PDA

View Full Version : New Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator



kythruhiker
05-03-2018, 10:55
New gadget coming down the pike...


https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/05/garmin-inreach-mini-satellite-tracker-in-depth-review.html/

Tundracamper
05-03-2018, 14:15
What's the wattage? I don't see that spec listed anywhere. When things go bad, I want wattage.

Adfischer
05-03-2018, 14:20
Looks like a great device for someone that wants simple SOS and canned messages only. For me, I really like my Inreach with the integrated on screen GPS and enough buttons to quickly compose text messages. Sure you can use your phone to do it, but with power sometimes a premium I like being able to depend solely on my Garmin. Also, now that Iridium has launched a good number of their next gen satellites I can definitely tell the difference in the speed and reliability of message delivery.

I have also built a custom application for myself that I can use to get all sorts of data from my Inreach such as more detailed weather, storm locations, weather warnings, river stages, forest fire updates, news, Twitter feeds, ISS flyover info, and even Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha searches. It really makes the Inreach a much more valuable tool when hiking.

Adfischer
05-03-2018, 14:25
What's the wattage? I don't see that spec listed anywhere. When things go bad, I want wattage.

The wattage isn't really as important as the device location. As long as you are outdoors and have an unobstructed view of the sky your message will go through (at least if its anything like my Inreach Explorer+) Tree canopy can affect it somewhat but messages will get through as one of the 66 satellites passes over. I have been able to get messages to go through indoors if I am near a window and from an airplane, but its designed for outdoor use for sure.

Maui Rhino
05-04-2018, 20:13
This looks a lot like an updated version of my original inReach. Same features, and same general form factor. I'm still using my original inReach, and it's really reliable. You can do more than just preset msgs when it's paired with your smartphone.

Tundracamper
05-04-2018, 22:18
The wattage isn't really as important as the device location. As long as you are outdoors and have an unobstructed view of the sky your message will go through (at least if its anything like my Inreach Explorer+) Tree canopy can affect it somewhat but messages will get through as one of the 66 satellites passes over. I have been able to get messages to go through indoors if I am near a window and from an airplane, but its designed for outdoor use for sure.

I wouldn't agree with that. 5 watts vs 0.5 watts is a big difference. If you want something to communicate, that's great. For me, I want a device for the SHTF situations. Looks like a neat toy, though.

Adfischer
05-04-2018, 22:41
I wouldn't agree with that. 5 watts vs 0.5 watts is a big difference. If you want something to communicate, that's great. For me, I want a device for the SHTF situations. Looks like a neat toy, though.

I would certainly agree with you when you are talking about communications with LMR (land mobile radio), especially in areas with lots of obstructions. But with Iridium, you are communicating between the device and satellites 485 miles up with little to no obstructions. The design is to use enough power for reliable communications but also maximize battery life. Iíve sent thousands of messages on mine and I can assure you they are highly reliable and the output power is ample. Any more power would really just be a waste of battery. It would be like yelling at someone in the room with you when just talking in a normal voice will do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

FreeGoldRush
05-04-2018, 22:47
I wouldn't agree with that. 5 watts vs 0.5 watts is a big difference. If you want something to communicate, that's great. For me, I want a device for the SHTF situations. Looks like a neat toy, though.
It gets tricky when it comes to digital communications. The likelihood of getting the message onto the satellite is not directly related to transmit power, although it certainly is significant.

With my InReach I wonder what sort of priority we have on the satellite channel we are using. The other day it took over 90 minutes to get one of the canned messages to send. Never had that happen before. There were no obstructions other than tree cover. InReach was on outside of pack. Was it attempting to transmit over and over, or did it simply take that long before a transmit window was made available to the device?

A side-by-side comparison of the time to transmit messages from the side of a pack would be great to see. This should be tested in typical hiking conditions, like the sides of mountains where a view to many of the satellites is often obstructed.

iAmKrzys
05-04-2018, 22:54
[...] I have also built a custom application for myself that I can use to get all sorts of data from my Inreach such as more detailed weather, storm locations, weather warnings, river stages, forest fire updates, news, Twitter feeds, ISS flyover info, and even Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha searches. It really makes the Inreach a much more valuable tool when hiking.
Wolfram Alpha searches??? Are you using Lagrange multipliers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrange_multiplier) to optimize your hike or something? :)

Adfischer
05-04-2018, 23:06
.
With my InReach I wonder what sort of priority we have on the satellite channel we are using. The other day it took over 90 minutes to get one of the canned messages to send. Never had that happen before. .

Iíve have it take a while when I was hiking through a canyon, but never that long. There has been some Ďholesí in the constellation due to some failed birds in several orbital slots but I believe those have all been filled in with the launch of the NEXT satellites. I know the military is a big user of the system and I would guess they have some priority but Iím not sure they use the SBD (Short Burst Data) protocol the Garmin uses. The SBD service probably has a lower priority than stuff like voice but the network has quite a bit of capacity. If you are in a pretty remote area itís even possible you are the lone user on a spot beam. Iíve used the system during some pretty large disasters where lots of iridium devices are active and have never had a network busy problem.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Adfischer
05-04-2018, 23:09
Wolfram Alpha searches??? Are you using Lagrange multipliers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrange_multiplier) to optimize your hike or something? :)

Haha. Iíll have to look into doing that! Wolfram can pull stuff like weather, sunrise and sunset data, gps coordinate conversions, river and flood stages, or even tell you what aircraft are flying overhead if you see something interesting.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

iAmKrzys
05-05-2018, 21:09
I think Garmin inReach Mini will give Spot a run for the money. With greater capabilities than Spot and option to get monthly plans it makes so much more sense for people like myself who have maybe 1 or 2 week-long trips per year. My most recent Spot renewal bill was over $200 which really felt like a ripoff given my limited usage. The only downsides to inReach that I can see are higher initial cost and built-in battery which Garmin claims could last up to 20 days with 30 min tracking interval.

LucyInColor
05-12-2018, 14:01
I am very excited about this! I am a female planning a two week solo hike of the AT next summer. I like the weight, the extended battery life with 30 min tracking, the ability to sync to my phone if I'm more lost than a map or Guthooks can help me with, the ability to send & receive location & short texts with friends & family, the option to sign up for one month at a time ... what's not to love? I am seriously considering ordering this.

MikekiM
08-27-2018, 22:52
Iíve recently switched from the InReach SE Gen I to the new Mini.

I love it. Half the weight of the original SE and less than half the size. I used it this past weekend in Stokes on the AT near Culver Gap North of the DWG. Works flawlessly.

I added a Nite Ize Total Eclipse loving clip to the back of the unit and clip it to the daisy chain on my shoulder strap.

No failed messages. Unit was on for the days straight.. with an average of four messages or day.. battery hadnt reached the 25% warning.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

jefals
08-28-2018, 01:13
I've got the mini also. Used it paired to the phone to send free form text to family. Noticed in some cases, the blue circle for days. I assume that means it took that long to send the message. in some cases there,was a red exclamation by the message (I'm talking about when you select messages from the earthmate app, it shows all the messages, and some would have blue circles others had red exclamations.
I usually had the garmin off. just turned it on a few times during the day for messaging. after 4 days, the battery was around 68% which seemed like more drain then I had anticipated. If I had had it on all day long, for tracking for 4 days, seems like it would have been about empty.

MikekiM
08-28-2018, 06:28
Interesting.. we had very different experience. Maybe geography related?

Red exclamation means your message didn't send.

Like you, I sent only free form messages. Left mine on so family could reach me if needed... after all, it's two communication!

I sent all messages from the Earthmate app, but from time to time I would do a manual check on messages via the Mini's menu.. just to be sure all was in order. This was my first time using it.

I charged it to 100% on Thursday evening and turned it at the trailhead on Friday, mid-day. It was on continuously. I turned it off on Sunday mid-day and as mentioned, the 25% battery warning hadn't reported yet. I do know that I can charge it 0% to 100% in about two hours, using a RavPower 10400 mAh battery bank.

I didn't use the tracking or the route functions.. First, the cost of sending tracking point via the sat system is extremely high given I us the Freedom plan. Second, I use a Suunto Ambit to record the track, so secondary tracking is unnecessary. I do download the trip routes to the InReach, the Suunto and to GaiaGPS which is my primary GPS.

So far, for what my needs the Mini is a win.

