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#160617 - 12/31/08 01:04 AM Using the Spot, first attempt
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
We bought a couple of Spot for business. Cabela's
had them on sale for $100.

We use them for exploration hydrogeologists traveling
solo in Nevada who are putting in monitoring devices in remote locations,
sometimes without roads. Cell coverage is "spotty".

First time out we couldn't get a cell call through to
our scientist, so left
a message on the cell. When the fellow got to cell coverage
and his message he tried out the SPOT.

Back at work we suddenly got an email from him "I'm OK" his
lat-lon and a link to Google Earth with his location showing.
Very cool.

So far seems to work as advertised in the open country of
Nevada. Should be useful for our mapping projects too.


Edited by clearwater (12/31/08 01:04 AM)

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#160661 - 12/31/08 11:32 AM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: clearwater]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
This?
http://international.findmespot.com/
It certainly seems like a good idea worth checking out, and I am glad to hear that they work.
Thanks for the information.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#160705 - 12/31/08 04:13 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: scafool]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2115
Loc: NE Wisconsin
What do you do with the coordinates? Is it mostly an FYI? I'm trying to figure out what the advantage of getting the coordinates is. Maybe you're just making sure that they are actually doing work and in the targeted area?

If the objective is to provide folks with help in the event of an emergency, then a PLB is hands-down the better option.

When (if?) the SPOT provides a satellite-based messaging system (where I can actually input a message) the also includes the GPS coordinates, THEN it might be worth the price.

Right now the SPOT plus service is about the cost of a PLB. The PLB is MUCH more robust and supported by the U.S. government, while the SPOT forces you to rely on friends/family. Also, the PLB provides a Doppler location in case the GPS isn't locking on and the homing beacon for localized tracking.

At this point I'll stick with my PLB.

Ken

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#160708 - 12/31/08 04:32 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: KenK]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: KenK
What do you do with the coordinates?

If the objective is to provide folks with help in the event of an emergency, then a PLB is hands-down the better option.

When (if?) the SPOT provides a satellite-based messaging system (where I can actually input a message) the also includes the GPS coordinates, THEN it might be worth the price.

Right now the SPOT plus service is about the cost of a PLB. The PLB is MUCH more robust and supported by the U.S. government, while the SPOT forces you to rely on friends/family. Also, the PLB provides a Doppler location in case the GPS isn't locking on and the homing beacon for localized tracking.

At this point I'll stick with my PLB.

Ken


A point last seen and a time is very helpful in SAR.

If you can't hit
that button on the PLB, where do you start the search?
By having check ins you reduce the search
area.

If you're pinned by a boulder, ATV, avalanche, car, etc.
and can't reach your PLB, what then?

We have a project that will take less than a year, cost
per person is about $250 vs the PLB about $600.

Having LAT LON from the SPOT as a double check to our GPS readings for geologic mapping is of some use too.

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#160716 - 12/31/08 05:19 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: clearwater]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
Having multiple "check in" points, can also give direction of travel and speed. Knowing this, you could possibly extrapolate the general health of the individual at the last known location. Combining this information with knowledge of the person being sought, the current weather conditions, and the terrain, a general idea of the possible intended path and current location can be determined. This will allow searchers to focus on areas that would have a higher likelyhood of having a missing and/or injured person. If the only way to keep going east was along a ledge, check the bottom of the ledge. If there is a flowing stream near a trail, check along the stream ( or downstream ).

It would be nice if the PLB's allowed for a "non-emergency position update". Something like double-click a button, that sends a signal which is recorded as a route start/end. It could give periodic updates (maybe once every 15 minutes ), but allow manual update by pressing the button once. Software on the end could give warning alerts that a device hasn't given an update after 2 times the periodic interval. Not an end-all solution, and there could be false alarms (what if the battery dies?), but it would take care of the "I cannot reach the PLB" situation.

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#160786 - 01/01/09 02:23 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: clearwater]
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
You start the search at the point of entry on their safety management form they left with their family. Most that are smart enough to carry a PLB will also be smart enough to let family know where they are going.

Originally Posted By: clearwater
A point last seen and a time is very helpful in SAR.

