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#294939 - 02/29/20 05:50 PM Simple Lost Prevention App
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
For many many years it has seemed to me that a large number of rescue efforts are caused by people simply becoming lost (as opposed to injuries or other reasons). Does anyone here know stats on causes of rescue efforts?

I've said that folks should get a good GPS and get into the habit of creating a "get home" waypoint before heading wherever. Sadly, a good GPS is still surprisingly expensive. By the way, it seems pretty clear that a GPS won't help much with the immobilizing injury type rescue scenario. For that a personal locator beacon would be needed (assuming better.

The good news is that today LOTS of folks are carrying a very nice GPS capability in their smartphones. I downloaded the BackCountry Navigator app on my Android phone, but I find it so full of content that it is tough for me to use. I find my Garmin GPSMAP 60csx easier to remember how to use. Its Man Overboard feature provides a very easy to use lost prevention tool.

That lead me to wonder if anyone makes a VERY simple to use "lost prevention" application. I couldn't find anything on Google Play.

I picture this being an app that I'd open, press a big "Remember Location" button (which would put the current locations' waypoint coordinates into memory).

Then, if needed, I could open the app and click on a "Find Location" button that displays a direction arrow that points to the remembered location, a distance to location (in selectable units), and it might be nice to display a bearing to the remembered location (with the option to select a bearing adjusted for magnetic declination or not, though most people may not know what that is).

I suppose it should also display the location coordinates - in a format usable by rescue crews - assuming the user could make a phone call. I tend to use either ddd.ddd or UTM formats, depending upon use, but I'm not sure what format rescue folks prefer.

If you wanted to get fancier, the app could allow remembered locations to be named, and called back from a drop-down list. The name could default to a date/time name - rather than a number, which is what my Garmin does.

By the way, it seems that the app should shut off the GPS when the phone is powered down, to save battery. It would restart the GPS when the app is in use.

Just thinking out loud.

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#294940 - 02/29/20 06:21 PM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: KenK]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: southern Cal
You raise some interesting issues. i can comment from my experience, which is fairly old. I expect there will be those with more current info.

I think a lot depends on your region. In southern Arizona, people hiking in the mountains were not typically lost. They knew where they were. The problem was to find a feasible route to where they wanted to be. If they did not have a map they were in deep doo-doo. Terrain is quite different in Wisconsin and other areas.

Pre cell phone, our operations were started by a phone call from someone who realized that Johnny was overdue and had been hiking in the mountains. i understand that nowadays many calls come directly from injured parties and they are able to give their location fairly well. This is good for operations, because you know the situation even before you are in the field.

I believe the Coast Guard prefers locations given in lat lon, but that may be simply because they are a maritime operation. Coordinates in nay system can be readily converted to another.

From experience, be active if a chopper or aircraft is involved. Signal with the best means available - a signal mirror is wonderful and a big bonfire works as well, although a trifle messy.

In mountains, at least, a compass is rarely useful, although I always carry one.

Hope we get some feedback from current SAR folks; practices are always evolving
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#294941 - 02/29/20 07:30 PM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: KenK]
Ren Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 239
Would have it take a photo, and record the compass direction and gps coords.

Actually maybe some geotagging apps might be suitable?


Edited by Ren (02/29/20 07:31 PM)

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#294942 - 02/29/20 08:05 PM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: KenK]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5329
Loc: SOCAL
Sounds like when I press the “Mark” button on my Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx, it saves that location as a waypoint which you can rename if it suits. I can see why having the nav function in a phone would be useful, as long as it’s quick and doesn’t require the app to consume lots of energy draining the battery. That’s one reason for my preference of a dedicated GPS and keeping my not-so-smart phone in airplane mode or even off until it’s needed. You might need to navigate and communicate rather than choosing one over the other.
$.02

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#294943 - 02/29/20 10:09 PM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: Russ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: southern Cal
Once upon a time, we gave our location without using GPS coordinates at all. If you are at a readily located spot, that may be more efficient than reading a bunch of numbers into a phone. Sometimes they don't get recorded correctly.
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#294946 - 02/29/20 11:46 PM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2625
Loc: Big Sky Country
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Once upon a time, we gave our location without using GPS coordinates at all. If you are at a readily located spot, that may be more efficient than reading a bunch of numbers into a phone. Sometimes they don't get recorded correctly.


You don't have to remind us you're old! wink Just kiddin' you! grin
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“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

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#294948 - 03/01/20 01:24 AM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: KenK]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: southern Cal
Hey! I just logged another year! On to the nineties!
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Geezer in Chief

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#294949 - 03/01/20 01:26 AM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: hikermor]
Ren Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 239
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Once upon a time, we gave our location without using GPS coordinates at all. If you are at a readily located spot, that may be more efficient than reading a bunch of numbers into a phone. Sometimes they don't get recorded correctly.


Was just thinking if took a pic of the most distinctive thing (tree, rock, bush, view) as the waypoint. If get lost and panicked and start to doubt things, at least got confirmation you're in the right spot.

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#294950 - 03/01/20 01:31 AM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: KenK]
DaveL Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/03/18
Posts: 44
Congratulations Hikermor,
Hope for many more years.

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#294952 - 03/01/20 02:53 AM Re: Simple Lost Prevention App [Re: KenK]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2625
Loc: Big Sky Country
Happy Birthday, hikermor! Here's to many more!
_________________________
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

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