Send message to your retrieve team
If you are a XC paragliding pilot, you might land in a different location than anticipated. In this case you have to inform the retrieve team where they can pick you up or just inform them on your status.
The Paragliding Pilot Retrieve App
This app determines your location and sends a message with a few clicks using SMS, Whatsapp, Messenger, or whatever communication tool is available on your android device.
You just pick the message from a list, thus avoiding to type it in yourself, which might be quite handy given the situation.
The location information is presented in the what3words format. More info on what3words below.
Click button to download the App in the Google Play Store.
How to use the app
Step 1. Switch on your GPS
Step 2. Start the Paragliding Pilot Retrieve app
If you forgot to switch on GPS, a message will be displayed and you will get an audio (voice) warning. After having enabled the GPS, give it 20-45 seconds to perform an accurate location fix. The location will be presented in the upper bar in 3 words (what3words format). A voice will inform you on the location updates.
Step 3. Select message text
Click on the grey ‘Select message’ bar. Now a new screen opens and will display a list of 12 messages of which you can select one. Just click on the required message and you will be returned to the main screen.
Step 4. Send message without location
If you have selected a text stating e.g. that you are making your own way back or are back at base, there’s no need to add location information. In that case just click the ‘Share message’ bar. Your smartphone will now open a screen allowing you to select the messaging service you want to use. Follow the steps indicated by the messaging app. The app will send the selected message, but will allow you to add more text if you like.
Step 5. Send message with location
If you want to also send the location information, the message contains the selected text, your location and a clickable map link. Click the lower ‘Share message & location’ bar. Your smartphone will now open a screen allowing you to select the messaging service you want to use. Follow the steps indicated by the messaging app. The app will send the selected message, but will allow you to add more text if you like.
Minimal data transfer
The app is designed to be extremely ‘light’ on the data transfer, in order to cope with marginal internet connections often encountered in the field. To get the w3w address only 150 bytes are transferred. Also around 150 bytes are sent in the retrieve message.
What if there’s no internet connection?
In this case the what3words address cannot be determined and most of your messaging services won’t work. Except one: SMS. That’s why the app also provides the lat/lon values along with the what3word address. Your GPS works independent of your internet connection, as does SMS. So that’s the fallback option. You will still get your location and message across.
Mind the GPS performance
Obviously the app is meant to be used in open spaces, our natural flying habitat. Thus reception of the GPS signals is optimal and allows for accuracies of several meters. The app is not meant to be used indoors.
w3w divides the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique 3 word address. It means anyone can accurately find any location and share it more quickly, easily and with less ambiguity than any other system. Especially if a location has to be communicated by phone, it is far more easy then using the standard lat/lon figures. More info on w3w can be found at http://what3words.com/.