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Real time tracking for others?

Old 10-22-15, 04:19 PM
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KC8QVO
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Real time tracking for others?

Do any of you have apps or other set ups for real time tracking so friends and family can follow you on your rides/tour segments? If so - what are you using and is it reliable? What fees, if any, are there for the service, upgrade, feature, etc?
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Old 10-22-15, 04:53 PM
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I have had absolutely no desire to do this. I don't want people tracking me on my tours. If I want to let someone know where I am, there's Facebook and email.
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Old 10-22-15, 05:55 PM
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For the Paris-Brest-Paris last August (1,200 Km in <90 hours), it gave my better half much tranquility to see me moving on his computer/cell phone. We used RideWithGPS on both of our T-mobile Samsung phones along with WhatsApp for free instant messaging. Each of us had to pay USD $6.95 for RideWithGPS' basic service for the instant tracking. If you trace the route on the computer, it will automatically show up on RWGPS app on the cell phone. You then share the route with your friends (who must also sign up to RWGPS). It works amazingly well, especially if your family/friends track you from their computers. Since it was a short time, we only signed up for a month with RWGPS. Battery life is an issue but I carried 13,500 mAH power bank. It gave enough juice for about 48 hours of continuous use of my cell phone (cellular network, GPS tracking and even background lights on at night to make sure I was staying on course.)

There are satellite services like SPOT Personal Tracker, but it's a lot more expensive. This is a favorite among bike tourers venturing into remote places of the world with no cell phone service

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Old 10-22-15, 06:46 PM
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Thanks for the info. I just got the Strava app. I have not used it yet, but will on my next ride. The free version doesnt do the live tracking from what I can tell, but it got me curious. I see the Garmin units and app also that support live tracking I believe.

I am an Amateur radio operator (user name is my call sign) and there is APRS available with the radios for similar tracking abilities. Since I use my smartphone for tracking already, though, and 99% of riders are too I think Ill try to expand a bit there first instead.

I like the idea of people logging on to a website to do the tracking, as opposed to buying an app that only works on a mobile device.
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Old 10-22-15, 06:49 PM
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SPOT Gen3 - because not everywhere I go has cell coverage.
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Old 10-22-15, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I have had absolutely no desire to do this. I don't want people tracking me on my tours. If I want to let someone know where I am, there's Facebook and email.
Except when there is no cell or data service. There are uses for a SPOT device...
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Old 10-22-15, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bmike View Post
Except when there is no cell or data service...
And in those cases, I've let my immediate family know that there may be gaps in contact. I don't need to be in contact with them 24/7. If I go a week or so without contact, that's OK.
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Old 10-22-15, 07:56 PM
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I haven't looked at the SPOT's recently, but they are interesting. I did a presentation on communication devices when I was in college around 2008 or so and the SPOT was one of the ones I talked about; along with satellite phones, PLB's, and avalanche beacons. I'm sure a lot has changed in 7 or so years. Though, if I was going to get a device for remote emergency use I would get an ACR AquaLink View - a totally different purpose than the "tracking". Im not planning any tours that would be quite that "remote", though, so using a smartphone should be sufficient. I may go in/out of coverage in spots but I'm not biking in areas totally void of cell coverage. Backpacking and lake exploration, yes, maybe, but not my biking at this point.
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Old 10-22-15, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
And in those cases, I've let my immediate family know that there may be gaps in contact. I don't need to be in contact with them 24/7. If I go a week or so without contact, that's OK.
Good for you.
But that's not what the OP asked about.
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Old 10-22-15, 09:08 PM
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usually just send an email every couple of weeks or so.
if in a country or region with no internet, mail a postcard.
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Old 10-22-15, 09:16 PM
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I see the word fee's and think my friends and family can wait for my damn emails or sms txts.

Anyone know how the "find my phone" function works on a mobile phone?
I noticed it on my phone after an update recently

I know here in Aussie that both the Spot and the Delorme Inreach Explorer are popular but both have fees.

