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So... I'm imagining a GPS device that has a direct link to GPS satellites, that pretty much can pinpoint my exact location anywhere on the planet, dually allowing me to drop pins and take notes. I feel like this device exists. Anyone have a link, or know of a device that functions this way?

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For one, I would say search "AVENZA MAPS".  Install the free app on your smart phone.  Works off the satellites and drop pins, notes, pictures....  Download topo maps, current and historical.   There are free ones and ones you can purchase cheap.

That is what I use.   There are others I believe.

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In Australia the Spot Messenger is very popular with hikers and prospectors ; you can pre set email addresses and phone numbers to send your gps locations to friends or your home address . When the email is opened google earth will launch and show your track over the time you have pre determined . It also sends either a range of preset messages  or  can  be customised to send a message of your choosing. The Spot also has an emergency SOS function that alerts search and rescue if needed . They are quite reasonably priced but because it is linked to a satellite communication provider a subscription plan needs to be activated prior to activation. In Australia the units retail around the $200 dollar mark and subscriptions plans start at around $150 .As the Aus dollar is worth about 70 cents to the US dollars it should make the Spot device around the &100 dollar mark over there.

Regard Paul.

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I would have thought that any Garmin/Magellan/etc unit would pin point your spot, allow you to make trail marks and notes, etc. 

I also use Avenza maps on my iPhone and find it very good.

BUT, if you are wanting to utilise it sort of as a EPIRB type unit that can also transmit a signal to someone to signal distress or just to ask for simple help or let your wife know that you'll be late then you'll need to look at the units similar to what orphirboy is describing.  There are several different examples of them around. 

Good luck with your search.  Google is your friend and I'll have a quick search of Prospecting Australia because I know this topic has been discussed several times. 

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2 hours ago, LipCa said:

For one, I would say search "AVENZA MAPS".  Install the free app on your smart phone.  Works off the satellites and drop pins, notes, pictures....  Download topo maps, current and historical.   There are free ones and ones you can purchase cheap.

That is what I use.   There are others I believe.

Thanks LipCa. I have heard of this. Never tried one, but I'm concerned about my cell phone coverage. It seems on the TV shows, some of the folks have this hand held device that looks to be operating outside of the the Cell Phone networks, as if they are linked directly to NASA or something. They are waaaay out in the brush where I know there is no cell coverage, yet seem to be using this device to pinpoint their exact locations. Any idea what those are?

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1 hour ago, ophirboy said:

In Australia the Spot Messenger is very popular with hikers and prospectors ; you can pre set email addresses and phone numbers to send your gps locations to friends or your home address . When the email is opened google earth will launch and show your track over the time you have pre determined . It also sends either a range of preset messages  or  can  be customised to send a message of your choosing. The Spot also has an emergency SOS function that alerts search and rescue if needed . They are quite reasonably priced but because it is linked to a satellite communication provider a subscription plan needs to be activated prior to activation. In Australia the units retail around the $200 dollar mark and subscriptions plans start at around $150 .As the Aus dollar is worth about 70 cents to the US dollars it should make the Spot device around the &100 dollar mark over there.

Regard Paul.

Thanks Paul... So what you're saying is that even though your cell phone provider has no coverage in an area you may be in, this other service can cover that are through your current cell phone no matter where you are?

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You're getting a bit mixed up I think N-Buddy.

Cell phone generally means you can make a phone call or send a text via the various providers that own the towers located all over the country.  However, once out of metro the coverage is patchy which I'm sure you know.

But, some cell phones are 'GPS enabled' meaning that they will get a reading from a satellite for mostly any position in the world - just like any GPS device.  Even if you are out of cell phone tower range.  Any of the latest iPhones, iPads, etc have this functionality.  This does not mean they are Satellite phones though - you can't make a call using that satellite reading. 

Then there are designated EPIRBs or PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons).  They have only 1 function - they send a distress signal via satellite to emergency services when you set off the beacon.

Then there are the SPOT type devices that will send some sort of message to pre-programmed emails/wife's mobile/neighbour, etc. These work via satellite not mobile towers.

I use Avenza maps on my iPhone and it works whether I have cell phone range or not as it works off satellites also.  It has absolutely no function for sending distress signals or otherwise.  It can make marks on the maps and I can name the marks, and it can make a trail, etc.  It is purely so I know where I am. 

Hope that makes things clearer :wink:

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The Spot type devices are not mobile phones as such but can deliver messages via satellite .The main advantage of these units is that they will send satellite messages  to your email address that contains breadcrumb style tracks overlaid on google earth that you can record and mark for later study and research. We have used these devices in Scouting for a number of years. Whilst the kids are out on three or five day hikes we can be at home and receive constant updates as to there progress . When I take the Spot out prospecting I can wear it all weekend and when I get home I can open up the email and see exactly where I have been over that time   I can even send icons with the message if I make a good find to mark it on the map separately to the breadcrumb trail ,I can then add google earth icons and name locations for later use.you can set the device to mark at  shorter pre set time intervals as well to give better resolution ,or lengthen the intervals to save batteries.hope this is helpfull

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