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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Phone tracker solo walker


Author: Mary Larkin
Posted: Wed 8th Aug 2018, 16:38
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Kent
Thanks for this, Andrew. This has been a really interesting topic for me. It's so easy to head merrily out on a long hike on your own and not give thought to the possibility of things going wrong and how important it is that someone knows where you are. This is safest for you and saves so much time, effort cost etc for emergncy/rescue services. This isn't just for walkers but also for distance and off road runners wanting to get off the beaten track, which can also mean losing mobile phone coverage. I think at some point I'll splash out on the hire costs of a satellite messenger as it does, to me, seem the best solution for now until the cost of the technology comes down.

All the best, Mary
Author: Andrew Todd
Posted: Fri 3rd Aug 2018, 17:43
Joined: 2010
Local Group: Wiltshire
Author: Mary Larkin
Posted: Thu 2nd Aug 2018, 15:53
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Kent
Thanks for your post David, more helpful pointers for me. I've just been taking a look at information on satellite messengers and found http://www.mountainsafety.co.uk/EP-Satellite-Messengers-aspx really useful. Being logged by satellite is definitely a better option than relying on a mobile phone signal and I think, as you mentioned, the cost of the technology will come down over time and a good option now seems to be to hire the equipment rather than purchase it. I laughed at your feeling of voyeurism!
Author: David Morgan
Posted: Thu 2nd Aug 2018, 14:57
Joined: 1994
Local Group: South Wales
I don't know where my last post went!! I'll try and re-type it again.

I realised that as I typed the post, that I was taking it off topic but it does seem that Mary has received great advice from others with better knowledge.

I indicated in my post that the technology has enabled me to become voyeuristic in relation to following a friend who has taken part in two running / walking events. This year he entered the Montane Lakeland 100 and last year the South Wales 100. Both events are run as commercial ventures but the organisers stipulate that GPS tracking devices will be carried by all entrants. The technology is expensive and that fact is reflected in the entry fees, but from a challenge walk organiser's perspective, knowing where all your entrants are at any time would be extremely reassuring should an issue arise.

As the technology becomes more widely used, then so the cost will reduce but on both occasions my friend was not required to link his device to a phone. Instead he had to carry a small device that must have sent periodic signals to a server that then uploaded to an OS map for others to view. Very clever indeed!
Author: David Morgan
Posted: Thu 2nd Aug 2018, 14:50
Joined: 1994
Local Group: South Wales
Author: Mary Larkin
Posted: Thu 2nd Aug 2018, 9:54
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Kent
Hi Iain and Tony,

Thanks so much for your suggestions, really grateful - I'll take a look at all of them to find the best solution.
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 22:26
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
"OS Locate is a simple [smartphone] app that provides an accurate, easily readable UK grid reference. [...] Mountain Rescue Teams (also) have the ability to locate smartphones with bespoke SARLOC software, but this technology does rely on the availability of a [internet] data signal, which can be unreliable in remote or mountainous locations [such as the Scottish Highlands]."

Source: https://www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk/.../call-to-download-os-locate-app-for-mountain-safety.html‎
[ignore the &#8206]

So if you have the OS Locate app you don't need an internet connection or a mobile signal, but you do need to have shared your location (viz switched on your phone's location services). Whether this incurs an additional battery drain is not stated.

The app can be downloaded from

www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-locate

Iain
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 21:21
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
One I forgot is that mountain rescue services use SARLOC to find you.
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 21:19
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
There are a few options to help here. Google some of the following to see if it suits your needs:-

1. Register for EMERGENCY SMS.

2. Send a TEXT rather than attempting to phone. A text only needs a signal for a short time.

3. PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACONS can be purchased to send your location to the emergency services. Need to register but no annual fee.

4. SPOT TRANSMIIERS. An American system with more facilities than a PLB but there is an annual fee.




no doubt
Author: Geoff Crowder
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 18:56
Joined: 2002
Local Group: South Manchester
Mary,
That's all we can do at the moment. When I go on a solo trip, my planned route is plotted on Memory-Map and Vivien has it up on her screen. I phone periodically - a few times per day - to let her know my position. If I can't get a signal, I keep trying every half hour or so as I walk. I'm also mindful of the best chances to get a signal in dodgy areas:- summits are often good due to the varied directional views, also when in line-of-sight of a populated area.
Author: Mary Larkin
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 16:45
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Kent
Hi Geoff and Iain,

Thanks for taking the time to add to my post about tracking for solo walkers. I'm coming from a safety perspective as a female often walking alone and just want to have the reassurance that I could be found should something go wrong. I always have my mobile with me and know that this can be tracked by triangulation, but understood that this falls apart if a phone has no signal. It would be great if I was wrong about this. I'll carry on digging around and will, in the meantime, make sure someone knows my route. Let me know if you come across anything relevant. Many thanks!
Author: Geoff Crowder
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 15:42
Joined: 2002
Local Group: South Manchester
I have a keen interest in this subject of location tracking but, until this thread, apparently nobody else does.

About 10 years ago I started a topic on a dedicated GPS/mapping forum regarding the Memory-Map tracking application that allows anyone logged-in online with my supplied password to see my whereabouts on OS mapping on their screen (assuming I had a mobile signal). The topic didn't receive a single reply.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I started another slightly different but closely related topic on a walking forum about track recording etc., I was asking about devices that record your track and had a very long battery life. As soon as I mentioned the possibility of personal tracking in real time, the thread dried up. Not a single reply after that.

So basically nobody's interested!.

Yes, if you have a Smartphone they can determine your last known position, i.e. the last time you had a signal. As for your current position if you don't have a signal, it's game over.

The only way to ensure a true real time position is with a Sat phone. I investigated those too originally but the costs and terms were outrageous (I don't know if things have changed much).
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 11:29
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
Hi Mary

From Greg Milner's excellent 2016 book 'Pinpoint: how GPS is changing our world' I learned (amongst much else) that in order to maximise signal reception, smartphones use satellite GPS to continually orient themselves with respect to ground-based cell masts. According to the book, this is true even if the phone isn't 'GPS enabled' (e.g. explicitly featuring mapping or tracking apps).

So unless it's off or you've dropped it, your 3G or later smartphone can potentially be used by police and rescue services to locate your current or last-known position, even if there is no 'mobile signal'. I don't recall from the book whether this needs more or less battery charge than other phone services, but if there is an energy-saving mode your phone may run at sufficiently low power to still function in an emergency.

The social implications (locating missing teenagers, children or vulnerable adults, versus police-state control and monitoring) are not explored in this otherwise exhaustingly thorough book.

Iain
Author: Mary Larkin
Posted: Tue 31st Jul 2018, 16:22
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Kent
Thanks Armorel, hope you had some good walking!
Author: Armorel Young
Posted: Tue 31st Jul 2018, 12:31
Joined: 1999
Local Group: Sherwood
I find this an interesting idea, especially as I have just got back from a weekend's solo walking in Northumberland myself. However, my phone rarely gets a signal in remote areas, and tracking would presumably not work without a signal. (My Satmap, my contrast, virtually always has a signal, but I don't imagine there is any way that my Satmap rather than my phone could be tracked.) It will be interesting to hear other people's thoughts on the subject.
Author: Mary Larkin
Posted: Mon 30th Jul 2018, 17:56
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Kent
Hi all, I often head out on long solo walks, usually following a known route. I'm heading up to walk in Hadrian's Wall country in a couple of weeks and want to install a phone tracker so that my location can be found as a safety measure. Does anyone have any suggestions? Many thanks!

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