I took my SPOT X out again for another field test and I primarily focused on navigation for this field test.
I will be focusing my attention in November on the SPOT X reviews with a goal to completely understand the SPOT X and all its capabilities. So, let’s take a look at how the SPOT X navigation performed.
SPOT X Navigation Overview
- Waypoint Setup
- SPOT X Menu Navigation
- Waypoint Selection
- Compass Calibration & Accuracy
- Navigation Menu Customization
- Navigating to My First Waypoint
- SPOT X Navigation Results
Once your SPOT X is activated and you have set everything up then you need to set up your waypoints if you want to have them to navigate on your adventure.
NOTE: Make sure you set your waypoints on your computer before heading out.
You can add waypoints on your SPOT X in the field but it is better to do it at home.
- Go to Your Devices on your SPOT account page.
- Select your device
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Waypoints.
- You can type in an address in the search bar or you can select your waypoint on the map.
- Zoom in on the map to the location you want for your waypoint
- I am going to hike Chief Mountain so I am going to use that for this example
- Select the location you want next to the Chief Mountain Pin
- Select a data point on the screen (at the exact location you want) and the coordinate box will open and you can give your waypoint a name. Don’t select the pin because the waypoint box will not appear.
- Select Save
- Zoom in on the map to the location you want for your waypoint
- This is the time you need to SYNC your SPOT X with your computer so the waypoint(s) will show up on your device.
SPOT X Menu Navigation
Let’s take a quick look at the SPOT X on-screen menu.
It’s really easy to navigate around the menu. Use the arrow keys (the box around the Select button) and you can move quickly around the screen.
I have also labeled the S.O.S. button, Arrow keys, Select button, Back1 Screen button and the Caps key.
It’s about time to take your new SPOT X on an outdoor adventure but it will be worth your time to test it around your house before heading to the mountains.
You have arrived at the trailhead and are ready to head up the trail. After turning on your SPOT X, make sure you turn on the tracking function and then select navigation to start tracking towards your first waypoint. You will have several options to choose from so let me walk you through how I start tracking to a waypoint.
- First – Select Navigation from the on-screen menu
- Second – Select Waypoints
- Third – Select Your Waypoint
- Fourth – Your waypoint and information will be displayed
- Fifth – Select the Arrow in the bottom right of the screen to begin navigating to the waypoint
- Sixth – Your waypoint information will be displayed and an arrow will point in the direction of the waypoint
- Seventh – You can choose to navigate by Compass (see the bottom right of the screen)
- Eighth – You can choose to Stop Navigation at any time. See the middle bottom of the screen
It’s really that simple. There are things you may want to do differently and you can customize your display settings within the navigation menu but it’s just a matter of creating a waypoint and then go and try it out.
Compass Calibration & Accuracy
I would strongly recommend you calibrate your compass before testing it or heading to the trail and also know what kind of accuracy you have. I noticed a variation of between 5 and 30 degrees on my field test. The accuracy was worse when I held the SPOT X vertically. It performed the best during navigating when I kept the device horizontal.
Navigation Menu Customization
You can customize the navigation menu to fit how you want to see information.
You can change any of the six areas to anyone of the following:
- Location (Lat/Lon)
- Destination (Lat/Lon)
- Distance to Destination
Navigating to My First Waypoint
I decided to navigate to my mailbox and a restaurant down the street. Being that both of these are known to me and I am familiar with my neighborhood, I was sure I wouldn’t get lost or have to call for help. Just kidding, but these are the two waypoints I set and tested.
Navigating was to the two waypoints was easy and it was made easier when I was able to turn on the back light to the screen and keyboard as I was testing the navigation out at night.
To activate the back light function, hold down the power button briefly. It will stay lit for about 30 seconds. You can depress the power button again to turn the back light off.
Navigating was easy as I knew where I was going but the SPOT X was pretty accurate. I did get some variation in the bearing but the distance to the waypoint seemed to be right on. I strongly recommend testing the navigation out in an area you are familiar with before taking off on your trip.
SPOT X Navigation Results
The bottom line – I was guided to my waypoint with an accuracy that I was comfortable with, even though the bearing varied between 5 degrees and 30 degrees from my waypoint. The accuracy was worse if I held the SPOT X vertically.
It is important to test the SPOT X out before you trip and make sure you calibrate the compass.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the direction to your waypoint is the direct route, and rarely can you take the direct route as you will need to navigate around terrain, especially in the mountains.
I am very happy with the SPOT X, especially with the 2-way messaging and the built-in keyboard, but the navigation could be improved if SPOT added topo maps. Every time I have been hiking or backpacking, I had to follow a trail or traverse around a cliff, drop off or river.
I am thankful that I have the SPOT X on my backpack and I am looking forward to using several of these with a group to see how well we can keep in touch with each other when out of cell phone service.
I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences with the SPOT X or other location devices. Please leave a Comment Below or Email me.
Learn more about the SPOT X at my SPOT X Review page.
- Message- exchange messages with any cell phone number or email address from virtually anywhere in the world
- S. O. S. - send an S. O. S. To the 24/7 search & rescue center, message back and forth about the nature of your emergency, and receive confirmation when help is on the way
- Tracking- Select from 21/2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute tracking intervals, and let family, friends and other Adventurers follow your progress with SPOT easy-to-use google maps interface
- Check in - quickly and easily let everyone know you're ok
- Post to social- Link your social accounts to keep your friends and family in the know wherever you go
- Service agreement required.
Here is a video of my SPOT X navigation field test:
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