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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

DeLorme inReach two-way GPS communicator keeps you connected pole to pole

delorme-inreach.pngSeveral times a year I travel to the Smoky Mountains in my MINI Cooper to enjoy the scenery and spectacular mountain roads. Cell phones don't work very well in the mountains, and in many ways that's a good thing when you want to disconnect and relax. But it also can be a bad thing because in an emergency there just isn't a reliable way to communicate up there unless you're at a hotel or lodge with Internet service.

The DeLorme inReach aims to fix this problem. The inReach is a two-way GPS communicator that runs on the Iridium satellite system. Since it's satellite-based, all you need is a clean shot at the sky to hook up to one of Iridium's 66 cross-linked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and you can connect anywhere in the world.

When used alone, the inReach can send tracking locations as well as three different messages you’ve created ahead of time. By pairing it with a DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w GPS or Android phone the capabilities really expand. You can send and receive text messages up to 160 characters and send your message to friends and family using either e-mail or SMS text message addresses. You even can send your message to Twitter and Facebook with a map to share the location of your adventure. Using the tracking capabilities you can provide access to real-time tracking through a web page for family and friends.

maps-inreach-dashboard.jpg  map-inreach-sos.jpg

With 2-way communication capabilities the inReach also can receive emergency SOS and message delivery confirmation. So after you send your message you can get immediate feedback that your message was received and emergency response services can reply letting you know help is on the way.

Monthly messaging plans will start at $9.95, depending on features. The DeLorme inReach is scheduled to ship sometime later this year. Plans for iOS device support have not been announced.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 10:32am]

    

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