View Full Version : Device to update Google Maps in real-time?

05-25-2012, 05:06
When I told my family and friends about my plans to thru-hike, everyone expressed concern about my safety. So I wonder if there is device out there that continuously puts out a GPS signal with my location into Google Maps or something similar. This way, they can just log on to see where I am without having to call me. I would like it to be as hassle-free as possible, kind of like the "set it and forget it" infomercials :) I will be bringing an iPhone with me, as well as a solar charger. But Im planning on keeping it on airplane mode 24/7 to limit my contact with the "outside" world as much as possible.

Some of the criteria that I am looking for is:
Ability to update my location in real-time via Google Maps or similar
Be able to save my previous locations to create a map or route of where Ive been
Id like it to send the signal every 12 or 24 hours (I dont need it to update every step Ive taken)
USB port is preferable, as it would be compatible with my solar charger

Sorry if this post is confusing or unclear. Im a bit technologically challenged and I dont know the lingo of what Im looking for exactly.
Does anyone have any idea of where I can find such a product or if it even exists?
Im also open to the suggestion of an app that works with iPhones. Thanks!! :)

05-25-2012, 08:57
Spot messenger. But you do have to pay a monthly fee for tracking.

You get a web page where people can track your progress from anywhere in the world via the web.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

05-25-2012, 09:00
Take a look at the SPOT device. It is probably the simplest to use and integrates easily with Google Maps.


05-25-2012, 09:34
Carry a Smartphone and don't get caught up in the Spot device hype. Their whole marketing strategy is based on pandering on fear (IMHO).

So take a look then at Google Latitude?

Got an android phone? Look at MyTracks:


Of course the downside to all this is battery life.....

Might be better to explore setting up a free WordPress blog and doing a post by voice audio update every evening. The AudioBoo app let's you link and audio update via a Twitter account to a WP blog too. All for free of course.

Check out Postholer.com too. Seems like cutting edge journaling.

Lots of options?

By the way, when I thru-hiked in 2009 I never once saw a Boogieman. The safety concern is a normal reaction for the uninformed.


05-25-2012, 15:07
Thanks for all the feedback! Ill definitely be looking into your suggestions :)

05-25-2012, 15:25
I do have to respectfully disagree with our friend Spokes, the Spot and other devices like it are not about fear, they are about comfort. Comfort for our family and friends that we leave at home when we hike. We all have different needs when we hike, and if comfort for those you leave at home is not a concern, then something like the Spot is probably not needed.

05-25-2012, 22:58
EvaLaBam - take a look at the tracking map at the bottom of my journal (postholer.com/malowitz). I used an ap (Google's My Maps) that let me log my GPS location and upload a photo. You can see I got lazy for stretches, especially at the end. It worked well, plus I did journal entries from the phone and sent them to my blog on postholer by e-mail. Sometimes, I wouldn't have a 3G signal and I'd just try to log a location at some point during the day.

It is the same google feature you can use to create a custom map - say to show people a route to an event. Good stuff and it works well.

05-26-2012, 01:35
Track My Tour (http://trackmytour.com/BKGnn#93799) app (iPhone or iPod Touch with accessory GPS)

FAQ (http://trackmytour.com/faq/):

Waypoints are added at discrete points whenever you want to highlight a location or say, “Here I am.” This minimizes battery consumption since the iPhone doesn't need to be continuously left on.

This app works with the iPod Touch with a GPS accessory like the Emprum Ultimate (https://www.emprum.com/).

I use a Novathink solar charger and/or Kensington Mini Battery Pack and Charger accessory. Both have a mini USB.

05-27-2012, 01:49
Malowitz - Great journal! Im almost done with reading the whole thing, very entertaining and insightful! Your map is awesome too and I downloaded the app you suggested last night. Ive been plotting points at my jobs and home just as practice for now. How often would you say that you had a 3G signal while on the trail? By the looks of your journal and map, I can guess that it wasnt too much of a problem.

Connie - Thanks for the app suggestion, it seems like its exactly what Im looking for as I have yet to try it out. Im going on a roadtrip this summer and I think this will be just perfect. And wow, just WOW! I love your map. It looks like it was an incredible adventure, very impressive :)

05-27-2012, 01:56
Oops I just realized that its just a sample map, sorry!

05-27-2012, 13:34
Eva - 3G coverage would show up most days. I got lazy and logging wasn't as important. At night I'd write up the journal and if I didn't have 3G coverage, I'd just wait and send the e-mail later. I think the worst I had was sending 3 e-mails at once. I do wish I'd done a better job with the map - and kept the waypoints going the whole way. Craziest time was the Antlers campsite in the 100 mile wilderness - very strong 3G signal!

10-02-2012, 05:29
Click the little circle above the Street View man's head. Your location will be updated. Else use a different browser and try.

10-02-2012, 09:47
If they are just worried about safety just send them a text with your general location a few comments. It is easy for you, but more work for them. This is not the whole google maps thing, but it is cheap by weight and battery life. Texting takes much less signal than 3G.