Tag Archives: GPS

How a Thuraya’s GPS unit just saved a climber’s life

As a follow-up to the last post here is a news update on the climbers in Pakistan.  Apparently, one climber was saved thanks to his ability to access GPS coordinates on his Thuraya.  I am not certain how the coordinates were used but it seems as if he may have been sending his coordinates to his fellow climbers via SMS.

11:32 pm CDT Aug 02, 2008
(K2Climb.net) Norit expedition leader Dutch Wilco Van Rooijen has incredibly survived 3 nights exposure on the high slopes of K2.

He is currently in Camp 3, together with Cas and Pemba Sherpa. Yesterday, Wilco was located between camp 4 and 3 on the Cesen route thanks to GPS coordinates on his Thuraya sat phone, and later people in BC spotted him coming down very slowly under his own power.

It is for this very reason that I blogged about Twittering from Thuraya some months ago.  The more easily people in the field can relay there location back to their support team the better.

Why Apple’s worldwide iPhone roll out is so important

Last week I was speaking to a friend in Croatia and he was thrilled that he could soon wander down to the local Hrvatski Telekom store and pick up an iPhone 3G.  Until now most iPhones in eastern Europe sold for ridiculous sums a Russian friend was quoting me astronomical prices for unlocked phones in St. Petersburg.  While they are still not cheap by most folks’ standards they are now available to a much wider market.  You will soon be able to pick-up a unit in Kenya, Croatia, Jordan, etc.  What most people don’t understand, and why this roll out is so important, is because it now makes an A-GPS enabled GSM phone available to markets from which most international aid organizations pull their staff.

As an American aid worker I was almost always a minority when I was in the field.  I was fortunate enough to be able to work with some of the most talented professionals that Eastern Europe, the Middle East, SE Asia, and Africa had to offer.  Now that these professionals have access to the same tools that someone on their lunch break in the Embarcadero has, and they are taking them to places where they are truly needed, the benefit that this type of technology has to offer will quickly become apparent.

Now, I may be pumping the numbers on Croatians, Kenyans and Iraqi’s that are going to be running out and throwing down a chunk of change on an iPhone 3G, and I am certainly ignoring the fact that most already own well equipped Nokia Nseries phones that have long had these capabilities, but my guess is that you’ll soon see a video clip of an aid worker speaking frantically into an iPhone 3G during the next major international event.

What do you think?

The GeoChat solution

I just wanted to let you all know that we are working hard on building out InSTEDD’s GeoChat platform to bring you a viable Twitter-like solution for sat phone users. I was introduced to Eduardo Jezierski and Daniel Cazzulino of InSTEDD through Evan, Mikel, Schuyler and Jesse (Many thanks to you all!) on Wednesday and since that time we have been working steadily to create a tool that will allow any Thuraya user to send their GPS coordinates via SMS and have it arrive as attachment in a designated recipient’s inbox. Daniel and Eduardo have been doing an amazing job and within 24hrs they had the server end up and running. As soon as we have something viable I will be sure to let you all know.

In the mean time check out http://www.teddster.org/ to get a taste of things to come.