TX Aggie
08-28-2018, 09:09
On some units like these, initial triangulation takes a bit of time and a LOT of energy. Cycling between full on/full off can drain the battery due to having to get initial position on each power up. Theyíre designed to be run continuously. The same goes for sending messages. Trying to connect to the satellites and establish comms is a battery drain.
From my understanding, you can adjust the check interval on the mini. If youíre worried about draining the battery, just set the checks at the maximum time.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

jefals
08-28-2018, 09:34
Ok, that must be the explanation. Everybody says the battery should last a lot longer than I experienced.
Thanks for the info. I think I'll take that gizmo and charge it up, sit it on the patio table out back, leave it there all day and see how it looks tonight.

jefals
08-28-2018, 09:41
I didn't use tracking or route planning either. I figure since I text my kids in the morning and evening, that's all the tracking they need. And I had other apps on my phone with my route.

Crushed Grapes
08-28-2018, 10:55
So far, for what my needs the Mini is a win.

Sounds like we are in the same boat. Good to hear, thanks for the explanation. Looking forward to picking one up later this Fall!

Venchka
08-28-2018, 11:31
I didn't use tracking or route planning either. I figure since I text my kids in the morning and evening, that's all the tracking they need. And I had other apps on my phone with my route.
If the InReach is off and you need to send an SOS youíre hosed.
If the InReach is off and you do manage to send an SOS youíre hosed because the SOS center doesnít really know where you are.
Your family is not your primary rescue information center.
Take the InReach back to REI. Ask them to set it up for minimum position transmission, 10 minuets I think, and maximum battery time. Turn it on at the trailhead. Leave it on.
Send the preset text messages as needed. Tell the family thereís no need for reply chit chat UNLESS they get an OH YUCK! Iím hurt message after you send the official SOS message.
If you still think that youíre using the battery excessively trade your dozen phone batteries for a single 10k MAH battery that will charge the phone and the InReach.
InReach ON, phone on in Airplane Mode while on the trail.
You can check the InReach for battery drain at home by turning it on, stick it in a pocket and go about your daily routine including any training hiking, shopping, grandkids cooking, etc.
Thatís All Folks!
Wayne

jefals
08-28-2018, 12:14
I don't really plan on sending any SOS with the inReach turned off, big W :)
Chit-chatting with my family when im out hiking is very important to me. Hopefully that's the only thing I'll ever use the thing for.
That said, I give my family my location for their peace of mind - not because I expect them to be my primary rescue information center. I send YOU my location because I expect YOU to be my primary rescue information center! (JUST KIDDING)!!
You can use preset messages if you want. Oh. No you can't. You've got Spot. You can't send anything but SOS.
Trading in my spare phone batteries for a charger to charge both is not wise. I'll keep my spares for my phone, and likely I won't need a charger for the garmin.
You're late. I'm in the process of testing it by leaving it on all day now.

Venchka
08-28-2018, 12:32
Garmin has software that anyone you choose can follow your progress on a real map on a computer in 10 minuet intervals.
ďWhen in doubt read the book.Ē
Wayne

jefals
08-28-2018, 13:01
Doesn't mean you have to use it for that. I don't need that feature.

MikekiM
08-28-2018, 21:45
If the InReach is off and you need to send an SOS youíre hosed.
If the InReach is off and you do manage to send an SOS youíre hosed because the SOS center doesnít really know where you are.
Your family is not your primary rescue information center.
Take the InReach back to REI. Ask them to set it up for minimum position transmission, 10 minuets I think, and maximum battery time. Turn it on at the trailhead. Leave it on.
Send the preset text messages as needed. Tell the family thereís no need for reply chit chat UNLESS they get an OH YUCK! Iím hurt message after you send the official SOS message.
If you still think that youíre using the battery excessively trade your dozen phone batteries for a single 10k MAH battery that will charge the phone and the InReach.
InReach ON, phone on in Airplane Mode while on the trail.
You can check the InReach for battery drain at home by turning it on, stick it in a pocket and go about your daily routine including any training hiking, shopping, grandkids cooking, etc.
Thatís All Folks!
Wayne

This is exactly how I use my kit. InResch on, mage check at 30 minutes, phone on airplane mode.

My wife sends more messages than is ideal but it's what makes her comfortable and that gets me out more often.

I posted battery life on another forum the week I bought the mini. I purchased on a Monday, charged full on the morning and left the unit on until it died. During this time I sent many messages... Preset and free form. I uploaded and followed numerous routes. I browsed menus endlessly. Powered on and off a few times. The battery died Friday afternoon.

I went from some dead to full charged in about two hours using the battery bank only. The SE took far longer.. many hours, to charge.

More often than not I am solo. My primary reason for switching (I consider it an upgrade) is for the SOS function, so it is critical that 1)The unit be on with a solid sat fix and 2) I have it with me, not buried in my pack. With shall size and light weight, and the addition of the locking belt clip and a short Z-Line tether with micro mitten clip the unit is easily clipped in my shirt, pocket, belt and even my hat.

The earthmate app is useful but not mandatory as long as you know your way around the menu system.


Sent from somewhere east of Montauk..

jefals
08-28-2018, 22:08
I just finished a simple battery test. Turned it on and left it stationary on the patio out back for 12 hours. No tracking, no messages, no moving.
Mine lost 14% (from 93% to 79%) after 12 hours like that. For what it's worth.

Venchka
08-28-2018, 22:30
That hardly matches the reviews / Garmin marketing hype Iíve read online. Call the Bosnian lady back. Ask her how to fix it.
Oh. Why start the test at 93%?
Wayne

Venchka
08-28-2018, 23:18
Except from Backpacking Light Review:
ďManufacturer-claimed battery life: Up to 50 hours at 10-minute tracking with 2-minute logging (default); up to 30 hours at 10-minute tracking with 1-second logging; up to 20 days at the 30-minute interval power save modeĒ
The last entry will suit your needs.
Wayne

jefals
08-28-2018, 23:36
That hardly matches the reviews / Garmin marketing hype I’ve read online. Call the Bosnian lady back. Ask her how to fix it.
Oh. Why start the test at 93%?
Wayne
A loss of 14% over 12 hours would give me about 86 hours. Better than what you read. But agsan, I wasn't tracking, messaging or even moving.
I started at 93 cause that's how much juice the thing said it had when I turned it on.

Venchka
08-29-2018, 00:03
A loss of 14% over 12 hours would give me about 86 hours. Better than what you read. But agsan, I wasn't tracking, messaging or even moving.
I started at 93 cause that's how much juice the thing said it had when I turned it on.
24 x 20 days = 480 hours. Approximately 10 times your test today.
The factory defaults on your InReach are set to high. Dial them down.
Wayne

jefals
08-29-2018, 00:27
Wayne, I'm never gonna be away from a wall outlet for 20 days bud! :)

Venchka
08-29-2018, 00:34
Wayne, I'm never gonna be away from a wall outlet for 20 days bud! :)
I know that. But you might be out more than the 3 1/2 days which is all youíve got now according to the test today.
Some of us might be out for 20 days. Itís also a matter of principle and truth in marketing. If Garmin claims 20 days, then Garmin and REI owe the owners 20 days.
Wayne

jefals
08-29-2018, 02:15
Wayne, I'm never gonna be away from a wall outlet for 20 days bud! :)
I know that. But you might be out more than the 3 1/2 days which is all you’ve got now according to the test today.
Some of us might be out for 20 days. It’s also a matter of principle and truth in marketing. If Garmin claims 20 days, then Garmin and REI owe the owners 20 days.
Wayne
Right. This was a test - just leaving it on for 12 hours. On my recent 4 day hike where I kept it off mostly, just turning it on a few times a day to send or check messages, it had 68% at the end. So I used well under half, so at least enough for 4 or maybe 6 more days. 8 days. Plenty for me.
But next time I'm in REI, I'll get the Bosnian lady to see if she can work some magic on it.

MikekiM
08-29-2018, 06:13
Here's an item that baffled me..

I recall seeing a screen in the menu tree that shows battery life in large bold numbers. I've tried to find that screen with no luck. Called Garmin support hoping I could get a flowchart of the menu screens but that was a dead end. All I have is the small battery icon and the low battery alerts at 25% and 5% (the latter might have been 10%.. can't recall). Where did you find the battery level display to show it was 93%; 68% etc? Is that from the power-up sequence?

I have to agree with Venchka.. set the tracking settings to the longest and use power saver mode. Make sure the display is on low brightness.

Did you have a clear view of the sky while doing this test? Maybe you were caught in a loop trying to discover the satellites.

Venchka
08-29-2018, 06:55
Right. This was a test - just leaving it on for 12 hours. On my recent 4 day hike where I kept it off mostly, just turning it on a few times a day to send or check messages, it had 68% at the end. So I used well under half, so at least enough for 4 or maybe 6 more days. 8 days. Plenty for me.
But next time I'm in REI, I'll get the Bosnian lady to see if she can work some magic on it.
There you go. Thatís a good plan.
Then go use it on a trail!
Wayne

TX Aggie
08-29-2018, 07:14
Iím not sure why itís REIís responsibility to insure manufacturer claims.

