Shannon Bushman – XXOffroad.com
On my recent trip on the Borneo Equator Expedition I took my SPOT device and many of you tracked me live on the SPOT adventure page. I sent regular “I’m ok” messages to my family and a few friends. I also recorded the trip on my GPS. Both of these were valuable tools on the trip.
At the 2010 CES show in Vegas, Delorme announced an interesting marriage with SPOT. I love SPOT, I think everyone who spends time outdoors should have one. I feel the same way about GPS devices. So I have great hope for this latest device.
The only thing I thought the SPOT device truly needed was the ability to send a free form message. The current SPOT device can send a few basic predetermined messages. Basically you can go to the SPOT websites and create a “Help” message and an “I’m OK” message. Then when you are in the field and press the “help” or “ok” buttons the system looks up the message you pre-canned and sends it to the recipient that you also pre-canned. This is not a bad system at all, just a bit limited, not very flexible.
Delorme and SPOT put their proverbial heads together and came up with an interesting solution. Basically they took a SPOT device, added the ability to “talk” to a Delorme GPS unit. The result is the Delorme PN-60w. The PN-60w will connect wirelessly to the SPOT Communicator and be able to send free form text messages to friends and family as well as to websites like Twitter and Facebook. They are also working closely with the folks at Groundspeak to deliver some very exciting geocaching features, including the ability to log finds directly from the field.
As a stand-alone GPS, the Earthmate PN-60w delivers premium navigation features including a 32-channel GPS chipset, blazing-fast dual-core processor, 3-axis electronic compass, sensitive barometric altimeter, elevation profiles, and GPX file transfers.
If you are into geocaching the Delorme PN-60w is the perfect device. It has a ton of new features specific to geocaching as well as a greatly improved user interface and the ability to download aerial mapping worldwide which I would have really enjoyed in Borneo.
It has internal memory and an SD card. Best of all it is setup to have virtually unlimited waypoints and tracking ability. The only limit to the number of maps is the size of the SD card. Since it comes with a world base map that is vector then other maps are an overlay style. The result is the ability to have an incredible array of mapping in a single unit.
Sometime in the fall Delorme will release a firmware upgrade that will allow PN-60w owners to exchange information over a wireless network between devices. So waypoints, tracks, current location etc can be exchanged. The idea is that you can find you buddies out in the boonies. Distance that the devices will communicate is expected to be around
a half mile.
All this sounds great but I have to wait until Spring to actually see one, they aren’t shipping yet. If I can get my hands on one I’ll post an update.
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