inReach Plays Critical Role in Locating Injured Hiker in West Virginia Wilderness

June 25, 2015

301 I Me on Bridge

Roger Munsey is an experienced hiker and backpacker with hundreds of hours in the backcountry. Last year he set out on a solo, multi-day trek in the Roaring Plains area of Monongahela National Forest in eastern West Virginia. Munsey was confident he packed everything needed to make the journey, including a handheld GPS containing his route, and a DeLorme inReach, which would later prove to be an invaluable tool in saving his life.

“I felt like I was completely prepared for my hike, mentally, physically and with the proper equipment,” said Munsey. “I had been on this route before in the spring of 2013 with a group from Ohio who were familiar with the route.”

Nobody could have predicted that he would be leaving the national forest in an ambulance on the second day of his trip.

The journey started off without a hitch. Munsey followed a marked trail into the wilderness, where he would eventually set up his base camp and spend the night. On the second day, things began to unravel quickly. After experiencing an equipment malfunction with his handheld GPS that rendered his route data useless, Munsey found himself navigating by map and compass to locate the unmarked trails he had planned on using that day. After completing only six miles of the planned eleven-mile day hike in seven hours, he finally found the marked trail and settled down for lunch.

A quick gear check revealed that Munsey had left his headlamp in his tent back at base camp, and the small emergency light on his neck cord did not provide enough illumination to navigate safely in the dark.

“I have to admit this made me panic a bit,” revealed Munsey. “So I packed up and quickened the pace, needing to find my base camp before dark.”

It was at 4:30 p.m., still five miles from base camp, when Munsey’s foot became wedged in some rocks and momentum carried his body forward, dislocating the subtalar joint in his foot. After spending 30 minutes of trying to splint his badly damaged foot and walk or crawl to safety, he felt a wave of shock coming on and decided that pressing the SOS button on his inReach SE was the best option.

“I assumed my ankle was broken since it was at such a strange angle,” recalled Munsey. “I was solo, it was mid-week, and I had not seen another soul since I arrived.”

Munsey received a near-instant confirmation message from the GEOS 24/7 emergency response coordination center, which, as he recalled later, was very assuring that things would be okay. Any bit of hope at that point was much needed, especially as Munsey found himself warding off a curious black bear while waiting for help to arrive.

“Even though I couldn’t stand up and ‘look large’, I waved my hands over my head, shouted, and barked like a dog. This has always worked for me in the Smoky Mountains, and it worked here,” said Munsey.

Three hours after sending the SOS signal, a US Forest Ranger located Munsey on the trail using a handheld GPS and the coordinates sent from the injured hiker’s inReach. Not expecting a rescue to be successful that night, Munsey was prepared to spend the night alone in the backcountry with no tent, sleeping bag or medical supplies, and what he presumed was a broken ankle.

“Trying to keep my mind occupied, I had been preparing a fire as a way to keep warm for the night, so a rescue before dark was too good to be true,” said Munsey about being located. “While we waited for additional help, the Ranger told me I was the most prepared hiker he had encountered and was very interested in my DeLorme device, and wondered out loud why he hadn’t been issued one.”

When the local rescue team, comprised of volunteer fire and EMS workers in the area, arrived at the remote location they took turns carrying Munsey down the path towards the trailhead. Once out of the woods, an ambulance transported the injured hiker to Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins, West Virginia – a 90-minute ride that provided ample time for the adrenaline to wear off and the pain to increase, as Munsey’s foot turned blue.

The ride also allowed Munsey to recount where all of his gear and possessions were located as he quickly travelled farther from his camp. “My truck was parked on a forest road that no taxi cab would take me to. My tent and a load of expensive gear were still at my base camp, about two miles from my truck,” said Munsey.

After borrowing a cell phone from a member of the EMS team to call his family and alert them to the situation, a member of the Canaan Valley Volunteer Fire Department agreed to locate Munsey’s truck and drive it to the hospital. Later, Munsey learned that the volunteer fireman had also hiked to the base camp, packed up all of his gear, and brought it back to the firehouse for safe keeping.

