PN-60w and SPOT Communicator: Question and Answer…

UPDATE 11/26/2010: Unfortunately tuning for FCC Certification resulted in a wireless range insufficient to support wireless mesh networking at an acceptable range. We have postponed this feature while we research alternate approaches to deliver the functionality. We apologize for this delay but need to be sure that our approach meets the expectations of users in the field.

Update: 2010/07/16 at 7:14 am

Good news… SPOT received their FCC certification paperwork last night so we are good to go with offering the PN-60 w SE for sale now with the SPOT unit to follow later in August when available.

As communicated in my blog posts, DeLorme customers who have signed up will be notified via email today with a link that will lead them to a total of $150 in savings for this combination product. We are doing this in part to thank many of you for your patience while we have been waiting for the SPOT cert to come through.

This way you can step up to the SE model with 16-GB of internal memory now and then later when available receive a SPOT unit shipped at our expense with a total savings amount that equals the cost of the SPOT unit when sold alone. It’s a great offer and only available for existing DeLorme customers as part of our loyalty program, especially given that supplies are genuinely limited (I know everyone always says this but it is true).

You can also call us at 800-561-5105 if you prefer over email and our East Coast call center opens at 9 AM this morning to help you.

Our supply of SE units is smaller than I had hoped but we do have more being produced now. Anyone who signed up to be notified will be eligible for this introductory offer through this summer and then we will need to see how inventories are looking and plan from there out.

We have recently received some very exciting news about this product combination, some involving a major tech celebrity who will be using it soon and others involving prestigious advance award notifications, which we hope will come to fruition. (Amazon has already named it one of the Top Tech Products of the Year.)

This is truly a fun and fascinating new product pairing based on my own experiences and we are all excited and feel like we are on the cusp of seeing the rewards of our labors. This has been one of those rare stretch projects where two teams (DeLorme plus SPOT) had to work together with a great deal of complex technologies and boil them all down into a product that many people will be able to enjoy.

So thanks again for your patience and I will continue to provide updates here so you know how supplies and timings are looking as we continue down the road.

p.s. I imagine Chip will make a post or two but he is getting ready to go on a private climb with the top editors of Backpacker who are eager to see it all work and report back from remote locations. We also are a sponsor of the Boy Scouts’ 100-year Jamboree and will have many people there running GPS and geocaching sessions. We also will be attending the Midwest Geobash this summer.

CMason
DeLorme Staff

PN-60w and SPOT Communicator: Question and Answer…
Published: Jan 19, 2010

There have been a lot of great questions posted since our announcement at CES: DeLorme and SPOT—Handheld GPS Meets Satellite Communication. I’ve gone through our blog, our forum, and a few other locations writing answers and providing more detail. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all the information, so I thought I’d bring the answers back here to our blog to keep everyone informed.

Differences between the PN-40, PN-60, and PN-60w…

  • All the devices in the PN-Series line are built with the same form factor so don’t worry about your existing mounts, batteries, cables, or other accessories—they’ll still work.
  • The PN-Series devices all use the same screen and the same GPS chipset so expect the same daylight readability and fast acquisition times.
  • The PN-60 and PN-60w have an ambient light sensor to control the screen backlight and help with power management.
  • The PN-60 and PN-60w have 3.5 GB of internal memory compared to the 500 MB in the 40.
  • A PN-60wse to be sold directly from DeLorme will offer 8.0 16.0 GB of internal memory.
  • Improvements have been made increasing processor speed and USB transfer rates.
  • The PN-60w is the only device with a wireless antenna and the ability to connect to the SPOT Communicator.

Power management improvements…

  • Considerable effort has gone into our power management update on the PN-60 and PN-60w.
  • Our tests have shown a 30% improvement when running two AA Energizer batteries in Normal mode with 14 hour test results and there’s still work to be done for our Power Saving mode.
  • In Power Saving mode, the ambient light sensor detects when there’s enough daylight or darkness to reduce the screen backlight.
  • In Power Saving mode, the accelerometer detects when the device has been stationary and the GPS can be stepped down or turned off.

USB transfer rate increase…

  • There is a 40% increase in the transfer rate between desktop and device. This will be important when moving large map packages to the device.
  • We have removed the Connect to Computer screen when first connecting the PN to the desktop.
  • The user will be able to place waypoint, geocache, track, and map files on the internal memory or the SD card without making changes to the computer connection.

SPOT Communicator features…

  • The final plastics for the SPOT Communicator are still being engineered. It will be about half the size of the PN-60w.
  • The SPOT Communicator runs on two e2 Lithium batteries.
  • The SPOT Communicator has a power button and an SOS button built into it for use without the PN-60w or in case the 60w is damaged or runs out of power.
  • All of the non-SOS features like Check In and Tracking are triggered by the PN-60w interface using the wireless connection.
  • Text messages for Check In, Help, and SOS are created using the virtual keyboard in the PN-60w interface.
  • The SPOT satellite messaging system is send only—from the device to the satellites to the SPOT back office. It is not possible to receive message receipt confirmation or replies.

