New GPS Device Promises to Save the Lives of the Adventurous

Dennis Faas's picture

Globalstar has launched a new GPS device specifically targeted at backpackers, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. In reality, the latest product could save the life of anyone trapped in a foreign and secluded area.

The Spot Satellite Messenger can trace the whereabouts of an individual at the push of a button. When help is needed, Spot sends out a signal that displays the longitude and latitude coordinates along with a prepared text or email message to loved ones and the authorities. (Source:

The only down side to the service is that there is virtually no way of knowing if your message has been received by anyone. Think of it as a virtual flare: you're basically hoping that someone will notice the flare (or in this case, notice the message) being sent.

The Spot Satellite Messenger isn't cheap either. The device alone comes with a $170 price tag; couple that with a $100 annual subscription and your paying well over $250 for a "just in case" service.

Like any other device, a number of additional services are also available a la carte. For an extra $50 a year, you can have the peace of mind knowing that someone will always be on hand to monitor your progress through Google Maps. The device will update your location every 10 minutes.

If you are also willing to shell out an extra $7.95 a year, you will have guaranteed "search and rescue" benefits. This works as insurance to cover the cost of having to use a helicopter or other machinery to lift you out of danger. While an improbable situation, if a helicopter is used on an uninsured traveler, they could find themselves tagged with a bill for well over $10,000! (Source:

Spot is specially designed to work in areas where cell phones won't function and will still be useful under environmentally extreme conditions: at elevations up to 21,000 feet and at temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The device can float and is waterproof, but is of no value if buried in snow (it requires a clear view of the sky to perform well).

Spot is currently being sold online at leading outdoor specialty retailer websites. With other personal locator devices costing well over $400, Spot can quickly become a viable alternative for all safe-minded travelers.

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