Once at Davis Memorial Hospital doctors took a series of X-rays and performed a very painful attempt to reset the dislocated joint, which ultimately was not successful. Munsey then learned he had to be transported to another hospital before more damage occurred. When the hospital proposed a helicopter ride that would likely cost thousands of dollars, members of the Randolph County EMS, Canaan Valley Volunteer Fire Department, and Harman Fire Department got together and decided to drive the injured hiker to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia themselves.

Doctors at Ruby Memorial were able to successfully reset the dislocated joint and, according to Munsey, the excruciating pain he had been experiencing all night had dissipated almost immediately. After a hard cast was put on his injured foot and he was given a set of crutches, Munsey was finally out of the hospital.

While dislocated subtalar joints are gruesome, painful and very hard to completely recover from, Munsey progressed incredibly well and has already returned to the trails. In April of 2015 he completed his first backpacking trip since the injury.

“Clint Eastwood said, ‘a man’s got to know his limitations,’ and I would add, carry a DeLorme inReach SE for when things go wrong,” said Munsey.


Going The Distance: Extending Battery Life While Using Earthmate for Mobile

June 23, 2015

Tips for extending the life of your smartphone battery while tracking and navigating with Earthmate.

One of the biggest concerns we hear from our customers is how Earthmate will affect the battery life of their smartphones out on the trails (or rivers, lakes and oceans).

Running a GPS navigation app can be a battery hog – but it doesn’t have to be. Here we put together a few tips that will help you extend the battery life of your phone or tablet while running Earthmate for Mobile.

PLANNING

1. Download your maps ahead of time
This will not only save your battery, it can prevent getting stuck without a map when you find yourself outside of a cellular or Wi-Fi signal.

This is as easy as opening the application to the main Map screen, selecting the Layers icon in the top-right corner, and pressing Download Maps. From there you can zoom into the general area where you will be traveling, press Next, select the type of map you wish to download, and pressing Download to save the map data on your device for use without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

Map Section 1 Android                                            iOS  

 

EXPLORING

1. Turn off cellular and Wi-Fi

When you find yourself outside of cellular or Wi-Fi coverage, your phone searches extra hard for a signal – draining your battery supply. Switching your phone into Airplane Mode is the easy solution for this problem, but it is important to know which features are disabled by this setting and which are left running.

Android: Airplane Mode disables cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while leaving the GPS signals running. Some newer Android models have been known to leave Wi-Fi running in Airplane Mode, so it is worth double-checking.

iPhone: Any iPhone running iOS 8.2 or newer will turn off cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while leaving the GPS receiver running. If you are using an older version of iOS, Airplane Mode WILL disable the GPS receiver – so you need to manually turn off cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in the Settings section rather than entering Airplane Mode.

Map Section 2 Android                                            iOS

** If you have paired your smartphone with an inReach, please make sure you manually turn on Bluetooth after entering Airplane Mode to maintain your connection **

2. Close all unnecessary applications

This one seems intuitive, however certain applications can run in the background without the users’ knowledge. Closing all unnecessary applications and disabling locations services for all but Earthmate will give you extra battery life to put towards navigating and tracking.

Android: Closing unnecessary apps on and Android is very straightforward: long-press the home button and swipe left to close the applications you don’t need running.

iPhone: Double-tap the home button and swipe up to close applications. To disable location services for applications you don’t need, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. From here you can individually change the location settings for each application. To prevent certain applications from running in the background, even after you swipe them closed, you need to disable Background App Refresh. To do this, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and turn off the applications you don’t wish to continue running in the background.

Map Section 3Android                                                   iOS

 

3. Only reference when needed

Having your phone open with the screen on is a big battery drainer – but what’s the point of a navigation app if you can’t look at your maps? If you are in an unfamiliar area with not-so-obvious trails we certainly don’t recommend relying on intuition and your inner-compass. That’s why we created Earthmate. However, the less you turn on the screen to reference a map or view your tracking, the longer your battery will last. Reduce usage to periodical references to get the most out of your smartphone battery.

4. Turn down your screen brightness

Lowering the brightness of your screen ensures that when you do need to reference the application, you aren’t using more power than you need to.

