Knowing that I would be traveling to the unknowns, and hence possibly getting a bit far out from civilization, I decided to invest in a satellite communication device.  I chose the DeLorme InReach Explorer.  It’s a nifty device that allows me to share my location and track online and SMS text message with anyone with cell phone, all without me having any access to a cellular or wifi network.  It also has a built-in GPS and maps, so I can plan routes and double check those against my bike’s GPS unit.

DeLorme InREach Explorer
DeLorme InReach Explorer

But perhaps the most important reason I decided to get the device was its SOS feature.  Using the Iridium satellite network, I can summon help to me nearly any place in the world.  Simply by pressing the SOS button, I am put in contact with a 24/7 monitoring service that I can SMS back and forth with about my situation.  If needed, they will arrange for emergency support services to be sent to my location, including plucking me out and sending me off to the nearest hospital in a helicopter should the need arise.  Iridium has nearly constant, world-wide coverage with its constellation.

Iridium Constellation
Iridium Constellation

One of the main menu items above on this page is, “Where is Brent?”  By clicking on that, you are taken to a GIS map with my location, my recent tracks, and latest messages from me.  From there, you can ping my location (if I have not updated in a while) or send me a SMS message right from the web-interface.  Granted, using a satellite-based system, I will likely not receive your message immediately, but it should never take more than 20 minutes or so.  Also, I may be sleeping or riding and be unable to answer immediately.  The bottom line is that with this device I can get help if I need it anywhere, I can communicate with you from anywhere, and you can locate me and follow my track, wherever I may be.


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