That being said, that 20 day mark is always a best case scenario: perfect temperature (everyone always forgets that part), no screen use, Bluetooth off, no logging, no location forwarding, just held in an on-state with the ability to go to full power faster than from a full off position.

Any way you slice it, itís still better than the battery life of any phone I know of if using it for tracking.

Venchka
08-29-2018, 10:22
Online reports of Garminís user unfriendly menu system is one reason for REI to make it right at point of sale.
Sure, 20 days might be an in the laboratory ideal, 10 days would be an acceptable compromise and negate the need for an external battery for most users.
And. REI can earn their money.
Wayne

MikekiM
08-29-2018, 10:28
......

Any way you slice it, itís still better than the battery life of any phone I know of if using it for tracking.

I no longer record tracks on my phone. The Suunto Ambit does a flawless job with that. Its navigation feature set is outstanding as well. I'll push the tracks out to Gaia once I'm home, so I see them on the phones map.. otherwise the tracking on the phone will I'll the battery in no time.

Hadn't thought about turning off Bluetooth. Good idea.

Still can't find the battery display on the mini.. I do see the mini's battery status in Earthmate.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Venchka
08-29-2018, 11:16
My concern with the Garmin products is: Does your track, 2 - 10 - 30 minuets whatever, go to the GEOS center when the unit is on and running?
By all accounts, GPS accuracy is greatly improved with continuous activity while hiking. No doubt the unit can be turned off when you are done for the day. As long as you turn it on as part of your morning pre-hike routine.
I ask because I feel like the GEOS center will find you faster if they can see a continuous track as opposed to a hit and miss point here and there which is what happens if the unit is switched on and off while hiking.
Does that make sense?
Wayne

jefals
08-29-2018, 11:28
I’m not sure why it’s REI’s responsibility to insure manufacturer claims.
.
It isn't their responsibility. But they have folks that can show me what I'm doing wrong, and they're always glad to help.

jefals
08-29-2018, 11:37
Hadn't thought about turning off Bluetooth. Good idea.

Still can't find the battery display on the mini.. I do see the mini's battery status in Earthmate.

If you push the power button, it will show you the pct left in the battery.
Not sure how much turning off Bluetooth will save. (Are we still talking about turning off Bluetooth on the mini, or turning off Bluetooth on the phone)?
I think my tracking on my test yesterday was set to 10 minutes. Trying again today with it turned off...I think...

jefals
08-29-2018, 11:51
By all accounts, GPS accuracy is greatly improved with continuous activity while hiking.
Can you expound on this a little?
Do you have an idea how far off it might be when you first turn it on and remain still? (Say you're hurt and need help, so you turn it on).
Will the accuracy then improve over time, if you remain still? In other words, by the time they're getting close to you, will the accuracy have improved - or does it not change unless you're moving?
~~~
Or will they be lookin for you on the AT while you're dying on the PCT???

TX Aggie
08-29-2018, 12:26
Can you expound on this a little?
Do you have an idea how far off it might be when you first turn it on and remain still? (Say you're hurt and need help, so you turn it on).
Will the accuracy then improve over time, if you remain still? In other words, by the time they're getting close to you, will the accuracy have improved - or does it not change unless you're moving?
~~~
Or will they be lookin for you on the AT while you're dying on the PCT???

If thereís a continuous path, they can see your direction on the Trail and a general idea of your pace. If for example your emergency is you fell into a ravine and the unit canít get an accurate fix but can still get the distress out, the breadcrumb Trail can give them a better idea of where you Time plot would put you.

TX Aggie
08-29-2018, 12:27
I no longer record tracks on my phone. The Suunto Ambit does a flawless job with that. Its navigation feature set is outstanding as well. I'll push the tracks out to Gaia once I'm home, so I see them on the phones map.. otherwise the tracking on the phone will I'll the battery in no time.

Hadn't thought about turning off Bluetooth. Good idea.

Still can't find the battery display on the mini.. I do see the mini's battery status in Earthmate.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

What kind of battery life are you getting on the Suunto?

nsherry61
08-29-2018, 12:28
I can't speak for the InReach Mini, but my son is hiking the PCT with the InReach Explorer. I know that, in general, a modern GPS that is given a few minutes to dial in it's location is typically accurate to within 3 to 10 meters. When my son does not turn off his Garmin InReach while sleeping it provides pings every hour that can easily vary in location by 100 meter although most of the time is is more like 10 to 30 meters. If Garmin chose to turn on the GPS for a few minutes before sending it's location ping (you actually might be able to control this options, I don't know) I'm sure it could be accurate to the 3 to 10 meter range.

Nanatuk
08-29-2018, 12:44
GPS accuracy is dependent on the number of satellites in view. If your sky view is limited, i.e. in a ravine, you may not have enough satellites in view to get an accurate position calculation when you initially power on the device. Having your GPS ON and calculating your position continuously will ensure you have a reasonably accurate position solution at any given time in case of an emergency situation.

When you power on your GPS, the farther you are from the last known position, the longer it will take to determine your new position. Older GPS devices could take 1/2 hour to determine accurate location after a cross country flight, but chipsets have gotten much better and can find position quicker than they used to. GPS receivers can still take 10's of minutes, but devices like cell phones now use multiple sources (GPS. cell signal, wifi etc) to speed up the calculation and more quickly find your current location.

jefals
08-29-2018, 12:56
I can't speak for the InReach Mini, but my son is hiking the PCT with the InReach Explorer. I know that, in general, a modern GPS that is given a few minutes to dial in it's location is typically accurate to within 3 to 10 meters.
So, I get hurt. I turn it on. I'm stationary. It already takes a little time to get a location, but once it does, is that initial location accurate to within 3 to 10 meters? Or, after a few minutes will it display a different, more accurate location?

How does this statement - that after a few minutes it's accurate within 3 to 10 meters, gel with your later statement that during the night it's off by maybe 100 meters?

jefals
08-29-2018, 13:08
Good info Nanotuk.

