DeLorme and SPOT—Handheld GPS Meets Satellite Communication

Since word of our upcoming announcement is already trickling out, I thought I’d share a few details along with the press release that will be available at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

SPOT Communicator

As you may have heard, DeLorme has partnered with SPOT to release a new PN-Series GPS device that will use the SPOT satellite system to communicate text messages from remote locations where cell phones don’t have coverage. The PN-60w will connect wirelessly to the SPOT Communicator and be able to send free form text messages to friends and family as well as to websites like Twitter and Facebook. We’re also working closely with the folks at Groundspeak to deliver some very exciting geocaching features, including the ability to log finds directly from the field!



Both companies have been hearing from users looking for a GPS with great maps and the ability to share location information with others and we’re thrilled to be making this request a reality. Users will be able to create text messages and send them to e-mail or cell phone addresses. They will also be able to update social networking sites or use the SPOT Adventures page to share their messages. Along with text messaging, users will have access to standard SPOT features like Tracking and SOS Emergency Assistance. I have been testing the SPOT devices for a while now and have been very impressed with the ability to send a pre-canned “All Okay” message to my family while in the woods or let my friends track my progress on a multi-day cycling trip. During the Trek Across Maine I sent Check In messages at each rest stop and also used the Track Progress option to send my location to our SPOT Adventure page every ten minutes while on the ride. Fortunately, I haven’t had to test the SOS feature, but the “Peace of Mind Wherever You Go” slogan has really held true when I’m in the North Maine Woods, well outside of cell phone coverage. We’ll be taking the current SPOT messages to the next level by allowing users to type in their own free form messages from the field.

Hardware Updates

Along with the great satellite communication capabilities provided by the SPOT Communicator, there are additional hardware improvements coming with the PN-60w. The new device will have significantly improved battery performance using an ambient light sensor to control backlight intensity along with other measures as part of our redesigned power management system. The PN-60w also provides 3.5 GB of internal memory available for storing maps, waypoints, geocaches, tracks, and routes.

 New Interface

There are several new and exciting software features coming with the Earthmate PN-60w too. We’ll be releasing a new interface that gives the PN-60w a stylish look and improves menu navigation. The icon based main menu will provide easy access to each page on the device while streamlining the sub menus used to access individual page details.

Profile Page

There will be a new Profile page for viewing elevation data from tracks, showing where you’ve been and where you’re going. The active track can be profiled to show an elevation graph of the ground you’ve covered so far on your trip. Profiling a saved track while you’re traveling along that same path will show your GPS location on the graph—letting you know how far you’ve traveled and how far you have to go before the next summit. I was able to use the Profile page quite a bit before the end of the cycling season and actually got to demo it for George Hincapie and David Zabriskie during the Dempsey Challenge, a Maine cycling event for Patrick Dempsey’s Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. It was very exciting to see the enthusiasm for the feature and to know exactly when those hills would be over during the 100 mile ride!

Active Track Profile Detailed Profile

SD Card Storage

The PN-60w will read GPX files from the SD card as well as internal memory, allowing virtually unlimited waypoints, tracks, and maps. Users will be able to create waypoint, geocache, and track layers to better organize their GPS data on the device. I’ve loaded all of my waypoints for my different activities and am able to quickly change between waypoint collections when I need to see locations or mark a new coordinate. It’s been a great improvement in organization alone—I’m now able to view only the waypoints around camp rather than every point I’ve ever created. I’ve also been able to organize all of my geocache pocket queries. I have four pocket queries with 500 geocaches in each list; that’s 2,000 geocaches. I switch pocket queries based on where I’m located and who I’m caching with. It’s great to be able to pull up the “Kid friendly caches” list when I’m out with my nieces but go back to the “Caches with travel bugs” list when I’m looking to trade a Team DeLorme coin!

Worldwide Aerial Imagery, World Vector Base Map, and Canadian Topographic Maps

While I’m talking about the new hardware and firmware features I also need to mention some very exciting data features that will be appearing at the same time as the PN-60w and SPOT release. DeLorme will be creating a new map subscription level through NetLink offering aerial imagery for the world along with the ability to purchase sections of our new world vector base map. This will allow subscribers to download high detail aerial imagery like that used by Google and Microsoft for anywhere in the world and then combine that imagery with 1:250K worldwide vector map data.

World Data - Netherlands

For those interested in Canadian data, we’ve already released our 1:50K Canadian Topo Sheets dataset that provides topographic maps to go along with the street level detail found in Topo USA. Adding the worldwide aerial imagery subscription will provide a great variety of maps for those looking to explore in Canada.

Canadian Maps

Wireless PN-60w Networks

The last feature that I’d like to share will be delivered to PN-60w users through a firmware update in the fall. The “w” in PN-60w stands for wireless, as illustrated by the wireless connection to the SPOT Communicator. It also stands for wireless because users are going to be able to create wireless networks with other PN-60w owners and see everyone’s locations on their device. Current testing has shown an average range of around half a mile with results varying by terrain and line of sight. We are very excited to do more testing with this new functionality as it will be a great way to keep track of friends while fly-fishing or teammates while cycling! Friends will be able to see each other in real-time while skiing or snowmobiling. We hope that anyone with the need to see the location of others in their group will take notice of this new feature when it becomes available. Along with being able to see the location of other PN-60w users, it will be possible to exchange waypoints, tracks, and routes through the wireless network—allowing users to share geocache locations or a mountain bike trail with friends at the trailhead.

My apologies for writing such a long post but there was a lot to share! This is the biggest project I’ve worked on in my 12 years at DeLorme and it’s been hard for all of us to keep things quiet this long! There will be a lot more information shared as we approach the May release date of the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator. Feel free to post any questions you might have here or on the DeLorme forum. You’ll find details on our CES Press Release as well. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our upcoming release!

Chip Noble
Team DeLorme

133 Responses to DeLorme and SPOT—Handheld GPS Meets Satellite Communication

  1. Nick N says:

    Wow! I am amazed at what you guys have done for the next PN! That is amazing and I cannot wait to have mine! I am so thankful my birthday is in May so that I have an exuse to buy it. Great work and look forward to more news about this and cant wait to have my own..

    Nick from Maryland

  2. Jeff Doran says:

    I see this device as a useful tool for general aviation pilots. I need the ability to send text messages from the cockpit when out of range from cell towers.
    Will this be a subscription based service from the spot (globalstar) people?
    Jeff

  3. Chip Noble - Design says:

    This will be an additional subscription level like Tracking for those familiar with the SPOT subscription plans. Thanks for the question! -Chip

  4. Pete says:

    This is great news. Look ike you guys are really upgrading the PN Series. Will this new interface be available on the PN30,PN40 threw a firmware upgrade?

  5. DeLorme says:

    The new interface is for the PN-60 only.

  6. Cass says:

    Looks great! So many new features coming in on the product to look forward too. I especially like the ability to store and retrieve GPX files from the data cards.

