Author Topic: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions  (Read 1091 times)

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Offline Stubby

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GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« on: February 05, 2020, 04:05:52 am »
I am using a bubbler app tied to cell coverage now. I'm thinking of going to a dedicated GPS unit for both road bike stuff and offroad SXS riding. Do you use one and what are the pros/cons of different  mfg?
I have heard more pros for Garmin over spot ( coverage mostly ) and do most use the same spotwalla sight for hosting?

Thanks for any info.

Stubby
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Offline Just Cliff

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2020, 03:26:42 pm »
I am using a bubbler app tied to cell coverage now. I'm thinking of going to a dedicated GPS unit for both road bike stuff and offroad SXS riding. Do you use one and what are the pros/cons of different  mfg?
I have heard more pros for Garmin over spot ( coverage mostly ) and do most use the same spotwalla sight for hosting?

Thanks for any info.

Stubby

Not sure what you mean about the coverage thing. I've used my spot all over the U.S. including Alaska & 9 European countries without ever losing coverage. My kids love to follow along where I'm traveling, especially my son in law. It's really nice for sending a message when there's no cell service to let the homefront know all is well. Yes I use the spotwalla page.
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Offline Daboo

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2020, 03:28:08 pm »
    A few years ago, I looked into the tracker devices like you're doing.  All I had heard of at the time was SPOT.  There was another company called DeLorme that made the inReach devices.  In the end I went with them.  DeLorme was bought out by Garmin a year or so ago.  It's still the one to get, I think.

    SPOT had a good idea, but there's a couple downsides to it. 
    • First, you could only send messages, not receive them.  That doesn't seem like a big deal until...
    • ...until you find out later that your messages only had a 50-50 success rate of being sent.
    • The subscription rate is (or was) more costly because you could only get a yearly subscription.
  • Note:  SPOT may have improved their service and pricing plans.  You'll need to check for yourself on what is current.  This is only my opinion on what was available when I bought mine.

The inReach devices come in basically three flavors.  A Mini, the SE and the Explorer.  My advice would be to skip the Explorer.  The Explorer version allows you to follow your track on the itty bitty tiny screen.  IMHO, that's worthless.  The screen is too small to be useful.  The SE and Mini give you a free subscription to the Earthmate app.  That allows you to download maps and track your route on a much larger screen where you can actually see something.  Text messages can be sent through your smartphone, so you don't need a keypad on the GPS tracker.  And really, the text messages you're sending are more of a short reassurance to your spouse that you are alive and for the spouse not to worry.  Or the text messages will be useful when you use the SOS feature and need to coordinate getting airlifted out of the middle of the desert someplace.  That's where it is extremely useful to have the ability to both send and receive messages.

If I was to buy one now, I think I'd look seriously at the Mini.  I think...check for yourself...that the only difference between it and the SE is the size and price.

As for tracking, you can use Spotwalla, but you don't need to.  Garmin has it's own tracking map feature that you can send links with.  They make it very useful and easy.

The Earthmate app is really useful.  Not only can you track yourself on it, but you can download maps like topographical maps.  That'd be very handy when hiking or hunting.

Chris
« Last Edit: February 05, 2020, 03:36:01 pm by Daboo »
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Offline Brian_H

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2020, 04:39:31 pm »
I am using a bubbler app tied to cell coverage now. I'm thinking of going to a dedicated GPS unit for both road bike stuff and offroad SXS riding. Do you use one and what are the pros/cons of different  mfg?
I have heard more pros for Garmin over spot ( coverage mostly ) and do most use the same spotwalla sight for hosting?

Thanks for any info.

Stubby

Not sure what you mean about the coverage thing. I've used my spot all over the U.S. including Alaska & 9 European countries without ever losing coverage. My kids love to follow along where I'm traveling, especially my son in law. It's really nice for sending a message when there's no cell service to let the homefront know all is well. Yes I use the spotwalla page.


I am not as well traveled as Cliff, but I have not had any coverage issues with the SPOT.

Although they share some things, a GPS and a Tracker have two separate functions.  The GPS provides routing and tracking stored internally in the GPS and the SPOT tracker can upload tracking data in real time, but has no ability to route.  I am only referring to the SPOT Gen3 that I own. There may be newer models that have GPS routing ability, but I am not aware of them.

Since I ride a lot alone, my main reason for having the Spot is its 911 capability.  I keep it on my person attached to my jacket within reach of either arm. If I get separated from the bike it's there to summon help. The second reason is to send "I have arrived at my destination"  messages to my wife when I don't have cell coverage.  My wife uses the Garmin app on her phone to see my track, but she likes getting the email notices. 
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Offline kv5e

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2020, 04:53:57 pm »
SPOT 3 is the shiznit. Works like a hose and worth every penny. A must for long trips.
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Offline smithr1

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2020, 07:52:11 pm »
I have had a Spot or two since they came out.  I use it to feel better about being on the bike and out of cell service.   When I took my long trip without the wife I used tracking.  She said it made her feel better. 

