Live Tracking options- from meeting presentation

There’s LOTS of info here. Meant as a resource, or starting point, as not all the details are here. However, if you decide to dive in and make it to the end, I will show you how to do “Real Time” one second live tracking for FREE, including FREE cell phone service which I have been using for the past year or so. post up questions. Nobody has an excuse now to not use live tracking- FOR SAFETY! link up your love ones at the very least please. Don’t disappear and leave them to extensive and expensive search grids. Be responsible and do what you can, at least try. Its simple and easy as downloading one little app, and hitting “start tracking” before you launch.

LIVE TRACKING: a few options, considerations, and opinions:

  1. Satellite tracking (gold standard? certainly the most expensive):
    must have satellite signal

A. SPOT: provides up to 2.5 min tracking frequency (“extreme” plan)
device: free (lately) but requires 12-month minimum contract.
service: “basic” is $150/year plus $15/mo; 1 year contract required, includes basic tracking, 10min??
extreme upgrage is ADDITIONAL $150/yr + $15/mo, gets interval down to 2.5 mins.
no alitude info, huh?

B. Delorme InReach: (now owned by Garmin) famous for its 100% coverage of the Earth surface and
sends coordinates WITH altitude!
device: 2 different models $300, and $380
service: 30-day or 1-year plans. basic interval is 10 mins. min. “extreme” plan gets you 2 mins. min.
complex plan pricing with activation fees, change fees, etc, etc.
Minimum monthly plan, for example, is $15/mo, but tracking points would be $0.10 FOR EACH PING!
Extreme montly plan, for another example, is $100/mo ($80/mo w/annual contract) and is the only plan that gets
finer resolution than 10 mins. (down to 2 minutes).

Conclusions: expensive for live tracking options.
resolution maybe not sufficient. 10 minutes?! even 2 minutes leaves a pretty huge search grid.
As an example, lets say you are a speed flyer and you disappear into a crevasse. If your last ping was
ten minutes ago, its not going to be helpful to narrow down the search grid at all. Even at 2 minutes, better than nothing,
but wouldn’t be great in this example.

  1. Live Tracking via mobile data connection: Most option are FREE and “real time” one SECOND interval.
    Must have mobile data signal coverage

A. LiveTrack24+ (a.k.a. Leonardo Live)
Android (play store) and iOS (FREE); can also use many third-party apps which link to livetrack servers
(as seen on paraglidingforum!)
requires login
send your friends/family link to your live track:….
doesnt seem to have a private mode? maybe at paid level.
Use it for Livetracking and also for monitoring your friends in Real Time. (“Radar” function)

In addition to Live Tracking:

  • Live Radar, Group Monitor, Wind speed and direction gauges, Up to 95% live data compression.
  • Automatic economy and emergency transmit modes.
  • Can be used as a simple GPS device, giving speed/altitude/course readings

App Permissions:
Seem reasonable for what the app does, or use third party apps

android (play store) and iOS (comp only?) (FREE)
login required
“Airtribune app and Flymaster Live provide reliable 1-sec live tracking
with data buffering for discontinuous GSM coverage.” buffering important!

“During the task data obtained by satellite will be equally used for live tracking
with GSM tracker or Android app forming a single track for each participant.
This option will help to cover events held in discontinuous and no GSM zones.
As soon as satellite tracker sends data the pilot will be automatically
relocated to a new position. And when GSM signal restores the full track
of the pilot will replace “straight” satellite track revealing the flight
route in detail with all taken cylinders.” for comps only, I guess?
can do the same with flymaster live (GSM) feed.

(seems like it uploads to LiveTrack24?)
seems to be quad-band GSM only (SIM card), so not working on CDMA networks like sprint or verizon?
in the US, rural coverage in general, much better on the CDMA networks due to network design.
There are always exceptions to this generalization, such as Villa Grove, where ATT is about all that works I’m told.
GSM only isn’t really going to cut it, imo, for rural western US. but as always: ymmv

Global Free Roaming SIM Solution
The ideal solution for your Live tracking around the world.
What you get

For only 2.99€ per month you can use your Flymaster Live tracking instrument in dozens of countries,
without any additional costs (see the map or list bellow). The Flymaster SIM (8 euros) will also allow your
instrument to access multiple operators, providing super reliable coverage. After getting your card
simply subscribe to the service using Paypal, the first month is free.

Also for only 4.99€ you can extend the coverage of your FlymasterSIM to access even more networks
and more countries, click on the Extended coverage button bellow to see which countries benefit
from the Extended coverage.

