May 11, 2011, 10:44 AM — Do you need to boldly go where you haven't gone before and where cellphone service may not be available? You might just need the Spot Connect, a waterproof (to 1 meter for 30 minutes) GPS receiver combined with a low earth orbit satellite messaging system that connects via Bluetooth to smartphones in a package that is just 3-inch-by-2.6-inch-by-1.2-inch and which might just save your sorry butt should you wander into the wilderness.
The Spot Connect can operate in one of four modes of which all but one have to be executed through a smartphone connection: The first mode is "Check-in/OK" which sends, along with your coordinates, one of 14 predefined messages of up to 120 characters or a custom maximum 41 character message to up to 10 contact groups which can each have up to 50 email and or SMS addresses. The message is sent three times over 20 minutes (the repetitions are for reliability) but the recipients only get a single message.
The second mode is "Track Progress," which sends your location automatically every 10 minutes for 24 hours. The fixes are logged to your account and can also be sent to private or public map pages to plot your wanderings.
The third mode is "Help," which is similar to the "Check-in/OK" mode except the message is sent every five minutes for one hour unless canceled.
The fourth mode, "SOS," is for when you feel you are $%^# out of luck. Selecting this option on your smartphone (and optionally adding 41 characters) or pressing and holding the SOS button on the side of the device will bring the cavalry in the shape of emergency responders unleashed by the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC), which alerts the appropriate agency nearest to you worldwide.