Venchka
08-29-2018, 13:25
Can you expound on this a little?
Do you have an idea how far off it might be when you first turn it on and remain still? (Say you're hurt and need help, so you turn it on).
Will the accuracy then improve over time, if you remain still? In other words, by the time they're getting close to you, will the accuracy have improved - or does it not change unless you're moving?
~~~
Or will they be lookin for you on the AT while you're dying on the PCT???
Scenario #1:
Youíre hiking.
InReach off.
You have an accident.
Youíre unable to turn the InReach on.
Youíre unable to send an SOS.
GPS accuracy is irrelevant.
Nobody will be looking for you.
Scenario #2:
Youíre hiking.
InReach on.
GPS track is transmitted to Garminís Emergency Center and your familyís phones and or computers.
Your track stops.
Youíre incapable of activating the SOS.
Your family is concerned. Sends a text to you. No reply in a reasonable time frame.
They contact GEOS.
Someone starts looking for you.
Enough expounding?
Daylight: InReach on.
Dark: InReach may be off only if you remember to turn it on during daylight hours.
Wayne

jefals
08-29-2018, 13:36
Not really. The question is about your comment that the device's accuracy is greatly improved with continuous activity with the device turned on. Focus on DEVICE ACCURACY. Not on having an accident, can't turn the device on, family getting concerned -- all that stuff. I'll give you points -- good smart-ass reply, tho, and I would expect nothing less!

Meanwhile, others have actually addressed the issue. Thanks Nanatuk, good info!

Venchka
08-29-2018, 13:43
I bought my first GPS unit in 2003. Itís still working. I learned this stuff a long time ago.
GOOGLE knows too.
Please excuse my shorthand.
If a GPS device is not turned on it is useless excess weight.
Wayne

Venchka
08-29-2018, 13:52
GPS accuracy PLUS a continuous track record combine to provide the best chance of SAR finding you in a minimum amount of time.
Finding you can be measured in hours or days. It depends on several factors beyond GPS tracking and accuracy. Suffice to say that a Seal Team 6 squad wonít be rappelling from a Blackhawk to rescue you in an hour or two. If youíre 2-3 days from a trailhead it could take that long for a rescue team to reach you.
Wayne

HooKooDooKu
08-29-2018, 14:30
GPS accuracy is dependent on the number of satellites in view. If your sky view is limited, i.e. in a ravine, you may not have enough satellites in view to get an accurate position calculation when you initially power on the device. Having your GPS ON and calculating your position continuously will ensure you have a reasonably accurate position solution at any given time in case of an emergency situation.

When you power on your GPS, the farther you are from the last known position, the longer it will take to determine your new position. Older GPS devices could take 1/2 hour to determine accurate location after a cross country flight, but chipsets have gotten much better and can find position quicker than they used to. GPS receivers can still take 10's of minutes, but devices like cell phones now use multiple sources (GPS. cell signal, wifi etc) to speed up the calculation and more quickly find your current location.
Putting aside the Garmin InReach, the delays you speak of are very real for just cell phones...

When you're in range of a cell towers, the cell phone can instantly determine it's general location simply by identifying what cell towers it is in communication with, the relative strength of those signals, and the known GPS coordinates of the cell towers. It then augments that information with GPS to pin point it's location.

When I was hiking the JMT (where cell signals are usually absent), each time I passed a trail intersection, I would fire up my phone and Guthook app just to ensure I was still on the correct trail. The phone ONLY had GPS signals to determine its position, and it frequently took upwards of 15 minutes to get an accurate position.

jefals
08-29-2018, 14:56
I bought my first GPS unit in 2003. It’s still working. I learned this stuff a long time ago.
GOOGLE knows too.
Please excuse my shorthand
If a GPS device is not turned on it is useless excess weight.
Wayne
They've probably improved since 2003.
Not sure I agree that a GPS device not turned on is useless excess weight. If it's turned off, it can be turned on. You might as well say a tent inside your backpack is useless excess weight, right?

jefals
08-29-2018, 15:01
OK, I'm done! :):)

nsherry61
08-29-2018, 15:48
So, I get hurt. I turn it on. I'm stationary. It already takes a little time to get a location, but once it does, is that initial location accurate to within 3 to 10 meters? Or, after a few minutes will it display a different, more accurate location?

How does this statement - that after a few minutes it's accurate within 3 to 10 meters, gel with your later statement that during the night it's off by maybe 100 meters?

When my son's InReach is sending out its hourly ping, my understanding is that it is turning its GPS radio on getting a location, sending that location and then turning the GPS radio off. The InReach is on all the time in some reduced power consumption mode, but then turns on the GPS radio, the real power sucker, only long enough to get a location and transmit it to a satellite.

However, if I understand things correctly, if you press the SOS button, the InReach turns on the GPS radio and immediately sends your location (100 m accuracy?) along with a distress message. BUT, it then stays on and continues to update your location with improved accuracy (3 to 10 m?) over the next period of time. It also will receive an SOS confirmation message, that your message got through, and you will be in touch with emergency response personnel through its texting ability so that the rescue response can be more accurately tailored to you needs such as a helicopter evacuation or just ground personnel assistance.


. . . Finding you can be measured in hours or days. It depends on several factors beyond GPS tracking and accuracy. Suffice to say that a Seal Team 6 squad wonít be rappelling from a Blackhawk to rescue you in an hour or two. If youíre 2-3 days from a trailhead it could take that long for a rescue team to reach you.

As noted above, with two-way communication via the Garmin InReach, your cell phone, the new Spot-X or whatever, rescues are being more appropriately tailored to the emergency. So it is quite likely that, depending on your needs and location you will in deed be airlifted, aided by ground personnel or even just assisted with information via text.

Venchka
08-29-2018, 15:56
OK, I'm done! :):)
Me too.
Wayne

MikekiM
08-29-2018, 18:56
I don't know you gents well enough to opine on the keyboard fisticuffs... but the thread has proven useful me either way. Thank you.





If you push the power button, it will show you the pct left in the battery.
Not sure how much turning off Bluetooth will save. (Are we still talking about turning off Bluetooth on the mini, or turning off Bluetooth on the phone)?
I think my tracking on my test yesterday was set to 10 minutes. Trying again today with it turned off...I think...

So with all the times I have powered the unit on or off, I never noticed that. Thank you. I thought I saw a display that had the battery capacity in large bold characters. Either way, when I called Garmin, the service person was adamant that nowhere in the unit does it display the actual percentage. I feel very uneasy about anything else that person told me...

I turn BT off on both devices between messaging. I rely on the Mini's audible alert to let me know when a message is in or out. If I am leisurely, I'll go through pairing and use the Earthmate app. Otherwise, I read the message on the Mini and decide what to do next.

If thereís a continuous path, they can see your direction on the Trail and a general idea of your pace. If for example your emergency is you fell into a ravine and the unit canít get an accurate fix but can still get the distress out, the breadcrumb Trail can give them a better idea of where you Time plot would put you.

This is a stand-out for me. Makes a lot of sense to have the continuous tracking info regardless of how long the send intervals are. That said, I would certainly subscribe to full time tracking if I were backpacking the back country. I don't. My longest trips are but a handful of days and rarely am I that remote.. sadly. There certainly have been trails and scrambles I have navigates that offered a thousand ways to create a mechanical injury, fall or hit my head and that's why I carry it and why I leave it on.

Additionally, one factor being overlooked in the conversation above is that this is a two way communication device. Not just an SOS alert. Once you deploy the SOS, assuming you are conscious and have the unit on your person, you have the opportunity to communicate with you family as well as the SAR team to refine your position and situation. For my needs, this is tremendously comforting.

What kind of battery life are you getting on the Suunto?

Holy smokes.. that thing is crazy. I won't quote the battery life for this past trip, but I know I had it tracking three treks over three days.. all day treks..plus running full navigation of the routes and I'll venture a guess that it was probably at better than 80%. I'll never hit the trail without the Ambit.

GPS accuracy PLUS a continuous track record combine to provide the best chance of SAR finding you in a minimum amount of time.....

This makes a lot of sense, though it isn't entirely applicable to how I use or rely on the InReach.

DuneElliot
08-29-2018, 19:32
What a ridiculous argument above me

It takes my InReach 2 minutes to find me and send a pre-set check-in message from the time I turn it on in the evening or morning, push the send button, to the time I turn it off, 5 minutes later...no issue with accuracy at all. It has been accurate to my exact location...every...single...time. I only use it for check-ins morning and evening; if I miss two check-ins my people know my route and my last known location and know exactly which cavalry to call.

PLBs, like the one W carries, don't use tracking either and he advocates for them over lower-powered devices (or at least he did with us in Wyoming).

Buy what you want, for what you need for YOU and your family.

jefals
08-29-2018, 20:44
I don't know you gents well enough to opine on the keyboard fisticuffs... but the thread has proven useful me either way. Thank you. >>

Me and Wayne email each other about 30 times a day. He just sent me a recipe for grits and grillards. He knows he can tell me whatever he wants in an email, but he chooses to "educate" me via this public forum. Anything else wouldn't be natural! :sun

So with all the times I have powered the unit on or off, I never noticed that. Thank you. I thought I saw a display that had the battery capacity in large bold characters. >>