DeLorme-SPOT vs. PLBs…

  • The DeLorme PN-60w and SPOT Communicator offer functionality not available in a Personal Locator Beacon; text messaging, multiple distribution lists, and tracking.
  • Use the DeLorme-SPOT system to send a 50-character Check In text message to let friends and family know details of your trip.
  • Send 50 characters of detail about your emergency should you need to request assistance.
  • Choose from your e-mail and text message distribution lists in the field; send a private message to your wife or an announcement to all of your geocaching friends.
  • Use the Tracking feature to send location updates to your SPOT Adventures page with a 10 minute interval so that your adventure followers can watch your progress in real time.

New features in the PN-60 and 60w firmware…

  • The PN-60 and 60w have a new icon based UI that people reading this blog have seen.
  • There is also a new Profile Page for viewing an elevation graph of your active or saved track file.
  • GPX files containing waypoints, geocaches, and tracks can be stored on the internal memory or the SD card.
  • The PN-60 and 60w have activity based settings so the user can view info fields and other configuration details for the activity they are doing. When their activity changes the user can choose a different activity setting to update info fields; think Hiking, Cycling, Geocaching, Hunting, Fishing.
  • There is a new button lock feature, an improved keyboard for text entry, and the screen will flip if you turn the device upside down… sweet.

Firmware updates for the PN-30 and PN-40…

  • We will continue to support all of the PN-Series devices and will release a 2.8 firmware update for the 30 and 40.
  • The 2.8 firmware update will deliver waypoint and track file management on the SD card.
  • This update will not include new features for the PN-60 and 60w, such as the UI update, Profile Page, or activity-based settings.
  • The 2.8 firmware update is available only with Topo USA 9.0—PN-40s and 30s with the 2.8 firmware update will not work with Topo USA 8.0 and earlier versions.

Fall firmware update for Wireless Mesh Networking…

UPDATE 11/26/2010: Unfortunately tuning for FCC Certification resulted in a wireless range insufficient to support wireless mesh networking at an acceptable range. We have postponed this feature while we research alternate approaches to deliver the functionality. We apologize for this delay but need to be sure that our approach meets the expectations of users in the field.

  • The PN-60w has a wireless antenna that uses an ultra-low power transmitter and can travel long distances.
  • Current tests show roughly one mile with a clear line of site, range decreases with more uneven terrain, and obstructed views.
  • The wireless protocol is 802.15.4 and is not compatible with home wireless solutions using 802.11.
  • Any PN-60w device can connect to others in the area and transfer waypoint, geocache, track, and route files along with location information and text messages.
  • Each device has a security feature allowing the user to join a network, deny someone access, or hide their device completely.
  • The wireless antenna can be turned off to save power.

Data updates…

  • We are releasing worldwide high resolution aerial imagery for the PN-Series devices as a new NetLink subscription. This subscription will be available for PN-60 owners with Topo USA 9.0 as well as owners with previous PN-Series devices and earlier versions of Topo USA.
  • The resolution of this imagery varies throughout the world but will be equal or better than that currently offered in the Map Library subscription for the US.
  • We will release more information about the worldwide high resolution aerial imagery as development progresses.
  • Our 1:250k world vector maps will also be offered through NetLink for purchase in small coverage areas. This dataset will appear in Topo USA and on the PN-Series devices giving more detailed roads to international users.
  • For those familiar with DeLorme’s Atlas & Gazetteer series, we will be including the Gaz descriptions for Unique Natural Features, Family Outings, and Outdoor Activities so that people can search Topo USA or their PN devices for paragraph descriptions of interesting destinations.

Topo USA 9.0 updates…

  • Topo USA 9.0 will release with the PN-60 and PN-60w. It will also be sold as an upgrade for Topo USA 8.0 owners.
  • Topo USA 9.0 contains the 2.8 firmware update for PN-30 and PN-40 owners. This update will allow PN-30/40 owners to use the new Sync dialog.
  • There is a new Earthmate GPS Sync dialog in Topo USA 9.0 that uses a single button to update all files on the desktop and the device.
  • Hardcore Serious Tool users can still use one way send or receive to manage their GPS data.
  • A Geocaching.com Pocket Query sync feature in Topo USA 9.0 will allow users to send pocket queries directly to their PN during a sync update.
  • There are no data format changes in Topo USA 9.0 or the new GPS device; maps created with Topo USA 8.0 are still compatible with the new PN-60 and 60w.

XMap Service Pack…

  • XMap 7.0 will be updated to work with the PN-60/PN-60w and PN-30/PN-40 soon after the product releases.

NetLink and Map Library updates…

  • Existing Map Library subscriptions will transfer to the new Topo USA 9.0 release.
  • No changes to the current NetLink order process are planned based on the new world imagery and world vector map data.
  • Canadian PN-Series users are now able to view DeLorme street level vector maps, Canadian 1:50K topographic sheets, and will soon have high resolution world aerial imagery.

Pricing and Release Schedule…

  • The Earthmate PN-60 will retail for $399.
  • The Earthmate PN-60w will retail for $449.
  • The bundled PN-60w and SPOT Communicator will retail for $549.
  • The standard SPOT annual subscription costs $100 with Tracking and Messaging for roughly $50 each.
  • I’ve heard a few ways to look at the annual subscription… my favorite breaks it down to about $17 a month.
  • Unfortunately there will not be a trade-in program for existing PN-Series users to upgrade.
  • All components of this project, the PN-60w, SPOT Communicator, Topo USA 9.0, Worldwide Aerial Imagery, and DeLorme World Vectors are scheduled for a May 1st release.

