DeLorme and SPOT Introduce Handheld GPS Communicator

Handheld GPS and Satellite CommunicationsGPS and map software company DeLorme and personal satellite communications company SPOT are launching the DeLorme Earthmate® PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator today, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The two devices communicate over a proprietary wireless data link, allowing the user to send short messages over the worldwide Globalstar satellite network.

DeLorme PN60w with SPOT Communicator

Other than the wireless data link, the new PN-60w appears to offer identical specs to DeLorme’s PN-40, with an STMicroelectronics’ Cartesio™ 32-Channel GPS chipset and 500MB of internal Flash storage. The wireless data link appears to be a bit of a work-in-progress, as the product will initially communicate only with the SPOT Satellite Communicator. A future firmware release is slated to add handheld-to-handheld communication, allowing multiple users to see each other’s location on their displays.

The ability to send text messages from anywhere with a view of the sky is powerful and make this an innovative solution for travelers in remote camping spots. I’m looking forward to the day when we can transfer pictures and also receive messages over a satellite network. The PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator will be available this spring – pricing was not announced.

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7 thoughts on “DeLorme and SPOT Introduce Handheld GPS Communicator

  1. I’m not the most gadget-savvy person and don’t know that I fully understand this technology, but anything that would allow a SPOT user to send a text with more info should they press the help or 9-1-1 button would be a VERY good thing. That would really help rescue crews, because maybe they’d have some idea about the situation before launching a mission.

    • Good point, Deb – SPOT is currently a binary device (your either ‘ok’ or ‘911’), which does not give SAR any situational awareness. Unfortunately, the texting feature will probably encourage more people to rely on SPOT, instead of good safety practices (traveling with someone else, leaving info on where you are going and when you’ll be back, etc.)

  2. With the text messaging feature, it seems that twitter and facebook will be accessible from anywhere in the world. I’ll pass on that 🙂 Sometimes you gotta get away from the tweeting madness!

    • No doubt about that, Josh! This device is still be one-way only, though. You could post messages (no images) on Twitter and FB, but you couldn’t view other people’s (or your own) status or read messages.

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