    Will the wireless be able to link to standard WiFi? I’m thinking data transfer without cables here. Mounting the device as a drive on my PC or a device on my network via WiFi would be interesting.

  7. Ray says:

    I have always been interested in SPOT, but the reviews have been mixed. Its usefulness in remote areas, tree cover, and narrow canyons have been the major complaints. I have purchased every PN GPS and I guess I will upgrade again. I hope you guys have taken into consideration the negatives from the SPOT reviews and improved on them.

  8. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Unfortunately our ultra-low power, long range network isn’t going to be able to handle the large map package sizes so you will still need the data cable to connect to your computer. -Chip

  9. DeLorme says:

    Pricing information: PN-60 (no wireless) $399, PN-60w $449, SPOT Communicator $169, PN-60w and SPOT Communicator bundle $549.

  10. pk says:

    Can you provide hardware specs, i.e., size, weight, etc?

  11. Bill says:

    The CES press release link does not work right now.

    I have a bit of skepticism about the SPOT Communicator. Since SPOT depends on the Globalstar satellites, SPOT does not get coverage beyond 80 deg latitude both north and south. Plus, since Globalstar is a “bent pipe” system, they are dependent on ground stations. There are large parts of the land masses of the Earth, plus most of the ocean area, where Globalstar, and thus SPOT has no coverage (look at the coverage map on the findmespot.com website). It will probably work just fine (with the well-known limitations that SPOT users have posted a lot about referred to by Ray, above) in North America, Europe, Australia, and some other areas. But much of southern Africa, for example, is not covered.

  12. Jamie Z says:

    I didn’t see much about how the text can be entered for a tweet to SPOT and beyond?

  13. Ray says:

    Agree Bill,

    There are also an annual expense to use the SPOT services. Basic starts at $100 and additional services are more. Delorme needs to explain all of the “hidden” costs involved in using the new PN-60 and SPOT Communicator.

    MacWorld has some basic information from CES.

    Amazon has a May 1 release date and no discount on the 549 price. I assume it will be lower once we get a release of the product.

  14. Chip Noble - Design says:

    From the SPOT Page, just select “Check-In” and type the message using the on-screen keyboard. Once your finished typing send the message and the SPOT Communicator will transmit the message through the satellites to your intended recipient. -Chip

  15. Chip Noble - Design says:

    I’ve done extensive testing with the SPOT and SPOT 2 devices and found them to be very reliable when following the instructions provided by SPOT. For best results the device needs a clear view of the sky, that’s stated in the owner’s manual many times. The SPOT device also needs to be oriented to face up toward the satellites, just like best use recommendations for our GPS device. The SPOT 2 device is definitely better than the original SPOT, lots of improvements were made in that model revision and we’ll definitely be getting that system in the SPOT Communicator. They are also continuing to grow and improve their satellite system so I have no concerns about the DeLorme PN-60w and the SPOT Communicator. Now that everything is out in the open I’ll start sharing some of my test cases… cycling across Maine and bird hunting through the thick cover in northern Maine. My tracking results were very good, you just have to make sure you are following the SPOT recommendations. Thanks for the comment Bill, there will be a lot more on this topic as we move through the testing process, I’ll be sure to post results for people to check out. -Chip

  16. Chip Noble - Design says:

    I’ve gone over this a lot to see how it feels… The PN-60w is $449 and the SPOT Communicator is $169. If you buy them together you’ll save $69 and get it for $549. A one year subscription to the SPOT service is $100 and the tracking feature is an additional $50. The text messaging cost hasn’t been determined yet but we’ll assume it’s in the ball park of the tracking feature. That puts us at $200 annual or about $17 a month. Having done my fair share of backwoods activities, I’d consider that a very reasonable subscription cost to be able to let friends and family know that everything is okay or let emergency response know that everything isn’t… So there’s the big number: $750-ish start to finish but that’s text messaging via satellite communication from your handheld GPS. Shouldn’t be anything else “hidden” now… It was a good question though Ray, thank you. -Chip

  17. Randy says:

    What are the differences between the PN-40 and the PN-60? Not the W.
    Thanks

  18. Jason says:

    Looks very interesting.

    What is the range on the 60w’s wireless functions? Any chance of there being a dog GPS that you could also track on the unit (think Garmin Astro).

  19. Ray says:

    Thanks Chip, informative as usual. You are convincing me that I should start saving my money now. Keep us posted on the Forum or Blog about your testing.

  20. BobbyD says:

    I have a PN-40 and a SPOT device. I like both. I like the fact that you are combining them. Will Delorme or SPOT have a trade-in program for the PN-60?

  21. Bill says:

    There are still a couple of problems that the SPOT Communicator will not overcome, though the SPOT 2 technology was a big improvement over the original SPOT (despite the recall of the SPOT 2s). As you mention, Chip, the manuals for Delorme’s GPSRs and the SPOT devices do talk about the canyon and canopy limitations. The canopy problem is much reduced, though it hasn’t gone completely away (when the L3 and L5 capabilities get implemented in consumer units, that should help a lot). Canyon problems are another situation – you can’t get truly clear views of the sky in a canyon, whether natural as in mountainous areas or manmade, as in cities with tall buildings (I wouldn’t be using the Communicator in a city anyway, so that’s moot). More serious, as I mentioned, SPOT is inherently limited by the Globalstar satellite coverage to latitudes between +/- 80 deg – they do not and will not have satellites to cover that area, due to limits on available orbits. While that will not affect the vast majority of potential users, it does affect those of us who spend time in Arctic and Antarctic regions. The limitations imposed by the “bent pipe” architecture are another matter. Eventually, there may be enough ground stations to deal with this on land (though probably not on remote islands – I note that the coverage map has Hawaii in the “reduced or no coverage in a 20 minute period” area). Potentially, Globalstar could link to someone else’s satellites to cover the oceans, but this would require a significant change from their present architecture. Right now, though, there are several areas which I will be in during the next year that fall in the “reduced or no coverage” or “no coverage” areas, namely East Africa, Patagonia, and Easter Island. My PN-40e or a PN-60w will have no problems, just the SPOT of whichever model.

    Again, though, these limitations are not significant for the majority of potential users. The backwoods of Maine, for example, are no problem even now, as long as you stay out of the deep ravines.

    I am overall quite happy with my PN-40e, by the way, as well as the Delorme Street Atlas and TopoUSA, both of which I have continued to update for quite a few years now.

  22. Chuck S says:

    Will the PN-60w have a satellite status page showing the globalstar satellites? Since the spot needs to be pointed in the direction of the satellite, this could be helpful and should increase the likelihood that the communication would be successful. I’ll be purchasing a PN-60w when it’s available. Good work! Chuck

  23. Reinier says:

    The 2010 model of the SPOT uses a new kind of GPS receiver in comparison with the model of 2009 which indead suffered from GPS fix problems.

  24. Rodney Cyr says:

    The PN60 weblog mentions world imagery and vector data downloadable via Netlink. Will this data also work in XMap 6.2 and in a PN-20, 30, or 40?

