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We're looking into using SPOT Messenger GPS devices in a corporate setting for our wilderness field staff. GlobalStar, who operates Spot, has a commercial XML data push service which will dump incoming messenger reports to a specified server we own, which we can then process and redirect as we like.

Is anyone out there using this service? Perhaps you've built a spotxml-to-gis program or script you can share? (in python?) Any other thoughts on the service and its utility?

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Please share you findings. –  menjaraz Jul 24 '12 at 16:49
    
@menjaraz, there's not much to share. Nobody who is using it has spoken up, here or other places, and we haven't had time to pursue it ourselves. We've opted to just forward the email notifications received at our corporate mail server to relevant contacts based on the unit id's and some other text. I will post about our SPOT workflow at a future date, when stabilized. –  matt wilkie Jul 25 '12 at 19:05
    
Thank you for your reply. –  menjaraz Jul 25 '12 at 19:09
    
@menjaraz, our current method is now posted. –  matt wilkie Aug 29 '12 at 21:25
    
Thank you again! –  menjaraz Aug 30 '12 at 8:33

1 Answer 1

This answer speaks to the title and not to the specifics in the question body.

After trial of a few methods, here is an outline of how we are handling use of SPOT Messengers in a corporate or enterprise environment.

  • The “OK” and “Late” messages go to the users corporate email, and they then forward to other emails or text message device at their discretion, via server side Outlook Out of Office rule filters on our Exchange server.

  • The “Please send help” message is sent to a 24 hour answering service, who then run down a call list until they reach a warm body.

  • the "SOS" message also goes to the answering service, who then ensures a) the local branch of the federal emergency response agency is notified, and b) processes the corporate call list as above.

We emphatically stress that

"The SPOT is not a replacement for a real GPS. There is no feedback to the person using it about the success for failure of any given button and it doesn’t give visible location info. Its sole utility is in being able to send prepared messages from the wilderness at little cost compared to other related technologies.

Read the device reviews on Amazon and other review sites for details on SPOT shortcomings, there are many. As long as one doesn’t expect it to be more than it is and uses it within its applicable range, it’s a wonderful device."

IT retains a department contact list of who is assigned each SPOT unit and managers responsible in order to aide responses in case of emergency. They also ensure the answering service has access to the up-to-date lists.

SPOTs are a “personal” safety device and therefore work best when assigned to an individual, or a small work unit. Pooling SPOTs is not recommended.

-- Device Management--

Branches are responsible for purchasing their own SPOTs and submitting them to IT for configuration. Once IT receives a new SPOT, the device will be laser engraved with a unique departmental identifier, registered in a departmental SPOT database, added to the corporate Globalstar account, and activated. The active SPOT device will be returned, and subscription fees billed annually by IT to the participant branch.

At a group’s request, IT will set up a Spot tracking website to permit managers to track Spot user movement in the field.

IT maintains the corporate SPOT subscription services with Globalstar on behalf of participant branches by paying the annual SPOT subscription fees. Once paid, participant branches will be billed their portion of the subscription.

Due to administrative overhead and risk of failure, IT discourages the use of loaner or sign-out Spot units. Branches engaging in remote field work are encouraged to acquire their own Spots.

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