Map Section 4Android                                                  iOS

 

ADDITIONAL OPTIONS

1. Carry a backup charger

If you are on a multi-day trip and your battery starts to get low, you will need a recharge. There’s no way around it. The good news is there are companies, such as Goal Zero, that make affordable, lightweight and powerful charging packs for the off-road adventurer. These packs start as low as $39.99 and hold enough juice for at least one full charge of a smartphone. More robust models can hold multiple charges and even have solar panel accessories to utilize our greatest power source – the sun.

2. Turn off your phone and use only as a reference

This option is only for those who are in a very familiar area, or have another device or map to use as their main navigation tool.

3. Consider an inReach

Pairing Earthmate with an inReach is the best way to preserve the battery of your smartphone. The inReach holds much more battery power than most cell phones – up to 100 hours while tracking – and reduces the amount you will need to use your phone. Not to mention inReach devices use the Iridium satellite network, giving you 100% global coverage for tracking, messaging and sending SOS signals.


Turn your phone into a handheld GPS!

June 17, 2015

A Trek Across Maine example from Team DeLorme


With the Trek Across Maine approaching in just a couple of days I wanted to make sure you all know how to use our Earthmate app to turn your mobile device into a powerful mapping, tracking, and navigating handheld GPS… even if you don’t own one of our inReach Explorers!

Earthmate Banner

As many of you know, the inReach SE and inReach Explorer both provide access to our Earthmate app and offer messaging, tracking, mapping, and safety features to people who travel outside of cell phone range. The inReach allows you to stay connected with friends, family, and even search and rescue should an emergency occur. On top of that, the inReach Explorer model offers Navigation features including the ability to use waypoints and routes with the Map and Compass pages as well as the ability to view trip information while traveling.

We recently updated our Earthmate app to support these Navigation features and, as part of that effort, we included the ability to purchase the app all by itself. This allows users to take advantage of the Earthmate app for mapping, navigation, and tracking. It also gives them access to DeLorme’s Explore web portal for trip planning and for sharing activities with friends and family.

Since DeLorme is a sponsor of the Trek Across Maine and the event is coming up this Father’s Day weekend, I thought I’d walk you all through the process I took to set up my Earthmate app, plan for the bike ride, and share the information with friends and family. They will all be following along as my daughter and I ride the three day, 180 mile cycling event!


The first step in setting up the Earthmate app involves going to DeLorme’s website to make the purchase. The app only costs $29.95 if you purchase direct from us. It’s worth the price for anyone looking for DeLorme’s highly detailed topographic data for all of North America. We also include NOAA nautical charts for the U.S. and our detailed world base map. There is a required annual renewal of $14.95 that covers cloud storage and map updates so you’ll always have the latest topographic data from DeLorme.

After purchasing the Earthmate app I went to the Explore site and created an account for planning and reviewing my Earthmate app activity. Users create their account on the Explore site first in order to set up their account email and password before logging into the Earthmate app installed on their mobile device.

Explore Login

Once I had purchased the Earthmate app and created my account on the Explore website, I was able to download the Earthmate app from the App Store and install it on my iPhone.

image1 IMG_8071

After logging into the Earthmate app, I followed the instructions for downloading topographic maps for the state of Maine, so I could use them during the Trek.

IMG_8072 IMG_8074

With the basic Earthmate app setup complete I wanted to get the route and waypoint information for the Trek installed. I visited the American Lung Association’s website and downloaded the GPX files they had available. I used the Import feature on the Explore website to add the routes and waypoints to my account. I used the map tools to change the waypoint symbols and the route colors so that I could best use the Trek data during the ride.

Explore-Site

When I was finished, I opened the Earthmate app on my iPhone and was pleased to see all the waypoints and routes I just created were automatically sync’d and appearing on my map. Now how cool is that?!

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Now that I have added all of the Trek information to my Earthmate app, I am ready to use the waypoints and routes while riding from Sunday River to the sea!

IMG_8084 IMG_8086

I’ll be able to choose the Day 1 route from the Routes page and see the distance to the next rest stop on the Map page as well as the bearing to the next turn on the Compass page.

Map Compass

I’ll also be able to record a high detail track line showing exactly where I rode while also recording all of my trip statistics, so I can see my distance traveled and my average moving speed. The trip statistics show me the individual day’s stats as well as the stats for the entire event.

