Sunday, June 21, 2015
Strange Loop Live Tracker
Above is my live map of the Strange Loop. Note the post date is well into the future to accommodate being live and at the Tippy Top of the blog from now until my completion of the route. What does that mean? It means all the posts that will be during the adventure will feed in below this post. So don't be fooled if you arrive at the blog and see this still parked at the top. Just look below this post and you will see whatever new posts there are from out on the Strange Loop.
How does this Strange Loop Live Tracker work? I carry a satellite messenger that feeds my exact location into the map. At any moment you will be able to see my location represented by a little orange bubble on the above map. I have used this service in the past on the BLC to Bering Sea trip and last year again on the Tippy Top Tour. A refresher on this map is important though. First cyan lines are segments of the Strange Loop that will be walked and magenta lines will be navigated by bicycle. Also, to fit 16,000 miles of route into Google Earth I had to simplify the maps data points down to 1 per mile. What does that mean? It means the route superimposed on the map isn't as accurate as past maps have been. That means at any given time you may see my little orange bubble off the route a little. I was studying a map in Arizona yesterday and noticed a more straight forward route down a wash, so there will be times during the trip that I intentionally will be a little off route. The terrain I am walking through may necessitate route changes on the fly as well. High water and wildfires come to mind. The above map may be toggled to satellite map, which is my personal favorite. With that map you may drill down and see in real time the terrain I am walking/ cycling through anywhere on the route.
The satellite messenger may be used as a rescue beacon as well. That was never my intention for purchasing the messenger. I do have the service set up on it and if I was in need of rescue I may use it that way. That is a nice additional feature in case of an extreme emergency. My primary reason for carrying the satellite messenger is to show anyone exactly where I am and that I am in fact doing what it is I say I am doing. The messenger doesn't lie. So walking 3 miles an hour through the route isn't something anyone would want to try to fake. Nor pedaling cross country multiple times at 15 mph.
This service has been one of my major expenses this year for the Strange Loop. It costs me several hundred dollars for the service to host the map live. This service takes my information being sent in from my messenger and feeds it into the Google Earth map. On top of that I have to pay several hundred dollars more for the subscription service with the satellite messenger manufacturer. On top of that I have to pay for service for 16 months! Long story short it is costing me nearly 1,000$ this time round vs. 300$-400$ like in the past. Yikes. Since this is my last big trip, I decided it was worth it. In the past it has proven useful for folks to find me in the field.
One last note. If you haven't had a chance to navigate to the FSTPKR facebook page ( couldn't change the name to never came back) , never came back on twitter or my Instagram account you will be missing out on many of the real time updates during the Strange Loop. I am currently packing 108 mail drops and only have time to throw a quick photo up or tweet. This will also be the case during the Strange Loop. I may only have enough cell signal to get out a quick tweet. If you get a chance and would like to be more engaged with this trip than the occasional blog post head on over and follow along.