Author Topic: Safety whilst coastal walking alone - GPS device or ViewRanger BuddyBeacon?  (Read 1835 times)

BuzyG

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1024
It's worth noting that text signals require far less signal strength to operate than speech, over a mobile network.  Hence as with others I leave a copy of my route with my wife and text at a few key points along the way.  As I also use the OS app as my only GPS, I also avoid the expense and weight of a dedicated GPS.  Early versions used to drain my phone battery, however they have worked hard on sorting this and the current version runs all day on my old Samsung phone.  This assumes you are walking in the UK.

ninthace

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2998
It's worth noting that text signals require far less signal strength to operate than speech, over a mobile network.  Hence as with others I leave a copy of my route with my wife and text at a few key points along the way.  As I also use the OS app as my only GPS, I also avoid the expense and weight of a dedicated GPS.  Early versions used to drain my phone battery, however they have worked hard on sorting this and the current version runs all day on my old Samsung phone.  This assumes you are walking in the UK.
  I have a Samsung phone and find that the OS app is not wholly reliable.  It sometimes refuses to find the gps at all or records for a while then just stops but, unlike my Garmin, it does not alarm if it loses the gps signal.  I'm happy to use it as a tertiary backup, ViewRanger being my second as it more reliable but both have banged out on me at one time or another so I stick to Garmin as number one.
Solvitur Ambulando

BuzyG

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1024
  I have a Samsung phone and find that the OS app is not wholly reliable.  It sometimes refuses to find the gps at all or records for a while then just stops but, unlike my Garmin, it does not alarm if it loses the gps signal.  I'm happy to use it as a tertiary backup, ViewRanger being my second as it more reliable but both have banged out on me at one time or another so I stick to Garmin as number one.

It has improved much since I started using it.  I agree though it is not perfect yet. Mine lost the plot, literally on Snowdon in poor visibility.  Happily my son's worked perfectly and I did get mine back and working after 15 mins of faffing, not ideal. It also  Indicate I was over a I'km of target once, on Dartmoor. Happily on a bright sunny day, so I just ignored it and restated my phone.

 I have not experienced any issues with the more recent versions though and I use it on every walk I do.

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272

Hi again Beth.


As others have noted, many of the cheaper tracker systems use a mobile network, and clearly this is not an option if you are up around Cape Wrath, for instance- if you want total coverage you will have go stump up and pay for a GPS tracker system.


An alternative is to go for a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). This is a GPS device that you activate if you are in trouble, but is NOT a tracker, however. Having said that, this is what I would consider, as they are bombproof, designed for use by mariners, and WILL work when you need it (I used to carry one when I was out in a RIB or helicopter visiting remote lighthouses). Also - there are no subscription charges. Cost is around 220.


http://www.mcmurdomarine.com/mcmurdo-products/mcmurdo-fastfind-220/
« Last Edit: 07:36:31, 19/12/18 by richardh1905 »

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272

jimbob

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1157
Just for clarity Richard, Viewranger does not use a mobile signal, it uses the same GPS satellites as a dedicated GPS unit. In fact if you want your battery to last using Viewranger you need to turn your phone signal off, I use airplane mode.  If you want to use buddy beacon then you do  need a phone signal and will suffer battery rundown  Which in a low signal area can be fast, whilst the phone is hunting for a signal.. But since a dedicated GPS (such as Etrex) cannot use phone networks then they are no use for the OPs notification requirement either. 

I have suffered serious battery problems with my phone mainly due to my own stupidity, I didn't flick the phone into airline mode.  I carry a 14w solar charger which is enough to keep a power pack charged up
I have read the above mentions of VR being off course at times, in three years minimum I have never experienced that EXCEPT in built up or forested areas. Strangely I found out why by reading the Garmin FAQs seemingly it can happen with them also in the same type of terrain.( In areas when you are walking in GPS shaded areas (valleys, gorges forests, densely wooded areas.etc)).
 I am sure Sussamb will be able to enlighten us further as he is an expert on all things GPS.
Too little, too late, too bad......

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Thanks Jim - I was talking about cheap tracker systems, not Viewranger.

Maggot

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198

Still needs a mobile phone signal though  ;)


But only barely.  The Tractive often works when our mobiles won't in the woods.  It only needs a tickle of a signal to work.




Maggot

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
Anyway, these things are really a bit of a red herring in terms of safety.  If something bad happened there only use really is so people know where to come and look for your body.


Especially if you have the ping set to a couple of hours!  You could reasonably expect to cover a good few miles in that time, that is a search diameter of maybe 10 or 12 miles, even more if you are walking the coast path and the tide is going out when you fall in  ;D

ninthace

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2998
Anyway, these things are really a bit of a red herring in terms of safety.  If something bad happened there only use really is so people know where to come and look for your body.


Especially if you have the ping set to a couple of hours!  You could reasonably expect to cover a good few miles in that time, that is a search diameter of maybe 10 or 12 miles, even more if you are walking the coast path and the tide is going out when you fall in  ;D
A Spot unit will update  your position at predetermined intervals so it can be as current as you choose it to be.  Typically a ping could be every 10 or 20 min but bigger the gap, the longer the battery life.  It does not require a mobile signal to work.  It was 2 signal buttons, one can be set send a predetermined "all's well" message, say at at the end of the day; the second calls for help giving your current location.  It is used by the military on exercises or to track participants in endurance events.  I have used it to track a friend walking the length of the Pyrenees.  I think it is also used by participants in the Spine Race, perhaps someone could confirm?
If you stop moving without triggering the alarm it will give your current position so any search could fairly quick to execute but perhaps delayed in its start.  If you are conscious and hit the panic button, the search should start at once.
« Last Edit: 21:34:41, 19/12/18 by ninthace »
Solvitur Ambulando

Owen

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 980
Anyway, these things are really a bit of a red herring in terms of safety.  If something bad happened there only use really is so people know where to come and look for your body.


Especially if you have the ping set to a couple of hours!  You could reasonably expect to cover a good few miles in that time, that is a search diameter of maybe 10 or 12 miles, even more if you are walking the coast path and the tide is going out when you fall in  ;D


Far from it, I can contact people back at home and tell them whether I'm alright or not. I can also call for help by pressing the SOS panic button. If I'd needed to do this I'd hardly continue walking so I wouldn't have covered 10 or 12 miles, I'd be sitting waiting right where the device says I am.


If I'd fallen down and couldn't press the button I wouldn't be able to walk away either, so the pinger would continue to report my position as not moving.   

Wurz

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 789
No advice on spot devices but a bit of reassurance.  On the SWCP at any time of the year apart from after dark you will rarely be far from other people.  Even midweek in winter it is very popular with locals and dog walkers as well as tourists.

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1272
Especially if you have the ping set to a couple of hours!  You could reasonably expect to cover a good few miles in that time, that is a search diameter of maybe 10 or 12 miles, even more if you are walking the coast path and the tide is going out when you fall in  ;D



You're not thinking this through, Maggot. If someone were to be incapacitated, the unit would continue to 'Ping' from their static location.

taxino8

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
Does anyone use a HF or UHF radio and can they contact emergency services with it?

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2049
As I'm not getting any younger and I walk on my own in remote areas, this thread has got me thinking I should install a phone app that I could use to send my location to someone if I had a serious problem.

Those I've looked at briefly at this stage all show your position in latitude and longitude. Is that OK for the UK emergency services, or do they want OS grid references?