Wow, I didn’t realize how many good questions were out there! I hope that everyone finds these details useful. Keep posting new questions and we’ll do our best to answer them. The design and development process are in full swing so there are new and exciting features coming on-line every day! Thanks for taking the time to read this update.

Take care,
Chip Noble
Team DeLorme

Update 01/31/10: Questions from Team Serious Tools…

The power users on the DeLorme Forum have been posting lots of good questions so I’ll answer here in the hopes that others will benefit from their inquiries…

  • The 2.8 firmware update will be made available with a Cache Register update for existing users and will be made part of the Cache Register product that is available for new DeLorme geocachers.
  • The 2.8 firmware update for the PN-30/40 will work with waypoints, tracks, and maps created in Topo USA 8.0, users will just have to manually transfer the data by changing the Device Setup>Connect to Computer setting. Note that users will need to export their Draw layers as GPX files with Topo USA 8.0 then do the transfer. The Topo USA 9.0 Earthmate Sync dialog will do all of this automatically during the transfer.
  • DeLorme will be working with 3rd party developers to help update support for the new PN sync protocol. We want you all to be able to use your favorite data management packages with your new PN-60s and updated firmware.
  • NetLink will continue to work with older versions of Topo USA. There are improvements being made to the NetLink tab and new datasets being prepared as part of this release. Check your NetLink tab for the Canadian 1:50K Topographic Sheets that have already been added to the Map Library subscription.
  • The 2.8 firmware update will be part of the Topo USA 9.0 setup, the Cache Register update setup, and the XMap 7.0 service pack setup. There will not be any charge for the Cache Register update or the XMap service pack.
  • Topo USA 9.0 delivers updated topographic data, roads, trails, and the new DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer points with detailed descriptions for Unique Natural Features, Outdoor Adventures, and Family Outings.
  • The PN-60 delivers processor speed improvements, 3.5 GB of internal memory, an ambient light sensor and much improved battery performance and USB transfer rates.

More updates as the questions come in… For those interested in following the questions and answers in all the different locations… I check the following threads pretty regularly:

Take care,
Chip Noble
Team DeLorme

107 Responses to PN-60w and SPOT Communicator: Question and Answer…

  1. Tim says:

    Will the PN-60wse become available at the same time as the PN-60w?

  2. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Good question Tim, thanks! Yes, all the models are scheduled to release at the same time. -Chip

  3. deercreekth says:

    So, the PN-40 with 2.8 firmware will not work with Topo 8 or earlier. What about Cache Register? Will it still work with a device upgraded to 2.8?

    The Sync feature sounds great, but I like having a lightweight way to quickly load Pocket Queries to my PN-40. Topo 7 was a bit sluggish on my desktop. It doesn’t handle 3D mode on Topo 8. I’m afraid to see how Topo 9 will perform on it.

  4. Kevin says:

    How many watts output does the SPOT Communicator put out? I’ve read that many PLBs put out 5 watts to get their signal through heavy tree cover.

  5. andy says:

    What about Cache Register or other connectivity for MacOS users? Will that work with the PN-60 series? Or the 30/40 w/ FW 2.8 for that matter?

  6. deercreekth says:

    Will the 2.8 firmware for the PN-40/30 do anything useful with the cache attributes data that Groundspeak has recently added to Pocket Queries?

  7. Rockin Roddy says:

    NICE!! Can’t wait to see one of these beauties. Well done, DeLorme!

  8. wyleone says:

    May 1st, This will be worse than waiting for Christmas when I was ten!!! You have me sold. Great job Delorme!

  9. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Good question Andy, one that has appeared on our forum in several places too. We will be updating the Cache Register application to make sure that Mac OS users with PN-30/40 devices using the 2.8 firmware update and the PN-60/60w release will be able to load pocket queries. We’ll also be updating Cache Register to use the new file management system so that people can load multiple pocket query files at the same time.

    Chip Noble
    DeLorme

  10. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Great suggestion Deercreekth, we’re looking into it.

    Chip Noble
    DeLorme

  11. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Deercreekth, the 2.8 firmware will work with Topo USA 9.0. The Cache Register application will be updated for the 2.8 firmware as well. I wouldn’t expect Topo USA 9.0 to run any slower than Topo USA 8.0 on your system, there haven’t been any changes to the 3D functionality. Don’t forget that there is a money back guarantee if you’d like to test the application out on your system.

    Chip Noble
    DeLorme

  12. Greg Barnett says:

    Will the PN-60 be able to write/append a single track log (to the SD card) for the day like the Garmin 60csx does? If so, what will the new track points limit be?

  13. Brent says:

    Will the topo/street data be the same in Xmap 7 and Topo 9, or will it be newer in Topo 9?

  14. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Greg Barnett: Since the PN-Series GPS devices do not thin the track points it is necessary to break them into manageable files. The current track file point limit is set to 10,000 points. We’re experimenting with an increase to this count. Keep in mind that there is no limit to the number of tracks, just depends on your internal memory use or the size of your SD card. You’ll be able to gather full detail tracks for your entire trip.

    Brent: The topographic data will be updated with Topo USA 9.0 to show the latest roads and trails in our database. You’ll also get the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer points with detailed descriptions, I’m very excited about that new feature!

    Thanks for the questions… -Chip

  15. RRLover says:

    It would seem that I have to post to subscribe, . . .
    so this is it.

