Do you know what’s a “yard sale”? Its when you haul ass like a Dakar god and shit goes horribly wrong. Waking up with your foot next to your helmet and all your possessions once strapped to the back of your bike now lay scattered all over the road.
Luckily there’s some technology that can help rescue you and your bike. Personal trackers have come a long way but there are some caveats.
We wrote the article with the link bellow for SuperBike Magazine South Africa and they were kind to put it up on their website.
It is a questions & answers interview we had with GEOS, SPOT, and Garmin. Comparing the devices, the options and pitfalls, choosing one ain’t as obvious as it seems. We hope it is of value.
To start with, there are 3 parties involved with the entire operation.
The device provider, Garmin or SPOT, etc. The next is GEOS, they are the coordinators, they receive the message from the device. They then coordinators with indipendant rescue teams ina country. The rescue teams have no other affiliation with GEOS. The rescue teams in each country might or might not bill the user when a rescue is done.
Very important is to understand the role of GEOS and how you will be resuced.
Review – SPOT Gen3 vs Garmin Inreach Mini
We have been using both these devices for a a few years. The SPOT was our first one and we raplaced it with the Garmin a year and a bit ago.
Quick overview on the two devices:
- The spot is a basic tracker and SOS unit. It tracks on intervals that the user can set on 2min, 5min, 10min or other as needed. On the basic plan, only the 10min breadcrumbs are available.
- The unit makes use of 4AAA Lithium rechargeable batteries. They do last quite a long time even when tracking on 8hour plus riding days. What we did find difficult was to find replacement batteries. Off course you can recharge them but you need to carry a charger just for that purpose. Or alternatively, if you always ride from home on small trips make sure to charge them. We wrote to SPOT to ask if they can’t just build in a small charing system to charge with a USB.
- Coverage is not as good as the Garmin system, but that said SPOT told me with the interview they are working hard to get the entire globe covered.
- The SPOT package plans and unit cost are considerably less than the Garmin Inreach.
- The tracking website to see your crumbs are not as good and user-friendly as the Garmin offers. SPOT said they are working on it.
- There is no two way messaging on this unit. You can only send pre-set SMS’s to friends or family.
- The current coverage of the Garmin unit has a bigger footprint over SPOT.
- Website and smartphone/mobile app work well with the Inreach Mini and there are useful functions to set up and use for the unit.
- SMS messaging and receiving of SMS messages is available on the Inreach Mini
- Battery power is not great and charging will have to be done on a daily basis if used 8hours + per day. Garmin does not recommend to just have it plugged in all the time. The battery has to run flat and charged through the cycles. The unit uses a built-in battery good for a few days depending on the tracking.
- The only real negatives are the once-off subscription fee that SPOT does not have. And the cost of the unit and plans are quite high. On the basic plan for a full day tracking the user are charged per breadcrumb. Those pins can run up the cost quite quick.
●In the event that we receive an SOS activation from a GEOS Supported Device, we will immediately bring up the location of the incident on our mapping software, identifying the location of the incident and the agency responsible for that particular area. (If it is a two-way device, we will send a message to the device requesting information regarding the emergency.)
We immediately begin contacting emergency services based on the location that was provided. While one member of the IERCC is notifying emergency services another person will attempt to contact the device user at the number provided in your profile. We will also call the emergency contacts listed in the profile to gather any additional information.
●In the event that we receive an emergency activation internationally, we are required by international standards to notify the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) for the country the device activated in.
●If a Rescue Coordination Centre is not able to assist with a rescue, we will reach out to the embassy within the country. The embassy that we contact will be determined by the citizenship of the device user. The embassy will then reach out to local agencies to assist with the rescue.
Basically, it is important you think before you venture into a place, plan and make sure you can help yourself first and foremost. As example, if you can’t pick up your own bike because it is too heavy when you just drop it in the road is wasting resources that might have been needed elsewhere. Going off into an unknown road and you know snow or heavy rain is possilbe, rather don’t go, again you will waste resources.
The rescue button is for serious use only.