people wondering.

Tom, the distress signal goes directly to SAR from what I understand. I also recently learned you have to keep it facing up towards the satellites, and stay in the same spot til it sends. My signals are all going thru now. When I moved around, they didn't always get sent.

I'm happy with my Spot so far.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby The Other Tom » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:57 am

Thanks, Snowy.
The only thing I don't really like about mine is it seems to take a while to link up to the satellite and send a signal. My wife does appreciate the OK messages, as do I when my son uses it. So at least it's useful for that. I wish there was a way to test the 911 signal. I've tested the OK signal (obviously) and also the help signal, which doesn't go to SAR, but never the 911 signal. I guess I hope I don't have to, but it would be nice to know it works if it's needed.
In the link Rightstar76 posted, the guy was able to send several emergency signals over a 12 hour period. Unfortunately, SAR didn't get to him quickly enough. It seems Rightstar76 thinks the SAR response would've been quicker if he had used a PLB. I'm trying to understand the basis for that. It's not clear to me how SPOT or a PLB knows which SAR to send the 911 signal to, or how SAR would react to a 911 signal from SPOT. The rangers in Yosemite I talked to had never heard of SPOT.
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to start a flame war, I'm just trying to get at the facts.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby Shawn » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:15 am

My take on the article is the same as yours Tom. SPOT contracts out the emergency response actions to a worldwide 9-1-1 center. The other services (emails and so forth) are handled separately.


http://www.findmespot.com/ExploreSPOT/HowItWorks/911.aspx
9-1-1 Emergency Services Powered by GEOS Alliance. GEOS offers a wide variety of services that encompass security, safety and reliable communications for corporations as well as domestic and international travelers. The GEOS program is delivered through a fusion of state-of-the-art technology with the unparalleled experience of the very best and most respected specialists in the fields of international, personal and corporate protection and communications. To learn more about GEOS and the full range of services offered worldwide, visit http://www.geosalliance.com/sar.

http://www.geosalliance.com/faqs.html
SPOT manufacture the actual SPOT device and provide your satellite "airtime". GEOS, on the other hand, provides the 24/7/365 Emergency Response capability i.e. if you're ever in a situation that threatens your life or safety and you have to press the "911" button, one of our Duty Officers at the GEOS Emergency Response Center in Houston, Texas will be dealing with your emergency, liaising with Police, Coastguard or any other relevant authority as well as coordinating any additional private Search & Rescue resources that may be required to rescue you or save your life. That is what we, at GEOS, do. We are a travel safety and travel security organization and SAR Membership is one of our travel safety programs.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby copeg » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:33 am

To add to Shawn's post, whereas the SPOT works through a commercial organization (GEOS), a PLB works through a governmental one (NOAA). I'm really not trying to sound biased because I love the idea of the spot and am considering one myself if only for the "I'm all right" feature, but NOAA has been doing sarsat for years and has a pretty hearty reputation. I haven't been able to find much information regarding history or reputation of GEOS, aside from unfortunate reports like this.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby Shawn » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:34 pm

Ditto on the Geos comment Greg.

It reminds me of my former IT experice at work. I had been on the phone talking to a potential vendor about a million dollar plus software deal when I heard what sounded to be a garage door open up and a dog started barking. :eek:

Needless to say, his glossy brochure, smooth words and false integrity were blown by the fact he was operating out of his garage. Naturally we would have figured this out before spending a dime, but it saved me time at the end of the day.

Obviously this has nothing to do with GEOS, but your words reminded me of the value of experience as compared to something new coing along.

II purchase my SPOT mostly to create custom emails so if I am running late I can let the wife know without having to bail on a trip. The other stuff may or may not come in handy someday.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby Trekker » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:32 am

One thing to consider is that the GEOS center is located in Houston. Houston at this instant is being hit by hurricane IKE. I would not place any bets on GEOS operating this weekend and maybe for a little while afterwards. Anyone who doesn't know why can just turn on CNN or the Weather Channel for the reasons!!!! :(

In regards to the SPOT, the article never stated, I believe, whether he activated the HELP or the 911 button. He may have been confused and disoriented after the fall. In any case, if he didn't have a SPOT or PLB, he would have died anyway. People get the SPOT for financial reasons and because they want to notify people where they are and that they are OK, as Snowy mentioned. PLB is only for emergencies. It would be great if I had a personal helicopter on call with my PLB on board, but that's not going to happen. People who buy equipment like this need to learn how to use it, as Baffman mentioned on a previous thread, and then learn what it can and can't do. And you know what? Even with all that, there is still the chance that something could happen and you could die. There is risk in going into the wilderness. To put all your faith in gadgets to pull you out of any situation is foolhardy. The SPOT did not cost him his life. Bad luck and possibly a poor decision did.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby rightstar76 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:48 am

Look we don't know all the facts. Could be with a PLB he would have died anyway. But the fact remains that GEOS is private, is probably offline now with the hurricane as Trekker pointed out. NOAA has enough offices that if one station is affected, there will be at least one other to take over. Also, I think SPOT has too many buttons and too many features. In my opinion, when my life is on the line do I want to be figuring out which button to press and which way to point the device? In a case like that, I would want just one button. I do believe that in a few years SPOT will work out the kinks and prove to us that it really does work. Just right now, it seems to have too many glitches to be relied on.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:49 pm

Trekker wrote:One thing to consider is that the GEOS center is located in Houston. Houston at this instant is being hit by hurricane IKE. I would not place any bets on GEOS operating this weekend and maybe for a little while afterwards. Anyone who doesn't know why can just turn on CNN or the Weather Channel for the reasons!!!! :(


Well, you started me thinking. So I went outside , turned on the spot, and sent an OK messge. The message was received about 5 min. after I sent it, at 8:45pm eastern time . Ike hit this morning about 8AM. I don't know if it was down then, but it's up now.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby Trekker » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:12 am

It's my understanding from the previous posts that only the 911 signal goes through GEOS; the HELP and OK do not.
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Re: Another Reason not to trust SPOT

Postby Baffman » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:18 pm

It sounds to me that SPOT worked fine, but for some reason they didn't get to him very quickly. Would they respond faster to a PLB? I'm not convinced that SPOT cost him his life either. Sounds like it did it''s job. Good boy SPOT. I wonder why Yosemite rangers haven't heard of SPOT. SEKI rangers know all about it and even use it. They NEED to know about it, all about it.
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