Yes ... two different technologies that work in quite different circumstances. The first one where the caller is making a 111 call to a fixed network will be very useful to emergency services generally because locating the site of the incident can be quite challenging if people don't give an accurate location. Often they may not be quite sure where they are, or they panic and give wrong details, or they get mis-heard. All sorts of things can go wrong.
But in the tramping context it's my default thinking that there will be no network base station coverage, so I was talking about the use of helicopter mounted unit strictly for SAR purposes.
So yes the two cases are quite different and potentially confusing.
This post has been edited by the author on 14 May 2017 at 01:12.
a heading for an article on one of the News sites this morning
Lost in the bush? Just use your mobile phone to call the rescue helicopter flying above
bad journalism,, its never going to be the answer,,,
leave good trip intentions with people you know, get a rescue beacon, rent or buy,
or one of the two way comms satellite devices that are on the market that update your location or can send and receive texts.
rent a mountain radio, your cell phone should be one of the last comms devices you should rely on. the battery doesnt last long where theres poor reception because the phone is on full power to keep a connection or when it is itrying to find one.. the cold alone will drain a cell phone battery fast even when not in use, water will kill your phone, if you didnt remember a waterproof case , and its raining, you have problems...
My experience of cell tower triangulation in remote areas (central Otago) is that it is very poor. In most remote areas you will have no more than 1 cell tower providing coverage. All the network knows is your distance from the tower. In theory they could know which 120 degree arc you lie in (most towers have separate antennae covering 120 degrees each). But last time I looked at the results of a network position fix that info was not there. They just knew the position lay on a circle of radius X from the tower.
So for real rural areas being on Android which supports the use of the phone's GPS to provide position is a real bonus.
Of course the vast majority of 111 calls are urban / rural, not backcountry - and multiple celltowers are likely to be visible, allowing true triangulation. So for normal police / ambulance callouts this will work well even on non android phones. Until now for cellphone calls 111 don't know even which Island you're in until you tell them - whereas for landlines they see the exact address before they even talk to you. Even basic info of what celltower you call via was not provided until this new service came along.
My main fear is it (and the other tecjnology in the 2nd link above) are another excuse for people not to buy a PLB.
This post has been edited by the author on 14 May 2017 at 08:58.
" the PLB is still King ?." Emphatically yes.
This helicopter mounted SAR network tech is potentially a big game changer, transforming the end stage of many searches making it a lot easier to quickly locate someone in a known target area.
But it changes nothing in terms of getting the search underway in the first place. And all the standard safe tramping practices like leaving intentions with a reliable party, filling out hut books and PLB's remain just as important as ever.
This post has been edited by the author on 14 May 2017 at 14:17.
the people who answer the phones on 111 calls dont help things.
i had to make a 111 call for an injured tramper in a park... I had a beacon, but since i had access to a phone with a good connection I rang 111.... I told the young person who answered that I was on Mt Taranaki, they said they would put me in touch with the police in Palmerston North...... I had to correct them and tell them that was the wrong city and that New Plymouth was the correct city........ seems geography may not be taught much at school... i've never lived near taranaki , but I"ve known all the main provincial cities in NZ since i was in primary school..... I wouldnt trust the 111 centre to correctly identify more obscure locations....
"This helicopter mounted SAR network tech is potentially a big game changer, transforming the end stage of many searches making it a lot easier to quickly locate someone in a known target area."
Potentially also for situations where it's useful to talk to the rescue subjects, whilst not being possible to reach them. (eg. Bad weather, depending on to what extent the aircraft might be inhibited.)
"I told the young person who answered that I was on Mt Taranaki, they said they would put me in touch with the police in Palmerston North......"
Last time I called 111 reporting a choking 4 year old, I was in suburban New Plymouth and it was difficult enough to even get the operator to understand the name of the street. If it works as advertised then an auto-locate thing like this would've been gold. (We got the thing out of the throat after maybe 90 seconds or so, fortunately.)