  16. rambrush says:

    Will Topo 9 still have the missing roads in it like Topo 8 or will it be back like Topo 7 with great back country roads?

  17. Songkran says:

    Hello, just wondering if the PN-60w and SPOT communicator will work in Canada as well. Will Canadian Topo maps be available for this product? Will it be released at the same time in Canada?

  18. Sean says:

    Can I just get some clarification on the Spot messaging? The standalone SPOT can only send a pre-written message to its recipients. From the description it sounds like from a PN-60w you can actually compose the messages that you send. Is that correct?

  19. Tim says:

    Sean, correct.

  20. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Songkran: The PN-60w and SPOT Communicator will work in Canada. Topo USA has the road and point data for Canada and our Map Library will let you download the Canadian 50k Topographic Sheets to see contours and land cover. These features are all part of the same release. -Chip

  21. Pete says:

    Will Xmap 7.0 be updated with the new topo 9 maps?

  22. chris moss says:

    Is there any chance that the PN-60wse will work with the spot? And presumably it’ll cover most of Africa until it gets to the southern part where the spot sat coverage finishes? Great job guys… it’s really exciting product!

  23. Chip Noble - Design says:

    The w stands for wireless and that’s the important piece for interacting with the SPOT Communicator. The PN-60w SE will work with the SPOT Communicator and will work in the places where SPOT has coverage. Thanks for the question, I’m glad you’re interested in our upcoming release! -Chip

  24. deercreekth says:

    Since the PN-60 is going to have a spiffy new UI, is there any chance it will support Wherigo cartridges?

  25. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Unfortunately we don’t have plans to support the Whereigo cartridges at this time. I’ll take note of your comment and add it to our feature request list. Thank you for the post. -Chip

  26. Nathan says:

    Hi,

    I am looking for a GPS handheld unit (first one), but hesitate between Garminand Delorme/other?… THE POINT IS: I am living in Malaysia, so “all the nice stuff regarding US, Canada and Western consumers Topo maps > I simply don’t care.”

    What I need is a rugged outdoor unit with real “asian mapping system” (Malaysia, Thailand, VietNam etc..)

    I really want to ask the author of this blog if it is worth for me to purchase such a unit as the PN-60.
    >I don’t mind creating my own map, what I want to be sure with purchasing a Delorme unit, is if there is a simple way (and affordable) to acquire reliable topographic maps with basic road of Malaysia.

    Thanks,
    Nathan

  27. Travis says:

    So what’s the scoop with my pre-order bing delayed by a month and a half?

  28. Ken Feusse says:

    What is this delay about. I have plans and need this sooner than June 21st.

    Hello from Amazon.com.

    We’re writing about the order you placed on January 13 2010. Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below has changed, and we need to provide you with a new delivery estimate based on the new release date:

    “Delorme Earthmate PN-60W Portable GPS Navigator with SPOT Satellite Communicator”
    Estimated arrival date: June 21 2010 – June 25 2010

    We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay.

  29. Randy says:

    On Amazon it shows June for the release. Is that true?
    Thanks

  30. Ken says:

    I canceled my Delorme PN60 order with Amazon and ordered a Garmin 500 and a Spot-2. I saved over $100.00 and will get tem a lot sooner.

  31. Randy says:

    The Nuvi 500?

  32. Troy says:

    When is the real release date going to be? I just bought a PN-40 from a local retailer but if the release date is going to be pushed back I will be push out of getting the topo 9.0. As stated you have to have bought your pn-30/40 within 60 days of the release date!!!! Please let me know if I need to return my pn-40 and buy it again later as I don’t want to miss out on the topo 9.0 upgrade!

  33. Nick says:

    I was curious about the release date as well. I do not have it pre-ordered yet, but I saw the date changed on Amazon as well.

    Also, will there still be an SE version with more memory? If so when is the new release date for that? Thanks.

  34. Joan Burroughs says:

    Chip ~ Great news about the PN60 having a Profile Page. Just what I wanted to hear. But, will it also be able to display a projected elevation graph for a hike, or the remainder of a hike that’s underway? Very important for accompanying husband to know what he’s in for.
    Many thanks, Joan

  35. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Joan Burroughs, thanks for the question about the Profile Page… The PN-60 will be able to display a profile for the existing active track, a track that was created with the device, or one that was created ahead of time using Topo USA. This will show the elevation for where you are going during your hike so that you and your husband will know how far to the top of the next climb! -Chip

  36. Chip Noble - Design says:

    All of the PN-60 models… PN-60, PN-60w, and PN-60w SE are scheduled to release at the same time in June. -Chip

  37. Chip Noble - Design says:

    I’m going to put together a blog post with some more details about how things are going but will share that we are targeting a June release. -Chip

  38. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Ken, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to wait for the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator. I’m sure that you will be happy with your Garmin and definitely know the urge to have technology now rather than waiting. I did use the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator prototype this evening when I drove home from work and was very excited to see the Track Progress feature sending my location to the satellites. I can’t wait to be able to send a text message with details when I’m out testing in a little while. Keep an eye on the blog for updates, maybe you’ll give the system another look later on. -Chip

  39. deercreekth says:

    Thanks for the update, Chip. So, is the release date for the 2.8 firmware for the PN-40/30 and Topo USA 9.0 moved to June as well?

