Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => GPS & Digital Data Discussion => Topic started by: BikeFreak on September 20, 2011, 02:26:04 pm

Title: Problems with SPOT Messenger (GPS Tracker)
Post by: BikeFreak on September 20, 2011, 02:26:04 pm
For my Transamerica trip I bought a Spot GPS Messenger (

I bought the unit for one single purpose: Giving family/friends the opportunity to see my progress online in real time. Thus, I'm only interested in the Track button on the unit. The SOS, Help and Message buttons are of no interest to me.

I have tested the unit and it works really well (it is extremely precise), however something worries me:

I will be doing the trip in 2 months and I will be carrying batteries with me. In the night I will switch it off and that way a set of batteries should last 2 weeks. I will not be searching for any internet cafees on the trip, the unit should just be working fully on its own.

Then, when reading the small letters (something which cannot be read when just browsing their webpage) it turns out there are some #¤%& time limits on the messaging capabilities: Something about 7 days or 30 days, something about exporting to Spot Adventure etc. However this exporting does not work automatically.

The reason I'm asking for this, is because I want to be able to show the ENTIRE trip from start to finish (2 months of biking).

Has anyone dealt with the same problems and how were they solved?


Title: Re: Problems with SPOT Messenger (GPS Tracker)
Post by: BikeFreak on February 15, 2012, 01:31:07 pm
Update on the SPOT GPS device:

The good:
1. The device works and is very very precise. When using in the car, you can literally see what lane you are driving in.
2. You do not need any SIM card or any mobile phone coverage, it uses satellites only.

The bad:
1. When in town riding between +4 story buildings the device will not function properly. The walls are too tall and will cover the satellites.
2. The device will not work if you put your hand on it, however it will work if you put clothes above it.
3. The worst part: You family will only be able to see 7 days of tracking. The system is simply only able to show 7 days of tracking. When you reach the 8th day, the 1st day tracks are automatically erased. If you ride across USA your family will not be able to see the entire track from start but only as "a number of dots in the middle of somewhere".
4. To circumvent the limitations with 7 days tracking, the company "invented" You can export your 7 day tracks to spotadventures where all data is saved forever and is never lost. The problem however is, that the data points need to be exported MANUALLY to spotadventures and it needs to be done every 7 days!!! In spotadventures the data can be merged: That way the entire route from start to the present point can be shown. If you want to show the entire track, YOU need to find Internet hotspots along the route every 7 days (or less) and manually export the data points to spotadventures. If you cannot do it, you need to have somebody else (family member etc) do it by giving them your login details.
5. As an alternative to, the data points can also be exported as various other GPS data, like kml-files which can be used in google maps. However this also needs to be done manually and every 7 days (or less).

Final comment:
When you want to show your tour to family/friends, they need to use 2 links:

1. A findmespot link
2. A spotadventures link

and these 2 services do not communicate with each other, except when you alone export data.

If I had known about the 7day issue I would not have bought the device. The information about the 7 days on the webpage cannot be found - at least by me. However, maybe if you download the online manual (before buying the device) and read all the details with the small letters you will be able to pick up the 7 day issue. Maybe you don't care about the 7 days, but I do :-).

Title: Re: Problems with SPOT Messenger (GPS Tracker)
Post by: Leigh on October 07, 2013, 02:23:28 am
I found the 7 day limit frustrating too and developed a way to get around it.  I have set up the site for anyone interested and have been using it successfully for the past 6 months.