Back in 2008, one of my first Gadling gadget reviews was for the SPOT Personal Satellite Messenger – a portable device that can transmit your location to a constellation of satellites. The device can be used for something as simple as telling friends and family where you are, or if disaster strikes, it’ll relay your location to an international search and rescue organization.
Since I’ve never actually been in an emergency, I never got to test the “help me” button, but Wired teamed up with Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue in Tahoe National Forest to see exactly how well it works. The Wired reporter wandered 8 hours into the wilderness, starting at 3am – then he pressed the button.
Even though the search and rescue team knew the emergency request was staged for them, they had no idea where he’d be when he pressed the button. When he called for help, he was not even on the mountain they expected him to be, yet they still managed to locate him within 30 minutes.
The SPOT messenger retails for $149.99 (newest version) or $99.99 (previous generation). Service starts at $99.99/year for unlimited basic messaging. SPOT messengers are available directly from SPOT or their retail partners.