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GeoPro: New Satellite message gizmo

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GeoPro: New Satellite message gizmo

Postby gdurkee » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:49 pm

Jut posted this to Whitney forums (or, I suppose, fora??). I've had a test unit for about a week and am, so far, impressed -- though with some reservations. The main advantage is the two way texting capability. In an emergency situation, it allows you to tell someone what's wrong or to just hobble out with a sprained ankle and be met before you'd planned to:

The Roadpost GeoPro will be released within a week or two. I have a test unit and find it pretty good. The features have been well thought out, though there's still some kllunkiness in v 1.0.

The most important advantage is that it's capable of two way texting! This is huge and, as far as I know, not offered by anyone else.

Main features:

Emergency beacon.
Two way texting capability.
Uses Iridium satellite system (more reliable that Globalstar)
"See me feature" -- sends coordinates and text message to any email address.
Sends position/check-in at any set interval -- once a day or anything over that.
Continuous tracking at whatever interval you set -- seconds to hours.
"on duty" feature. When it's turned on, allows you to send a message, with position, that you're up and going.
Query feature -- if you don't check in, others can text or query to see if you respond.
Queues messages until a successful satellite lock & send is achieved. Checks every 20 minutes (to conserve power) until successful.
Can pre-load (via computer sync) canned messages, email addresses.
Viewable on password secured web portal.
Rechargeable via USB port.
In power save mode, battery will last 4 days (??) or so. If you just turn it on and off once or twice a day, it'll probably go weeks, though I haven't tested that.

So far, I think it works very well and am especially impressed with the thinking that went into the features offered -- very real world. I plan to suggest some design and interface changes though.

Downside: weighs 13 oz -- a tad heavy.
The emergency beacon goes to whoever you designate, so there's not necessarily 24/7 monitoring, though message can go to however many people you designate.
Higher cost than SPOT.
Cost: about $700 plus monthly subscription plan. Get your spouse to buy it... .

http://www.geoprosolutions.com/

George



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Re: GeoPro: New Satellite message gizmo

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:56 pm

only $700 plus, AND i get to be connected to everyone at home? um, that's not why i go to the Sierra. :\ As was pointed out in the Llama thread, if this thing or a SPOTlike device isn't attached to your person, and you get hurt, it's useless.

I admit that sometimes, someone might want to hear from me while i'm "out there." But, I actually turn off my cell phone almost right after I leave home and then my next 5-7 days are focused on the journey. I don't turn the phone back on until i'm close enough to do anything about what might be in my messages.

$700 buys a LOT of really nice gear like a bearikade, an air mattress, some clothes, and a tent..
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Re: GeoPro: New Satellite message gizmo

Postby gdurkee » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:05 pm

All true. It's main purpose though, is as a locator and emergency signal device. Most of the features are aimed towards that purpose. I think marketing is aimed more towards agencies and companies with field personnel in remote areas. However, the number of SPOT & PLB thingies out there has shown the flaws in those devices (and including cell phones). An agency will get a "SOS" type signal but have no idea what the emergency is or what level of response is needed.

When I left Sequoia two days ago, there was a search starting for a person in the upper Kern following a garbled cell phone call. When rangers arrived at the place where the person was supposed to be, he wasn't there. A locator device with two way texting capability would have been a huge benefit here.

I cheerfully admit gizmos change the very nature of the wilderness experience. At the same time, and from a purely practical matter, they make it a lot easier and significantly safer for rescue personnel when we can find out where someone is and information about the nature of the problem.

George
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Re: GeoPro: New Satellite message gizmo

Postby BrianF » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:14 am

From my background with SAR, I can see what George is saying about the advantage of two way communication in an emergency, but I am in agreement with Rlown about the intrusion factor...I don't want to be in contact with the folks at home unless it is an emergency. The answer is to use it how you like and make sure that your at-home contact knows how you intend to use it. With the short battery life it can only be used intermitently anyway except on a weekend trip.
For myself, I bought a PLB a few years ago after an incident on day 3 of a 9 day solo trip. I was able to hobble back to the trail and get myself out but if the injury had been worse I would have waited at least 6 days before anyone would be looking and they would have been looking over a vast area.
The PLb I originally bought was an ACR that weighs 12oz, so I just got a Spot (arrived last night so I haven't played with it yet) to save the weight and to have the OK button function. That last is a concession to my lifelong contact person who has grown increasingly concerned about these things...something about me geting old and not bouncing as well as I used to. Even that will be a minor intrusion into my mindset, but I will make that concession for her, especially when our son is along.
My intent for it is to use the OK button every evening at camp so there is a log of my locations (when I go out to climb a peak or to wander on a day hike I always leave a note in my tent of my intentions for the day), to use the Help button (which only sends a message to her that I need help) when I am in need of a rescue but it is not life-threatening at which point she can call the appropriate authority and let them know that they need to respond but not take undue risks (and she has the contact numbers for dispatch for all of them), and the 911 button for needing immediate response. Used that way I think the severity of the emergency can be gauged. I will also make it clear that if I don't send the OK she still has to wait until I am overdue before calling in SAR, she will just have a log of the last location, there are too many variables that could prevent an OK (or any signal) from going out.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: GeoPro: New Satellite message gizmo

Postby BSquared » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:38 am

BrianF wrote:... I will also make it clear that if I don't send the OK she still has to wait until I am overdue before calling in SAR, she will just have a log of the last location, there are too many variables that could prevent an OK (or any signal) from going out.

Yes, I think that's really an important message to get through to your "team" (as the SPOT people like to call it). We weren't quite careful enough about that on last-year's JMT trek, and when we called home from Tuolumne everybody was very worried that they hadn't got most of our OKs (we weren't orienting the SPOT correctly and weren't waiting long enough for the satellite message to go out, as it turned out).

George, I think I'll have to wait for price and weight reductions before I rush out and buy a GeoPro, but the functionality sounds absolutely perfect.
—B²
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Re: GeoPro: New Satellite message gizmo

Postby rayfound » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:23 pm

Seems like something my wife would like me to have... but I would hate to hear she got everyone worried because I didn't text back "I love you too".

Seems like this would be an awesome device to rent for trips.... but $700 is pretty rich for my tastes (well, for my Salary really).
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