GPS Tracking / Location Map

Hello everyone! I’m hoping to get some tech savvy replies for a minor problem I’m having.

Every summer I kayak from Miami to Key West with a large group. For the last few years I’ve used Google Latitude (with GPS locations provided by my cellphone) to broadcast our location on a website so people could see real-time updates on where we were during the trip. As some of you might know, Latitude was retired last August leaving me with no way to properly track the team this coming summer.

Can any of you provide a thought on how or what you use to have people track you while paddling? Also, does your method provide a way to update a map online for anyone to access? I’m willing to pay for an app of some sort, but not looking for a subscription service - unless they would be interested in sponsoring our team.

Thanks in advance for all your input.


Creepy tracking software

Doesn’t Embed
I appreciate your response. I’ve seen Life360 before, but there is no way to embed a map onto a website that automatically updates the team location. I should have clarified that in my OP. While I agree that location tracking is somewhat creepy, in this case we do want the world to know where we are.

Where is that SPOT
Been around for a few years, revised, updated, evolved

Fitness apps
Take a look at some of the fitness tracking apps for smartphones. They are usually free and provide a whole host of info like distance, speed, average speed, route etc. The ones I’m familiar with upload to your Facebook page (you can create one of those specifically for your group) or Twitter account for everyone to see. Routes can also usually be emailed to whomever you want whenever you feel like doing it.

Two popular apps are:

MotionX and Endomondo

I’ve used MotionX for several years and just started using Endomondo a month or so ago and so far like it better.

Good luck and have fun!

We have one, and every day while we are paddling here in the Keys our adult kids in NC watch us and keep track of us and so doesn’t my brother in law who lives in Mass.

They can watch you on Google earth and see exactly where you are, if you are moving or if you are stopped, and there is a complete record kept with all your data

We were required to get one for the Watertribe 300 mile Everglades Challenge that goes from Fort Desoto to Key Largo, and now we wouldn’t be without it

Jack L

Spot devices are also required equipment for the three Yukon River races (the 360, the 440, and the 1000 mile). Set to track mode, it will automatically broadcast your gps location and time approximately every ten minutes. Anyone who you give your unit’s address can follow you in very near real-time online using Google Earth. Folks back home said that watching the race this way was “addicting”.

Compelling Arguments
Thank you! You guys have definitely provided some good insight for the SPOT system. I do like the availability for use on Google Earth - one of my favorite programs.

Of course, with the proliferation of iPhones, can the location be seen on an iOS platform independent of Google Earth (i.e. on a phone)? I’m not a big Apple user, but accept that many do love it.

Also, are you aware of the ability to embed a location map showing the position? My previous use of Google Latitude only updated when the page was refreshed, and the downside was that the location was simply a picture with the location. A user could not pan around or zoom out to get a better bearing on where we were. Also, there was no track line showing our direction.

They can zoom in and see the beach
or pan around.

It shows the position every ten minutes with a track inbetween.

It never ceases to amaze me when one of our adult children will call at night and ask why we didn’t go left around a certain Key or place instead of right etc, and then we explain because of low tide etc.

Jack L

Competitor to SPOT via Garmin

– Last Updated: Jan-15-14 4:18 PM EST –

I'm a fan of Garmin GPS via their "Garmin Connect"
and all that it does with my GPS data -

Take a hard look at Garmin GTU 10 and its capabilities,
software platform, and options. It may be more
suited to certain application than SPOT.

The GTU 10 is about the size of a mini candy bar.
Measuring 3 x 1 x 0.75 inches, weighs 1.7 ounces

A smartphone running Android or iOS
can use the Garmin Tracker app.

Found it! - Real Time GPS Tracker
Thanks again for all of your input. Considering this was going to be something that I wouldn’t be using all year long, I was going for a free option that wouldn’t be billing me every month or didn’t require a large up-front payment for gear that I would only use for a week. So here’s what I found…

Real Time GPS Tracker, by Greenalp. It runs on my Android phone, setup is simple, the app is highly customize-able, it’s not a battery killer, runs in the background sending updates while the screen is off, I can easily embed the map to my website, it’s an interactive Google Maps display, the map shows a trail of where we were, you can set a KML of the course you plan on following so people can see where you’re going, and of course - it is free.

The beta testing for our big trip in June has been going great and I’m very happy with this service. If you’d like to know more feel free to email me.



Castaways Against Cancer

My question about each of these devices
is this. I know the SPOT depends on Globalstar to send the data and in some locations on earth Globalstar is not reliable in my experience (for example along the arctic ocean in Alaska and Canada. Do any of the SPOT alternatives work without Globalstar?

SPOT above 60 degrees

– Last Updated: Mar-23-14 11:28 AM EST –

I've used a SPOT device on four trips down the Yukon River. It is required equipment on the canoe races, including part of the river that goes north of the Arctic Circle. I had no trouble with it sending out either manual location messages, or automated track messages at 10 minute intervals. The very few missed transmissions were when we were flanked by high walls in deep east/west canyon sections of the river.

In any case, the unit must be placed in a horizontal orientation, with a clear view of the sky away from blocking obstructions. Those racers who had SPOT tracking difficulties (and suffered time penalties on the races) thought they would work tucked away in a pack or stuffed in a PFD, contrary to the operational instructions all were given.

Trust me -

– Last Updated: Mar-23-14 2:30 PM EST –

there are some areas along the northern coasts of Alaska and Canada where globalstar is not reliable.

Also, my impression, without knowing, is that some of these devices (not SPOT), depend on cell service.

Its too bad that sat phones and sat phone service is so darn expensive.

Reading this thread had me searching around again to see if there is a reliable gizmo on the market that would permit me to send I'm Ok messages to my wife when I am on canoe trips. I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing that is truly reliable. The problem is this - if my wife is expecting a daily message from me and then she does not get the message because of a technical glitch this will increase, not decrease, her anxiety. I'm not willing to take this chance unless I am VERY confident that the chance of failure is virtually nill. I am not convinced that any of these gizmos - (except perhaps iridium sat phones) - have the reliability I need.

I expect these issues I bring up are not issues for many people, certainly not the OP. But others may be checking this thread out so I have shared my thinking.