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Tech Tips
How SPOT Knows Where to Send Your Messages PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2009 09:54

When we launched the new SPOT Assist Roadside Service in April, it was the first time we gave customers the option to upgrade the service on their SPOT and use the HELP button for a new purpose. With that in mind, we're sure some of you are wondering; how are all of the messages distinguished from an individual SPOT unit? Each time your SPOT sends a message, that message contains two important pieces of information. They are message type and the unit ESN. These are transmitted along with your position information when the SPOT "back office" receives the message. Our software identifies the user and the message type and based upon what you have entered in your profile, routes the message. The 911 message is automatically routed to GEOS IERCC along with the information you entered in the 911 section of your profile. If the message is an OK message it is sent to the friends’ and families’ email and cell phones that you entered. The HELP message is routed based on which service is assigned to the HELP button. Normal HELP messages go to your list of friends and family you entered in your profile. However, if you have chosen to sign up for SPOT Assist, it will be routed to our roadside assistance provider instead of to your friends and family. This is how SPOT makes sure that your messages go to the people and services you have chosen.

 
SPOT Essential Performance Tips PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 April 2009 09:50

Here are a few tips to make sure that your SPOT Messenger will be ready to go when you need it because the last thing you want to be this summer is unprepared.

GPS Fix Tips

Spot strongly recommends that you send and verify an OK/Check message before using your SPOT each day, and at minimum anytime you have traveled more than 600 miles, have changed the batteries or have not used the unit for over two (2) weeks. List your own cell phone (if you have text capability) in your OK contacts.

To run the check:
1) Press the ON/OFF button
2) Wait 2 seconds
3) Press OK
4) Wait until the LED above the OK button goes off (can be up to 20 minutes).

You have now completed the GPS Fix / System Evaluation cycle. If after 4 minutes, the LEDs above the ON/ OFF and OK button start to blink out-of-synch instead of in unison, you still do not have a GPS fix. If you haven’t used your unit recently it may still be updating the almanac or it might not see the 3 GPS satellites required to obtain a GPS fix, so it is highly recommended that you MOVE to a different location with a clearer view of the sky in order to get a GPS fix, and repeat Steps 1) through 4). The LEDs above the ON/OFF and OK button should blink at the same time until they go out if you have successfully obtained a GPS fix. Optimally, you run the test in cell phone range and can ensure that your cell phone received the text message with your lat/long location.

 
Using More than One Message Profile PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 13:17

A SPOT Message Profile is a way for you to personalize your OK and Help Messages and which friends and family those messages are sent to. You can set up multiple message profiles in your account.

For example, you could set one message profile called "Business" and one called "Weekend". Imagine getting ready to go on a business trip in a remote area of the world. Before you head out, you could set-up and switch to your "Business" message profile. Perhaps you may need to put your boss or a coworker on your Check-OK list. But of course you're not always working, so when you go out on a weekend trip you could switch to a "weekend" profile that maybe has just your family on it. Another situation is that perhaps you have a son or daughter that you share your SPOT unit with--so they can have their own message profile with their favorite contacts listed.

By having a couple messaging profiles you set up, you'll be able to quickly log in and change your profile as your weekly grind eases into your other adventures!

 

 
What is a SPOT Gateway? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 February 2009 12:21

A SPOT Gateway is a satellite ground terminal which receives and sends signals to and from satellites passing in view. SPOT has a network of 13 Gateways around the globe to support the SPOT services. Each Gateway has redundant equipment, a backup power system and two independent private data connections to the SPOT data centers. Their locations are selected to provide maximum coverage and redundancy through overlapping coverage. Listening 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, these gateways pass SPOT messages to our data center and on to your friends and family or to the International Emergency Response Center. Gateways are one of the pieces of the system that allows each SPOT Customer to stay in touch or summon help when needed from almost anywhere on the globe.

 
What is GEOS? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 January 2009 17:54

Many people have asked this and have had questions about how SPOT 911 messages are handled. It was a very special pleasure to have Barry Watters and Peter Chlubek from GEOS visiting in the office this week, so I asked them to provide a little overview for the tech talk column. Here was Barry’s rundown:

“GEOS provides the “power behind the buttonSM” on your SPOT device to bring you the 911 search and rescue support program that is part of your SPOT basic service subscription.

Through its dedicated International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center (IERCC) based in Houston, Texas, GEOS operates its service. Manned 24/7, the IERCC has dedicated and highly trained personnel who have instant access to national emergency response units worldwide to ensure that in the event of an emergency, your situation will be dealt with efficiently and quickly.

GEOS average response time between receipt of your 911 activation and dispatch of emergency responders to help you—wherever you are in the world—is only 11 minutes. Click Read More below for article continuation and photos...

Read more...
 
The Communications Satellite Network Used by SPOT. What is it? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 December 2008 10:51

SPOT Transmits your GPS location through a network of LEO Satellites (Low Earth Orbit). These satellites are in constant motion and are in 8 planes with 6 satellites in each plane providing overlapping coverage. They fly at an altitude of 1,414 kilometers or 884 miles above the earth, moving at 17,000 miles per hour overhead. The satellites move horizon to horizon in approximately 20 minutes, so no matter where you are (such as in a canyon or on a mountain), as long as you can see the sky, your SPOT message gets through.

 
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