One of the most exciting features available with the Earthmate app and the Explore website is the ability to sync all of the information created during my ride back to the Explore site every ten minutes while I’m within cellular or wifi range. This means that any of our friends, family, or fund raising sponsors can follow along on our MapShare page to see how my daughter and I are doing during the Trek. Any waypoints I create, the route we’re navigating, and the high detail tracking data are all sent back to the Explore site to be displayed on our MapShare page. All I have to do is share the MapShare page link with people before I head out on the ride. When we’re done with the Trek we can check out our Explore site to see all our track summaries and use any new waypoints created to plan for next year’s Trek!

You can follow the Trek Across Maine and several riders including Team DeLorme by going to the Trek’s MapShare page. Note: The page won’t start updating until Friday morning when the riders all head out onto the route.

https://share.delorme.com/TrekAcrossMaine2015

Hopefully this Trek Across Maine example of how you can turn your phone into a handheld GPS has proven informative. You can imagine all the ways you can plan backpacking trips or sailboat outings or bird hunting adventures etc. Some of you might have GPX data to import while others will create new waypoints while you’re in the backcountry. If you have access to cellular coverage, your tracking data will upload right away. If you’re further into the wilderness, your data will be stored in the Earthmate app and uploaded once you return to cell range. Take it from Team DeLorme – wherever your next outing takes you, we’re sure the Earthmate app will prove useful!

Team DeLorme 2014

Thanks for reading along,

Chip Noble
Team DeLorme


Okay, for those that have made it this far… here are the answers to the top questions I’ve been seeing on the Earthmate app:

  • The Earthmate app is available direct from DeLorme for $29.95 which covers the first year’s subscription to the topographic and NOAA nautical charts.
  • After the first year there is a required annual renewal of $14.95 for the cloud storage of your data and to have continued access to DeLorme’s maps.
  • InReach Explorer users have access to all of the Earthmate app features as part of their purchase, there are no additional charges for them to use the features I’ve described.
  • InReach SE users can choose to purchase the Navigation features available in the Earthmate app for $29.95, they do not have to pay the annual renewal for the data since that is included in the SE configuration of the Earthmate app.
  • Be sure to use battery saving features like Airplane Mode to get the best battery life from your phone if you want to track your entire trip. I turn off any other apps that I don’t need and I turn off my phone’s display when I don’t need to see my map. Tracking will continue even if the app has been moved to the background.
  • I strongly recommend a rugged case for your phone, I use http://www.lifeproof.com, their cases are waterproof and ruggedized and slim enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Carry a battery pack for multi-day trips, it will give you peace of mind to track all day if you can charge up at night. I recommend http://www.goalzero.com and their Venture30, good size for the charging capability.

I’ll continue to expand on this list as questions come in from this post. Please check back or post a comment of your own here and I’ll reply.


inReach Helps Save Lives of Three Climbers Stranded on Alaskan Glacier for almost Seven Days

June 3, 2015

Satellite Communicator was Only Communication Channel with Rescue Team in Blizzard Conditions

DSCF0484Cahoon, Varney, and Still in the plane on their way to Mt. Marcus Baker.

When Conor McManamin dropped off his three friends for a weekend to climb Mt. Marcus Baker on a beautiful spring Friday, none of them could have imagined that they would be coming off the mountain seven days later in a rescue helicopter. What should have been a weekend climb turned into a week of trying to survive in a ferocious winter storm, which eventually dumped about 15 to 20 feet of snow on the experienced climbers.

McManamin, himself an experienced outdoorsman and pilot, gave his three friends – Sean Cahoon, Danielle Varney, and Ben Still — his DeLorme inReach satellite communicator as they were getting out of the plane on the 13,176-foot mountain, which is the tallest peak in the Chugach Range.

“The weather was actually really nice when I dropped them off. Everything looked good. They didn’t bring any way to communicate, so I gave them my inReach and told them we could stay in touch about the weather because there is no real good way of telling what the conditions are from town,” said McManamin. “It turned out to be worth its weight in gold for sure. They are all in agreement that if they hadn’t had the inReach they wouldn’t be here anymore.”

