If you are ever lost and you need to call for help. When you use a satellite communication device (In Reach, Spot, etc) it automatically sends your coordinates when it sends a message to 911 & Search & Rescue (SAR) or anyone for that matter.
If you have cell service and can call or text the emergency services, SAR and 911 have the ability to get your coordinates from your message.
What if you're lost but the situation isn't bad enough to call SAR? (Note: we encourage you to call SAR sooner rather than later because its a LOT EASIER to find you before its dark).
However what if you're out with a group, you get split up and you're now lost? You're not far from your group but you don't know where you or they are? (It happens way more often than you think!) Below are some tips on how to get your coordinates from your phone and send them to someone so they can come and find you.
Click the compass on your phone and your coordinates will be there. They will be a series of numbers with a letter for example 49°18'12”N 122°50'22”W. Copy & paste into a text and send.
Insert compass image
I Phone or Android Maps
Click on the map app or google maps app.
Press and hold the blue dot
Image 1: Blue Dot
Your coordinates will show
Image 2: Numbers & N followed by numbers & W are the coordinates
I-phone & android vary slightly but both will give you an option to share/send your coordinates to someone (if you have cell service).
If you receive someone's coordinates, its great when you're in town and you can see where they are in relation to roads etc but trails don't show on regular maps so it just shows them in the middle of a green area, which isn't much use.
Image 3: Their location
This is where you hope one of the group has a hiking trail map app, see below.
Hiking Trail Map Apps
Most people who use trails often have one of the trail map apps. They mostly work the same but below are the ones I have, and can show examples of how to use. The basic packages for the below apps are free (at time of writing) and will perform the functions described below without a paid subscription.
This is my favorite app actually. I find it shows way more trails than a lot of other apps, it has other features I like too, but this isn't about selling map apps.
Entering someone's coordinates into the app to see where they are.
Open the app and click the search icon
Image 4: The magnifying glass is the search icon
Copy and paste the coordinates (you received) into the "find a hike" text bar at the top and click search. It will show a red drop pin where the coordinates were sent from and you will be able to see what trail they are on.
Image 5: the red drop pin is where the coordinates were sent from.
Sending your coordinates to someone else
Open the app. and click the + button at the top (see blue arrow in image below)
Image 7: Finding your coordinates
From the drop down list select "Add waypoint (my location)"
Image 8: Add waypoint
A red drop pin will show with your coordinates. Click save, then one of the 4 options is "share" (see image 7 above). If you have cell service you can send this to someone else.
If you just want to know where you are, click the target button (see blue arrow in image below)
Image 9: finding your own location
And the orange arrowhead will appear, that's where you are.
As per the phone maps, press and hold the blue button & your coordinates will appear that you can then share.
Or if you receive someone's coordinates, click the magnifying glass at the top of the screen, then copy & paste their coordinates into the search bar. Their location will show.
The feature I like about Trailforks is it has an emergency button that will send your coordinates to the emergency services. However this can't replace the satellite communication devices (In Reach, Spot, etc) because you still need cell service to be able to use this feature on your phone.
Image 10: Emergency button
Image 11: Your coordinates & 911 (if you have cell service)
I don't really use this app but i know a lot of people do. Pressing & holding the blue button does not provide any coordinates. I only have the basic free version, maybe the paid version does?
I have however found the "beacon" feature. If you go into settings and select "beacon". Then select "beacon for mobile"
Image 12: Beacon feature
When you return to the map screen there is an orange button saying "send beacon". Click on that, enter the cell phone number you want to send it to and it will send a text to them (if you have cell service). It will also track where you are (again if you have cell service). Clicking on the track does not provide any coordinates, but it will show where you are in relation to a trail, and not just in the middle of a green area like the phone maps. Its not great but if it's all you have its better than nothing.
I mostly use the Overdue app, it's a great combination of maps, location and notifying people if you don't return home on time (for a small annual fee). I won't go into its features here because I've already covered it in another blog CLICK HERE. But it's worth checking out.
To view the EMELEE packs click HERE