  40. Ernie says:

    DeLorme is taking a great unit to a higher mark. I love the SD storage for tracks and waypoints. My only dislike was short battery life, and that is improving. Question, will I be able to use my current PN 40 { after firmware update } and future PN 60 with one topo 9 program for exchanging data and maps ? or will I need to buy an additional topo 9 program ?

  41. Steve says:

    Can you enable SPOT tracking and then turn off the PN60 without disabling the SPOT tracking…???

    The SPOT has great battery life but I do not leave my PN40 on due to battery consumption… I am interested in the upgrade to PN60 want to be sure that I can still use both Delorme and SPOT the way I do now…

  42. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Good question Ernie, there will be a 2.8 firmware update for your PN-40 that will make it compatible with the new Sync Dialog in Topo North America 9.0. That update will be part of the T9 setup so after installation you’ll be all set to use both GPS devices with the desktop software. -Chip

  43. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Yes, we’ll release Topo North America 9.0 (T9 will include topographic data for Canada, land cover, contours, digital elevation… very nice) with the PN-60 and that will include the 2.8 firmware update. Everything is on the same timeline for hitting the stores. -Chip

  44. Travis says:

    So Chip… You’ve been lax in telling us why the initial may delivery date is going to be missed. I really was hoping and relying on this unit arriving before my mountaineering trip at the end of May. What’s the scoop? Testing, Manufacturing, Pre-mature ecommerculation on the part of Amazon? Why am I going on my trip sans-PN60+SPOT?

  45. Dennis says:

    Does the PN-60 physically snap together somehow with the Spot unit, or do we have to count on carrying two separate devices in different places (on our belts, in pockets, etc.)?

    My concern is sometimes people like me also carry a cell phone & camera. The nightmare vision is lugging around a huge tool belt like a cop or telephone repairman. Home Depot has carpenter’s tool belts too, but please tell us we won’t have to hike/bike/backpack/fish/hunt/drive with one of those…

  46. Randy says:

    Chip I know you have been a great help, but what will the price of the PN-60SE be?
    Thanks again

  47. Tom Sands says:

    Chip,
    I was hoping that I would be able to buy a PN-60wse to use at Geowoodstock in Washington starting late June.
    Will that be possible?

  48. Todd says:

    I see that the PN 60w SE will have 16.0 GB of internal memory. Will it also accept SD cards?

  49. Loyal says:

    I currently have Spot v 1.0 and a Mobal GSM Phone I use while trekking internationally. I’m interested in the PN-60w because it combines my favorite SPOT features along with the ability to text and update Facebook/Twitter (I rarely make actual calls), in addition to all the other features PN-60w offers.

    What are the text/FB rates or are they a part of the SPOT subscription package?

    Really excited to get my hands on the PN-60w, though I need it by June 1st.

  50. Al Hemmer says:

    Will Topo 9.0 expand the 200-record limit in the address book?

  51. whowe says:

    Chip,

    Have you heard if Delorme will extend the 60 free upgrade due to the delay in shipping the PN60? I have actually just purchased 3 PNs with plans to upgrade to fw 2.8 and Topo 9. The shipping deloy for the 60′s also delays the Topo 9 availability. Do I need to return these three PN and wait till end of April (or when?) to make sure I get the upgrade? It doesn’t seam right to not be able to get the upgrade simply because the ship date was pushed back…

  52. Nick Bragg says:

    how far apart can you be and still be able to see where your buddy is on the gps. Does the gps constantly show where your buddy is, or is it like the garmins that only show when the mic is keyed.

  53. Richard Renn says:

    I see the PN-60 series units appear to be black in color. Won’t its innards get cooked while the GPS is in the sun?

  54. Stephan says:

    Can this be Tethered to a Laptop to serve as an Internet Modem?

  55. Chip Noble - Design says:

    I’m sorry that we’re going to miss your mountaineering trip at the end of May Travis. My announcement around CES in January was at the start of the project and it can sometimes be hard to predict all that will take place during the development cycle. We were planning a May release but since then we’ve experienced a few minor schedule delays that have caused us to move our release date from May to June. This was done primarily to make sure that we have the time needed to do a good job with Quality Assurance and make sure the devices we ship will perform as designed, especially when considering the emergency response nature of the new SPOT Communicator. While I wish we could have been ready in time for you to take the system with you on your trip, it’s more important to me to take a little longer with testing to prevent someone like yourself from having a technology failure while you are in the middle of an extreme activity like mountaineering. I hope that you will give the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator a look when we release in June. Good luck with your trip in May. -Chip

  56. Chip Noble - Design says:

    The SPOT Communicator and PN-60w are separate units. This is so you can store your PN-60w in your pocket or on your pack shoulder strap while the SPOT Communicator sits on your pack or somewhere it can have a clear view of the sky. When you need to send a message or check your Track Progress status you can just take the PN-60w out and verify that the SPOT Communicator that has been oriented toward the sky is sending messages properly. I recognize your concern about too many devices on your belt but you are talking about quite a range of technology… GPS, cameras, cell phone, satellite communication… That’s a lot for any one piece of technology to do well. We’re confident that the wireless connection between the PN-60w and the SPOT Communicator will allow the satellite messenger to be positioned in an optimal location for tracking while the user has the GPS device in their hand or stored in their PN holder. -Chip

