December 2010 Issue

Spot or Spider? Apples vs. Oranges

While both are satellite trackers, they’re not in the same league when it comes to price and performance. Spot is far cheaper, but Spider works better.

If the basic idea behind the ELT—you crash, it tells the world where you are—was laudable, the performance of this technology has been anything but. Even the new-generation of 406 MHz ELTs haven’t proved much better and are hardly flying off the shelves. From this conundrum emerges a niche market for portable satellite vehicle tracking devices and personal messengers. This technology has been around for awhile in the transportation industry, but lately it has made inroads into the sporting and outdoor markets with a device called the Spot Satellite GPS Messenger, which recently introduced its second generation model. Another company, the New Zealand-based Spidertracks, has been marketing its own satellite tracker called the Spider S3.

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