Monday, April 4, 2011

Updates From the Road - Please Read

One of the (many) devices I will have on board with me on the Alaskapade is a GPS transponder unit which will uplink my location via satellite and will allow me to send short updates from the road during the trip.  A great portion of this trip will be ridden through remote areas beyond the range of cellular service and this device will let me keep friends and family abreast of my location and status via short (max 41 character) messages. The messages will include a link to a scrollable, zoom in/out map with my current location and a track line of my trip from its inception.  Viewers can move their cursor over the track line to see when I was at that location.  This device will also be the source for a similar map with the same features which will be placed atop my page.  Readers not receiving the messages from the road can still see my progress.

The unit does not receive messages.  I will only receive text and messages when I'm under cellular coverage or stopped at a location with internet services.

The device also provides 911/SOS monitoring and emergency dispatch through the dedicated International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center (IERCC) based in Houston, Texas. If I happen to find myself in serious trouble, (assuming I'm physically capable) I can press a button and activate the rescue process. While the safety/rescue feature is this device's primary purpose, I prefer to concentrate on the messaging capabilities and think of it as a means of keeping in touch with my friends and family back in the lower 48.

The routine status messages can be sent to predetermined groups of recipients who can receive the information via text or email. If you want to receive these updates, I need you to send me an email with the following information.

Your preference for contact - Text or Email (or both)
Email Address
Cell Phone Number & Carrier (if text is your preference)

Email this information to me at

Please do so sooner than later because updating the network is a bit cumbersome and I expect to be really busy in the days preceding my departure.
Neither I nor the service provider will distribute or otherwise compromise your personal information.  Transmissions will begin on my scheduled June 18th departure date and will cease when I return to Dallas, upon which I will delete the recipient group and your information. I don't expect more than one or two messages per day unless something extraordinary happens.  Recipients can opt out at any time by, but I will have to be in a location with internet access to edit the list, so you may receive a few messages after you opt out.

Finally, if you're into the geek speak for this stuff, you can find details on this device here.