Somethin else I discovered; When you see something in big bold letters, that's the one you'll be working with if you press the OK button. For instance, if you want to change something in the setup, you scroll thru the stuff on the menu with the up/down buttons on the left, till you see SETUP in big/bold. Then press OK.


Either way, when I called Garmin, the service person was adamant that nowhere in the unit does it display the actual percentage. I feel very uneasy about anything else that person told me...>>

I had that experience also. Guy had no idea what he was talking about. If I call them again, I'm going to start off by asking if he's a technical guy, or if he's in sales, and to please transfer me to someone with technical. Or maybe I'll just take it to REI. There's usually someone there that knows these things.

I turn BT off on both devices between messaging. I rely on the Mini's audible alert to let me know when a message is in or out. If I am leisurely, I'll go through pairing and use the Earthmate app. Otherwise, I read the message on the Mini and decide what to do next.>>
Didn't know it had an audible alert. Thanks! With my ears, I just probably never heard it. (And likely never will!) But I love that earthmate app, and wouldn't use the device without it. You can even send an SOS with that app.




This is a stand-out for me. Makes a lot of sense to have the continuous tracking info regardless of how long the send intervals are. That said, I would certainly subscribe to full time tracking if I were backpacking the back country. I don't. My longest trips are but a handful of days and rarely am I that remote.. sadly. There certainly have been trails and scrambles I have navigates that offered a thousand ways to create a mechanical injury, fall or hit my head and that's why I carry it and why I leave it on. >>
I'm about convinced to start using it for tracking. Some of the stuff I've heard here sounds like it does make sense -- like if you wind up somewhere where there's too much cover overhead. Assuming I can run a test and get the kind of battery life I'm supposed to be able to.

Additionally, one factor being overlooked in the conversation above is that this is a two way communication device. Not just an SOS alert. Once you deploy the SOS, assuming you are conscious and have the unit on your person, you have the opportunity to communicate with you family as well as the SAR team to refine your position and situation. For my needs, this is tremendously comforting. >>

yes! absolutely!


Holy smokes.. that thing is crazy. I won't quote the battery life for this past trip, but I know I had it tracking three treks over three days.. all day treks..plus running full navigation of the routes and I'll venture a guess that it was probably at better than 80%. I'll never hit the trail without the Ambit.


This makes a lot of sense, though it isn't entirely applicable to how I use or rely on the InReach.
1234567890

jefals
08-29-2018, 20:53
What a ridiculous argument above me

It takes my InReach 2 minutes to find me and send a pre-set check-in message from the time I turn it on in the evening or morning, push the send button, to the time I turn it off, 5 minutes later...no issue with accuracy at all. It has been accurate to my exact location...every...single...time. I only use it for check-ins morning and evening; if I miss two check-ins my people know my route and my last known location and know exactly which cavalry to call. >>


PLBs, like the one W carries, don't use tracking either and he advocates for them over lower-powered devices (or at least he did with us in Wyoming).

Buy what you want, for what you need for YOU and your family.

That's almost how I use it too. Except I don't use presets, cause I like to actually "talk" to the kids. But twice a day, to let folks know where I'm at, how the hiking was, etc...
But -- how do you know how accurately it has your location? Are you checking it against a watch or phone or something?

nsherry61
08-29-2018, 23:00
. . . But -- how do you know how accurately it has your location? . . .
GPS location is always a statistical confidence interval. And, one's "exact location" is relative to imperfect maps and/or GPS data sets, all of which have their own compromises in them. Most quality modern GPS hand sets show their confidence to one standard deviation. One standard deviation with an ideal data distribution predicts that about 68% of the time your location is within the range the GPS claims. Double the claimed distance the GPS claims and about 95% of the time you will be within that circle.

So, if you GPS shows a location for you and claims 3 meter accuracy, that means that about 68% of the time your location is within a circle that is three meters in radius from the GPS's stated location. And incidentally, about 95% of the time your location will be within 6 meters of the GPS's stated location.

For what it's worth, the most accurate that most civilian GPS devices can pinpoint your location is +/- 3 meters (+/- 9 ft). That doesn't mean that once in a while you wont get a GPS reading that is within 1 meter of accuracy. It means that any time you experience accuracy better than 3 meters it is random luck, not GPS precision. Conversely, if your GPS is reporting a particular location with 3 meter accuracy, about 32% of the time your actual location will be more than 3 meters away and 5% of the time your actual location will be more than 6 meters away.

Then, to complicate things further, a particular location on your topographical map can easily be as much as 20 meters off of what an accurate GPS reading for that location will be because maps and GPS's are not always based on the same data sets. In one instance, during a multi-day back-country ski trip, my partner and I experienced about 75 m difference between a map and our GPS devices causing us to search for an extra hour or more one night, well after dark, for a shelter on the the side of a steep tree covered hill. The only way we were able to find the shelter was to head off course to a road bed that we couldn't miss and then ski back up hill on the road to find the shelter.

More on topic, if the only ping your rescuers get from your emergency communicator is 100 meters off, which is totally possible in complex terrain if the GPS doesn't have multiple date points to average for accuracy, it can be shockingly difficult for rescuers to find you, especially in complex terrain and after dark. Remember those whistles we are always told to carry and likely have never used?

Venchka
08-30-2018, 00:14
I always have my Whistle!
In fact I recently discovered that I have been carrying TWO!
Donít leave home without it!
Wayne

HooKooDooKu
08-30-2018, 01:29
Something else to consider... depending upon where you are, GPS can simply calculate a wrong position if signals get bounced around.

The simple explanation of how GPS works is that GPS satellites constantly send out a signal indicating where it is and what time it is. Since each satellite is a different distance from your GSP receiver, the time stamps on these signals will be out of sync. Once the GPS has locked in on at least three satellite signals, it becomes a complex triangulation calculation of the difference in these time stamps and the locations of the satellites to determine where you are.

But in certain locations, these satellite signals can be reflected off mountains and buildings. If the GPS manages to lock in on one of these reflected signals, it will effectively be receiving the wrong information and therefore calculate a wrong position.

I was once near the bottom of Eagle Creek in GSMNP. The trail has some pretty steep hill sides. I knew exactly where I was, but for about 15 minutes, my GPS was telling me I was at a position that was a quarter to a half mile away while claiming an accuracy of better than 50'.

MikekiM
08-30-2018, 06:44
????

I'm Lost. should I hit the SOS now?


What a ridiculous argument above me....

1234567890

cmoulder
08-30-2018, 07:24
????

I'm Lost. should I hit the SOS now?
Not if you're in Baxter SP! :eek:

But I'm now lusting after the Mini. Can't use that Explorer's damned rocker switch anyway for a real message, so might as well carry a lighter unit.

Traveler
08-30-2018, 08:13
At least one has the comfort of knowing people in this forum will say they died doing what they loved when modern technology doesn't bring the calvary.

MuddyWaters
08-30-2018, 08:48
Person i hiked 200 mi with recently had one
Worked fine for contacting wife and her tracking us

DuneElliot
08-30-2018, 08:51
That's almost how I use it too. Except I don't use presets, cause I like to actually "talk" to the kids. But twice a day, to let folks know where I'm at, how the hiking was, etc...
But -- how do you know how accurately it has your location? Are you checking it against a watch or phone or something?

I also send the check-in messages to myself that I look at when I get home. And my mapshare/Garmin account shows every location I've sent a message from. All the locations are within feet, if not directly on top, where I had my tent pictched aka where I send my messages from.

jefals
08-30-2018, 09:54
I was once near the bottom of Eagle Creek in GSMNP. The trail has some pretty steep hill sides. I knew exactly where I was, but for about 15 minutes, my GPS was telling me I was at a position that was a quarter to a half mile away while claiming an accuracy of better than 50'.
Here's what I don't get: it tells me my lat/long coordinates, right? I have no idea what my actual lat/long is at any moment. How do you know if it's right or wrong?

jefals
08-30-2018, 10:28
nevermind, if you're looking at the flag on the map you get when you send a message. I can see on those that - at least from what I can remember from my last trip - were very accurate. (Didn’t really pay attention to them at the time)...

cmoulder
08-30-2018, 10:42
Here's what I don't get: it tells me my lat/long coordinates, right? I have no idea what my actual lat/long is at any moment. How do you know if it's right or wrong?
Use the base map and compare to paper map, and change location format to UTM or USNG so you have about half a chance in hell of actually coming up with a meaningful number. Lat/Long is practically useless for finding position on a paper map.

HooKooDooKu
08-30-2018, 10:58
Here's what I don't get: it tells me my lat/long coordinates, right? I have no idea what my actual lat/long is at any moment. How do you know if it's right or wrong?
I had downloaded a set of way points for the trail I was taking, so when I reached a trail intersection or a major water crossing, I knew what way point I should have been at, but the GPS was claiming I was no where near that way point.

lonehiker
08-30-2018, 11:13