Cahoon, Varney and Still explained that they had wanted to do a “smash and grab attempt” on the mountain by setting up basecamp on Friday, climbing all day Saturday and then coming back down for pickup on Sunday. “A lot of people have done this, and we had researched it a lot. We knew we had packed the right gear and, just in case, had a few extra days of supplies. The forecast was great for the trip, but we did know that a storm was headed in on Monday,” said Cahoon.

Saturday morning, the weather turned dramatically on the mountain with zero visibility. Mt. Marcus Baker is heavily glaciated, making for very technical travel under good conditions, so the three climbers were forced to wait it out in base camp at about 8,400 feet.

“By Saturday night we began to realize the severity of the storm, so we began rationing food. Given our experience, we were not fearful – just resolved to wait it out,” Varney said. “So we started building up our snow walls since we had nothing to do at that point.”

As the winds picked up Saturday night and the snow piled up into Sunday morning, they texted McManamin with the inReach and told him that he wouldn’t be able to pick them up as planned.

Although the trio had built snow walls around their tent to keep it from getting shredded in the high winds, by Tuesday, more than 10 feet of snow had fallen and the winds had increased to about 75 to 100 mph. In the stress of the wind and weight of the snow, the tent was destroyed and they built a snow cave out of one of the existing snow walls to survive. The trio was using the inReach several times a day to send McManamin updates as the conditions worsened.

“By Tuesday night they were very tired and not able to sleep much. It was horrendous. They had to dig out every three hours to keep from getting buried alive. Late that night the tone of their texts changed and they told me that they thought they needed a rescue and would not be able to wait it out any more,” McManamin said. “I asked them if they were serious and when it was clear they were, I told them to trigger that SOS button. We could see exactly where they were with the coordinates from the inReach.”

“We dug a cave into one of the side walls and abandoned the tent to move into the cave around 11 that night. We had a group pow-wow, feeling good about the snow cave, but not about the worsening conditions. So we did as Conor suggested and declared an SOS with the inReach,” said Cahoon.

Once the SOS was triggered, the GEOS 24/7 monitoring center contacted local search and rescue. At the same time, McManamin knew people in the Alaska Air National Guard, and began relaying messages back and forth to the trio from the rescue team.

“RCC (Guard’s Rescue Coordination Center) launched a helicopter almost immediately in the middle of the night, but the chopper turned around at 3,000 feet up the glacier because it was a total whiteout. So then it became a lot of sitting and waiting and letting them know that the rescue was underway. (The climbers) had only planned on three to five days of supplies, so they were rapidly running out,” he continued.

Wednesday morning McManamin went to the Alaska Air National Guard base for the duration of the rescue to help coordinate with the RCC. They were turning off the inReach for several hours at a time to conserve battery life. “We were surprised, but it lasted all week. When I gave it to them it was 87 percent charged and when I got it back, it was around 19 percent,” he said.

From Tuesday night to Friday morning the rescue helicopter went out every two hours, trying to determine if the conditions had changed enough to permit a rescue. When it became clear that it was going to take a while for the weather to change, the Alaska Air National Guard also made four attempts to drop in gear and supplies to the climbers from C-130 planes. Impressed with the features of the inReach McManamin was using, a member of the Guard went out and purchased more devices at their local REI store and strapped them onto each of the gear drops to monitor exactly where the cases landed. Due to the winds, they were never able to get the gear close enough to the climbers to be retrievable.

“Our cave was getting smaller and smaller, and the entrance was getting longer and longer,” said Still. “So one of us had to be continually shoveling around the clock in half hour shifts. We kept getting wetter and wetter because it would warm up to about 33 degrees inside the cave and the snow would start melting. So we had to shovel in wet jackets and get plastered in a coat of snow at the entrance due to the high winds.”

As the feet of snow piled up outside the cave, more would blow inside. “It was really scary. We would dig and it would just fall back in again. And you couldn’t venture more than a foot from the mouth of the cave because your eyelids would freeze shut and the visibility was zero anyway. We felt so desperate to maintain the small air hole and we were losing the battle, and that was the part that was so horrifying,” said Varney.