  57. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Good question Randy… I’m going to have to check on that one. I know the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator are going to be $550 for the package but I’m not sure how much the additional internal memory is going to cost. I’ll check and get back to you or you could contact our customer service department.

    http://www.delorme.com/customerservice/default.aspx

    -Chip

  58. Chip Noble - Design says:

    I sure hope so since I’m going to be running PN-60w and SPOT Communicator demos at the Teva Mountain Games in early June! We’ll be at GeoWoodstock for the Fourth of July celebration too so be sure to stop by and let me know how you’re liking the new device. We’ll talk shop and I’ll take notes to bring back to the project team. I look forward to meeting you out there! -Chip

  59. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Absolutely, the PN-60w SE is the Special Edition, everything the other device has only a lot more memory. I’m using a test model of the PN-60w SE right now and am very pleased with how it handles large volumes of maps in the internal as well as the SD location. -Chip

  60. Chip Noble - Design says:

    I’m glad to hear that you are excited about the ability to send text messages and update Facebook and Twitter using the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator. We’re still working out the subscription package with SPOT but I’m confident that it will be more cost effective then the cell phone texting plans. We’ll post more information as those details are ironed out. I’ve heard from a few people with end of May deadlines… unfortunately it’s looking like we won’t be finished with our testing cycle until early June. We want to make sure that what we release is verified as stable and reliable, especially given the emergency response component of this package. I hope that you’ll be able to give the device consideration since we know it will be a valuable tool even if you have to wait a little bit longer for it. -Chip

  61. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Unfortunately Topo North America 9.0 is our consumer mapping application and it has some limitations in data volume since we offer much more professional features in our XMap line. If you are interested in higher data volume I’d encourage you to check out our XMap product family. -Chip

  62. Chip Noble - Design says:

    Sorry Stephan, the SPOT Communicator will not connect to a laptop to serve as an internet modem. -Chip

  63. Hank30721 says:

    Hey Chip…
    I’ve been reading the blog with anticipation. I already use SPOT and have a Garmin GPS76Csx which works great but lacks 24k topo’s in all the areas I hike in. I am also interested in the gpx capability. My question is really in regards to location accuracy and signal stability. My 76Csx is quite competent in the woods, under heavy tree cover, and in canyons. It works strapped to my pack (vertical, horizontal) and to a lanyard around my neck. I have read that the antenna design in the PN-60 is “more” accurate when the unit is held horizontally. Is that true? Is the Cartesio chipset more or less sensitive than the SirfIII?

    I can’t seem to find those answers in searches. This purchase will be significant for me – I have relied on my GPS76Csx in life threatening situations and it has performed more than satisfactorily. I just need some honest answers to help me make that decision and this blog seems to provide answers not “too” biased :-).

  64. cd says:

    The PN-60w has huge potential especially in the locator component. Let’s call this component ISeeU, mentioned in the remote control. Something small that could be attached to a key ring, a pets collar, dropped in a ladies purse, or even more significant, in a child’s pocket would be more useful. “Taking 6 kids and 2 pets to the park and worried about keeping up with them? With Delorme’s ISeeU, you can see them all right from your PN-60w.” The same could be accomplished with the TV remotes, but it might look a little strange having this attached to a dogs collar.

    Other GPS manufacturers have their remote monitor options. Cell phone companies have it. Why not the leader in mapping? Keep the ISeeU price low and sale of the PN-60w’s will outsell those purchased for traditional reasons.

    I will be purchasing a PN-60w for search and rescue reasons. Maps are critical. As an elite Delorme, GPS, power user, I know of nothing I would rather have than a good compass and a PN unit full of aerial imagery, charts and quads.

    Thanks Chip

  65. Tom Tumino says:

    Please tell me you are fixing the 1000 waypoint single file limit from the PN-40. Will I be able to make a single waypoint file of over 1000 points on the PN-60?

    Thanks Tom

  66. Earp says:

    Are you making it so we can export to a GPX file? Would be nice to have that feature. No offense but everyone doesn’t use delorme’s software.

  67. Ben says:

    Has there been any comment on the price of the Topo 9 upgrade for those of us that have been using the PN40 and Topo 8?

  68. Rob says:

    Great looking product but where can I get live training. My trips are on motorcycle in Mexico and Latin America. Currently in San Diego area, is there any schools/classes or I will need something much more basic:-(

  69. horsetrailrider says:

    Chip:

    I see the PN-60w is using the 802.15.4 protocol. Is the device going to be fully compliant with the spec? Basically, I’m wondering if I can use ZigBee Repeaters such as these to extend the mesh network range.

    http://www.4-noks.com/pagine/prodotti/index.php?prodotto=ok&cate=6&prod=ZB&id_prodotto=61

    http://www.icpdas-usa.com/zb_2510p.html

    http://www.amx.com/products/NXR-ZRP.asp

    Being able to use these repeaters would open the door to using the PN-60w for search-and-rescue. I could place the repeaters on a few hilltops to greatly extend the range of the mesh network.

    And….if this is possible, are you going to release your data structure so I can setup a ZigBee transceiver at Incident Command to receive the positional messages from each searcher using a PN-60w. We currently use a separate GPS/2M APRS system for tracking.

  70. Troy says:

    I need to know the same thing! When is the cut off time for those of us that have just got a new PN and want to upgrade to the new software when it is released. Need to know if I need to return and buy again or will you have longer than 60 because you keep pushing release dates back.

