View Full Version : IonEarth Transponder tracking on Chi-Mac race

06-19-2009, 07:13 AM
For those of you interested in race tracking.....(grin)....

John Foster
Blueberry, Nonsuch 22, sail #48 (http://nonsuch22blueberry.blogspot.com/)

Tracking the Upcoming Mac Solo Challenges

The 2009 Mac Solo Challenges will be kicking off tomorrow, June 20, and as previously noted, tracking of both the Port Huron to Mackinac and the Chicago to Mackinac will be available on the internet. There will be two different methods of tracking employed to cover the racers as they head for the finish line at Mackinac Island, and each tracker will have a separate link to view the event. You will be unable to view both events on the same link, as the technology for each is different.

The Chicago to Mackinac tracking is provided by IonEarth (http://www.ionearth.com/#/home), a Traverse City, Michigan - based company that specializes in satellite tracking. They have provided tracking for the 2007 Trans Superior Solo (and will provide tracking for this year's Trans Superior as well), the Iditerod sled race, Baja races, and the Solo Trans Pac (aboard GLSS member Eric Thomas' Polar Bear). Tracking is voluntary, and each boat that wished to be tracked is equipped with a small tracking device, paid for by each individual skipper (many thanks to those who ponied up the extra money to bring the event into our living rooms!). The skipper need not do anything other than bring the device aboard his boat. Twenty one of the twenty four boats that are entered have the trackers, and their positions will be updated every fifteen minutes on the internet. The trackers will be activated before the 08:00 AM start so you'll be able to see where your favorite boat is moored, even before the start of the Challenge! You may switch between satellite view, map view, terrain view, or Hybrid, and you may also zoom between the race course or the boats. You may configure the program to display any or all of the boats, and each boat will also show the speed at the time of transmission, NM to the Finish, and the age of the report. To view the tracking, please visit the IonEarth website:


This link is also posted on the GLSS website home page for your convenience.

The Port Huron to Mackinac will have tracking using a program developed by GLSS member David Herring several years ago. Several skippers who are sailing the event have satellite phones, and they will relay the regular position reports to a shore based volunteer (GLSS member Jo Buckingham) who will then input the data into the program for displaying on the internet. These positions will only be updated as often as the position reports are received (every 6 hours plus the delay to actually log in the data). The link to view the Port Huron to Mackinac Solo Challenge is:


Please note that these tracking displays are primarily for entertainment values only...

It will be great fun for those of us who couldn't make the events this year as well as interested parties, to follow the progress of the fleets as they head for Mackinac. Feel free to email the links to your friends so they too may follow the events from the comfort of home - maybe they'll be tracked in the 2010 Macs!

There will be email updates from the Challenges as they are received, so stay tuned as the events unfold..