I was reading in another forum (Bigbendchat.com) once about someone that thought his/her GPS wasn't accurate as they couldn't find springs. The problem is that some maps (all?) of BBNP are NAD27 and not WGS84. You change your settings on your GPS and miracles happen. I, having a military background, also think that UTM is much easier than Lat/Long. But, it is what you are used to. The problem is that most people really don't understand or know how to read coordinates on a map. So without a basemap on their GPS, or a GPS track/route, they are fundamentally lost. Personally I was hoping for good discussion about this products capabilities as I ran into a situation on a recent trip that having the ability to get a message to my wife would have been useful. Instead all I have been reading is crap about how inaccurate GPS units are and that REI should somehow solve the worlds problems...

I hope that at some point a long distance hiker, that has actually used the unit in the field, will chime in and give a good assessment of the units capabilities etc.

DuneElliot
08-30-2018, 11:19
I was reading in another forum (Bigbendchat.com) once about someone that thought his/her GPS wasn't accurate as they couldn't find springs. The problem is that some maps (all?) of BBNP are NAD27 and not WGS84. You change your settings on your GPS and miracles happen. I, having a military background, also think that UTM is much easier than Lat/Long. But, it is what you are used to. The problem is that most people really don't understand or know how to read coordinates on a map. So without a basemap on their GPS, or a GPS track/route, they are fundamentally lost. Personally I was hoping for good discussion about this products capabilities as I ran into a situation on a recent trip that having the ability to get a message to my wife would have been useful. Instead all I have been reading is crap about how inaccurate GPS units are and that REI should somehow solve the worlds problems...

I hope that at some point a long distance hiker, that has actually used the unit in the field, will chime in and give a good assessment of the units capabilities etc.
Bowwow has one and maybe he can chime in about what he likes and dislikes about it. He used it on this last trip to the WRR. I'd say that other than requiring a phone as the UI for messaging it was a great little unit. I liked it but prefer my standalone unit for a few reasons.

jefals
08-30-2018, 11:23
Here's what I don't get: it tells me my lat/long coordinates, right? I have no idea what my actual lat/long is at any moment. How do you know if it's right or wrong?
I had downloaded a set of way points for the trail I was taking, so when I reached a trail intersection or a major water crossing, I knew what way point I should have been at, but the GPS was claiming I was no where near that way point.
Good idea. As to your earlier post re. reflecting sat. signals, seems like these would be all over the place where most of us go hiking, so seems like it would be a big problem. Wonder if there's technology to try and filter out these errant signals...

Venchka
08-30-2018, 11:27
I was reading in another forum (Bigbendchat.com) once about someone that thought his/her GPS wasn't accurate as they couldn't find springs. The problem is that some maps (all?) of BBNP are NAD27 and not WGS84. You change your settings on your GPS and miracles happen. I, having a military background, also think that UTM is much easier than Lat/Long. But, it is what you are used to. The problem is that most people really don't understand or know how to read coordinates on a map. So without a basemap on their GPS, or a GPS track/route, they are fundamentally lost. Personally I was hoping for good discussion about this products capabilities as I ran into a situation on a recent trip that having the ability to get a message to my wife would have been useful. Instead all I have been reading is crap about how inaccurate GPS units are and that REI should somehow solve the worlds problems...

I hope that at some point a long distance hiker, that has actually used the unit in the field, will chime in and give a good assessment of the units capabilities etc.
Buy the unit from REI.
Use it for 364 days.
Decide at that time if you want to keep it or get your money back and try something else.
Wayne

HooKooDooKu
08-30-2018, 11:47
Good idea. As to your earlier post re. reflecting sat. signals, seems like these would be all over the place where most of us go hiking, so seems like it would be a big problem. Wonder if there's technology to try and filter out these errant signals...
I'm sure there's all sorts of complex things that are going on...

Just for starters, while only three satellites are required for the basic math to work, a GPS usually can "see" 4 to 12 satellites at any given time. This allows cross checking and the ability to throw out the results from any one satellite that doesn't fit in with the others.
I would also imagine that in most cases, a reflected signal is going to be weaker than a direct signal, and the strength of the stronger signal will suppress the weaker one.
But in my case, being down in something of a canyon, there was likely a situation where a mountain side blocked the direct signal from a satellite, but the device managed to lock onto a "clean" reflective signal, perhaps multiple reflective signals, all positioned such that the math and perhaps even one cross check lined up and so the device reported the results.

But this all sort of explains the basics of GPS spoofing... you can make a device think it is somewhere it is not by simulating the GPS signals strong enough to override the legitimate signals and make the device think it's anywhere you want it to be.

HooKooDooKu
08-30-2018, 11:50
Buy the unit from REI.
Use it for 364 days.
Decide at that time if you want to keep it or get your money back and try something else.
Wayne
You might want to review REI's Return Policy

Venchka
08-30-2018, 12:23
You might want to review REI's Return Policy
What? They lied? A Gotcha clause?
What has this world come to?
Since Iím not in the market for a Walkie Talkie Gizmo Iíll leave the checking to those who care about such things.
Sorry if I offered bogus advice.
Wayne

Venchka
08-30-2018, 12:26
Okay 90 days. Sue me!
Wayne

MikekiM
08-30-2018, 18:31
Use the base map and compare to paper map, and change location format to UTM or USNG so you have about half a chance in hell of actually coming up with a meaningful number. Lat/Long is practically useless for finding position on a paper map.

I'll need to chat about this next time we're together..


.....I'd say that other than requiring a phone as the UI for messaging it was a great little unit. I liked it but prefer my standalone unit for a few reasons.

Technically, the phone interface isn't required for messaging. Truth told, by the time you get you're message sent using the Mini's nav buttons you will have bled out, but it's doable. Nav functions can be done without the phone as well. Maps require the Earthmate app.

DuneElliot
08-31-2018, 09:02
I'll need to chat about this next time we're together..
Technically, the phone interface isn't required for messaging. Truth told, by the time you get you're message sent using the Mini's nav buttons you will have bled out, but it's doable. Nav functions can be done without the phone as well. Maps require the Earthmate app.

I didn't even know it was possible. Sounds way worse than trying to send a text with the regular InReach without the phone. The Mini wasn't really designed to be used without the bluetooth/phone connection except for the SOS...can be done apparently, but not easily or simply.

MikekiM
08-31-2018, 09:33
I didn't even know it was possible. Sounds way worse than trying to send a text with the regular InReach without the phone. The Mini wasn't really designed to be used without the bluetooth/phone connection except for the SOS...can be done apparently, but not easily or simply.

Possible, yes. Would I do it? Only if I had to. That was a tedious process on the SE.. gotta drive you bonkers on the Mini

TX Aggie
08-31-2018, 11:47
As far as hitting the SOS goes, having the ability to relay information back to them is only useful if they know you arenít in complete dire straits. If you donít respond to the messaging, they will assume you are unconscious/incapacitated and will move as fast as possible with a full kit to get to you. Being able to text just helps them if itís not a fully life or death situation, in which case using the side buttons or your phone shouldnít be a big deal.

I just picked up one yesterday, and honestly in think itís easier to use than I was expecting. Itís definitely small. My only gripe so far is the Earthmate app maps arenít very good, so Iíll still need Gaia for routing I think. Weíll see, I (hopefully) have a hike this weekend to test it out.

DuneElliot
08-31-2018, 12:07
As far as hitting the SOS goes, having the ability to relay information back to them is only useful if they know you aren’t in complete dire straits. If you don’t respond to the messaging, they will assume you are unconscious/incapacitated and will move as fast as possible with a full kit to get to you. Being able to text just helps them if it’s not a fully life or death situation, in which case using the side buttons or your phone shouldn’t be a big deal.

I just picked up one yesterday, and honestly in think it’s easier to use than I was expecting. It’s definitely small. My only gripe so far is the Earthmate app maps aren’t very good, so I’ll still need Gaia for routing I think. We’ll see, I (hopefully) have a hike this weekend to test it out.

Make sure you download the good ones. I have USGS maps of each area I hike in as well as the Earthmate Topo maps downloaded...you just have to be proactive and go get them. They have all the trails on them, lakes, names, peaks etc...I think you'll be satisfied

jefals
08-31-2018, 13:32
check that earthmate menu. Looks like you can also send your SOS from there - altho it's easy enough to hit the button on the mini.

Odd Man Out
08-31-2018, 15:15
I can see that maybe the difficulty in two way communications could be a plus. I for one don't necessarily need to be hearing from my family. Am I correct in assuming that with tracking mode on, they family at home will be able to view my progress on their home device? If so, that should satisfy their need to know I'm OK (along with the canned messages). In a pinch, I can always fire up the Bluetooth/phone.

Venchka
08-31-2018, 18:04
Here's what I don't get: it tells me my lat/long coordinates, right? I have no idea what my actual lat/long is at any moment. How do you know if it's right or wrong?
You can compare LAT. & LONG. & ELEV. with the Guthook app share location feature. The phone wonít send the share message without cell service BUT you can read the message on your phoneís screen.
Wayne

Venchka
08-31-2018, 18:28
Like this:

https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/blob:https://www.whiteblaze.net/3b61af7d-4cae-4aa3-9e72-98976bd897c6

Venchka
08-31-2018, 18:31
43602

There it is.

Venchka
08-31-2018, 18:56
Okay. Memory Banks refreshed.
Start Guthook.
Touch RED rectangle with GPS written inside.
Rectangle turns GREEN. GPS turned on and working.
Touch SQUARE icon left of GPS icon.
Box opens with your position and elevation.
Compare to InReach numbers.