  25. RRLover says:

    @ Bill :
    What is a PN-40e; a typo on PN-40SE?
    @ Chip, & Delorme et al :
    I’m following, these new features with breath abated.
    I would really like to know more about the trickle down
    for the other PN devices that are “in field” now, as well as
    what’s in store for every device in the next release of Topo.

    Thank-You,
    Norm

  26. Jeff Powell says:

    I am glad to see the Canadian maps! This was one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want to go forth with my purchase of the PN-40 despite all the positive reviews. I ended up purchasing it without this knowledge due to a promise of maps coming in the future and found out a short while later that they were already out! I am really glad to hear about the aerial imagery. From what you have said its targeted for a May release (the aerial imagery) with netlink. Is this correct? If so I would be easily persuaded to buy a netlink subscription in a few days.

  27. Roger Long says:

    Chip.

    Please tell us whether the customized messages are sent from the SPOT device though the satellite system or if they are first transmitted through the cell phone system to the SPOT servers to be activated when the “Check-In” signal is received via the satellite system.

  28. Bill says:

    What?!!? Me make tepos, er tipos, er typas. Yeah, ok, typing in a rush, it’s a PN-40SE. Too bad I can’t go back and edit that.

  29. Jameson Finney says:

    The location sharing feature on this product especially interests me. I am curious, do units only place group members on the map who can be directly received, or does each unit also share location information for neighboring group members? I’m not sure how clear my question is, so using the image above, if Joe, Bridget, and Rob, and the demonstration unit can all see each other, but Lindsey can only see the demo unit, is Lindsey provided with Joe, Bridget, and Rob’s location information by the connection through the demo unit? Or does Lindsey only see the location of the demo unit.

    Thanks.

  30. Jeff Moersch says:

    As an owner of two of the original Spots as well as a PN-40, I normally would be pretty excited about this. But a word of caution about Spot: Buried somewhere in the subscirption contract is an “auto-renewal” provision that re-subscribes you every year unless you call them to cancel it. In my case, my credit card expired before the auto-renewal occured, so the charge didn’t go through. I got an e-mail from Spot telling me this and saying that my subscription would be cancelled if I didn’t provide new credit card information. I was ok with that, though, because I had no new expeditions planned for the next few months. I figured it was like a magazine subscription where they just stop sending the magazine if you don’t pay the invoice. Nope. It’s more like those Time-Life book series or CD of the month clubs, where they continue to charge you unless you explicitly tell them you want to cancel. I ended up with $300 of subscription fees I didn’t know about because I thought my service would just expire. Had they put something about this in the e-mail about the failed attempt to charge my credit card, I would have called to cancel, but they didn’t. I ended up paying off the charges to protect my credit rating and then immediately cancelled my subscriptions because I just don’t like companies that do business this way.

    So, bottom line, very neat product idea, but potential subscribers to Spot’s service really need to read the fine print in their contracts, lest they get trapped like I was.

  31. Tim says:

    Jeff, my initial gut reaction was similar when I saw the auto charge. But then I realized it was probably a blessing in disguise. The SPOT isn’t a toy, it’s a lifeline. And the last thing I’d want is for the darn thing to not work in an emergency because I forgot to renew. So I appreciate that they auto-renew. When I decide I don’t want the service anymore I’ll cancel, but until them I’m glad they auto-renew.

  32. Jeff Powell says:

    Good question! If Chip’s terminology of network hold true than I think it may be able to do that! If not then isn’t it just point to point or node to node. Sounds like that wouldn’t be a network…

  33. Tim says:

    Roger, they go directly to the communication satellites. There is no cellular network involved.

  34. Tim says:

    Jameson,

    Your latter assumption is correct. Imagine a runway three miles long with people spaced at half mile intervals. Since it is a mesh network people at opposite ends of the runway should be able to see each other on the map even though the distance between furthest people is outside the theoretical range. So the network operates as a mesh rather than hub & spoke.

  35. Ben says:

    I understand that the new UI will not trickle down to the PN-40.
    Any chance that the “new Profile page for viewing elevation data” would be included in a future update (using PN-40′s UI)?

  36. Jeff Moersch says:

    Tim,

    The Spot people made the same case to me, that it is a safety issue, and I accept that with respect to the terms of the agreement. The problem I had with them was that they didn’t make this clear to me in the e-mail they sent about the charge to my old credit card not going through. The e-mail simply said “Please contact customer service [...] to update your credit card information to ensure continued service by [date].” I took that to mean that if I didn’t call with an updated credit card, my service would be cut off, which is what I actually wanted. All they would have had to do was to include a line in the e-mail saying that I was responsible for the charge unless I called immediately to proactively cancel the service. Yes, it probably did say something like this in the original contract I signed, but that was a year earlier and it was probably buried in the fine print. Just a simple reminder of how their system is set up in that e-mail about the out-of-date credit card would have made all the difference as far as I was concerned. I would have canceled then and waited for the new Spot 2 (or the PN-60 if I had known) to come out, and then re-started my subscription.

    There were other things about Spot’s customer service that left me less than impressed. Someone who said they were from Spot called me to try to get my new credit card information (they called the night before Thanksgiving) – this was the first time I found out about the service not expiring on its own. They made me an offer for a reduced renewal fee, but I wasn’t about to give out my credit card to someone I didn’t know who called me out of the blue. I called Spot’s Customer Service line the following Monday and told them the names of the people who had called asking for my credit card information. They said they had never heard of those names – that definitely spooked me. I thought maybe someone had stolen Spot’s customer database and was using it for a phone phishing scam. The people at Spot also had no information about the reduced subscription renewal I had been offered. I paid the full bill then to keep my credit rating clean, and then immediately canceled my subscription. But then a couple weeks later, the people who had called me before Thanksgiving called back to see if I was ready to renew. I asked them who they really were, since they obviously weren’t from Spot. I got handed up two tiers of supervisors before I found out that they were a third-party company called Uno that Spot had hired to make these calls – at least that’s what they claimed. I explained the whole situation to a guy who claimed to be the company president, and he sounded sympathetic about the misunderstanding on the renewal policy. He said he was going to talk to someone high up at Spot to try to find an agreeable solution for me. I would have been a very happy returning customer if they had just allowed my old subscription to lapse (as the e-mail implied) and then I would be ready to buy a PN-60 the day they are released. But no one from Spot has called.

    At the worst, their communications with me were intentionally deceptive, and at best, the left hand of their operation just doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Either way, I’m not a happy customer. It also makes me wonder if they would be similarly incompetent in handling an emergency beacon call from my radio if I ever needed to hit the panic button.

  37. Mike says:

    My PN-40 turns into a brick if the batteries expire while it’s operating. Will the new PN-60 do the same?

  38. Jason says:

    Wow! Great progress by both companies to integrate SPOT with Delorme GPS. My first thought was that two pieces might be less desirable than one do-it-all unit, but I see some advantages also. Plus, the new Delorme UI looks much improved too.

