Dartmoor, 2014 to date
Few challenges in the world of outward bound events can hold a flame to the Ten Tors challenge, not because of its distance or the terrain, but because it is solely open to those between the age of 14 and 19, it truly is an inspiration to all those who witness it. 2014’s Ten Tors was no different to previous years in that the routes were a gruelling 35, 45 and 55 miles; the weather in Dartmoor was its usual mixture of wind, rain, sleet, hail, sunshine and showers. The one big difference however was that the event had taken a quantum leap forward in the use of technology, in the shape of the eXtrac tracking beacon linked back to the Management and Information System (MIS) designed, produced and supported on site in Okehampton by the eXtrac team.
The eXtrac system uses a combination of GPS positioning and Iridium Global satellite communications to pass positional information to the MIS which is monitored by the event organisers. The MIS system substantially enhanced the organiser’s situational awareness of the team’s locations, speed of travel and their overall welfare while out, on their own, on Dartmoor.
Each team carried an eXtrac tracking beacon and had the ability not only to send an emergency distress signal, but also to have a two way SMS type conversation with the event organisers.
Unlike previous years, the accuracy of the beacons and the 100% coverage of Dartmoor National Park meant that, organisers knew exactly where all the teams were at any one time and when the emergency beacon was activated the response time to getting the casualty back to medical care was well under the commonly used ‘golden hour’ ideal.
The contract was awarded 8 weeks before the event took place, this meant some very tight timelines, however eXtrac successfully delivered a system that was fully compliant with the requirements as specified by the MoD.