Thursday, January 6, 2011

SPOT GPS at Disney and Running the Caminho Da Fé

I have been testing (successfully) the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger for use with Running the Caminho Da Fé.  The device will allow anyone to track our location/progress in near real time using Google Maps while we are in Brazil, utilizing SPOT's "Track Progress" feature.  A "Shared Page" will be set up for all to access - the Shared Page allows you to show your SPOT GPS locations to others on a Google Map.

How does the SPOT GPS work?  Once activated, SPOT acquires and sends your GPS coordinates to your SPOT account automatically every 10 minutes for 24 hours or until canceled.  Creating a SPOT Shared Page allows you to share your GPS route with your friends and family easily in near real time on the web through a personal link.  SPOT also has a Check-in/OK and Custom Message feature, both of which allows you to let your friends and family receive a pre-programmed message along with your GPS location with the push of a button.

The only negative I've seen so far is with the Shared Page, but it is not a big negative at all.  The default setting on the Shared Page calls for it to display the "Messenger Route" by drawing an orange line between each successive way-point recorded on the map.  Of course, this can lead to mis-reporting of the actual route as the line drawn is simply the shortest distance between the two way-points (which are taken every 10 minutes).  But, this feature can be turned off by each person accessing the Shared Page - simply right click on any one of the Track Progress messages on the left hand side of the map page and select "Hide Messenger Route," and that will do it.

Below is the link to the Shared Page that will be used for both the Walt Disney World Half Marathon (Saturday, January 8) and the Walt Disney World Marathon (Sunday, January 9).  I may even leave the device on as we roam through the Disney parks during the day, but at the end of the day on Saturday the Shared Page map will be wiped clean and re-start on Sunday morning (allowing you to see the Half Marathon and Marathon separately.

Note:  The link will not be "active" and recording location data until Saturday, January 8 at around 5:00 AM.

A new Shared Page will be created for Running the Caminho Da Fé (link to be provided later).


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