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Old 12-13-2014, 11:44 AM   #1
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How do family members track you

Active Captain had an interesting article this week on a new device that will track your position via satellite. Your position can be seen presumably by others at a web site. https://activecaptain.com/newsletters/2014-12-10.php
The device is not real expensive but requires a monthly plan for the sat hook up - I believe. All this happens seamlessly and as long as the unit is turned on, your tracked. It has some nifty emergency features too.

However, for me I really don't want another techkee device, especially one with a monthly obligation. I have an EPIRB, PLB and DSC so emergency issues are taken care off. We don't go more than 100 miles off shore and that's very seldom. I would however like to have my kids be able to track my progress and location. I have a Verizon MiFi unit so internet is always available.

Any suggestions on how I could set up a position reporting system that my kids and whoever else I wanted, could see my current location on a map, perhaps by logging into a web site?
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Old 12-13-2014, 11:48 AM   #2
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I'm using Google+, it lets you specify who can see where you are and what detail level (street -City). I guess you would need an android phone for that, not at all familiar with Apple stuff. Of course big brother will then always know where you are, what time.
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Old 12-13-2014, 12:14 PM   #3
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We have an old (second generation) Spot Messenger.

We don't use the tracking mode, but prefer to send a message each morning and night, or when we make an obvious turn into a new channel or waterway. These automatically get sent to our loved ones with a pre recorded message and a link to a satellite image showing exactly where we are.

In tracking mode, as I understand it, you can give access to other people who could then find out where you are every ten minutes.

This device was a game changer for my wife, because I tend to roam solo off trail in the woods all day while photographing. The Spot offers peace of mind to her, and me as well because now I don't worry about her worrying about me.
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Old 12-13-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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I'm using Google+, it lets you specify who can see where you are and what detail level (street -City). I guess you would need an android phone for that, not at all familiar with Apple stuff. Of course big brother will then always know where you are, what time.
I don't really understand Google+. I also am not a facebook or twitter follower either. I'm basically a social media outcast!
I do have all android devices. Perhaps I should education myself on Google+.
Will Google+ automatically track me when I turn on my MiFi device?
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Old 12-13-2014, 12:35 PM   #5
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Try a Delorme tracker Tim. I think you will find it does what you wish for minimal expense.
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:27 PM   #6
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I only have Google+ because I have a Google Phone, do not use the socializing parts nor Facebook, but you can enable tracking if you have a GPS enabled phone/Tablet and either WIFI or wireless access. You determine who in your circles gets to see what. I have it and don't use it, nobody really cares where I am. It was just a suggestion.
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:40 PM   #7
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100 miles offshore is out of VHF (AIS vessel tracking) or cellphone (google, etc) range. So if you want tracking offshore, you have to pay for satellite time. Spot and Delorme are two outfits offering this service, the Delorme device seems to be more expensive and offers more features. Spot has been around a while and works well.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:15 PM   #8
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We use Boat Beacon which is like a faux internet-based AIS using our MMSI registration and displaying other AIS vessels in the area in near-real time. Giggitoni uses it on his iPad and I use it on my Samsung Note 8. It's similar to MarineTraffic AIS.

My family and friends can follow my progress easily from home via MarineTraffic.com or on the marinetraffic app.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:25 PM   #9
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HF radio with a Pactor modem via Winlink (http://www.winlink.org/). We do daily position reports when we leave the dock. Along with our position, we have up to 80 characters for a message. World wide coverage and it's free.

http://www.winlink.org/userPositions then enter kc7yww in the upper left. Once you're to scale, click on the balloon for the position and message.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
We use Boat Beacon which is like a faux internet-based AIS using our MMSI registration and displaying other AIS vessels in the area in near-real time. Giggitoni uses it on his iPad and I use it on my Samsung Note 8. It's similar to MarineTraffic AIS.

My family and friends can follow my progress easily from home via MarineTraffic.com or on the marinetraffic app.
Since I don't have an AIS transmitter I assume the app or marineTraffic.com obtains my position from my MiFi unit (which has cellular internet connectivity) and the GPS in my tablet - Samsung Note 8, like yours.

Generally I don't turn on my MiFi unit until we are anchored or at a slip, so I'm guessing that when I turn on my MiFi unit and start the Boat Beacon app it will update our location. Is this correct?
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:39 AM   #11
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Our AIS transmitter plus marinetraffic.com, for inshore and near shore tracking.

It's not perfect, since we're sometimes out of range of one of the volunteer marinetraffic retransmitters, but it generally works well enough in the big picture.

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Old 12-14-2014, 08:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
HF radio with a Pactor modem via Winlink (http://www.winlink.org/). We do daily position reports when we leave the dock. Along with our position, we have up to 80 characters for a message. World wide coverage and it's free.

http://www.winlink.org/userPositions then enter kc7yww in the upper left. Once you're to scale, click on the balloon for the position and message.

Your not far from our old family river house that burned in the 50s
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:56 AM   #13
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Just bought a Delorme InReach SE from Defender as Defender's sale price plus the AC discount made it attractive. (You can also get another $50 rebate from Delorme if you activate your account prior to the end of the year, which I won't do as I don't need it activated til next May).

