Tracking every which way, & Gizmo blows a gasket

Paloma_first_boat_ride_Android_tracking_cPanbo.JPG

Yeah, yeah, yeah; the new iPhone 4 was announced and it looks pretty cool.  And if its GPS and background apps processing are good enough, maybe it can track as well as my Droid Incredible ;-).  That track above especially exemplifies the value of easy tracking as it documents my five-month-old granddaughter’s first boat ride, a row around Camden Harbor in search of my bird buddies.  Though I simply fired up Google My Tracks and stuck the phone back in my pocket, the accuracy is excellent, even in my truck as I drove home, as you can see here in a Google My Map (which I was able to create from the phone with a couple of clicks).  That’s why My Tracks is a favorite at the moment, though I have so many tracking options my head spins, and sometimes the memories captured are a lot less pleasant…


These days I’m testing the new Spot Messenger (well, pretty new as it got recalled for a minor flaw and then relaunched) and am so far impressed with improved performance and a much easier interface.  I’ve set up a Spot Share Page here, and I’ll try to put up at least some land tracking later today.  Moreover, I’ve got the Spot linked with a Yahoo service called Fire Eagle that also let’s me post location updates via Web, iPhone, or Android phone and then automatically distribute them in various ways like this addition to Panbo’s About Page.  Which is fairly nifty except that it shows how irregularly I use any of these tracking apps and/or how little I’ve been traveling lately (true and relaxing, actually).  Plus I got my mitts on an ACR AquaLink View PLB along with the use of the company’s new 406Link testing/messaging service and while it’s really not a tracking system — but rather a seriously reassuring safety device — I’ll soon compare it to Spot 2.
   While I failed to use any of those tracking schemes during yesterday’s misadventure aboard Gizmo, the Garmin 5212 was auto tracking, and it was easy to bring the data home where HomePort illustrated the sad affair fairly well (below).  I don’t know why the track properties isn’t showing heading, speed, and position — like my outdrive-smashing friend’s did — nor why the boat speed was recorded as 2 knots throughout, when actually it varied from about 18 knots to lots of drifting.  But just the track itself will serve as an indelible memory.  There I was bopping down the Bay to Rockland — my first serious test trip, mainly because I bit off a lot of projects this Spring — when the Volvo Penta’s overheat alarm went off.
   So those track jags down off Rockport represent an hour or so of me trying to troubleshoot the problem and figure out a way to limp back home.  An engine pan full of anti-freeze was a pretty good tip off, but it took me a few tries to realize that it would take a hose (thankfully trouble shot last season) to keep up with the leak.  I also developed a pretty good sense of where the leak is, and, while I can’t yet name the subsystem involved, it sure doesn’t look like an easy fix.  I’m trying to console myself that I was lucky to have it fail so close to home and with plenty of time before the real cruise we’ve planned.  And being a granddad does seem to change one’s sense of time a bit…

Garmin_HomePort_overheated_Gizmo_track_cPanbo.JPGYou did want a peek at the little darling, didn’t you?  That’s Paloma Adele Killoran (and her mom Ariana) visiting Gizmo this weekend, the first of many I’m hoping.  There’s also a glimpse of my new Azek dashboard, and all new overhead radio dash, pretty much ready to go…once the boat is back in action.  Rats! 

Paloma_on_Gizmo_cPanbo.JPG

Similar Posts:


FOB update, SPOT and AIS OK
June 18, 2008

SPOT share pages, in beta
April 28, 2008

SPOT Connect(s), the mobile apps way
January 6, 2011

SpotX 2-way Globalstar satellite messenger, Viuho Inmarsat too
June 11, 2018



Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

4 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Incidentally, the Android My Tracks app gives the user extensive control over how detailed the tracks are, given decent GPS reception, but high detail does work the battery hard. Location aware apps running in the background are great, but when I’m not careful about what’s multitasking, sometimes the Incredible literally gets hot from using its battery up so fast.
    So my recent snottiness about the iPhone is just a contrarian posture; the truth is that there are a lot of interesting and able apps phones these days, with many pros and cons (and no doubt more coming).

  2. ariana says:

    paloma made panbo, yaaay! a future skipper to be sure, not like her useless mama. so sad to hear about gizmo 🙁 xoxo

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Ar! Feeling somewhat better. Just spoke with a highly regarded Volvo Penta mechanic who seemed to understand what “O” ring (like a gasket) went bad, and says he can fix it in a half day.
    Plus it’s great to see the commenting here get improvements right before our eyes, even if there have been a few glitches along the way (sorry about that, all).

  4. Ben (anonymous mode) says:

    Spot 2 did pretty well tracking today. This morning I had it on the dashboard of my truck as I made a doctor’s appointment (routine) and ran around town. About 11:30 I put it in my pocket at the Public Landing, had lunch on bench there, and went out to Gizmo. Most notable thing is that it managed to send several track points while I was in the main salon, perhaps even scrunched down by the engine. Still, though, tracking every 10 minutes is pretty crude at this scale (though it’s not bad for slow boats):
    http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0MUtvVuadZbyofhjp5l17pEqlDMP7XUsB

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published.