Friday, February 25, 2011

Link for tracking me on Spot

Here is mapping link for tracking my progress separate from the Watertribe site.

The Watertribe mapping link is here and on a tab at the top of this page.

Part of the rules of the event require me to carry a satellite mapping device called SPOT. This device contains a GPS and a small transmitter communicating my position with satellites in outer frickin' space.

That we can carry a device about the size of a Blackberry that can do this still boggles my mind because this kind of technology was inconceiveable to me just 10 years ago.

The website above and the watertribe tracking page will report my position every ten minutes and show it on a Google map like a trail of bread crumbs.

SPOT also has a couple of buttons I can press to communicate with friends and family. There is an "OK" button that sends a text message to my shore contact person with my current position. Basically, it's a more active method than tracking alone that allows me to reassure the folks back home that I'm truly OK and thinking of them. There is a HELP button that signals there is something wrong, and my friends and family should wait for me to contact them by other means for an update and maybe instructions. And finally, there is an SOS button which sends a message to the authorities e.g. the Coast Guard or Florida Marine Patrol that I require immediate assistance or rescue. Pressing the SOS button removes me from the race.

I have to admit I'm still not clear on the difference between when to push HELP or SOS. I know that SOS sends out rescuers and HELP doesn't. But I'm having a hard time figuring what situation where I would hit HELP instead of SOS. There's a meeting before the race where this is supposed to be explained. I'm afraid pressing help in some circumstances would increase the folks back home's anxiety level more than is warranted when they recieve that message. Right now I'm going on record that if you get a Help message from me, it means that my plans have changed and I'll let you know asap what that means.

On one hand, I'm glad to have the technology to let people know where I am and how I'm doing. On the other, it feels like yet another electronic leash. When I leave the house without my phone I'm appalled at how vulnerable it makes me feel. I'm appalled because I didn't have that tether most of my life so I think why do I need it now?


  1. Best of luck John. Reamember too that "on the other hand, you have five fingers!"
    Have fun. Can't wait to hear all about it!

  2. You can also "Remember" if that is easier!