  71. Bill Z says:

    Chip,
    I will be buying a DeLORME PN-40 SE or the PN-60SE how ever If I by the PN-40SE in May will I get a free upgrade to the TOPO 9.0 since it only ships whith the 8.0?
    What will the price be on the PN-60SE?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  72. Randy says:

    Now that the release date is a little over a month away, is it on schedule?
    Thanks
    Randy

  73. Bern Jones says:

    Ditto on the timeframe for the PN-60WSE.
    Thank you.

  74. Tom Gephart says:

    What is the price of the PN 60WSE ?

  75. Hank30721 says:

    The PN-60w release has been pushed back until July – bummer. I wish they would go ahead and release the PN-60w and then send the SPOT device when it is ready. (What do ya think Chip?)

  76. Randall Hill says:

    If I buy a SPOT II Communicator now will it work with the PN-60W if I buy it separately?

  77. Ray Gonda says:

    This is a question – not a reply.

    I am interested in the PN-60WSE due to its greater memory.

    I will be wilderness canoeing in northwest Alaska and I understand that the Alaska map download has 1:24000 topo maps in some areas but not in all places such as the far north. On some rivers, braids in the lower sections can become extremely confusing requiring better than 1:100,000 resolution. Will the xmaps be a better choice and will they run on the PN-60Wse (and will the entire state in x-maps fit on the 16GB memory).

  78. G Phillips says:

    To Tom Tumino:

    I am using several PN 40s and with the 2.8 firmware you can store much more than a 1000 waypoints on the SD card by organizing them into gpx files. However, the gps will only keep up to 1000 waypoints ‘loaded’ in the internal memory at a time. I have several large 3D seismic projects saved as individual gpx files all on the same SD card. When I need a to use different set of waypoints (switching projects), I can just open the file to pertaining to that job, I don’t need my computer.

  79. G Phillips says:

    Earp,

    With the 2.8 Firmware installed on a PN 40, you can save waypoints that you created with the gps as a gpx file on the SD card. Then using the connect to computer option, you can open the SD card as a removeable hard drive (in the My Computer window) to upload the gpx file(s) to your computer.

  80. Steve Hane says:

    What will the annual subscription fee be for the SPOT services for the PN-60w?

  81. Jan Vyparina says:

    Does anybody plan to connect Spot Communicator to Nokia smartphones with Symbian system? Like Nokia 5800 , or Nokia N97. They have GPS integrated and Wifi and Bluetooth, so it may be possible – same band 2.4GHz,similar modulation. I think that Nokia may be more practical (N97 has a keyboard, and both has virtual keyboard on touchscreen) and cheaper (than PN-60w) for writting messages for Spot Communicator. Many people also preffer Garmin maps , and for NOkia and Symbian already exists Garmin MObile XT – it’s full Garmin GPS “emulator”. So would be nice to use Nokia also with Spot Satellite Communicator.

  82. Hank30721 says:

    I’m pretty sure the SPOT device will only interface with the PN-60w since it was designed for that specific GPSr.

  83. Hank30721 says:

    It was mentioned somewhere the rates would be the same as current spot subscribers: $99/year for service, $49/year for the trip tracking feature. The texting feature has not been priced yet. Everyone is guessing $49/year.

  84. Matt65 says:

    I’ve been trying to find the same answers as Hank. I was hopeful that once the PN 60 was released, we’d have some more definitive information regarding signal acquisition and stability.

    Anything from Delorme? Or has anyone found any reliable reviews?

    Thanks,

    Matt

  85. Rodney Tudor says:

    The PN-60w really peeks my interest. I am unlikely to buy it until some reviews and real people use it. My PN-40 is a complete let down over the PN-20. It is so bad at tracking that I carry my PN-20 all the time as backup. I hope you guys get it right this time. These units are too expensive to leave in the truck because you can’t trust them!

  86. Caleb Mason says:

    Rodney: Honest to God this is the first time I have heard of a PN-20 customer who was unhappy with a PN-40. The other way around many times but not what you are saying. What, if anything, have you done to try and resolve your issues? Have you contacted our support people? What are you seeing? I’ll help if I can.

  87. Bill says:

    Any word on the release of the PN-60SE w/Spot?
    Are they going to still have a deal for us waiting to pre-order? ?($549.00)
    I would like to at least get the PN-60se in my hands and be using it and get the spot latter.

  88. Matt65 says:

    Bill:

    The following is an excerpt from Caleb’s latest post on the Delorme forums found here: http://tinyurl.com/29d8o4w

    (Not that I’m eager for the release of the 60SE w/ SPOT or anything…)

    “The PN-60w (and w SE) have passed certification and we have a bunch of them in our warehouse waiting to be sold. The problem is we cannot offer the SPOT unit with the PN-60w for sale as that is a violation of FCC rules. And for anyone who wants an SE model with SPOT they are best to wait as the offer we are making essentially will get them a free SPOT unit. But just to be clear, our problem now is we cannot offer the SPOT for sale in any product configuration until SPOT has the final paperwork in-house. I, too, have worried that something might be wrong but have been reassured that is not the case. SPOT has more FCC tests to run through than our GPS so hopefully it will be granted any hour/day. If not, we will have to refigure our selling plans the beginning of next week…”

    Considering that it is after 4:30 on the East Coast, it looks like another week has slipped by. Maybe Amazon is right and the PN-60 w/ SPOT really won’t be available until July 31, 2010. Which would be too bad since I’d really like to use this on my Mt. Adams climb on Aug 2 & 3.