Alaska Glacier Rescue4“Because our breathing hole was so far away from us, it got really hard to breathe in there as the oxygen was depleted,” Cahoon added.

Still bore the brunt of the air hole maintenance during the last two days of the ordeal, digging at first every several hours and as few as thirty minutes in the last 12 hours before rescue. “Because the air way was so far away we could not light the stove and melt snow for drinking water. We had to quit using the stove because we would get headaches from the carbon monoxide. So we collected water from the roof of the cave as best we could,” he said.

By Wednesday evening, the texts coming from the climbers had become dire when they were unable to reach the latest supply drop. McManamin and the rescuers were alarmed to get additional details from them about their lack of gear, the majority of which had been buried in the storm.

“They only had two pairs of waterproof bibs and they were sharing it as they took turns shoveling. The hours when they didn’t text me were nerve-wracking. But I kept telling them everything that was happening so they knew how hard the rescue team was trying to get there — anything to help them mentally get through it,” McManamin said.

Team decision-making and mutual encouragement kept the group going through the ordeal. “Everything just felt so desperate, no decision was taken unilaterally. Everything we did, from turning on the inReach to sharing a Gu packet, the decision was made together. We pulled together as a team and encouraged each other through it,” said Cahoon.

By Friday morning, the team knew that the window for finding the team alive was closing rapidly. When the helicopter set out that morning, the weather was still precarious but the team determined there was a small chance of success.

The pilot made an initial pass and found a place to land slightly above the basecamp. Two crewmembers skied down to the camp to check for injuries and make preparations with the trio to get them evacuated. While this process was happening, a cloud suddenly popped up on the mountain and instantly reduced the visibility, prompting the helicopter to take off momentarily and wait for a clearing again. In addition to the weather concerns, the pilot had previously dumped about a thousand pounds of fuel because he had been concerned about weight. But now, he became more worried about running out of fuel due to the unexpected weather delays. At that point, the rescue team had to make a quick decision to abandon the attempt or immediately execute it. The pilot landed again just below the camp and the team decided to proceed with the rescue.

“They had put snowshoes on us to make it easier for us to get to the helicopter. We were so psyched to get in that helicopter. We had no idea at the time how difficult the rescue had been. We thought it was routine and the conditions were so much better than they were. It’s probably a good thing we didn’t know at the time,” said Cahoon.

Several of the RCC crewmembers told McManamin that it was one of the most difficult pick-ups they had ever done. “I’ve flown a lot of people to the mountains, but it’s never ended this way. We are all tightly bonded now. The first week back, I talked to each of them everyday. If it weren’t for the remarkable technology of inReach, this story would likely have a very different ending. The ability to send and receive texts in severe conditions kept the trio in constant contact with rescuers to facilitate their safe extraction,” McManamin said. “We also threw the Guard guys a thank you party for all that they did – we all felt so close after the rescue. One of the veteran helicopter pilots said, ‘I’ve been doing this 27 years and no one has ever thrown us a thank you party’.”

Looking back on the whole rescue, the trio was so impressed with the performance and battery life of the inReach in the extreme conditions, they all went out and bought devices immediately. “Just having the ability to communicate with Conor when everything went wrong literally kept us sane. Every time we turned on the inReach and learned about all they were doing to try to help us, it kept us a heck of a lot more positive,” Varney said.

Following a brief stint in the hospital, the group was all discharged with very minor injuries, including sleep deprivation, dehydration and slight frostbite. Together, they lost almost 40 pounds in the seven-day ordeal.

“We pulled together so tightly and rationed everything. So after we were rescued, we were sitting on the floor of the helicopter, and they threw a whole bunch of bags of food to us. Candy bars, energy bars, and water bottles were just piled all around us. And even during that moment, we would open a candy bar, break it into thirds and pass it around. One of the crewmembers just laughed at us and said, ‘what are you doing? Just eat it!’” said Cahoon.


Four Kite Surfers Rescued in Antigua Thanks to inReach

February 26, 2015

Jeff Brock copy

Jeff Brock and three friends set out to complete a 170 km endurance kite trip at 7am on Friday, December 12th. The journey began on the island of Antigua and finished on St. Maarten. Two members of the team kite surfed, while the other two followed in a support boat. An inReach SE was used to track the team’s progress and send updates to Facebook periodically.