I'll stick with my ACR ResQLink PLB and iPhone for now.

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Old 10-22-15, 10:49 PM
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It is close to real time-I use Cyclemeter. Have used it for over 2 years. It emails who ever I designate at certain intervals of time, say every hour. So my wife knows when I start, when I stop for an extended lunch, and when I stop for the day, and quite a bit more in between. It gives her all the metrics of speed, distance travelled, where I am, maps, etc. The Elite version is $5/year. Works great with my iPhone 5S-as long as the battery is charged and there is cell service-although, even though I was in areas where there was no cell service, it still worked fine, so I'm not sure how that happened but it did. There are lots more metrics that I use and others that I don't. I also use it with the Wahoo RFLKT+. Kept the cell phone in my handlebar bag, most of the time.
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Old 10-23-15, 04:49 AM
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This past June I asked a backpacker that I met why he had the Spot. He said that his wife insisted on it.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:02 AM
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My SPOT was gifted to me from my in laws when I went off grid for a significant time. I pay for service. They bought the device. They like knowing their son-in-law and father of their grand kids is safe and has a slightly better set of options for rescue if **** hits the fan in the backcountry.

It's since been used to track randonneuring events, monitor my wife in a marathon so my kids and I could be at the finish to meet her, and used in general when I go out where cell service disappears.

I can choose to share the web address of my share page with anyone I want. So I'm not broadcasting my location to everyone on the web. Just those I want.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:38 AM
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Um, no. Not quite that ocd.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:40 AM
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I guess I don't have anyone that would want to track me in real time.... So no, I use email and/or text messages to let folks know where I am and how the ride is going.
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Old 10-23-15, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Do any of you have apps or other set ups for real time tracking so friends and family can follow you on your rides/tour segments? If so - what are you using and is it reliable? What fees, if any, are there for the service, upgrade, feature, etc?
Most of the newer cycling Garmin's 510,520,810, 1000 etc support Livetrack which will provide live updates on your location, speed, power etc. You need a bluetooth smartphone (Android or iPhone) and a data plan. I believe the updates are sent every 30 Secs so the impact on battery life of your phone is less than some other tracking apps that use the phone's GPS.

I have a 520 and have used Livetrack with no problems.
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Old 10-23-15, 08:08 AM
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I use TrackMyTour which allows me to submit waypoints whenever I want. I can keep them offline to save battery or when there is no cellservice. I can set the resulting map private or public. Other than having to remember to set the points, it is reasonably painless. My wife and family can simply follow me on the resulting map.

But, this is an auxiliary usage as I like to create a plot of the route I've ridden, which is my real reason for using this.

I believe the first 2 maps are free. You have to pay a one-time fee to save more than 2 maps.
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Old 10-23-15, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
And in those cases, I've let my immediate family know that there may be gaps in contact. I don't need to be in contact with them 24/7. If I go a week or so without contact, that's OK.
Seems like a reasonable approach to me (since it's the one I normally use), although I try to make contact every day or three. As my wife and father are two of those who just KNOW I may have just been run over by a logging truck, I understand the desire to make tracking automatic and easy for family. Nevertheless, I don't see feel the need to feed their paranoia. The last thing I want is a phone call when I've got gastric issues asking why I haven't moved for the last 30 minutes, or calling the sheriff because I stopped for lunch a nap at an overlook with no restaurant showing on the satellite map.
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Old 10-23-15, 01:32 PM
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The competitors in the transcontinental bike race in June had something in the way of a transponder .
https://www.bikeforums.net/long-dista...ey-re-off.html


My self I toured in Europe solo without The internet up and running Yet , I sent back the occasional Postcard.
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Old 10-23-15, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Do any of you have apps or other set ups for real time tracking so friends and family can follow you on your rides/tour segments?
Not me.

