Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Explorer Test

Today I wanted to do a hike and test out my DeLorme inReach Explorer.  Turned out, I only ended up with a partial test.  But I did learn some useful things about the new device.

First, here's a map of the logged data from the inReach.  This was plotted on the DeLorme site after I returned from the hike and synched the device from their web page.

I had the Explorer set to log my position once per minute and send a location every 10 minutes to MapShare.  Unfortunately, I was impatient to start hiking, and didn't bother to put on my reading glasses.  There is a 'Start Sending' button I missed, so the Explorer never reported my location at the 10 minute intervals I was expecting.  It did log my position on the device every minute.

San Antonio has seen an unusual weather pattern the last couple of months.  Frequent rain!  Yesterday was the first day in a week it hadn't rained heavily.  It was scheduled to start again this afternoon.  So I figured this morning would probably be my best chance at a dry hike.  It didn't rain, but the trails were muddy, and the grass and weeds were drenched.  The temperature started at about 78 degrees, and went up, with high humidity.  I was drenched.  I moved all around the trail trying to keep my trail runners mud free (though no chance at dry), so my speed was not what it should have been.

Now back to the data.  The Explorer logged 3.79 mi in 1.63 hours.  The state park trail map says I covered 4.35 miles.  Since the Explorer assumed straight lines between log points, which didn't  happen, I'm assuming the map mileage is more accurate.  The Explorer seems to have under estimated my mileage by up to 13%.  My speed would have been under reported at 2.48 mph vs a map/watch calculation of 2.68 mph.

None of this is a surprise, and really doesn't matter much for my planned used of the Explorer.  I expect to keep it off except at campsites and to check messages.  At least that's how I plan to use it for mapped trails.

But there are a couple of tests I still want to try before I'm ready to hit a long backpacking trip.  First, I'll monitor the power usage at high send rates (every 10 minutes) and log rates (every 10 seconds).  Hopefully, a longer day hike of about 8.7 miles will be long enough for that test.  I also want to pair the Explorer to my iPhone and see if GPS over Bluetooth saves phone power compared to using the iPhone's GPS directly.  I really need to make the pairing test a separate hike to avoid a Bluetooth impact on the basic Explorer power test.

I'll provide the follow-on information as soon as the Texas weather cooperates.

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