Cell phone tracking

eric's Avatar


05 Dec, 2017 03:16 PM

This was addressed earlier this year but I wanted to bring the topic back up since it is one of the big three things that keep us from moving to SARTopo for operations.

Right now we use TNP for planning and operations. One of the features that we've grown to use and rely on as a backup is the cell phone tracking. Where most of our callsouts occur have fairly reliable cellular coverage and this feature works quite well for us. Obviously there is an understanding that it's not perfect and in a wildland environment it's not to be relied upon as a primary source but it sure is handy as a backup.

  1. 1 Posted by eric on 05 Dec, 2017 03:20 PM

    eric's Avatar

    Oh, we have looked at the possibility of setting up our own javAPRSSrv-like server to support an APRS client on a smart phone but we haven't pushed through with the project just yet. This would be a stand-alone instance (not connected to the APRS-IS) so SARTopo would need to be able to consume a custom URL for that to work.

  2. Support Staff 2 Posted by matt on 10 Dec, 2017 05:40 PM

    matt's Avatar

    I hope to have a solution in place by next summer, but if you setup your own tracking network there are a handful of ways to push locations to sartopo. The offline version can be setup to forward location data to sartopo.com, and also to read several formats from a locally connected serial port, including APRS, NMEA and fleetsync sentences.

    You can also setup a "fleet" locator type on sartopo.com and push locations via (I think - if this doesn't work I can dig up a working example later):


  3. 3 Posted by maier.b on 26 Aug, 2018 04:19 AM

    maier.b's Avatar

    Is there a big demand for this? As a search manager or just as a person working in IC, I have never needed a minute by minute location update of assets in the field. If needed I can look up on the map and see what areas are in progress and what areas have been done. In a pinch I can radio a team for their location. I am not criticizing this request. I have seen other APRS/ real time location info threads on here. It's interesting to see what other teams are doing in other regions of the country.

  4. 4 Posted by eric on 28 Aug, 2018 04:03 PM

    eric's Avatar

    Well, I look at it like this:

    1) It's a safety benefit. Knowing exactly where all of your assets are at any given time, without the need to query them, is great when you have a team out searching 100 acres of wilderness.

    2) It helps operations know where assets are located if someone needs help or a priority search area comes up from planning. This isn't much different from AVL used to locate emergency vehicles for dispatch to incidents.

    3) Ops knows exactly how much of an area is completed.

    And they know all this information without having to tie up a voice communications circuit or interrupt the search team.

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