The run went well without a hitch, setting a record in just over 6 hours concluding a successful mission. However, no one anticipated equipment failure during the return boat trip to Antigua. At 9 p.m. the four men deployed their life raft when the boat suddenly capsized after taking on water. Huddling in a raft the size of a kiddie pool, as Jeff described it, they pulled out their inReach and sent an SOS distress signal. Within two minutes, they received delivery confirmation and began interacting with GEOS search and rescue monitoring center.

Director Jonathan Cornelius, with Antigua & Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) received notification from GEOS of the distressed boaters and dispatched a rescue team. While waiting for ABSAR to arrive, Jeff used his inReach to communicate details of the situation to the rescue team, and message his family. “It was incredible to do this [communicate via inReach] sitting at sea level basically under water in an uncovered raft full of water in the dark,” Jeff explained. “The device saved us, or at least got us rescued in record time. We were picked up in three hours and back on land in six hours.

At 1 a.m., the ABSAR rescue team reached the men floating next to their capsized boat. After all four men were on board the rescue vessel they immediately sent a message from their own inReach device the team carries to notify their headquarters, “4 survivors rescued.”

4 rescued

inReach tracking, messaging, SOS, and recovery… It has been the most handy device I have ever used.” – Jeff Brock

Video courtesy of Jonathan Cornelius, ABSAR Director.


inReach and Earthmate Updates

February 20, 2015

So, what do you do when you have single digit temps and 30+ inches of snow outside? You sneak away from work and go snowshoeing of course!

Weather-Forecast

NOAA Snow Depth

I’m heading out to climb Bald Mountain here in Weld, Maine, but before I go, I wanted to share with everyone the new features we’ve released in our latest inReach firmware and Earthmate app updates. I know I haven’t done a tech update in a while, so let me try to make up for it with a brain dump of all the cool things we’ve been working on. Please post any questions or comments you have and I’ll share more. Better yet, send me a message on my inReach and I’ll reply from the trail! Just click on the link to my MapShare and follow my climb. Click on my name in the Users list and send me a message:

https://share.delorme.com/chipnoble

Our latest updates to the inReach system are all about bringing the Explorer navigation features to the Earthmate app for iOS and Android. If you have an inReach Explorer and a mobile device, you should visit the Explore website and sync your device, then check your Earthmate app and make sure it’s updated.
I posted back in July about the ability to create waypoints and routes on the Explore website and sync them to the inReach Explorer:

http://blog.delorme.com/2014/07/18/why-you-need-the-inreach-explorer/

Here is the Explore site showing my planned hike on Bald Mountain. It’s not too long but the climb is steep and the snow is deep so it should be a nice outing.

Explore Map

I’ve synchronized my inReach Explorer, so you can see the Bald Mountain route and waypoints on my device.

IMG_7123

Now, the same planned waypoints and routes are synchronized to the Earthmate app, so you can see your trip on a topographic map and easily pick and choose from the Waypoints and Routes page lists. The Earthmate app Home page has links to all the available activities.

IMG_7126

The Waypoints page shows all the waypoints that were marked for syncing on the Explore site. The list is sorted by Distance, Name, Symbol, or Date. Creating a new waypoint on this page sends it to the Explore site via the inReach Explorer and the Iridium satellite network.

IMG_7127

Selecting a waypoint shows details including the coordinates, distance, and bearing to the waypoint.

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The Routes page displays a list of all routes created on the Explore site. Like Waypoints, this list is sorted by Distance, Name, Color, and Date.

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Selecting a route shows details including the route length and how far you are from the trailhead.

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The Map page shows all your planned waypoints and routes and displays Distance to Waypoint and Bearing to Waypoint details when navigating.

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We’ve also added a Compass page for those that prefer a bearing arrow and distance while navigating.

