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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Real-time satellite tracking for your expeditions

On my 4 week hike between Oslo and Bergen, I want to show my real-time location on a map. I could use an app on my mobile phone, but mobile coverage and electricity supply is sparse in the Norwegian mountains. Instead, I've acquired a satellite messenger which sends my location every 10 minutes.

There are different providers of satellite messengers like DeLorme InReach and SPOT. Although InReach seems to have a better satellite coverage in Norway, I decided to buy a SPOT Gen3 because of the open data API. My plan is to match my own tracking data with other location services.


The SPOT Gen3 has 5 buttons:

Help button to alert my personal contacts
that I need help in non-life-threatening situations. 
S.O.S. button for emergencies only.
Custom Message: Set up a message before leaving to send
to contacts with my GPS location.
Allow friends and family to follow my progress
in near real-time.
Check In: Let family and friends know I'm ok.

I hope not to use the Help and S.O.S. buttons, which leaves me three buttons to share my location and tell how I'm doing. My plan is to use the Check In button when I stay in a cabin, and the Custom Message button when I put up a tent. The Tracking button will be used to send my position every 10 minutes, and to show my location on a map.

The findmyspot.com website allows you to register your device and create a shared page:


This shared page consists of a map with your track, but real map geeks wants real data, - which is luckily available in a JSON or XML feed.

The limitation is that this feed only gives you locations for the last 7 days. As I plan to walk for 4 weeks and want to keep my data for the future of mankind, I need to sync the data to a more permanent storage. This is the topic of my next blog post

3 comments:

Rose Swansburg said...

This sounds fantastic! When are you planning on hiking from Oslo to Bergen? I would love to hear about your trip and any suggestions you have about best places for others to visit along the way.

Bjørn Sandvik said...

Hi Rose! I will do the hike in August, for 4 weeks. Follow this blog, and I will keep you updated!

Steffen said...

How much does the subscription for the satellite service cost?