    However, I holding out for an improved form factor on the Delorme end. I find the current PN series 20/40/60 to be a little bulky, the screen to be a little small, and until now the color to be a little loud. I would keep the black case, but otherwise shameless copy the Garmin Oregon design. And a touchscreen could really help with text messaging!

  39. Tom Wolpert says:

    I’d be interested to know whether or not the new map library data will be usable with the PN-40? And the approximate cost of the subscription?

  40. Warren Keuffel says:

    Will there be an ACK back to the device that the satellite has received the message?

  41. Randy says:

    Is the May 1st release date accurate? Or will it be pushed off? Will my PN-40 work with Topo 9.0? Will all of my maps work on the PN-60?
    Thanks

  42. Tim says:

    How about the screen size and resolution?

    Greater resolution or more pixels ?

    Thanks

  43. Ted says:

    Having the capability to send a custom message from using spot is a compelling feature for me. I am a current spot user and have generally used Garmin GPS units for several years. This appears to be a distinct feature and a reason to switch to DeLorme. I do have to ask if the custom spot device functions like a normal spot device independant of the gps unit? Or do you have to control the spot from the gps?

  44. Chip Noble - Design says:

    The PN-60 will have all the functionality of the 60w short of the wireless. You’ll see processor speed improvement, a larger internal memory capacity, an ambient light sensor to go along with much improved power management. The firmware improvements are also in the 60, new UI, Profile Page, faster USB transfer. -Chip

  45. Chip Noble - Design says:

    The 60w is testing out around 1 mile with clear line of sight. We’re averaging it to half a mile over obstructed ground but need to do more testing. The 802.15.4 wireless protocol we’re using with SPOT does open the door to other accessories, no announcements but thank you for the suggestion! -Chip

  46. Randy says:

    Will all of my maps work that I already loaded? Will the map subscription still work with Topo 9.0 and will I be able to upgrade my 2 PN-40′s?
    Thanks

  47. Chip Noble - Design says:

    I’m glad your interested in the new product. We’ve talked about trade-in programs in the past and unfortunately the electronics market, especially the handheld GPS market, is so competitive we’re unable to offer discounts for trade-ins. I know there’s a pretty good private sale opportunity through some of the different sites. Geocaching.com actually has a garage sale where we see devices move pretty quickly. -Chip

  48. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Thanks for sharing details with everyone Bill, sounds like you find yourself in a lot of different locations around the world. Hopefully you’ll give the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator a shot. Keep in mind that they are continuing to grow their satellite capabilities. I understand your concerns about the arctic and antarctic and having sent John Huston to the North and South Poles with PN-Series devices we’ll be sure to point the SPOT Coverage Map to our customers. We’re confident that they have a solution that will work well for the majority of users. Keep an eye out for our world aerial imagery subscription for your next international trip. Thanks, Chip

  49. Chip Noble - Design says:

    That’s a great suggestion Chuck S, I’ll have to check with the guys at SPOT to see if there is an almanac similar to the one we use in our Satellite Page. I’m not always sure that all of our customers know how to use the Satellite View to orient their device in the direction of the satellites but it might help if you could see that all the birds were low on the horizon or directly overhead. Always good to get suggestions from our users, thanks! -Chip

  50. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Great question Rodney Cyr, the world aerial imagery and world vector data is a DeLorme dataset that isn’t directly tied to the PN-60 or 60w. We haven’t gone all the way through the development process for these datasets but I see no reason at this time why we wouldn’t be offering them on the PN-Series devices. All of our MapLibrary datasets are compatible with the full PN-Series line. Please note that our world aerial imagery is a PN-Series only dataset and will not be visible in Topo USA or XMap at this time. The world vector data that will be delivered through NetLink will be visible on the desktop application. Thanks for the questions. -Chip

  51. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Thanks for the questions RRLover, in case you haven’t found answers in the forums already… We’re going to release a 2.8 firmware update with Topo USA 9.0 for the PN-40 and 30 that will deliver the new file management features… waypoints and tracks stored on the SD card. The new UI, profile page, and activity based settings are going to be released with the PN-60 and 60w. Topo USA 9.0 will ship with the PN-60 and 60w. Since the 2.8 firmware update is required to take advantage of the new Earthmate Sync Dialog we’re including it with the Topo release. The GPS protocol will be changing with 2.8 and the new PN-60 firmware so Topo USA 9.0 will be required to work with the latest firmware versions. The Topo USA 8.0 Exchange Dialog isn’t compatible with the new exchange protocol. -Chip

  52. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Yes Jeff Powell, we’re targeting May for one large release of all products. -Chip

  53. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Roger Long, all messages are sent via the satellite system. We’re very excited because our partnership is specifically targeting communication outside of cell phone range. “Peace of Mind Wherever You Go!” -Chip

  54. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Our fall firmware update will bring Mesh Networking to the PN-60w, this feature does utilize relaying messages between people in the mesh network. Lindsey would see the other members when the demo unit relayed the information. Good question! -Chip

  55. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Thanks for the feedback Jason, we know the larger screen is something lots of people have been looking for. We wanted to bring this product to the public as fast as we could so a continuation of our PN-Series made the most sense. The touchscreen topic is pretty heated in the outdoor recreation world… lots of gloved hands, bad weather, and dirt… We get great feedback on the tactile response of our button configuration but we’re keeping an eye on customer feedback so thank you for your comment. -Chip

  56. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Hello Tom Wolpert, thanks for your question! The new map library data will be usable with the PN-40… pricing hasn’t been determined yet. We’ll be sure to post that info when it’s available! -Chip

  57. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Good question Warren Keuffel, the SPOT system is a one way messaging communication. The message will leave the SPOT Communicator, travel through the satellites, and be received at the SPOT Back Office. There will be no confirmation of receipt for the user in the field. The system does take precaution to ensure a high degree of success with their message transmission and it is recommended that users follow the instructions from SPOT to optimize performance. I’ve had very good results when I orient the device correctly for a satellite view and do my best to find an open area for transmission. -Chip

  58. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Thanks for your questions Randy. I’m not going to try to cover the rules of project development or the cone of uncertainty that we’re traveling through but as of now we’re on track for a May 1st deliverable. There’s a lot of work to be done but both companies have all hands on deck to get this great product out the door so that all of you excited users can start sending check-in and tracking messages from outside of cell phone coverage. The PN-40 will work with Topo USA 9.0 when you install the 2.8 firmware update that ships with it. Your existing maps will work with your PN-60 too. -Chip

  59. Chip Noble - Design says:

    The screen in the PN-60 is the same as the one used in the PN-40. The new UI will take advantage of firmware improvements to create the new look and feel. -Chip

  60. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Good question Ted, the SPOT Communicator does have an SOS button on it that will allow the user to trigger a message in an emergency should they no longer be able to use the PN-60w. Free-form text messages do require the PN-60w and the virtual keyboard found in our interface. We don’t provide any of the recreational features like Check-In or Tracking on the SPOT Communicator, those are all triggered with the PN-60w and sent via wireless to the SPOT Communicator. -Chip

  61. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Randy, all of your existing maps will work with the PN-60. Your Map Library subscription will transfer to Topo USA 9.0 and you’ll be able to upgrade your PN-40s with the 2.8 firmware. -Chip

  62. Roger Mulrooney says:

    Just when you think that Delorme couldn’t top the PN-40 you guys hit a home run with the PN-60w. I can think of of tons of applications for the PN-60w and that slick new interface looks great. I’ve just sent the link to this page to all my buddies who’ve been looking at the PN-40 this unit will amaze them. Way to go Delorme keep thinking outside the box and coming up with useful ideas instead of games and gimmicks. Can’t wait to try one out!!!!

