Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd, a leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, has announced that The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) charity has signed a new three-year exclusive contract with Globalstar value added reseller, Mapyx, to provide tracking using the SPOT Gen3 satellite tracker.
Every year, more than 300,000 young people take part in DofE expeditions across the UK countryside. With the combination of SPOT Gen3 devices and Mapyx’s mapping and tracking solution, leaders can track the location of each expedition group of five to seven participants, while each group can send standard messages and request help whenever required.
With hundreds of UK schools already using its solution, Mapyx tracks more than 10,000 young people each year, providing peace of mind to teachers, parents and expedition organisers. It also provides satellite tracking and SOS for school trips to regions of the world with unreliable mobile communications including the Himalayas and Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Mapyx and SPOT solution gives organisers a complete picture of each group’s journey and location, meaning staff no longer have to waste hours waiting for groups to arrive at checkpoints or worrying about their safety. Staff can maintain their distance while still having an overview of the participants’ progress.
The affordable, rugged, pocked-sized SPOT Gen3 allows DofE participants to send pre-programmed messages to expedition organisers, for example, letting them know they have arrived at a checkpoint, are taking a break, or require help.
If the worst should happen, the participants can simply press the one-touch SOS button to send their GPS location to initiate emergency response procedures. Mapyx then works with GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Centre (IERCC) and, if required, UK Mission Control Centre (UKMCC) and Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) to manage the emergency response.
Mapyx offers a full search management, control system and tracking interface that uses Ordnance Survey maps, aerial imagery and even building plans. Unlike the basic service offered on Google Maps, Mapyx provides extra local terrain conditions and useful local details, such as landmarks that can provide valuable help in a rescue situation.
Dave Wells, RAF Volunteer Reserve Training Branch Squadron Leader and Deputy Regional DofE Officer, Wales & West Region, said: “We have used Mapyx and SPOT technology for about three years and have found it to be incredibly useful. We can keep track of groups with minimum physical interaction thus enriching the experience of the participants. The safety factor makes us more secure in the application of our duty of care.
“As an example, one summer we had a gold group near Capel Curig in Snowdonia and the weather had deteriorated. When one participant slipped and sprained her ankle, the group used SPOT to send us a help message. Because SPOT sent the group’s exact GPS position, we were able to get to them in a 4x4 and evacuate the injured girl within 20 minutes. Given the conditions, the least time spent immobile the better. The rest of the group was then able to proceed and complete their expedition.”