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The Earthmate app now has the ability to view the high detail track line the inReach Explorer records. This is my favorite feature, since I prefer the one-second logged track points over the 2-minute track points sent over Iridium to the Explore website. I can see the high detail during my hike, and then upload it to the Explore site when I get home to keep track of my trips. I’ll upload a screenshot of the high detail track line when I get back from my hike.
I’m going to head out for the climb now. Give me an hour to get my gear and drive to the trailhead. You can send a message now and I’ll reply once I get on the trail and start tracking. If you’re an inReach owner, log into your Explore site and update your firmware, then update your Earthmate app! We’re very pleased with this release and we’re confident you’ll be pleased too. I’m even going to offer a bonus challenge to anyone that’s read this far in my post: send me a message from your inReach device to my inReach device and I’ll send you a DeLorme hat or t-shirt! My inReach address is chip.noble@inreach.delorme.com.

Here’s hoping that you are all able to get outside and enjoy whatever weather you’re getting… cold or not!

Take care,
Chip Noble
Team DeLorme


In Our Customer’s Own Words: Thank You for Helping to Save my Daughter’s Life

September 16, 2014

Below is an unedited letter from an inReach customer following the rescue of his daughter via helicopter from a remote area of Rocky Mountain National Park.

September 8, 2014

DeLorme:

I’m writing to thank you for your extraordinary efforts that helped save the life of my daughter, Amanda Sandstedt. We were deep in the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park when she had a diabetic emergency that required prompt hospitalization. Our DeLorme inReach gave us our only hope for her survival and it performed textbook perfect, and so did the SOS dispatch personnel [GEOS].

We were alone at a remote location when her condition began to rapidly degrade for unknown reasons. Realizing that I couldn’t get her out on my own and that her condition required advanced medical attention, I used the SOS feature on my inReach and the iPhone Bluetooth feature and we were immediately in contact with your communications center. Through the efforts of your dispatch center, the Flight for Life crew, and some remarkable treatment at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, my daughter Amanda not only survived, but made a full recovery within a few days. The doctors and nurses at the hospital considered her recovery miraculous, as they initially did not expect her to survive. It was only through the efforts of all these people that she had any chance for survival, yet today we are at home and returning to our normal routine.

Several times I’ve started to write this letter to you, the Flight for Life crew, and the hospital, but it’s hard to know how to thank someone for the life of someone you love. I’ve thought about how our lives could have been horribly changed and then I thought about how our lives were actually changed, in the end, maybe for the better. Amanda is back at home, in school, back to work, and back to being full of life. She is doing very well. She remembers very little of the whole event, which may be a blessing. However, one thing she is fast learning is that our relationship will never be the same. 

I can’t thank you enough for the extraordinary efforts of your great people who dispatched the help that saved Amanda. As I think back about all the people’s efforts that came together perfectly to result in a happy ending to our Rocky Mountain trip, it’s clear to me what a miraculous story of survival this is. Her margin for survival was slim at best, even when she did reach the hospital. I feel very fortunate and blessed to still have my daughter who I love so much. Having her survive such a misadventure is a sobering reminder to me of just how precious each day is that we have together. It’s safe to say that I am forever changed by the experience. Seeing how quickly you can lose a loved one (or in this case, almost lose a loved one), it makes me want to hug each of my children every time I see them (although I’m not sure they appreciate the parental affection). I recommend the inReach to all my friends and especially to those who venture into the wilderness. I have used the inReach for several years, typically to check in each day and let my wife know where we are and how things are going. I never imagined that it would be the essential tool that would save my daughter’s life. By the way, the iPhone Bluetooth feature worked to perfection, providing a continuous text conversation where we could exchange information vital to Amanda’s rescue.

Below is a picture of Amanda, now at home and doing very well. I’m sure she’s not the first to be saved by this amazing device, but she’s clearly the most special to me. All the good people at DeLorme should take pride in the life saving communications that this device provides. I’ll be forever grateful for every day I have with Amanda and for each moment I spend with all my family.

Sandstedt Photo

Thank you for the life changing products and work that you do every day. I’ve learned through experience what an essential tool the inReach is – I’ll never leave mine at home. Thank you for saving a very special life.

— Chip Sandstedt

P.S.

Thanks again to you and the great people at the emergency dispatch [GEOS]. At a time when the stakes were very high, everything worked just like you’d hope it would. What a great tool to have for a trip into the wilderness.


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