    Roger

  63. Dave Clark says:

    Is it too much to hope for a integrated camera in the PN-60w that offers geocoding to the pictures it takes?

    In the wireless where the device indicates on the maps where other PN-60w are located – will each unit be able to send a text to the others to aid in field coordination? Or send out a blanket coordinate for the others in the field to receive and be instructed to move towards as a meeting point?

  64. Mike G says:

    So, I just bought a PN-40 and I need maps for a late-summer trip in Europe (I wish I had know before buying that this would be impossible to do out of the box but whatever, mea culpa). I have a few questions relating to this announcement:

    1) Will there be an option to upgrade from a current Netlink subscription to the higher-tier (for International Maps) database when it comes out? I just activated my subscription and now I’m thinking I wasted $30.

    2) Will I need XMap to download and use international maps, or will an upgrade to Topo USA 9.0 fulfill that role?

    3) Will the Topo 9.0 need to be purchased outright, or will there be a paid (discounted) upgrade from 8.0 for PN-40 users?

    4) If I buy XMap 7.0 today, will I need to upgrade in a few months for it to work with the v2.8 firmware, as I would have to (if I understand correctly) with my brand-new Topo 8.0 software?

    I’m under the impression that future firmware for the PN-40 pretty much makes by brand-new software obsolete in a few months, so I’m not happy about that, either.

  65. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Sorry Dave Clark, no camera in the PN-60w. As for the wireless mesh networking, each unit will be able to send a text message to the others for field coordination. We haven’t finished the design effort for that feature but we are going to include the “project a waypoint” feature with SPOT so there shouldn’t be any problem sending the same message to the wireless mesh network. Good suggestions, thanks! -Chip

  66. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Good questions Mike G. Just to clarify, your PN-40 was announced in June of 2008 and has since had seven firmware updates. The 2.8 firmware update scheduled for May of 2010 doesn’t make anything obsolete any more than the previous seven updates did. We’re improving the features that you have on the device now. Topo USA 9.0 will also release in May of 20010 and be the desktop software you’ll need if you want to use the 2.8 firmware. Actually, because 2.8 is required for Topo USA 9.0 and won’t work with Topo USA 8.0 it is only available from the Topo USA 9.0 disc. Again, to clarify, Topo USA 8.0 was announced in May of 2009 so it will be about a year between versions. There is usually an upgrade rate for registered users to buy the next version of our software, be sure to register online! The NetLink subscription that you purchased is for aerial imagery, USGS quad sheets, NOAA nautical charts, and Canadian topographic sheets. It offers different map types than the world aerial imagery. There will not be an upgrade from the current subscription to the world imagery subscription because they are really separate things. You didn’t waste your $30 though since that subscription will transfer to Topo USA 9.0 should you upgrade. There will be a service pack for XMap 7.0 users that will deliver the Sync dialog required for use with the 2.8 firmware and the PN-40, you won’t be charged for that service pack. Like I said, all very good questions Mike G. I know you just purchased and are now reading about our release scheduled for May. You do have a 30 day money back guarantee through DeLorme if you’d rather return the PN-40 and hold out for the PN-60. Keep in mind that May is still a ways off and you’ll be able to log good GPS use between now and then. It’s really up to you. Also, while we don’t have road level detail for Europe, XMap does offer an Image Reg component that will let you register a scanned map for use with your PN-40 anywhere in the world. That might be an option for you while you wait for the world aerial imagery subscription. Thanks for the questions! -Chip

  67. Jeff Powell says:

    Thanks for the info Chip. I bought a Netlink subscription. Now to wait til may :)

  68. Jeff Powell says:

    I have tried the Oregon, Magellan Triton, and PN-40. While it is true that the touchscreen can be quicker at navigating through menus I really like the buttons so you aren’t rubbing dirt all over the screen. I think the PN design works well.

  69. Mike G says:

    Thanks for the prompt reply! That helps me plan my course of action; I’ll buy the XMap now, and upgrade firmware and software come time for the release of the PN-60. I’ll build my own maps for Europe, and then take a look at the new subscription service when it goes live.

    I’m sorry if I came off sounding mad at Delorme about any of this; I am simply upset at myself for not doing enough research before purchasing, but I am very happy with the product. I just wanted to know how to best use my resources to take advantage of the coming upgrades, and you’ve given me all the information I need!

  70. Brian Jennings says:

    Will you be able to send and receive text messages with the PN-60w combined with SPOT???

  71. Bill says:

    Roger,
    To expand a bit on what Tim and Chip said, the SPOT messages go through the digital message service of the GlobalStar satellite system. The ground stations in GlobalStar are used to relay between satellites. The messages go to the SPOT servers where you access them either by signing on to your account, relayed from there either by email or cell phone text message (or according to SPOT, soon on Twitter and other networks) to your “team” members (5 pre-designated people), or for the “911″ service, directly to the SAR agency. There is also an option, called Share, that allows wider distribution. Again, the only involvement of cell phones is the final link to your designated people via texting, Twitter, etc, not between the SPOT unit and the SPOT servers.

  72. Nick says:

    I’ve spent the past week browsing local stores and many man-hours online, researching information on a new GPS. I was torn between the PN-40 and a 60CSx. Then, as if the light of day broke through the clouds, I found this blog. I will definitely be sleeping light until May. Interesting discussions, and an amazing assortment of features (and potential) in this new PN-60W.

    The only question I have regards to the WIFI tech:

    Does the transmitter/receiver on the GPS unit operate in full-time, intermittent pulses? Further to my point, is the option available to shut the wifi transmissions “off”. Maybe this feature is handled by the power management system, but I haven’t read anything that relates. Thanks

  73. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Nick: The transmitter uses long range, ultra-low power technology to complement the other power management features we’ve added to the PN-60. The wireless transmitter can be turned off if it is not being used. Thanks for the questions! -Chip

  74. Rockin Roddy says:

    Very nice indeed!!

    Good to hear the maps will transfer and everything, now, will there be worldwide maps released with the PN-60? I will be traveling in the near future (Alaska cruise with stop in Canada and an Australian caching trip…with more coming soon). Imagery?

