Both at river-maps and at our parent Company info-maps, llc., we often find ourselves trying out new mapping devices for both work and for everyday exploration. We recently picked up the Delorme Inreach Explorer and although our intentions were to use it mainly for dirt biking expeditions, we thought that tech savvy river folks would also like to know how it performs. Our first thoughts on this device was that it is a pretty cool little package for those who often find themselves exploring out of reach of cell service and far from most anything. After using it and testing it, we have some issues with the intuitiveness of the menus and interactions with the device. However there wasn’t anything there that we couldn’t overcome. One of the main reasons that we were drawn toward this device is its ability to pair with a cell phone to give us the Delorme topographical maps that we enjoy so much from their gazetteers.
As software developers by trade, we have some major concerns about the fact that the only way to offload data from the device about your route/waypoints is via the Delorme website. That data can take one of two paths from what we can discern. It can either be uploaded to the Delorme site via the Iridium satellite network or via internet connected desktop software through the usb port on the device. This is a frustrating limitation for those of you who might be away from an internet connection or would like to move their historical data without having to send it up to Delorme’s servers before bringing it back down to your own device or computer. Also it appears there isn’t a way to remove your historical tracks from the Delorme website. As all of our issues with the device are software and data retention related there is hope that Delorme’s software team will give users more freedom with the data they generate. However things aren’t looking good so far according to their own forum http://forum.delorme.com/index.php?/topic/21301-web-site-questions-deleteing-stuff/.
Update – After emailing Delorme we have been informed that the ability to delete user tracks will be included in a future update. However no timeline for said update was given as Delorme appears to not know when this update may come out. Given that forum posts on the subject are over a year old we can only cross our fingers and hope that they will make this update a higher priority.
Given that our issues were mostly tech related as they pertain to what we do for our own work purpose, we find that the Delorme Inreach Explorer is a great product and we give it a solid Class V rating. For those looking for a good satellite communicator, The Delorme is one worth considering.