Youíre welcome!
Wayne

TX Aggie
08-31-2018, 21:02
Here's what I don't get: it tells me my lat/long coordinates, right? I have no idea what my actual lat/long is at any moment. How do you know if it's right or wrong?


You can compare LAT. & LONG. & ELEV. with the Guthook app share location feature. The phone wonít send the share message without cell service BUT you can read the message on your phoneís screen.
Wayne

This is one reason why you should always carry a paper map, compass, and learn how to triangulate using back azmuths. If you know how to read the coordinates on your map and determine your location, you can confirm the ups accuracy yourself.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MikekiM
09-01-2018, 09:57
....My only gripe so far is the Earthmate app maps aren’t very good, so I’ll still need Gaia for routing I think. We’ll see, I (hopefully) have a hike this weekend to test it out.

I still use Gaia for route planning and guidance. I push the gpx file out to the Suunto Ambit and the InReach, but the InReach is for backup only.

GaiaGPS.com has a far more robust map set and the app provides a better interface IMHO.

Venchka
09-01-2018, 10:45
Does the REI Hiking Project Trail Map collection work with phone or InReach GPS Hardware?
Iíve found enough trails at the Hiking Project to keep me busy forever.
Talking about maps and phone displays seems like a major Oxymoron to me. Thank goodness for Cal Topo and the FREE CDT map set from the CDTC.
Wayne

Venchka
09-02-2018, 14:13
43605

So. Something like this, printed and protected in a Ziplock bag, would be sufficient for backcountry navigation? Assuming a compass and rudimentary navigation skills? With or without an electronic Gadget?
Wayne

DuneElliot
09-02-2018, 16:47
43605

So. Something like this, printed and protected in a Ziplock bag, would be sufficient for backcountry navigation? Assuming a compass and rudimentary navigation skills? With or without an electronic Gadget?
Wayne

It's all I've used to plot my routes...including our trips in the Winds this year and last year.

Venchka
09-02-2018, 17:59
I knew that. 😄👍
And work they did.
This is a new audience. Soliciting input.
Iím contemplating a trip next year. Blending old standby and new locations.
Wayne

TX Aggie
09-03-2018, 10:25
43605

So. Something like this, printed and protected in a Ziplock bag, would be sufficient for backcountry navigation? Assuming a compass and rudimentary navigation skills? With or without an electronic Gadget?
Wayne


It's all I've used to plot my routes...including our trips in the Winds this year and last year.

Yep, pretty much what I use as well. All the major topography, grid squares for plotting, and an azimuth with declination.

I started printing on the waterproof ink jet paper REI carries and it has worked very well. I still keep it in a zip lock, but it just helps in those situations where you need to unfold and your hands may be damp.

Obviously plotting waypoints on Gaia or other GPS is easier, but I know how to hear back azimuths and dead reckoning to get where I need to if that fails.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Venchka
09-03-2018, 10:33
...and tick off stream crossings, tight trail bends, landmarks, lakes, etc. as you go so you at least know where youíve been and anything important that might be coming up.
Wayne

Traillium
09-03-2018, 13:45
...and tick off stream crossings, tight trail bends, landmarks, lakes, etc. as you go so you at least know where youíve been and anything important that might be coming up.
Wayne

And if Iím injured, I know several fantastic paper airplane designs that I can use to get an emergency message out as well! Come to think of it, that waterproof REI paper could be a real boon for paper airplanes back in the boonies Ö

Venchka
09-03-2018, 15:06
And if I’m injured, I know several fantastic paper airplane designs that I can use to get an emergency message out as well! Come to think of it, that waterproof REI paper could be a real boon for paper airplanes back in the boonies …
Makes more sense than a lot of what is posted on the internet. Thanks for the grin!
Wayne

DLP
09-22-2018, 15:31
I bought an InReach Mini in August after coming within 2-3 miles of the Donnell Fire on Sonora Pass this summer. I own an "old" 2nd generation (or is it a 1st gen...?) SPOT that I purchased in 2012. However, the fire freaked me out sufficiently and made me think that two way communication might be a good thing, or even necessary. My sister also owns an older, larger InReach that she bought in 2015 when Delorme owned the company. She is really happy with it. So I bought the Mini.

I took the Mini to Big Basin Redwoods for 4 nights in August and on the JMT for 9 nights in September.

I ended up returning the InReach Mini to REI yesterday. The reasons that I returned the InReach:

1) I had several messages that didn't go through both in Big Basin and on the JMT. Obviously, I couldn't test the SOS button, but it seriously made me wonder if the thing would tell me to go find more open sky if I had a broken leg and pressed the SOS button.

I've dragged the stupid SPOT all over California, Nevada and Hawaii for 6 years, and all of the messages have gone through. To the best of my knowledge, I have not had a single dropped message... even in valleys and (gasp!) under 2-3+ trees.

Not receiving messages drove my husband insane. I texted him and told him that the InReach was super picky about locations and super frustrating and not to worry. I was hardly "alone" out there, and very safe. But he still worried. (Ideally my husband wouldn't worry and I wouldn't have to carry ANY satellite device. I think of the "Stupid Spot" as a half pound of sleeping pill that I carry everywhere so that my husband can sleep at night.)

Every single InReach message that did eventually go thru in Big Basin took 30+ minutes to send. I stood in a GIANT parking lot with totally open sky and it took 35 minutes for the message to go thru. The one exception was at Waddel Beach. I'd say that about 25-30% of JMT messages took 20-30 minutes to send. My perception was that the InReach Mini also burned thru the battery charge while attempting to send a message. I sometimes lost 10-15% of the charge attempting to send just one message.

2) The battery. Or more specifically, the (plural) batteries. I had to carry a second backup battery and charge cord for the Mini. I had to recharge the InReach after 5-6 days. What's the point in having a lightweight "mini" if you have to carry 4-8 oz of backup batteries? (My sister carries all kinds of electronic stuff and doesn't mind carrying spare batteries and cords. I resent it. I feel like, "If my phone dies... it dies... and yeah I might miss a great photo... but that's okay".)

I've have NEVER had the SPOT batteries die. I take the (still charged) lithium AAA batteries out of the SPOT and put three new ones in for my first trip of the year. Those same 3 batteries last me until the next year. I carried back up batteries for the SPOT on my first trip, but I don't bother any more.

Yes, it was fun to be able to text with the InReach Mini (when it wasn't totally frustrating and the messages were actually going thru quickly!) But it was more frustration than it was worth. And it is unacceptable that some messages that don't go thru at all - in totally average hiking conditions. I no longer think that I need somebody to text me and tell me that I'm too close to a fire. I'm guessing that smoke and ashes falling from the sky is message enough.

So after talking it over with my husband, we concluded that the one way SPOT communication has been working for us just fine for 6 years. I returned the InReach and got my $350 back.

FreeGoldRush
09-22-2018, 15:57
Thanks for the review. Your InReach experience sounds exactly like mine, but I have the earlier generation device. All summer messages have gone through slowly, even when standing in a wide open area. Yet at other times they went through in a pouring rain, from inside my tent, while the InReach was under a half full pack and laying sideways.

Since people are reporting the same issue with the mini I am starting to believe this is a satellite availability issue and not a device issue. The device provides no useful data other than a green or red LED, so we can't know if this is an analog issue (blocked radio signal) or an issue of them simply not buying/configuring a wide enough channel on the satellite.
Supoort told me to reset the device to factory settings and it would fix the problem. I asked why. The woman had no idea, although she did say it is a common issue and she has fixed it this way for many people. I told her this was very unlikely and I expected more professional support. She reiterated her confidence it would work. So I followed her instructions, went hiking again, and had the same issues you described with slow transmit/receive.

My support call experience leads me to believe: 1) It is a known issue as she told me on the phone, 2) Phone support people have not been told what caused the issue. 3) Support claims that if the red light is blinking you need to move to an open area because the radio signal is blocked. That is incorrect. The red light almost always blinks regardless of where the device is or how it is oriented. Messages go through during those tiny windows of time where it does not blink red. It appears random.

But it's really frustrating to pay all that money for the device and fees, find it does not work reliably, and receive no useful support to fix the issue.

Again, I believe the issue is not with the device but with their inability to provide proper satellite bandwidth for all their subscribes.

DLP
09-22-2018, 16:28
Yet at other times [messages] went through in a pouring rain, from inside my tent, while the InReach was under a half full pack and laying sideways. My sister has sent message via InReach from inside her house!

That is interesting about the bandwidth because I did feel like some times of day were better/worse for the slow message transmission problem.

Venchka
09-22-2018, 18:19
1. The Iridium satellites are being replaced and reconfigured. The process is not complete yet.
2. The #1 customer for the Iridium system is the USA Government. ALL of the Government. Civilian. Military. The entire government.
3. Does it make sense now?
Good luck Yíall!
Wayne

Odd Man Out
09-22-2018, 19:18
Anyone have any experience with the new(ish) SPOT X. This new product had two way communication which has been the big advantage of the Garmin product over SPOT. One attractive feature is that it comes with a cell phone number, so you can send and receive text messages as if it were a cell phone. Also, it has a QWERTY keyboard (like an old Blackberry device) so you don't need to pair it with a cell phone to get a keyboard (in fact it doesn't have Bluetooth so it can't pair with a cell phone). It doesn't have maps, but it will tell you your GPS coordinates and how far you are from a pre-set waypoint and which direction it is with a digital compass. Their satellite system isn't as global. According to their service map, the 2-way communication only works in the N. America, S. America, Europe, and N. Africa. The other continents have only 1-way communication (crap, I really want to trek in Nepal). You're probably screwed if you get lost in Antarctica (in more ways than one). It's not as compact as the mini, but may be worth considering as an alternative to the full sized Garmins. Curious to ind out how they perform in the field.