    I know witht he PN-40, the tracks were limited in length and you never knew when the limit was reached…will the 60 have a bigger limitation and will it alert us when the limit is near?? I would love to effortlessly record my whole trips without having to remember to set the tracking…

  75. Dave says:

    I just bought the new SPOT II and never got the chance to play with it as the recall hit a week later (good on you, Spot, for taking the pain up front to address potential issues). I should get my new Spot next week.

    Now I see this PN-60…looks cool. Will my Spot II work with a PN-60, or does this require a new, PN-specific Spot? If so, can I refund my new SPOT II and wait for the PN version?

    Any merit to keeping my SPOT II and just getting a PN60?

  76. MelRoth says:

    Just sold my PN/40 and looking forword to buying the PN/60w. I only have a few questions.
    #1. When will DeLorme let me order the PN/60w in advance ? I notice some dealer sites or taking orders now for delivery in May.
    #2. Will it be the same price for the Spot if I added it later? Do I have to buy it at the same time as the PN/60w ?
    #3.I buy direct from DeLorme, so would that mean I get the 18GB internal memory unit ?
    #4. I have paid for my annual map downloads. Can I transfer to my new PN/60w ?
    I’m really anxious to get it, and wish I could have been a tester but that’s life. It does about everything. One thing I did not find is, being able to program it to make something besides just a peanut butter sandwhich? Maybe next upgrade?

  77. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Rockin Roddy, glad to hear that you are excited about the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator. We are planning to release our DeLorme World Vector data for sale through NetLink so that people can buy chunks for the PN-series devices. We are also working to release World Aerial Imagery so you should have some good map data to use on your trips. The tracks are going to be stored on the SD card so you can put an SD card in and take as long a trip as you like. New files will automatically save letting you review all of your tracks when you get home. You will only be limited by the size of your SD card. -Chip

  78. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Dave, the PN-60w will work with the SPOT Communicator, a satellite messenger made specially for DeLorme. The SPOT 2 device does not have the wireless option to connect to our GPS device. I will pass your question along to the people at SPOT so that they can get in touch with you, I am not sure of their refund policies. Keep in mind that the PN-60w with SPOT Communicator is the combination that allows text messaging from the field. The PN-60 and SPOT 2 devices would not offer that functionality. Thanks for asking the question and good luck with your decision! -Chip

  79. Chip Noble - Design says:

    MelRoth, thank you for posting your questions. Here are a few answers: #1: I’m not sure when DeLorme will be taking orders, good question for Customer Service… I’ll see what the answer is on Monday. #2: We are offering a significant discount if you buy the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator at the same time. I would not buy them separately, use the extra money to buy the World Aerial Imagery subscription! #3: If you buy direct from DeLorme you could buy the PN-60w SE model and get the larger internal memory. This Special Edition device does cost a little more, but it will be worth it to have the extra internal memory to store aerial imagery and all of the topographic maps for the areas where you travel. #4: Your Map Library subscription and all of the maps you’ve already downloaded will transfer to the new device without any problem. We want you to use all of the maps and GPS data that you created with the PN-40 on the PN-60 so that you get the best of what you are familiar with and add lots of great new functionality! -Chip

  80. Randy says:

    What would the pice of the SE be and how much memory?
    Thanks

  81. Stanley J Smith says:

    I, iv’e been looking a GPS, an decided on PN-40 SE an only need the unit for a back up ,the princlble use would be on the ocean Massachutts bay -CapCod will the PN-60 do the same need only the nautacal charts.thank you

  82. Jeff Doran says:

    Chip, please clarify. I understand that I will be able to create custom text messages from the PN-60w, but can I create a recipients address from the PN-60w as well? One of your posts indicated that you can specify up to 5 pre-configured recipients, plus the SOS destination, so this would leade me to believe I will have to know my recipients before hand.

  83. Hi Chip,
    we hire out hand held GPS marine chart plotters to Boat owners here in New Zealand, and are looking at hiring out colour GPS hand held units for Trampers / Hikers.

    We already hire out PLB’s and EPIRB’s to trampers and boaties and have tested the SPOT Series One, but found the device was not reliable enough in terms of sending a position back to the webpage, even if in clear view of the sky. It was sometimes good, sometimes not so good, so based on that and the fact a series of missed positions could cause someone back at base to worry, we decided to wait for a new model to come out.

    We saw the review of the new Communicator and DeLorme on http://www.panbo.com and found this blog from that site.

    It would appear from looking around the internet, that the new SPOT 2 has improved and so we would like to look at importing a couple of units of the Communicator and PN-60W. Do you have dealers in New Zealand currently .?.

    We got our original test use SPOT from Salcom ( sea Air and Land Communications which is a beacon retailer in NZ.

    Will the PN-60 be followed soon by the PN-70, as we like 7′s.

    Kind Regards,
    Mike.

  84. Tom Bates says:

    I’ve been anxiously waiting for the PN-60 since I heard about it a few months ago from my geocaching buddy who uses the PN-40. I have a few questions:

    1. I enjoy documenting my trips. With my current GPS (GPSMap 60CS), I can retrieve (and display) only maps, tracks, and waypoints. Other data, such as the track profiles / elevation graphs, are inaccessible. Will I be able to retrieve (and display) track profiles, etc. from the PN-60w?

    2. Is there any chance that the SPOT people can be persuaded to keep the Check In and Tracking functionality so that the new SPOT communicator can be used without the PN-60 if desired/necessary, in the same way that I use my current SPOT unit?

    3. Can I transfer my current SPOT subscription to the new unit?

    4. Maybe a PN-60wcg will incorporate the camera and geocoding features?

    Thanks.

  85. George says:

    One question, I get you will be able to send, my question why not receive. I fish offshore in FL, and looking into getting a SAT phone. The cost of per min. charges are crazy. So why not receive letting me know that they got the message and they are fine, wife, kids, dog, cat, etc. Now that would be cool, if you can send, you should be able to get a text back. Just a thought.

  86. Peter igney says:

    My son is currently using a SPOT while hiking the National Trail along the East Coast of Australia.
    Can you advise when the PN-60 will be available in Australia and whether it is possible to pre-order a unit directly, please?

    Peter R

  87. Spencer says:

    I have had the SPOT 1 for a couple of years now, and was going to update to the SPOT 2 due to the smaller size. This has definitely caught my attention. I suggested to SPOT right from the start to incorporate some sort of keypad for text messaging (like texting on a cell phone) on their units. When pushing “HELP”, friends don’t know whether to bring spare gas, or a spare tire. Now we have it. Like some of the other questions, just want to know for sure that the spot unit can be activated with the SOS independently of the GPS. Also, what is the range they have to be within in order to communicate with each other? Will it notify you (with a beep or something) when you start to get out of range? Does the GPS have to be “on” in order for the tracking to work?

  88. John says:

    Chip,

    Am I reading this correctly, the mesh network (seeing Joe, Bridget, Rob, etc.) is functionally within the PN-60w and has nothing to do with SPOT?