If you can't hit
that button on the PLB, where do you start the search?

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#160793 - 01/01/09 04:43 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: ki4buc]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: ki4buc
Having multiple "check in" points, can also give direction of travel and speed. Knowing this, you could possibly extrapolate the general health of the individual at the last known location. Combining this information with knowledge of the person being sought, the current weather conditions, and the terrain, a general idea of the possible intended path and current location can be determined. This will allow searchers to focus on areas that would have a higher likelyhood of having a missing and/or injured person. If the only way to keep going east was along a ledge, check the bottom of the ledge. If there is a flowing stream near a trail, check along the stream ( or downstream ).

It would be nice if the PLB's allowed for a "non-emergency position update". Something like double-click a button, that sends a signal which is recorded as a route start/end. It could give periodic updates (maybe once every 15 minutes ), but allow manual update by pressing the button once. Software on the end could give warning alerts that a device hasn't given an update after 2 times the periodic interval. Not an end-all solution, and there could be false alarms (what if the battery dies?), but it would take care of the "I cannot reach the PLB" situation.


This is sort of what we do with the SPOT. At each monitoring
site we send a signal back, each site can be several miles
apart. As there is quite a bit of time at each location spent
measuring etc. there is time for the SPOT to register
with the Satellites. The country is without trees or
steep canyon walls, which apparently are not good for
the current generation of SPOT beacons.

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#160795 - 01/01/09 05:03 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: jshannon]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands

Right, in this case the scientists have a general plan of where the monitoring
sites will be (based on the geology

and other information we have beforehand) and will have in
some cases the route traveled if there is a road or trail etc. between sites.

However, as someone travels, the search area goes up by
a huge factor based on the distance they could travel in
the time since the point last seen. If all you have
is a note at home, you could be looking at a "bastard search"
(where the the lost person is somewhere in a bar or brothel
instead of that class 3 peak.)and the searchers will have
to waste time checking out the "Owl Club".

If you know the point last seen and the time,
you can deduce the probability the person is in a certain
area and then based on the search methods, the probability
that the person will be discovered.

Frequent check ins before you are a victim, really speed the SAR effort up.



Edited by clearwater (01/01/09 05:03 PM)

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#160797 - 01/01/09 05:06 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: KenK]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: KenK


The PLB is '' supported by the U.S. government, while the SPOT forces you to rely on friends/family.
Ken


And this is a good thing?



Edited by clearwater (01/01/09 05:14 PM)

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#160798 - 01/01/09 06:21 PM Re: Using the Spot, first attempt [Re: clearwater]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2115
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: clearwater
And this is a good thing?


That is a VERY good thing. If you've ever gotten to know with any of the folks listed below their lives are amazingly dedicated to their professions.

I'm talking about ...

U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Department of Defence
Civil Air Patrol
U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary
State/County/City Law Enforcement
National Park Service

I suspect the state National Guards might also come into play. I'm sure others on this forum know much more about it than I do.

Here is a description of the National Rescue Plan under the NOAA SARSAT authority:

"By federal interagency agreement, the National Search and Rescue Plan provides for the effective use of all available facilities in all types of SAR missions. These facilities include aircraft, vessels, pararescue and ground rescue teams, and emergency radio fixing. Under the plan, the U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for the coordination of SAR in the Maritime Region, and the U.S.Air Force is responsible in the Inland Region. To carry out these responsibilities, the Coast Guard and the Air Force have established Rescue Coordination Centers (RCC's) to direct SAR activities within their regions. NOAA provides satellite alerting in support of the National SAR Plan.

In general, search and rescue, or SAR, is a lifesaving service provided through the combined efforts of the federal agencies signatory to the National SAR Plan, and the agencies responsible for SAR within each state. Operational resources are provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, DOD components, the Civil Air Patrol, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, state, county and local law enforcement and other public safety agencies, and private volunteer organizations. Services include search for missing aircraft and vessels, survival aid, rescue, and emergency medical help for the occupants after an accident site is located."

Above I put the government sponsored organizations in bold to emphasize their involvement ... not to suggest that the volunteer organizations such as the Civil Air Patrol and local volunteer SAR groups are any less professional or vital to their missions.

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