UPDATE 6/7/2011: See DeLorme inReach: Question and Answer… for comment response summary and updated details.
After a long winter of forced silence I’ve finally been given the nod to share a sneak peek at our latest development efforts here at DeLorme. We’re very excited about our new partnership with Iridium and we’re even more excited to announce the DeLorme® inReach™! We’ll be bringing this unique two-way satellite GPS communicator to market later this year.
The DeLorme inReach continues our effort to keep people connected when they travel outside of cell phone range. With the inReach, you can send AND RECEIVE text messages with true pole-to-pole global coverage. The inReach can be used by itself, with the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w GPS, or with smartphones running the Android OS!
One of the invaluable features of the DeLorme inReach is the ability to receive emergency SOS and message delivery confirmation while on your adventure. This removes the need to send the same message multiple times and gives immediate feedback that your communication made it through. Emergency response services will even be able to notify you that help is on the way.
When using the device as a standalone, you will be able to send tracking locations as well as three different messages you’ve created ahead of time. SOS messages can be sent to search and rescue and they’ll be able to respond by triggering a change in the SOS LED on the inReach device to let you know that they heard you and are taking action.
Pairing the DeLorme inReach with either a PN-60w or an Android device allows you to type up to 160 characters and send your message to friends and family using either e-mail or SMS text message addresses. Don’t worry about building your contact list ahead of time anymore, you can send messages to new addresses right in the field. Communicate important information, change your plans, or just check in to let everyone know that you are okay. Send your message to Twitter and Facebook or a shared map to let them watch your progress and send you a message.
The DeLorme inReach has a customizable tracking interval that can be set before you leave if you’re using the device as a standalone or set with the PN-60w or Android application while you are in the field. Set the interval to report every two minutes if you want to share more detail or reduce it to update once an hour if you’re sharing less detail.
Along with the satellite messaging capabilities, both the PN-60w and the inReach Android app will continue to deliver the same top-quality DeLorme Topographic mapping data with roads and trails, detailed contour and land cover information, points of interest and the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer descriptions. We are also working to make the DeLorme Map Library available through the Android application allowing users to view aerial imagery, USGS quad sheets, Canadian topographic maps, and NOAA nautical charts, all available when beyond cell phone coverage.
The DeLorme inReach will require a subscription to access the tracking, messaging, and SOS features. Current plans are to offer three levels: Safety, Recreation, and Pro, with prices starting at $9.95 per month for the safety plan and increasing to offer more in-plan message and tracking units. Plan options will include the ability to move between plan level, if, for example, you find yourself very active in the summer months but only needing safety features during the winter months.
A quick recap in case you only looked at the pictures:
- inReach – A new two-way communicator that works with the PN-60w or an Android OS device.
- Send and receive text messages outside of cell phone range with friends, family, Facebook/Twitter, or emergency services.
- Tracking lets friends and family watch you in real time on a map back home.
- The DeLorme Map Library with topographic, aerial, nautical, and more – all can be downloaded (from within data range) for use outside of cell phone data coverage.
- The messaging plans start at $9.95/month and can be adjusted between levels.
I was able to send my first messages this week so be sure to keep an eye on the DeLorme blog for more details as we move through the development process. There will be opportunities to see the device in action at trade shows and events this summer so stay tuned for those announcements as well. In the meantime, feel free to post questions here, I’ll be updating with new information and would love to hear your thoughts on this exciting new DeLorme product!