Wouldn’t it be great if you could send messages to friends and family (and yes, rescue personnel) from anywhere in the backcountry, at any time, with customized texts and precise location information? Now you can. By crossing a handheld GPS with a satellite transceiver, these two companies have created a revolutionary tool that integrates navigation and communication.
The all-new category could use a catchy name (GPS Messenger?), but here’s how it works. The PN-60w and its companion SPOT Communicator connect wirelessly to send geolocated text messages of up to 40 characters (up to 500 texts for $50 a year). It allowed our editors to map adventures in Capitol Reef, North Cascades, Denali, and Abu Dhabi and simultaneously beam real-time locations and status updates to the folks back home, who followed our real-time progress on Google Maps and received our notes via email and SMS. (See Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn’s string of posts at backpacker.com/abudhabi.) It’s easy, too.
Before each trip, enter up to 10 contact groups in your online SPOT account, connect the GPS to your computer, and export the info. On the trail, use the GPS keypad to type and send customized (or prewritten) messages, post updates to your Facebook and Twitter pages, or notify 911 responders. And the GPS? The PN-60w is a top-shelf unit with high-resolution tracking, terrain and street maps of North America, 3.5GB of internal memory, a three-axis electronic compass, and a lightning-fast, dual-core processor.
In the event that the GPS unit is damaged or out of batteries, a covered button on the SPOT can still transmit SOS messages. $450 for the devices, plus $100/year for the required service plan; texts ($50/year for 500) and the Track Progress feature (real-time routes on Google Maps, $50/year) cost extra; 10.7 oz. (with batteries); delorme.com and findmespot.comNEW DESIGN AND FEATURES. MORE SUPPORTED PHONES.
Reach your fitness goals faster with the all-new AllSport GPS on your mobile phone. Track workouts--runs, walks, bike rides--on a map. View 25 heart-pounding stats as you sweat: time, speed, calories, distance. Keep your workouts private or share them with a growing fitness community for free at allsportgps.com. Find places to train and add gym workouts to your personal fitness calendar.
AllSport GPS runs on more than 200 phone models, including iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android-compatible phones on popular networks like AT&T, Orange, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
With AllSport GPS on your phone, you can:
Track rides, runs, walks, and other workouts on street, aerial, and topo maps
Collect stats on the go (time, speed, distance, and calories burned)
Upload workouts from phone to web to see more maps and stats
Send trips from online account to your phone
Access editor-approved rides by Bicycling magazine and shared community trips
Plan future cycling routes using free web-based maps tools
Share public rides with friends
Collect workouts outside cellphone coverage
Store workouts for free at trimbleoutdoors.com
Race against previous workouts to better personal records
Use built-in training programs on your phone
Store weekly workout logs on your phone
More info: www.allsportgps.com