The price of the unit and service has more than doubled since it came out but I still re-upped this year.  I have found no real need in sending messages other than the OK message the spot can send.  I just wait till back in cell range to two way with someone.   Hope I never have to push the 911 button but I was the one that suggested they give us a way to test that it worked.  They did add that and have added several other cool suggestions from the peanut gallery.  Sorry but have not tried any other device.
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Offline Stubby

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2020, 01:56:00 am »
Thanks guys for your responses.  I guess " coverage  " was not the right term? I have in my reading just heard about more problems with the spot platform verse the Garmin.  Now on to more reading.  ;)
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Offline Old Man on a Connie

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2020, 02:26:25 am »
Bought a unlocked sat phone on amazon. 100 bucks roughly a buck a minute for 3 months. Can send/receive calls anywhere in the world. Have an emergency alert button sends GPS location with a life flight option. No tracking though.
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Offline Ed

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2020, 08:09:10 pm »
I have a spotx and you can send email and tx . Also receive them . Has always worked for me .
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Offline Nickrides

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2020, 01:22:32 am »
Old Man-You want a Tracker.
If you leave the road and are incapacitated, your sat phone isn't going to help much.
After a lot of research I too went with the InReach many years ago and its been great!
The MapShare page is clear and easy to use and link to your friends and Fam. It works, 100% of the time.
15 bucks a month is what I pay for service.
I use it all the time, Backcountry skiing, river running, motorcycling, Mt Biking, hiking Sailing Etc.
The ability to send and receive a text is really nice.
Easy to learn and use.
They have half price sales all the time too.
The only downside is the screen is small, I have to have reading glasses with me to use it.
I gave it to my 8 year old when I got it to play with, he figured it out in 20 minutes, without the instructions and set me up on it.

Offline Old Man on a Connie

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2020, 01:46:47 am »
This one has an emergency button that send alerts out to your wish list with time GPS location. Also has the airflight emed option. Got to be conscious to trigger though. Great for normal com's also.
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Offline Stubby

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2020, 03:25:59 am »
The price between the two ( spot/Garmin) is about double.  Most reviews seem to favor the Garmin. The monthly costs and battery use make the spot more attractive for year round ( on / offroad ) use? :-[
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Offline Daboo

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2020, 06:12:49 am »
The price between the two ( spot/Garmin) is about double.  Most reviews seem to favor the Garmin. The monthly costs and battery use make the spot more attractive for year round ( on / offroad ) use? :-[
But with the SPOT, you pay per year.  I only pay for several months of the year with my inReach SE.  Right now, my riding is all local commuting.  I can't even get to the passes with the snow and salt on the roads.  So a year's subscription is worthless to me.

And one complaint I read about repeatedly is that the SPOT tracker allows messages to go out only one way.  The failure rate was almost 50%.  That's unsettling. 

The new model seems to allow a two-way messaging...probably because SPOT was loosing so many sales.

So the economy in buying a SPOT may be a false economy.

Chris
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Offline Kzz1king

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2020, 04:16:59 pm »
Do these trackers record your speed?

Offline HeavyRotation

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2020, 05:26:18 pm »
Do these trackers record your speed?
Yes, if you turn tracking on it records speed,  top speed, position, time moving, total trip time, distance and lays down a track on the map. I wouldn't ride alone in the back country without the Inreach, I've used it twice to text a buddy for help when mechanical failed/hard crash and radiator failure. I have the explorer plus, it has outstanding battery life and charges with a micro usb cable so i can use the same charger on my android, Cardo and Inreach, which is convenient.
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Offline Stubby

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2020, 02:55:48 pm »
The price between the two ( spot/Garmin) is about double.  Most reviews seem to favor the Garmin. The monthly costs and battery use make the spot more attractive for year round ( on / offroad ) use? :-[
But with the SPOT, you pay per year.  I only pay for several months of the year with my inReach SE.  Right now, my riding is all local commuting.  I can't even get to the passes with the snow and salt on the roads.  So a year's subscription is worthless to me.

And one complaint I read about repeatedly is that the SPOT tracker allows messages to go out only one way.  The failure rate was almost 50%.  That's unsettling. 

The new model seems to allow a two-way messaging...probably because SPOT was loosing so many sales.

So the economy in buying a SPOT may be a false economy.

Chris

Chris I am looking at using for both on road and offroad riding ( SXS ) desert,  mountain kind of stuff so at least 9 month use per year. Ya the spot miss sends are concerning .
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Offline Kzz1king

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2020, 11:30:34 pm »
The tracking of speed concerns me. I want my wife to be able to track me, it would make her more comfortable. Seeing my speeds may not. Thanks
Wayne

quote author=HeavyRotation link=topic=78806.msg688740#msg688740 date=1581618378]
Do these trackers record your speed?
Yes, if you turn tracking on it records speed,  top speed, position, time moving, total trip time, distance and lays down a track on the map. I wouldn't ride alone in the back country without the Inreach, I've used it twice to text a buddy for help when mechanical failed/hard crash and radiator failure. I have the explorer plus, it has outstanding battery life and charges with a micro usb cable so i can use the same charger on my android, Cardo and Inreach, which is convenient.
[/quote]

Offline HeavyRotation

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Re: GPS spot/Garmin style trackers questions
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2020, 02:58:33 am »
The tracking of speed concerns me. I want my wife to be able to track me, it would make her more comfortable. Seeing my speeds may not. Thanks
Wayne

quote author=HeavyRotation link=topic=78806.msg688740#msg688740 date=1581618378]
Do these trackers record your speed?
Yes, if you turn tracking on it records speed,  top speed, position, time moving, total trip time, distance and lays down a track on the map. I wouldn't ride alone in the back country without the Inreach, I've used it twice to text a buddy for help when mechanical failed/hard crash and radiator failure. I have the explorer plus, it has outstanding battery life and charges with a micro usb cable so i can use the same charger on my android, Cardo and Inreach, which is convenient.
[/quote]
I believe all she will see is your position via the tracker signals haha. I set mine to 10 minute intervals. The device itself registers all that information, but you have to click into that menu to see it. So if she's not cross referencing your position with Google maps while tracking you in real time and doing the math, it's all secret.  :)
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