    If so I would go the PN60w route without SPOT as I have no need for it but want the mesh functionality as (like Jason) I hope to see a dog receiver that would allow me to see my dog.

  89. John says:

    Chip,

    I currently am a Garmin (Rino 130) user and want to upgrade to the PN-60w with the Topo maps. As the product date has been pushed to June, I can at least purchase the Topo maps while I wait for the PN-60w to be released.

    Will DeLorme offer a rebate or coupon for the packaged price discount to those of us who purchase the Topo while we wait for the PN-60w? I’d hate to wait to purchase the Topo software until June as I could use it this weekend.

    Cheers,
    John

  90. DeLorme says:

    John,

    We currently sell Topo USA 8.0. Version 9.0 will be launched with the PN-60w and the two are bundled together.

    I’m not sure what the options are for upgrade pricing since you’d be going from software to a hardware/software bundle. The best place to get an answer is to call our Customer Service department.

    Phone: 1.800.561.5105
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 8:30am-5:00pm EST, Fri 9:00am-5:00pm EST

    -Mike

  91. John says:

    Thanks for your quick response Mike, i’ll do without and wait until June for the bundle.

  92. Chip Noble - Design says:

    The PN-60 brings additional functionality not available on the PN-40. You will have the Profile Page and the ability to store GPX files on the internal memory. There will also be more memory available in the new model, 3.5 GB compared to 500 MB. The power management is greatly improved on the PN-60 too, we’re expecting a 30% power increase and are working on even more savings with the use of Power Saving modes. If you are interested in nautical use you should also consider the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator to be able to send check-in messages and utilize the SPOT Maritime Assist feature that will allow you to call for boat assistance any time. -Chip

  93. Chip Noble - Design says:

    You will need to create you contacts and contact groups on the SPOT site before going out into the field. When you want to send a message you can choose from one of your 10 pre-defined Send To groups. Each group can contain up to 50 contacts so you should find enough flexibility to accommodate all of your friends and family. I’ll look back through my posts to make sure that I haven’t confused the plan, you’ll definitely be able to specify more than 5 contacts. Thanks for the question. -Chip

  94. Chip Noble - Design says:

    We will be releasing a firmware update to the PN-60w in the fall to enable the mesh networking as you see in our screen shots. This functionality is not related to the SPOT Communicator. Initial sales will bundle the PN-60w with the SPOT Communicator since that is the primary purpose of our wireless launch. Give it some consideration, as an upland bird hunter myself, I have been pushing hard for this product because I want to give peace of mind to those in my family that often wonder how I’m doing when I’m away on a trip and am out of cell phone range. Thank you for the suggestion about dog collars too, we’re focusing on GPS communication at the present but it’s always good to hear how people are hoping to use the system in the future. -Chip

  95. John says:

    Just to recap the enhancement requests that I (and others) would LOVE to see:

    Dog, kid, wife beacon that would show up on the mesh so I can find them if we get separated. I can see buying a few of these and dropping them in my families pockets when we go camping, Six Flags, Disney world, floating, etc.

    Connection and recommendation for a solar panel (mentioned it in the PN-40 blog.

    Walkie Talkie functionality in a future model would enable you to compete with Garmin’s Rino series.

    Water proof case like they have for cameras so that I can take it scuba diving too (yeah, I know, hard to get GPS signal when you’re under water but a man can dream can’t he?

  96. Bob Hanshaw says:

    I am looking for a GPS device that will produce files which can be used to geotag photos in my Nikon camera. I know there are many products available specifically for this purpose, but I would also like the functionality of the GPS as well. is this possible through the device-to-PC software. Is the software Mac compatible? Does anyone have experience using GPS devices for geotagging photos? Any advice appreciated, thanks! – Bob

  97. Daniel says:

    If I get the 60w with Spot, do I have to get a Spot subscription? Can I use the GPS with the Mesh network without the Spot and subscribe to it later if I want to?

  98. Spencer says:

    Bob;
    I use a Trackstick to geotag all my photos. Works great, and very accurate. It gathers long/lat, alt., temp., and speed, every second. Sinc to your photos, and it all comes up on Google Earth.
    Find it at http://www.trackstick.com

  99. Ray says:

    Bob, I am ordering the dedicated GPS for the Nikon but also have a PN 40 and Garmin 60CSx. I use both for geotagging photos and they work well. The unfortunate thing is that you require Delorme software for the PN 40 / 60 ,which only runs on the PC, to get the GPX data that is required to do your geotagging. There are several good geotagging applications for the MAC, HoudahGeo being one. On the PC side, I use RoboGeo.

    My best advise is to check the Delorme Forums and do a search for Geotagging and you will get much better explanation than I can give here.

  100. Norman Polston says:

    What are the battery lives of the PN 40, 60, 60e and SPOT 2.

  101. Dan says:

    Will I be able to use the 60w GPS without Spot or do I need to get a Spot subscription?

  102. Mark says:

    Interested in the PN-60 only for geocaching not interested in the spot option. Is there a PN-60 offered without the spot system. What is the approx. retail cost?

  103. Jimmy says:

    I am looking at purchasing my first outdoor GPS unit. However, eighty percent of my hiking/canoe trips are done in Europe. I want a unit that can give me a detailed map of the wilderness areas that I will be in. I am trying to figure out if the world map mentioned above is just some low quality road atlas or if it can be used for exploring the outdoors.
    Since I already have a Garmin Automobile GPS with detailed international road maps I am NOT looking for that. I want a GPS unit that I can use once my car is parked and I am heading out.
    Will the PN-60 help me here or should I keep on shopping around?

  104. Matthew says:

    I am a current spot user with concerns about the battery performance of the combined PN-60w/SPOT setup.

    More specifically, can the SPOT unit that works with the PN-60 be put in “Track” mode and left running in this mode while the PN-60 is powered down? Or does the SPOT require that the PN-60 is live in order to provide anything other than the SOS function?

    I am used to leaving my SPOT on for days at a time in track mode without having to worry about the battery – whereas if I need to be dependent on the PN-60 running at full power for the same time period, I would likely require several sets.

    Any info you can provide on this would be helpful.

  105. Mark says:

    Can you give us an update on the release date. When can I get the PN-60w?

  106. Vincent Poulin says:

    Hello to all the team Delorme. Have you thought about your northern neighbors, the French Canadian. The PN-60 will it have the menu in French. It would be very appreciated and you surely would bring many extra sales.

  107. Michael Atkinson says:

    Hi
    I am from Australia
    I am looking at PN-60w and spot commincator bundle how much will cost me for Australia ?? can i buy it from you will that work in Aistralia? becuase I am deaf and I use for 4×4 to keep contact other deaf man 4×4 ! that PN-60w suit us and looking forward your reply..
    cheers mick

  108. Mark Reller says:

    I am ready, are they availabe for purchase yet?
    Mark

  109. Greg says:

    Will the texting be unlimited?

