Author Topic: Safety whilst coastal walking alone - GPS device or ViewRanger BuddyBeacon?  (Read 1798 times)

Beth FF

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Iím mindful that if I got into trouble whilst walking the coastal paths alone I need a reliable way of summoning help, bearing in mind that phone reception in many places is poor. Although I realise ViewRanger has BuddyBeacon it needs a phone signal (doesnít it?), plus the only time I used VR it drained my phone battery so badly Iím wary of using it, even with a power bank back up. However, many people rate it so is it worth considering despite these flaws? Because of the phone signal issues Iím considering getting a GPS device. If I get one Iíd want it to:


Be rechargeable. Iím walking a few hours each day (2 days on, 1 day off, etc) so would be getting through batteries like crazy otherwise!


Let a ďminderĒ know my location at all times, so if Iím unable to call for help and havenít moved for a while theyíll know. Maybe even be able to send an SOS.


Be lightweight. Iím carrying everything I need for all year travel and donít want to increase my backpack weight by any more than need be.


Apart from owning a Garmin Forerunner 35 watch Iím new to this technology so want it to be simple to use.


Can anyone advise on safety and options please? I've been trawling the internet reading up on it all but I'm just confused  :-\


archaeoroutes

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Could you just send a text with your location to someone every now and then?
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

Beth FF

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Could you just send a text with your location to someone every now and then?


That's an option I suppose. My initial reservations are that it requires a phone signal and I can't do it if incapacitated. That aside I suppose if I had a system where I'd be expected to send texts at set periods it could work if my minder didn't receive one.

sussamb

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Hi Beth, just twigged who you are  :)

Unless you pay for something like InReach, which relies on signals via satellite rather than mobile phone masts, https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/outdoorgear/garmin-inreach-mini.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIpN7Xmvmp3wIVUeR3Ch3xgAJkEAQYASABEgLdMfD_BwE your best/cheapest bet is to do as posted above and agree with someone that you'll text them your position at regular intervals.  Problem though is that even then if you're somewhere with no signal you can't send a text ...

Do I remember you saying you had a usb power stick that'll recharge your phone?  If so you could always run Buddy Beacon with that connected to your phone, it's what I do when out with Search and Rescue so my phone doesn't struggle battery wise.   
Where there's a will ...

taxino8

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Iíd never really thought about this but I leave a printed copy of my route with my family and they know my expected times.
I also have an IPhone with Find Friends that allows them to see where I am but this is of course dependent on a signal to my phone.
Expensive but effective, or so I believe, is the Spot device that requires a yearly subscription but as it works on satellites and has a panic button itís probably one of the best options if you are prepared to shell out a few quid.

Beth FF

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Hi Beth, just twigged who you are  :)



And I only discovered today that you're on this forum!  :)
Yes, I have a USB power bank which I could use to charge my phone if required. I'm especially worried about phone signal when I get to the more remote areas. Will be starting the South West Coast Path in the New Year (then there's the Welsh coast!) so I need to feel confident I can summon help if I have to or that someone knows my exact location.

ninthace

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Another option would be Spot - not cheap though.
https://www.findmespot.com/en/spotemergency/
Solvitur Ambulando

sussamb

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And I only discovered today that you're on this forum!  :)

 ;D

Unfortunately as I said the only way to be sure would be something like InReach, which is rather expensive, a GPS simply receives a signal, it doesn't transmit anything  :(

When I'm solo walking I simply text when I can and when I have a signal giving my location, and with wherever I'm going knowing my route and roughly when I plan to arrive.  That way if I don't turn up on time at least whoever comes to find me knows roughly where to look  O0
Where there's a will ...

ninthace

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I do much the same - I text Mrs N with the name and time I pass a landmark.  She has a copy of my route.  If the conditions or the going are worse than expected I will add that information if it is likely to slow me down.
One cautionary tale - yesterday my ViewRanger app suddenly went very wrong.  When I checked my phone it had me 3/4 of a mile away from where I was and showed me not moving.  When I checked it again 10 min later it had jumped to a new location, still wrong, still not moving.  I had to restart my phone from cold to get it working again.  Meanwhile my faithful Garmin soldiered on as always.
Solvitur Ambulando

davengf

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I still use map & compass for navigation when walking but I do use 'Grid Ref' (free android app) as a location/confidence checker  ::)  if I need to.
 It lets you copy a location to a text message which you can send to your friend/family/minder. Not ideal but the best simple solution I have found so far.
There are other apps out there that do something similar but none of them quite do what we really want them too



Maggot

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I don't know who you are, but I am getting the feeling you are doing 'Something Significant'.  So why not tap into that and get sponsored by a company that sells these devices?  It could be a major coup for them to have someone walking a huge journey, they could map it, use it as a long term testbed or demo.  You get the idea.  Just a thought.


Or, if you want to go nice and cheap then think dog...... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F8A1ZBA/ref=asc_df_B00F8A1ZBA57546854/?tag=googshopuk-21&creative=22110&creativeASIN=B00F8A1ZBA&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309950281379&hvpos=1o4&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5530359228153880513&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1006739&hvtargid=pla-578440637272&th=1&psc=1


We use one on our Beagle, and it is only about a fiver a month and a £30 outlay.


I would try the sponsorship route though.

Owen

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I have an inreach, I got it to carry on my solo trips to remote parts of Scandinavia. As already said it has a panic button which sends an SOS message to a control in the US, they then try to text you to find out what's wrong. This information is then past to the local rescue coordinators.
You get a webpage on their site - which you can control who has access. Anyone who does have access can go online and "ping you" i.e. track your latest position. You can vary the frequency of logged positions - there is a charge per logged point 10 cent I think. The default setting is every two minutes, I have mine set to every two hours.
You can send and receive text messages, if you use pre-set messages their free, but if you want to write one out then there is a small charge per message. I have "I'm setting off", "Just checking in everything's fine" and "back in civilization finished walking"  and one or two others as pre set messages. 
It just clips to you and you can forget about it. The battery will last for about a week between recharging, I use either a solar panel or a powerpack (Anker) device.
You can also get a weather forecast (very basic) and very basic maps so your device can be used as a basic GPS ( I have a better GPS so don't bother with this feature).
There is a monthly subscription charge from $18, you can suspend your subscription for month's you're not using your device. 


The SPOT is another very similar device, I'm not sure who own's them. Inreach is owned by Garmin.     

Jac

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A friend whose brother sadly is in the early stages of dementia has a tag through which the can access his location. It sounds a bit big brother (no pun intended)  but they have already had reason to be glad of it when he became disorientated.
Presumably it is something like this
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10029205/GPS-tags-for-dementia-patients.html


I've no idea if you can 'buy' one
Most walks start by finding the way out of the car park

sussamb

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Where there's a will ...

sussamb

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A friend whose brother sadly is in the early stages of dementia has a tag through which the can access his location. It sounds a bit big brother (no pun intended)  but they have already had reason to be glad of it when he became disorientated.
Presumably it is something like this
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10029205/GPS-tags-for-dementia-patients.html


I've no idea if you can 'buy' one


This too needs a mobile phone signal
Where there's a will ...