If you were ever thinking about purchasing the Spot2 Personal Tracking and Messaging Device
, now would be the time. The prices have been coming down from an msrp of $159.99 to $119.99 and there are a few great sales such as at Bestbuy
where they have the silver covered model for $59.99. I paid $115 for my orange covered Spot2 earlier in the year.
I have my Spot2 mounted ^^ with a Ram Spot2 Cradle and the flexible Ram Motorcycle EZ-Mount
. The Spot2 also comes with an armband as in the photo below.
Some have suggested that the armband is a better idea in case you should become separated with your motorcycle, such if youíre seriously injured in a fall and canít get to the motorcycle. However, in my view it comes down to how you intend to use the device and what you purchased it for. In my case, itís for those people who want to both know where I am and that allís well (or not) when Iím a long, long ways away on my motorcycle. I will be entering areas this summer where there will be absolutely no cell phone coverage.
Okay, what does it doÖ
Basically, the Spot2 allows you to do three things, all subject to a Service Plan:
1. You can send three different pre-written messages to (up to) 50 recipients through email and/or text messages by the simple press of one of three buttons on the device. You write the message, but the three buttons are ďCheck in/OKĒ, ďCustomĒ and, ďHelp.Ē Again, you decide what you want to say in the messages. When the recipient receives the message, they also receive a link to a googlemap with your exact location when you sent the message, plus the latitude and longitude coordinates.
2. You can have the Spot2 track your progress on googlemaps. In this case, you set up the tracking map in advance of your trip and provide those tracking you with a link to the map (the map can also be embedded in websites, blogs, twitter, facebook). The device transmits a tracking signal once every 10 minutes over a 24 hour period and each of those tracking signals are reflected on the map like a breadcrumb trail. If you send one of the three pre-written messages during the trip, the location of where you were when you sent the message will be reflected on the map as a pin-point.
3. In a life-threatening or emergency situation (a 911 matter), you can send an SOS message to an international emergency response center with the push of a button. They will, in turn, send emergency services to your exact location.
Spot provides the messaging and SOS service under a service plan that costs $99 a year. The tracking function is $49 a year. There is a free alternative, with less functionality, called SpotWalla
...this service is only good in the U.S and may provide all the functionality that you need. I will look closer at this free service after returning from my Canada/Alaska trip this summer.
From personal experience, I can assure you that this is not one of those devices (like my Garmin Nuvi
) with extremely complicated operating instructions. Most everything from setting up the account with Spot to the device operation are simple and intuitive.
Literally, once the account is set up with your messages and your contacts, itís a matter of pushing a few buttons on the device. Functions are reflected by flashing lights on the device. You know when itís on (the on button flashes green every three seconds) and when it off. You know when it sent the message you wanted to send (green light on a message sent button) and you know when it didnít (red light on a message sent button). You know when itís tracking (flashing green light on the tracking button).
Managing your activity within your account is equally simple. Every message is reflected on a page that looks like email. You can save, remove, and even hide from public view (for security concerns) any message. Note that a tracking message is a message, so if youíre making a tracking map public, you may want to hide your home starting point. Alternatively, you could wait to turn tracking on until you are some distance away from your home.
As mentioned, Iíve been toying with the messaging device for awhile, but it will get its first test in a couple weeks when I ride over to Junction, Texas. If youíd like to see a fairly boring rendition of the tracking map (Click
) which is me commuting to work yesterday on my KL and a few errands. Note that just like googlemaps (which it actually is), your trackers can zoom in/out, get satellite views, etc.