D. FlyTec
iOS sensbox app does live tracking (via bluetooth to your iOS phone and its service)

mobile Data usage: all these options are pretty darn efficient when it comes to data usage, to the point
its not really an issue. As a very rough approximation, assume about 1MB data usage per 1 hour of flying.
if you fly 300 hours per year, we’re talking 300MB of data per year. most mobile plans give at least 500 MB/mo.

Battery usage: very device dependent- test your device with the app you choose. GPS uses up battery power, however,
its not a quick a drain as it was just a few years ago now. I’ve tested Airtribune app with an android 5.1 phone with
2000 mah battery up to 4.5 hours flight in Colombia and still had enough battery left to use it to navigate back home
that day, and snap some shots along the way too. If in doubt, carry an extra battery.
external 10,000 mah packs are as little as $20

  1. More APPS (not all of these have live tracking)

A. FlyME: (FREE) - my vote for best android flight instrument app most likely to completely replace your dedicated instrument.
Android (not playstore, download from
10 sec. min for live tracking (server:
requires login for live tracking

Android (play store)
Gaggle is a Vario & GPS for hang glider, paraglider and sailplane pilots,
GPS based flight information such as logging, mapping, IGC file upload and glide calculations.
Vario functions are only supported on devices with barometer hardware.
(uses LiveTrack24 server?)
last updated: 2013

C. LK8000 “tactical Flight Computer” (FREE)
developed for windows CE to run on PNA’s
also runs on PC, MAC in development

D. XCsoar “tactial Glide Computer” (FREE)
windows and android

E. XCtrack - Flight computer for paraglider pilots. (FREE)

F. SeeYou:
android (play store)
not free, but demo from
no live tracking, doesnt even have gps permissions

G. MyTracks (Google retiring 4/2016)

H. Glympse- “Share GPS location”
Glympse is a fast, free, and simple way to share your location safely using GPS tracking in real time
with friends and family!
No sign up required! Only those you share with can view your Glympse from any web-enabled device.
5,000,000 - 10,000,000 installs google play store (catorgized as social media)
REALLY- NO SIGN UP REQUIRED!! verified this.
Not sure if it really shows your track; maybe just your current position and speed. No height?

App permissions: “excessive!” Use at your own risk. I personally wouldn’t use it unless I was using an
Android version where I can control the permissions and deny many of them.

Digging deeper into Glympse privacy policy:
your personal location information is only stored by Glympse for up to 48 hours
after which location information is disassociated from personal information and anonymized.
From this point onwards, it is used in the aggregate only.

I. FlySkyHy: my vote for best iOS flight instrument app! but…
iOS only, $5.99
Your live location is reported on or
Integration with Bluetooth varios SensBox, FlyNet2 and GoFly iPico gives accurate altitude and lift/sink information.
That turns your iPhone into an full-fletched GPS-vario, including vario tones.

J. Loctome Sports Live Tracking (Android app served on
Also has configerable “SOS button”
you can pick your frequency down to 1 sec interval “real Time”

  1. OTHER info:

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB):
EPIRB/PLB has no subscription or running cost, you just have to register it with your local coastguard or similar service.

The EPIRB system is the most reliable wide-ranging system,
but you have to be able and compus mentis to set it off, you have to press the button manually.
whereas satellite tracking, or mobile data tracking options will keep transmitting location continuously.

Bonus info:
Download HERE maps (excellent free app) for awesome free offline maping of the world including turn-by-turn GPS nav.
Please also know how and practice using your device to send a “Pin” of your current GPS cords in case you should ever really need to for rescue for example.
BlueFly vario for quality barometric sensor for under $75 can link to android apps (like flyme) via bluetooth.

FREE Cell phone service:
RingPlus (real Sprint service- highly recommended), and
Freedompop (VOIP Sprint, or limited world-wide GSM) for FREE data, mostly (Sprint) CMDA
My favorite resource for cheap or free cell service and phone deals:

Thanks Scott awesome write up

Note: most all my experiences with using live tracking have been with the phone stowed away in my flight deck with the screen off. If you want screen continuously on to use some of the other options and displays, the battery life will decrease likely as in the chart at in which case you will likely need an external pack for long flights. And then, of course, there’s the whole discussion of screen visibility in bringht sun, off angle viewing, reflections, etc, etc. well beyond the scope here anyway.

For extending the battery life of the phone while flying, I would recommend Antigravity batteries, especially the XP-1.
It is small enough to fit in any cockpit and can even jumpstart a car!
There are many other brands, but this one has worked for me on many trips and for many uses (phones, laptops, tablets).