Send a GPSOS when you need help but can’t talk

I’m a great fan of cycling and walking. If I had my way, I’d walk everywhere that is under 3km away. At one point, I lived very close to my office, and walked to work, walked to the gym and walked to the shops. It got to a point that I needed to start my car every other week just to make sure the battery stayed charged. If I need to get to a place that is further than 2 miles but less than 30 miles, I take my bicycle. Now of course you think I’m a little mad cycling up to 30 miles when I have a perfectly good car, but that’s only because you haven’t seen my bicycle…

With traffic levels growing the way they are, it just makes sense to use a vehicle that can move between the cars. When you’re stuck in traffic in your car, you’re actually not stuck in traffic at all. You ARE traffic! That’s why I’ve always been a fan of two wheeled transport. The ability to navigate between what’s become roads full of parked cars is truly wonderful. Aside from the fuel savings, you get to keep your sanity, and considering mine is already limited, I’d better hang on to it. My usual commute is 15 miles each way, and I work in an office that isn’t a fan of sweaty cyclists, so I needed a bike I could ride without losing my breath.

The first bike I chose (against my families wishes) was a motorcycle. Nothing too fast or insane like a superbike, but a little offroad bike called a Yamaha TW200. This was a fantastic little bike, it would do 80mpg. It would also climb a tree if you could hang on (no of course not really) and everyone who saw it tended to love the strange looking bike! There was only one real problem with it. The tank size was a paltry 1.3 gallons, so every couple of days I had to stop for more fuel. I could live with that, but after a few days my apartment complex said I was no longer allowed to park my bike and car in the parking lot, as I was taking up too much space. Parking on the street in my city was also not an option, as the chances of having either the bike or car stolen was very high. The only logical solution was to try park inside my house, but as you can imagine, she who must be obeyed let me know that if the bike lives inside, she’ll be moving out! I needed a solution and did some reading up.

Eventually I stumbled on to a group of electric bike enthusiasts. They were a rather mad bunch, who found ways of turning regular bicycles into high performance machines that could out accelerate cars, and also be fully charged for under $0.10. I had to have one, and after a year of research and building, I now do:

So what does this have to do with a GPS tracking app you’re probably thinking? Well sadly the city I live in is not only know for stealing cars and bikes, there is also some violent crime, and with the amount of time I spent on foot and bicycle, I needed a way to notify people I was in trouble without having to take the time to type a text message and send someone a tracking link. And out of that need, GPSos was born.

What GPSos does is let you set an emergency telephone number (or multiple numbers) and/or  e-mail addresses on the apps settings page. Then should be in some sort of trouble, what you would need to do is turn on your phones screen and press the volume up and down key three times in a row (UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN). Doing that will activate the following sequence of events:

  1. All of the telephone numbers you have listed under the SOS numbers field will be sent a text message notifying the recipient that you are in trouble. The message will also contain a link to a map of your current location, and also allow them to see your previous locations.
  2. At the same time, our server will e-mail all the contacts you have listed as SOS email contacts. Once again there will be the link to your location and past locations.
  3. If your app is currently set to track via the not-so-accurate network tracking mode, or if the tracking is turned off, it will now be set back to the default dynamic tracking mode, to allow fast and accurate fixes.

The volume down button was strategically chosen. Firtsly, that button is active even when your phone is locked. All it needs to function is to have the phone screen on.

This has made me far more comfortable exploring my city on foot or on bike, I hope it gives you a sense of security too.

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