Hiking the Grand Canyon

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Peter McBride and Kevin Fedarko just completed a grueling sectional thru-hike of the Grand Canyon. They brought a couple of inReach Explorers so they could send and receive messages throughout their trek, and as an emergency device if something were to go wrong in the canyon.

National Geographic put together a beautiful interactive infographic detailing the epic journey, which includes inReach messages, beautiful photography, and video clips from Peter and Kevin.

View the infographic here.

inReach 101: Tracking

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Tracking on the inReach allows you to keep a digital bread crumb trail of your journey, in case you get lost and need to reverse your path, or just for reference and analysis when you get home. It also enables you to send your location via satellites to your MapShare page at a selected interval, giving friends and family an exclusive look into your progress. We hope this post will help you to understand how to properly configure and use the tracking features on your inReach.

Track Points vs. Track Logs

Simply put, track points are sent to your MapShare, and track logs are stored on the device. To adjust your Send Interval and Log Interval, go to Settings>Tracking on your device. Your Send Interval should be set to how often you want to update MapShare with your location. The Log Interval should be set to how often you want your trail updated on your device. It should be frequent enough that you can trace your steps back if you happen to get lost.art140img010a.png

Tip: Upload your log data to your Explore account by syncing your device via your computer after your trip.

Once your intervals are configured to the appropriate settings, start tracking by selecting Tracking from the home page, then Start Tracking. Here you will also have the option to share your journey by sending a message announcing that you have begun tracking to your contacts or social media accounts.art140img004b.png

Always remember to turn off tracking after you finishing your trip or while taking an extended break. This saves battery and prevents viewers of your MapShare from wondering why you have stopped moving. A feature called Extended Tracking can also help prevent this by automatically dropping your Send Interval to 4 hours if you have not moved for a set amount of time. Extended Tracking can be configured in Settings>Tracking.

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Tip: Clear the stored log on the Tracking page when starting a new trip to have full log capacity available.

For more information on configuring tracking, check out the full article.

 

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Jen Edwards survived a 60-foot fall in the backcountry thanks to a daring search and rescue operation, her inReach, and her brave dog Ruben – now she wants to return the favor to the men and women that saved her life.

Jen Edwards had always wanted to complete a solo backpacking trip through the Illinois River Trail in southern Oregon. The trail, considered one of the most scenic and rugged paths through the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, meanders 60 miles through stands of old growth forest, steep river canyons, and fields of beautiful wildflowers. When the opportunity came for Edwards to embark on the challenging journey this September, she knew she couldn’t say no.

“The appeal is that there’s just the most breathtaking views,” said Edwards. “It was a trail I’ve wanted to do for about ten years, and I’ve already done different sections of it.”

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Edwards then set out to learn about the tools solo backpacker use to mitigate risk when they venture outside of cellphone service. One of the devices she kept reading about was the DeLorme inReach. She decided to purchase an inReach SE and activate on a Freedom Plan prior to departing on her trip, a decision that would later save her life.

About 10 miles into her journey Edwards slipped on some loose shale that covered the trail and tumbled down a 60-foot ledge, hitting her head on a boulder and landing face down in a creek bed. Still conscious and strapped to her 40-pound pack, Edwards crawled on her stomach out of the water and up to drier land. It was then that she thought to grab the inReach, which she wore around her neck on a lanyard, and press the SOS button. She had suffered a broken neck, broken hand, a concussion, and several lacerations.

The inReach, Edwards said, gave her the assurance and confidence she needed to stay calm while a rescue was dispatched. “Fortunately I had the inReach with me and was able to send my exact location and text with fiancé to provide up to date information on my injuries. Not only did this device save my life, but provided me comfort to speak with those that I love and get updates on where my rescue efforts were at.”

About 45 minutes after the fall, her dog Ruben found her, and remained by her side throughout the entire ordeal. At one point, Edwards heard a rustling nearby and wasn’t sure who or what was approaching her. Ruben let out a loud bark, and Edwards turned on her flashlight to see the rear end of a black bear running back up the trail.

“At this point, I was very much in the mindset that I was not going to die there,” said Edwards. “I just really needed to stay calm.”

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At 11:45 p.m. a member of Curry County Search and Rescue reached Edwards’ location and administered first aid. The search and rescue worker stayed with Edwards through the night as they waited for additional personnel to arrive by daylight.