  110. Billy says:

    I wonder if they happened to extend how long it takes for the PN-60 to hit brick mode like the PN-40? Mine cut out on me when I was in the middle of a swamp that required me to follow my backtrack to get out. I of course, didn’t make it before night fell.

    #1 requirement of a GPS is RELIABILITY.

  111. Jon says:

    Package sounds GREAT, thank you. Assuming the worldwide vector maps are good quality the PN-60 with SPOT will likely be a big hit in Australia. Is Delorme actively establishing a worldwide distributor network to support the products? Thanks.

  112. [...] One thing I’m excited to check out and be one of the first to test is the DeLorme/Spot lovechild – a GPS/satellite messenger. [...]

  113. C James Crawford says:

    I appreciate all the whiz bang technology but why can’t you devote your development time and money to providing street level maps for the entire world. You are after all a map company. I travel extensively but find my laptop & PN-40 useless because they do not work outside the United States ( no maps). I will have to look elsewhere for a GPS. It looks like the new PN-60 will be worthless to me.

  114. Kevin says:

    When you say “PN-60 only” do you mean both PN-60(red) and the PN-60w(black) or just the PN-60w(black)?

  115. Ed Rhett says:

    How is text enter without a keyboard
    Will you ever get the roads write on your maps
    many road you show are not there any more!

  116. Caleb Mason says:

    We are investing heavily in our world database and are soon to launch new worldwide Digital Globe imagery with the ability to purchase smaller sections of the world map for use on our GPS units. It is not, however, street-level yet as we continue to work on building a truly GPS accurate worldwide consistent map for government and business customers with critical needs as our first step in this direction. This means major and secondary roads, coastlines, rail lines, and hydro are all GPS accurate. Thanks for asking and hope this helps.

  117. Anonymous says:

    Will the PN60-w permit you to turn off the feature that permits others to see your location if you are using SPOT?

    Also, if the SPOT communicator is left at home, will the PN60w still attempt to connect or broadcast location data as if the SPOT communicator was there? Can you reliably turn off the SPOT connection/broadcast feature, even if SPOT is with you?

    i.e. can the PN60w be put in privacy mode with or without the SPOT communicator present?

  118. Allan says:

    What are subscription costs and can SPOT receive email messages?

  119. Victor says:

    This is very interesting. I’m a Search and Rescue specialist under contract at the FAA and we’re investigating exactly this type of device to allow for pilots who are flying in places with no Radar coverage to remain safe. If this device can be programed to periodically (like every 15 Min.) ‘ping’ out to a ground based computer with lat. & long., altitude, speed, heading, time stamp and some kind of ID it would be ideal for non-controlled airspace tracking. This could help with updates to weather or airspace security issues in the flight path and could greatly aid in Search and Rescue. Essentially this would serve as an electronic trail of breadcrumbs as well being a ‘live’ aid for advisory services.

  120. Jon Hitchcock says:

    I now have my PN-60w SE with SPOT and can see that it is truly amazing! I had hoped that it would have been available on a 5,400 mile motorcycle trip from Anchorage thru Canada and back home to New Mexico. Cell coverage was extremely sparse in Canada and the units would have been wonderful for this trip.

    My more practical use of these units is in an aviation Search and Rescue application similar to what Victor has described and it appears that the Track Progress feature will do exactly what Victor is looking for every 10 minutes!

    My minor disappointment and suggestion is in the ability of the PN-60 to multi-task! It appears that while in the Track Progress mode you can’t keep the Track Progress active while also viewing the map page! In aviation this isn’t an issue because there are other navigation aids but for hiking or use on a motorcycle trip in unfamiliar territory, I want to have the map available for navigation while the Track Progress is active. I hope a firmware fix can make this possible!

    Regards,
    Jon

  121. DeLorme says:

    Track Progress absolutely can run in the background while using the PN-60w, including the map page. If you’re finding that tracking stops before you specify, please contact our support team. Phone: 1.207.846.8900
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 8:30am-5:00pm EST, Fri 9:00am-5:00pm EST http://support.delorme.com/

  122. greg lineham says:

    I will be going to New Zealand for several months. Are there any compatible maps, and will it function well out inthe wilderness?

  123. chill says:

    I am looking into getting the spot 2 or PN-60w but I would only need to use it during the summer, will there every be a thing as monthly service or quarterly, I really am not into paying for a service I do not use

  124. Michael says:

    Hi Chip,
    I asked in March on here if a New Zealand importer would be bringing these in, but there was no reply.Could you point me in the right direction for them please.
    Michael.

  125. Dave says:

    Will Delorme as a company, be actively moving into the UK/European market? I’ve currently got a another companies product, but have been seriously looking at your products. Especially due to feedback I’ve heard, coming from you US customer base. Finding any Store or large retail company, here in the UK stocking your products within a 100 mile radius of my home location. Has been a negative search. I’m not looking for good Staff knowledge, just a chance to look at and physically handle a working product. Personally, I believe Delorme would make huge sales within a specific targeted market in the UK. Especially given you already working to add specific features that community is looking for, and which the main GPS manufacturer for the UK community has removed.

  126. Michael says:

    Hi Guys,
    I note a lot of unreplied questions, including my own ones, and wonder if Chip Noble could be asked to reply if possible.

    He may be on Holiday, but from March is a long time !

    Thanks,
    Mike.

  127. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Sorry Mike, it was a long summer with trade shows and store visits. I fell behind on the blog post comment replies but will work to get caught up with new activity. I’ll sort through and answer those in the blog already… Thanks for your patience!

    Take care,
    Chip

  128. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Thanks for the question Dave, we’ve released a Digital Globe subscription that brings high resolution aerial imagery for the world to our Map Library. This, along with our DeLorme World Base Map will bring world-wide data to the PN-Series devices. We are working on a consumer distribution plan for the World Base Map, it is currently sold as a professional product. As soon as that distribution plan is in place you’ll be able to purchase topographic maps with major road detail for the world. This is our data plan for international customers. We aren’t currently selling devices through international channels but have been listening to requests like yours and giving it a lot of thought. Please keep our GPS devices on your radar, as our customer base grows so does the request for products delivered at an international level.

    Thank you,
    Chip Noble
    DeLorme

  129. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Sorry for the late reply Michael, we don’t have any current plans for sales in New Zealand. I’ve added your comment to the list of people looking for international sales. Hopefully as our customer base grows there will be an opportunity for international distribution.

    Thank you,
    Chip Noble
    DeLorme

  130. Clarence says:

    Can anyone comment on whether I can access SOS through SPOT if my GPS battery is dead?

  131. Jeff says:

    An SOS request can be initiated from the Spot Connect device via a dedicated SOS button, which is protected by a rubber cover. It need not be connected to an external GPS (PN) or smart phone to launch an SOS request.

  132. jon says:

    But not if the SPOT device batteries are dead.

  133. Mark says:

    Hi Chip,

    I’m currently a student studying networking and was just wondering what kind of wireless standard the spot communicator is using.

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