Location Sharing for Hikers

Location Sharing for Hikers

Sharing your location while hiking can save your life, specially if hiking alone. Hiking doesn't come without risks. Many things, primarily injuries, could happen on a trail that would force you to discontinue the hike and sometimes you may not be able to call for help due to issues with network coverage.

There are several ways to share your location:

  • Sharing your geolocation using a mobile phone: mobile phones connect to the world through cellular networks on the ground. In mountainous regions there are many places that have weak or no signal coverage. In cases of weak signal coverage you may be able to use Voice and SMS services, without data transfer (internet). In cases of no signal coverage your phone would be left without any communication channels with the outside world.

    • Sharing your location in real time as you hike would transmit your geolocation in regular intervals while you have data transfer network coverage so someone who is monitoring your hike on a map on their phone or computer could notice a prolonged stall in your movement, alert the rescue services and provide them with your last recorded location and potentially your intended destination or route - all of which can greatly help during a rescue search.

    • Occasional manual sharing of your location means that you manually invoke the sharing of your location using an app that allows you to do so. This is better than nothing since the person you are sharing with at least has some idea of your whereabouts. The problem with this however is that in case of a sudden issue the last location you shared may be outdated. Some apps allow you to share your geolocation over the data network, while some allow you to do so over the more available SMS channel.

  • Sharing your geolocation using satellite communicators, which are devices that are connected to the world via satellite networks. These devices use more expensive packages, but are more reliable for location sharing as they are usable in all locations, regardless of the cellular network coverage. There are satellite communicators that are built with outdoor explorers in mind, such as Garmin's inReach series of devices. We'll be covering them in detail over time in this blog.

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