At 9:20 a.m., the Curry County Search and Rescue team arrived at the Illinois River Trail Head where they met up with four Josephine County Search and Rescue members. They then hiked the trail to Edwards’ location while several other members hiked into an area known as “Buzzards Roost” to relay radio communication and to provide assistance if needed. The U.S. Coast Guard had also been contacted for assistance and they deployed a helicopter from North Bend Air Station to assist in the rescue.

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The Coast Guard helicopter and rescue swimmer were not able to reach Edwards in her position in the creek bed, so the search and rescue members had to move her across the Illinois River to a safe area. Around 1:50 p.m., Edwards was placed into a Stokes basket and raised to the helicopter and transported to a hospital in Grants Pass where she was treated for her injuries. Ruben was hiked out by the search and rescue team and later given to Edwards’ family members.

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Now at home recovering from her injuries, Edwards plans to get back out on the trail when she is feeling better. “I love to hike alone and I have taken that for granted in the past that nothing like this would happen. I still want to continue to hike alone, and the chances of something this extreme happening to me twice is unlikely, but knowing I have my inReach I will feel as though I have a hiking buddy, a lifeline to save me if needed.”

Edwards also now wants to return the favor to the amazing men and women that responded to her distress signal that day.

“They risked their safety for mine and had something tragic happened in that effort, no one would know their location because of the equipment they currently have. I owe everything to them and my goal is to be able to raise enough money to buy several of the inReach devices as well as a year worth of service for them.

“They did have line of sight communication, so once the Coast Guard chopper was above us there was some feedback, but because of the variety of canyons, communication outside of this was scarce and the search and rescue teams relied heavily on my fiancé and I’s texting thru the inReach.”

Edwards is running a fundraising campaign to fulfill her goal of purchasing enough inReach devices for the search and rescue teams. You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/2qifnvo

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PLEXSYS developed OnScene Commander (OSC) as a tool to deliver mission-relevant, actionable information to command centers to monitor and protect deployed field assets—both personnel and equipment. A critical part of the OSC system is the inReach and inReach Portal Connect (IPC) API, which PLEXSYS integrated with their OSC Server, the platform that receives field data from inReach, among other sources, and distributes it to all OSC clients. Whether tracking military cadets, field workers, or equipment, inReach IPC delivers real-time location data, messages, and SOS distress signals to the OSC server, where it can be monitored and addressed in real-time.

“The implementation of the server has been a game changer. It enables us to share data among our software clients that we weren’t able to share before. It guarantees that all clients are viewing the exact same thing,” said Nick Bittle, Project Manager at PLEXSYS.

PLEXSYS also developed their own test server to mimic the IPC and create test devices. This gave them the ability to efficiently test their software, and to accurately demonstrate their system to potential clients.

Taking OnScene Commander to West Point

PLEXSYS, together with Parsons Corporation, were contracted to use OnScene Commander to provide a situational awareness display and common operating picture for the 2016 West Point annual summer field training exercises—a grueling and unpredictable cadet training program in the rugged wilderness outside of West Point, New York. The weather and training environment vary greatly during the months of April to August, ranging anywhere from a cold, barren landscape to a very hot and humid dense forest. Furthermore, the training area is steep and difficult to traverse.

Before they implemented OSC, the Cadet leadership would send Cadets out on the course and only after the time limit had expired would they know to begin looking for any lost or injured Cadets. The ability to provide leadership with a constant display of cadet locations and a user interface capable of setting geo boundaries, inactivity alerts – all while receiving text messages and SOS emergency alerts – greatly increased the overall safety of field training.

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West Point Cadets are briefed on inReach before heading out for training exercises.

Throughout the 2016 training schedule over 1500 cadets were equipped with inReach devices, enabling West Point leadership to know the exact location of every cadet at all times. PLEXSYS was able to customize the inReach devices so that features such as the digital compass, waypoints, navigation, and weather forecasts were unavailable to the cadets; tools which could interfere with the quality and difficulty of the training exercises.

“We sent over 700 messages to devices while we were operating and were able to monitor up to 300 cadets at a time. Overall, we improved the safety and communication of the exercise without reducing the challenge presented to the cadets,” stated Nick Bittle.

Another great benefit of integrating IPC into the OnScene Commander system is the ability for high-detail after-action reports. PLEXSYS can now provide leadership with a one-second interval picture of where every cadet traveled during the training, verifying the actual path of the cadet and confirming their land navigation proficiency.

For more information on inReach Portal Connect please reach out to your account manager, or email inReach.enterprise@garmin.com.

To learn more about PLEXSYS and the OnScene Commander system, visit www.plexsys.com.