    Matt

  89. Caleb Mason says:

    Good news….SPOT received their FCC certification paperwork last night so we are good to go with offering the PN-60 w SE for sale now with the SPOT unit to follow later in August when available.

    As communicated in my blog posts, DeLorme customers who have signed up will be notified via email today with a link that will lead them to a total of $150 in savings for this combination product. We are doing this in part to thank many of you for your patience while we have been waiting for the SPOT cert to come through.

    This way you can step up to the SE model with 16-GB of internal memory now and then later when available receive a SPOT unit shipped at our expense with a total savings amount that equals the cost of the SPOT unit when sold alone. It’s a great offer and only available for existing DeLorme customers as part of our loyalty program, especially given that supplies are genuinely limited (I know everyone always says this but it is true).

    You can also call us at 800-561-5105 if you prefer over email and our East Coast call center opens at 9 AM this morning to help you.

    Our supply of SE units is smaller than I had hoped but we do have more being produced now. Anyone who signed up to be notified will be eligible for this introductory offer through this summer and then we will need to see how inventories are looking and plan from there out.

    We have recently received some very exciting news about this product combination, some involving a major tech celebrity who will be using it soon and others involving prestigious advance award notifications, which we hope will come to fruition. (Amazon has already named it one of the Top Tech Products of the Year.)

    This is truly a fun and fascinating new product pairing based on my own experiences and we are all excited and feel like we are on the cusp of seeing the rewards of our labors. This has been one of those rare stretch projects where two teams (DeLorme plus SPOT) had to work together with a great deal of complex technologies and boil them all down into a product that many people will be able to enjoy.

    So thanks again for your patience and I will continue to provide updates here so you know how supplies and timings are looking as we continue down the road.

    p.s. I imagine Chip will make a post or two but he is getting ready to go on a private climb with the top editors of Backpacker who are eager to see it all work and report back from remote locations. We also are a sponsor of the Boy Scouts’ 100-year Jamboree and will have many people there running GPS and geocaching sessions. We also will be attending the Midwest Geobash this summer.

    CMason
    DeLorme Staff

    Posts: 472
    Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:41 pm
    Location: DeLorme
    Private message

  90. Matt65 says:

    Caleb (and everyone else) –

    Please accept my apologies for cluttering the blog w/ my previous posts requesting status updates on this offer as I was unaware that the offer was only for existing Delorme customers. I’m assuming, of course, that my purchase of a physical Delorme map book many years ago does not qualify me as an existing Delorme customer.

    Best of luck.

    Matt

  91. Matt65 says:

    Also, forgot to mention, congrats to DeLorme on finally getting the FCC cert and being able to sell what looks to be a really exciting product.

    Best,

    Matt

  92. Caleb Mason says:

    Thanks Matt. You would indeed qualify as a DeLorme customer, but that aside, people who are uncertain or who are reading this blog should just call us and we will try and be as accommodative as we can.

  93. E! says:

    Macs. Hello Macs.

    Just dropped $400 on the new PN60. Are you really going to make me return this and buy a Garmin?

  94. Bob West says:

    I own a Spot Messenger Communicator. If I buy a PN-60, will it interface with my existing Spot device, or will I have to buy the PN-60/Spot package?

  95. DeLorme says:

    You would have to buy the package. The other SPOT devices do not work with the PN-60w.

  96. Bob West says:

    Okay, thank you.

  97. Joel says:

    Any update on whether the PN-60w will support Wherigo cartridges?

  98. DeLorme says:

    There are no planned updates to the PN-60w to support Whereigo.

  99. Randy L Yindra says:

    If I were to buy a PN-60W and do not want the SPOT Satellite Communicator
    could I give it to someone or is it a packege that has to be used together?
    Thanks

  100. DeLorme says:

    They need to be used together so splitting them up wouldn’t work. If you want just the PN-60w, you’ll need to call DeLorme directly. See DeLorme.com for the number and hours. Thanks.

  101. Greg says:

    400mw. as in less than 1/2 of one watt

  102. Daniel Boudreau says:

    I’ve just discovered that the “SPOT Assist” roadside assistance service is not availlable for the PN-60w. I don’t understand why? Will it be offered in future?

  103. Preston says:

    Does the PN-60 w/SPOT have capability to be used as an in-flight computer. For example, private flying in a small Cessna. Will the PN-60 located an airfield and direct me there similar to a car GPS giving driving directions?

    BR, Preston

  104. Daniel Boudreau says:

    Well… Even if there web site is currently telling that SPOT ASSIST services are not yet available for pn-60w with Spot Communicator, the SPOT account management page (the canadian one) is offering the subscription for pn-60w since last week.

  105. Jim Brown says:

    Why is the PN-60w w/spot no longer available on Amazon?

  106. Great stuff! The PN-60 with Spot truly is an evolution. I like the new feature profile page. But I searched and I can’t find available ones too. What happened? Is it phased out already?

  107. Vin says:

    I purchased the Delorme PN-60W with SPOT and i have activated the SPOT subscription service for one year….my question is now that i know i won’t be using my GPS or SPOT at all..can i transfer the SPOT – which is now registered under me – to another person??

    Thanks

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