Plan to use this mainly for family and friends to follow us on our little loop trip next year, although the SOS sending ability is an added plus.

Will probably sell it after our trip though.
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:10 AM   #14
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The reason to get DeLorme inReach or SPOT is that it works through a constellation of satellites and requires no internet, cellular, or WiFi connectivity. It just always works. So if you're passing through North Carolina where your cell phone might not work, in Desolation Sound on the way to Alaska, or offshore where there's no connectivity possible, others can view your position and receive your request for help. For DeLorme's product, you can also send and receive messages. It's an incredible safety device that augments an EPIRB for offshore use and provides about everything needed for inshore and nearshore use.

We've licensed the data from DeLorme and SPOT, grab it, and store it with your electronic boat card. We then allow your friends and groups that you permit to see your position to track you. DeLorme and SPOT also provide tracking but it's more open and not based around individual relationships you've approved.

DeLorme also has airtime plans that allow you to turn off the plan so you only pay for it when you're out.

We'll also be grabbing position data over cellular in a variety of ways (beta for Android, Windows, and Macintosh is out now). I'm also currently working with the APRS people to get position reports integrated from APRS ham radio packets.

We've had SPOT for the last 4 years and DeLorme inReach for the last 1 year (long before I wrote the support for it). Having one or the other is important for safety and allowing it to double-team with social position sharing makes it a no-brainer to get. The inReach is a little more expensive but the screen, keyboard, interface to iOS/Android, and two-way messaging are knock out capabilities in my opinion. I'm sure SPOT will catch up with that eventually.
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:21 AM   #15
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I just noticed on my iPhone 5s on the text message screen of a recent contact if you highlight details and you can send current location or share for one hour, till the end of the day or indefinitely. I have sent my location and it shows up in a very close detail, usually a blue screen, But if you expand the radius to show the shore and location and links to google maps for car driving directions. You have to be in cell phone service area. Not sure if all need to on iPhones? Or how to receive.... The Active Captain Defender offer sounds great, but I hate monthly recurring charges. I paying for Netflix and haven't used it in months.... Guess I could look for the the number and turn it off. :-)


I need to read what my fat fingers are typing on the phone and tablet before I sent. Sorry for the mistakes...
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:41 AM   #16
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The Active Captain Defender offer sounds great, but I hate monthly recurring charges. I paying for Netflix and haven't used it in months.... Guess I could look for the the number and turn it off. :-)
As Jeff said: "DeLorme also has airtime plans that allow you to turn off the plan so you only pay for it when you're out."

With one caveat: It seems to be a month by month thing. That is, you can't buy just, say, two weeks.
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:49 AM   #17
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Jeff's business plan is a good one. Product line is wonderful. But my goodness where does all this stop with monthly fees piling up hither and yon. For Al and those of you in the Delta why not just call on your cell phone if you want to hook up with the crew? Cell phone coverage is becoming amazing in the seemingly out of reach near shore places. With an IPad/clone/phone it is likely no more than a year or two away where with GPS enabled they become "trackers" even when out of tower range, thus SPOT becomes questionable for many.

Personally I like most others am inundated with electronic toys, watching as the drawers/shelves fill up with out of date nav devices, chargers, cords and handsets.

In Murray's case the SPOT is a wonderful tool. As he says, a game changer at least for his wife's peace of mind. How many of you recall the SPOT data that showed the SoCal sailboat race two years ago where a S/V, without altering course, sailed right into an island with several lives lost. Don't confuse safety trumped toys and social media hype for real navigation devices and skills.

My rant aside, if I were planning an extended blue water passage tomorrow, I would sign up for Active Captain's recommended devices and plan. It provides the shore bound weather router additional and cost effective knowledge as to how current and intended vessel paths coincide with storm avoidance tactics.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:28 AM   #18
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How do family members track you

We use the Delorme Inreach and were pleased with it for the most part. We did have a few Bluetooth connectivity issues with the iPad that could only be resolved by turning the Inreach off and back on. I talked to InReach Canada the other day in response to a questionnaire and mentioned they should provide the option to create multiple tracks that might represent separate voyages, etc. also there should be the option to download the gps data into a file or other program. We use Inreach in combination with Earthmate, on the IPad. We use the $50/month plan when cruising during the summer.

https://share.delorme.com/JamesCave


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Old 12-14-2014, 12:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
We use Boat Beacon which is like a faux internet-based AIS using our MMSI registration and displaying other AIS vessels in the area in near-real time. Giggitoni uses it on his iPad and I use it on my Samsung Note 8. It's similar to MarineTraffic AIS.

My family and friends can follow my progress easily from home via MarineTraffic.com or on the marinetraffic app.
Me too!
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Old 12-14-2014, 02:59 PM   #20
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For Al and those of you in the Delta why not just call on your cell phone if you want to hook up with the crew? Cell phone coverage is becoming amazing in the seemingly out of reach near shore places.

I answered about AIS and marinetraffic.com earlier... but this ^^^ is much closer to our real situation.

If somebody wants us, they can call... and if they want to know where we are, they can ask during the call. We don't go really out of our way to inform friends and family of our whereabouts, nor do we have the sort of friends or family who'd bother to care except for maybe only very occasionally.

We don't Tweet what we had for breakfast on Facebook, either.

-Chris
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