Sunday, March 15, 2009

I've been SPOTted

I knew that I wanted visitors to to be able to track my journey online in real-time once the trip begins, but I had to figure out how. Well, meet the SPOT.

It's short for Satellite Personal Tracker, and I guess they got the "O" from somewhere else. Or maybe because if it was SPT, people might pronounce it "spit." Anyway, this small orange device beams my coordinates up to a satellite somewhere and amazingly makes a little pin appear in an online map to show my location. I went up to Seattle last Thursday and brought SPOT along for the ride. This is what the online map looked like after the trip:

You can see those little footstep markers leading all the way up to Seattle and back, and if you zoom in on the Seattle part:

You can even see my movement around the city from the train station to the coffee shop where I met up with some friends to the bus to the house where I met up to practice with the jugband and on and on. Pretty cool, though this specific use of SPOT may be pretty boring. I think it will be even cooler when I'm doing this all over the country on different forms of transport.

You don't necessarily need a GPS device to track your location online. You can use various apps to upload your coordinates from your cell phone, but if you're outside of range, (which I imagine I will be for parts of the journey), it doesn't do you much good. As long as I don't get stuck in some subterranean cave complex, this SPOT should be able to report my location from pretty much anywhere. Now I just have to figure out the best widget to display the map on my site. Let me know if you have any insider information on this, otherwise I'll probably be testing a few on here.

Also, I'm thinking about taking the Un-Road Trip through Canada. I found some awesome vehicles up there, including the Treadmill Bike:

Would that make the Un-Road Trip an international trip?

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