However, I have had interest from family and friends to follow along on the trip. There are a few things I've learned however:

1. Be careful about the expectations you set for contact. For example, on a trip across Canada, I had my rear rim break. I was in nearby Laird River area with nice lodge and nearby hot springs, so I was fine. However, pay phone access didn't quite work to post my internet connections so folks didn't hear from me for eight days. Be careful in relying on some technology because if e.g. batteries are down or some other reason you aren't making contact - then you don't want folks to get unnecessarily worried because you set expectations that didn't include technology failure or lack of coverage somewhere.
2. Be careful on messages sent out, particularly if the issue might be transient. For example, in the moment a looming thundershower or mechanical issue might seem like the most important issue. If that goes into your update that way - you might resolve it fairly quickly but with limited contact it might still linger concerns far beyond that initial message, e.g. you might not even remember it was a concern by time you send a followup update.
3. Decide up front how much effort you want to put into providing updates - since you might find yourself doing it for the entire trip.

With that in mind, I haven't used a real-time SPOT type tracking update. I figure those are for bears, not for people .

What I have done, is use a periodic text message update (sometimes with GPS coordinates encoded) or a blog post or email post. On trip across Africa it was surprising how well cell phone network worked so I had ability to update blog with short "wordpress for Android" updates. I set expectations of "this is Africa, expect gaps of up to two weeks between contacts" and then ended up over-achieving with a more frequent short update.
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Old 10-24-15, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Seems like a reasonable approach to me (since it's the one I normally use), although I try to make contact every day or three. As my wife and father are two of those who just KNOW I may have just been run over by a logging truck, I understand the desire to make tracking automatic and easy for family. Nevertheless, I don't see feel the need to feed their paranoia. The last thing I want is a phone call when I've got gastric issues asking why I haven't moved for the last 30 minutes, or calling the sheriff because I stopped for lunch a nap at an overlook with no restaurant showing on the satellite map.
+1


That ... and really ... who follows other cyclists that closely?

I can see it for randonneuring events like the PBP that last for 3.5 days, and you're excited for certain cyclists you know, so you follow their progress to the end.

But a casual tour that lasts several weeks? Nah. Personally, from a "friend or family" perspective, I'd rather just see a collection of photos posted every once in a while on FB saying, "This is where we've been and what we've seen".
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Old 10-24-15, 11:24 AM
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You know what's great? There are so many ways to stay in touch with folks an share what we are doing out in the world.
You know what else is great? There's no right or wrong way to ride a bicycle on a tour.

If you want to fall off the radar for weeks on end - great.
If you want to only share your photos via a data hogging privacy sucking corporate controlled website like Facebook - that's great too.
If you use an app or a phone and tweet or track or send your location to friends and family or the whole world - that's also cool.
If you buy a device that sends out a tracking ping when you tell it (SPOT check in) or a tracking ping at a set interval - that's cool too.

You know what sucks? Telling people they are doing it wrong when thy specifically ask for experiences with tracking apps or devices.
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Old 10-24-15, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Do any of you have apps or other set ups for real time tracking so friends and family can follow you on your rides/tour segments? If so - what are you using and is it reliable? What fees, if any, are there for the service, upgrade, feature, etc?
This may not be the exact type of thing you're after (it's not map-based, yet), but a while back I added the ability to post SMS (text) updates to your journal over on crazyguyonabike. The idea was that often you'll have basic coverage on your cellphone that will let a text message get through, even if you don't have full data. Oftentimes, all people really want is a quick "I'm ok", and you could also include a short description of where you are if you feel like it. More here:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/webs...p/#sms_updates

Originally Posted by bmike View Post
You know what sucks? Telling people they are doing it wrong when thy specifically ask for experiences with tracking apps or devices.
+1
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Old 10-25-15, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
usually just send an email every couple of weeks or so.
if in a country or region with no internet, mail a postcard.
My mother would have the cops out searching all over the place if I didn't send an email every day or two...even when I'm at home. You're one lucky dude.
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