DuneElliot
09-22-2018, 21:29
I have had the complete opposite experience...zero issues with messages going through. I have the older DeLormer InReach but it runs on the same satellites and never had an issue with messages being transmitted in a timely manner...except when under dense leaf cover. I moved to a slightly more open spot and had a message sent within 10 minutes even with trees all around.

I also hiked, recently, with someone who had the InReach Mini and who didn't have a message-sending issue over 7 days in the Wind River Range (also open and remote terrain). It honestly sounds like more of a device issue than anything.

Venchka
09-23-2018, 00:04
Itís possible that BLP got a dud unit.
Wayne

FreeGoldRush
09-23-2018, 10:43
I have had the complete opposite experience...zero issues with messages going through. I have the older DeLormer InReach but it runs on the same satellites and never had an issue with messages being transmitted in a timely manner...except when under dense leaf cover. I moved to a slightly more open spot and had a message sent within 10 minutes even with trees all around.
I also hiked, recently, with someone who had the InReach Mini and who didn't have a message-sending issue over 7 days in the Wind River Range (also open and remote terrain). It honestly sounds like more of a device issue than anything.
On some days my inreach has the experience you just described. But I expect it to work that way everyday I hike.

jefals
09-23-2018, 11:04
On the trt recently, I was sending inreach messages. some went thru fine. Some had the "blue circle" going around for days. This makes it look like they were having trouble going thru, and I'm not sure if they did in fact go thru, didn't go thru, or maybe they went thru without the map.
For the most part, tho, no problems. I was confused about one thing - sometimes, trying to send a message, the phone would say something like "can not determine location - send anyway or wait"? The inReach folks tell me that if I select "send anyway", it will send the message but without the map, whereas if you select wait - then it will send once it determines your location. (Since I wanted to send messages and then turn the thing off to save battery, I usually selected 'send anyway').

TX Aggie
09-24-2018, 08:48
Iím detecting a pattern with people who are having issues vs those without problems.

For those having issues: are you leaving the InReach powered up and tracking the entire time, or simply connecting when you want to send a message? If youíre leaving powered up, what are your logging and tracking settings?

DuneElliot
09-24-2018, 09:17
I’m detecting a pattern with people who are having issues vs those without problems.

For those having issues: are you leaving the InReach powered up and tracking the entire time, or simply connecting when you want to send a message? If you’re leaving powered up, what are your logging and tracking settings?

I only power up to send messages and have no tracking or logging info. I turn it on in the morning for a check-in message and then again in the evening. That's it. I also have the older, larger version. I'm starting to wonder if it's more the Mini that's the issue...or maybe software issue.

jefals
09-24-2018, 10:42
I also normally keep it off unless I want to send or check for messages. I've tested the battery charge with tracking off, - just letting it sit out back on my patio table for 8 hours - and where the battery went down about 30% . So, to preserve the battery - until I figure out what the problem is - I mainly keep it off.

TX Aggie
09-24-2018, 11:40
I only power up to send messages and have no tracking or logging info. I turn it on in the morning for a check-in message and then again in the evening. That's it. I also have the older, larger version. I'm starting to wonder if it's more the Mini that's the issue...or maybe software issue.


I also normally keep it off unless I want to send or check for messages. I've tested the battery charge with tracking off, - just letting it sit out back on my patio table for 8 hours - and where the battery went down about 30% . So, to preserve the battery - until I figure out what the problem is - I mainly keep it off.

Just an educated guess, but Iím thinking turning it off is where the issue lies with messages not going thru. Frankly, if youíre using the InReach primarily SOS device, I donít understand why you would want tracking disabled. Those tracks will help others find you even if your message doesnít get out because if someone is expecting a regular tracking interval, a sudden drop off could help alert them to both the possibility of you having issues as well as a course plot of where you are more likely to be.

Transmitting takes much more power and a consistent signal to get out vs receiving signals from multiple satellites.

Just my $0.02.

DuneElliot
09-24-2018, 11:46
Just an educated guess, but I’m thinking turning it off is where the issue lies with messages not going thru. Frankly, if you’re using the InReach primarily SOS device, I don’t understand why you would want tracking disabled. Those tracks will help others find you even if your message doesn’t get out because if someone is expecting a regular tracking interval, a sudden drop off could help alert them to both the possibility of you having issues as well as a course plot of where you are more likely to be.

Transmitting takes much more power and a consistent signal to get out vs receiving signals from multiple satellites.

Just my $0.02.

Complete opposite. I'm one of those who has zero problems with messages going through and I always keep it off.

Venchka
09-24-2018, 14:19
Just an educated guess, but Iím thinking turning it off is where the issue lies with messages not going thru. Frankly, if youíre using the InReach primarily SOS device, I donít understand why you would want tracking disabled. Those tracks will help others find you even if your message doesnít get out because if someone is expecting a regular tracking interval, a sudden drop off could help alert them to both the possibility of you having issues as well as a course plot of where you are more likely to be.

Transmitting takes much more power and a consistent signal to get out vs receiving signals from multiple satellites.

Just my $0.02.
Bingo! Where have we heard that advice before?
CJ: You donít have the new Mini. The reports here seem to be coming from the new Mini. However, I didnít count every post.
Wayne

DuneElliot
09-24-2018, 14:22
Bingo! Where have we heard that advice before?
CJ: You don’t have the new Mini. The reports here seem to be coming from the new Mini. However, I didn’t count every post.
Wayne

That was the point I put forward with my experience being that I have no issues with the full-size device...and that it seemed like a Mini issue

FreeGoldRush
09-24-2018, 14:37
Iím detecting a pattern with people who are having issues vs those without problems.
For those having issues: are you leaving the InReach powered up and tracking the entire time, or simply connecting when you want to send a message? If youíre leaving powered up, what are your logging and tracking settings?
It stays powered up and on my shoulder strap in front of me with antenna pointing skyward. It attempts to send my Location every ten minutes, but many of those don't go out due to the poor transmit capbsbility of the device/network. Many Location points are lost. On several nights it remained powered, outside tent/tarp, with antenna pointing skyward. One time I was woken at 3:00 a.m. by the successful transmit tone. It finally sent the messages I "sent" six hours earlier before going to sleep.

FreeGoldRush
09-24-2018, 14:39
My issues are with the full size; not the mini.

Venchka
09-24-2018, 15:33
So. We shall agree to disagree.
I bought an ACR ResQLink +.
It rides on my packís shoulder strap.
I donít ever plan to need it.
Should I need it I trust that it will work and send out the SOS/GPS position during the 24 hour battery life. Without need for a subscription fee.
Wayne

TX Aggie
09-24-2018, 18:43
So. We shall agree to disagree.
I bought an ACR ResQLink +.
It rides on my packís shoulder strap.
I donít ever plan to need it.
Should I need it I trust that it will work and send out the SOS/GPS position during the 24 hour battery life. Without need for a subscription fee.
Wayne

Could easily just be growing pains with the first generation Mini as well. Iíve learned that even though these units look the same on the outside, some components are sourced from different manufacturers. I need to get min it and try a few message transmissions to see how mine behaves.

Kerosene
09-24-2018, 20:00
Ahh, the vagaries of telecommunications. This is why I stopped programming and went into management, although I never trusted my comms programmers to develop a reliable solution.

FreeGoldRush
09-25-2018, 07:41
Should I need it I trust that it will work and send out the SOS/GPS position during the 24 hour battery life.Wayne
Always test your gear before you need it? :)

Venchka
09-25-2018, 09:05
Always test your gear before you need it? :)
My PLB has a test function. I perform the test in the vicinity of trees before starting a trip. The confirmation email arrives promptly. So far so good.
Wayne

iAmKrzys
09-26-2018, 22:16
The simple explanation of how GPS works is that GPS satellites constantly send out a signal indicating where it is and what time it is. Since each satellite is a different distance from your GSP receiver, the time stamps on these signals will be out of sync. Once the GPS has locked in on at least three satellite signals, it becomes a complex triangulation calculation of the difference in these time stamps and the locations of the satellites to determine where you are.
I think the picture here is just a bit more complicated - as I understand it GPS satellites have very accurate atomic clocks but the receivers do not ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System#Fundamentals ) and so they can only determine differences in arrival times or equivalently differences in distances between different satellites. A set of all point that have a known, fixed difference in distance from two foci (i.e. satellites) forms a hyperboloid and thus GPS receiver location is at the intersection of hyperboloids requiring signal from 4 satellites rather than 3, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System#Problem_description and also an article on Multilateration: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilateration