DoE groups for the use of...
I did my first assist for a Bronze training over the weekend, and the teams each had a GPS tracking device (a GlobalSat TR203, I think). The associated mapping website was a little slow to update, so it meant that groups couldn't be tracked very well, not that it was an issue in the end.
But I thought I'd ask if any other DoE assistants/supervisors/assessors have experience with this sort of thing, and could suggest similar products. Now I know this ought to be right up my street (and we have a road-tolling trial system at work that could provide something very similar, but it would need tailoring, and that would be expensive...), but google gives gazillions of hits, so I thought I'd ask first, before digging in deep myself.
The units were bought after some discussion with some part of the DoE, I think.
We had a couple of mapyx reps down to see see our unit and another gold dofe unit just over a year ago to demo mapyx with a tracking module for use with both spot and Teltonika GSM Trackers.
I was quite impressed with with the system, one of the guys basically set up the laptop connected to the web with a 3G dongle while another chap went for a walkabout with the various devices which tracked well. They even had an add on for mapx so a group could plot there route and it would produce there DofE route card and map and of course leave the leader with the route for each group so you could track there movements against on screen.
However I couldnt see any practical application for silver and bronze expeditions as generally they shouldnt be that far from civilization and for the regions covered by Gold, mobile let alown 3G coverage is non existant meaning a person would need to be situated in the pub or BB all day using there wi fi for tracking. The setup and annual subscriptions where pretty pricey as well although you can hire these devices out.
Thanks for the replies. I'd already suggested that any mobile phone can be tracked, provided you've signed up for access; there are plenty of services to do this, using TDOA triangulation within the GSM base station network. The issue with this is resolution in a sparse base station area, and the loss of postion if there's no coverage, but that's true of any system that uses GSM/GPRS to report position.
Smartphones with GPS and position sharing is another option, but the battery life is an issue.
The GlobalSat units themselves seemed to be perfectly good; the issue was with the reporting and mapping software.
I might have to look at the research system we have at work for road tolling, as I think this could be bent to our will...
The GlobalSat units have an SOS button, and allegedly allow remote monitoring of the microphone; not sure about the latter, as that would require a 'silent answer', which I think is problematic with voice phones, and requires a special 'data to data' (D2D) SIM.
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