Matt Gieselman | SPOT Satellite Messenger review

SPOT Satellite Messenger review

I picked up a SPOT Satellite Messenger from REI for $149 brought it home, signed up on their website and 10 minutes later I was receiving GPS updates sent to my email account.  The device itself it about the size of a brand new bar of soap.




The website also lets you share your location through the web so you can share that address with anyone you want.

SPOT let you do 4 things:

  1. OK, you can send a personalized message saying you are okay to a list a recipients.  The OK message can be sent to a cell phone as a text message or to an email address, included in the message is a link to Google Maps with your current location.  This works great to reassure loved ones that all is well when you are out of cell phone range.
  2. SPOT Casting, lets you track your route by updating your position every 10 minutes for 24 hours.  (Additional $49 per year)
  3. Help , you can send a message saying you need help to a customized list of recipients.  The help message can be personalized just like the OK message.
  4. 911, this message gets routed to GEOS International Emergency Response Center and they contact emergency personnel world wide.


  • Small
  • Inexpensive
  • Excellent battery life (1,900 messages on a single set of lithium AA batteries)
  • Available rescue insurance for $7.95
  • Water proof


  • LED indicators aren't clear about what mode SPOT is in.
  • Somewhat clunky web interface but they keep improving it.
  • Since communication is one way (SPOT can only send messages but not receive them), there is no guarantee your message has been sent.
  • $49 for SPOT Casting is steep, especially since most handheld GPS units support uploading of track logs to a PC.
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