Yellowbrick vs SPOT

Yellowbrick Tracker, the Indonesian taxi test and an Italian mamma.

Yellowbrick vs SPOT

A guest blog entry by Pietro Dal Dosso

Accuracy. That’s what stroke me off.

December 2012. I’m in Indonesia, North Sulawesi. In the city of Manado. Driving around the city in a taxi. The Yellowbrick tracker and the Spot are sitting on the dashboard of the Blue Bird Taxi.

Clear line of sight with the sky, they shouldn’t have any issue with locking on to the GPS and transmitting to their satellites. Maybe a little bit of problems from the trees or the concrete buildings. We’ll see..


Traffic in Manado is pretty intense…

Well, what an amazing opportunity to safely test the Yellowbrick and the Spot tracker then!

I immediately start to play with the Yellowbrick tracker, changing all the settings directly from the device. Can’t do a single thing with the Spot. I can only turn it on, press the “boot” and wait for the light to flash green and hopefully not red (bad sign). On the Yellowbrick I change the “report frequency” of the transmission, from 20 minutes down to 5 minutes, then “continuous” and “burst”. I change all the settings available for the “burst” mode as well. I’m having fun!

While sitting in a taxi, with the AC going full blast, I’m pretty comfortable and can’t wait to see the results of this test.

The Yellowbrick tracker actually allows me to double check the test directly from the device. Under “Tracking” and “History” it’s showing me instantaneously all the details of each transmission: date, time, lat and long, GPS and Iridium ‘Ok’. I immediately relax and know that all those positions have been sent, recorded and loaded on the website.

No idea what is going on with the Spot tracker. I just hope that the green light flashing is a good sign for real.

The ride in the taxi carries on and finally we reach my final destination. I had a good time, the taxi driver spoke really good english, was really patient in the traffic and always smiling, what a good guy!

I can’t resist. I need to log as soon as possible into both websites to double check the results of my test…


The accuracy of the Yellowbrick tracker is amazing.

I could see all the blue dots exactly on top of the route that the taxi took.


And when I zoom into the map I can see clearly the section where the “burst” was activated. Heaps of small dots one after the other, you can see the curves in the road…

Yblog 2

I log into the Spot tracker website as well and the result of the test are completely different.


I can see only few positions on the map and I couldn’t really zoom deeply into the map. I search through their website and find a FAQ that clarifies me that you can’t change the frequency of the transmission that is set up on 10 minutes. You can’t change it. I also have no idea how much juice is left in the batteries.

It’s time to crack a Bintang and celebrate the Yellowbrick as the winner of this Indonesian field test. I’m stoked, even the color of the Yellowbrick tracker matches pretty well with the cold golden Indonesian beer! Gotta love Indonesia!

The beauties of the Yellowbrick stands on:

  • its accuracy

  • its ruggedness, it’s solid as a brick for real

  • a long lasting battery and the capacity to monitor its usage

  • the capability of monitoring what’s happening within the transmissions. If it locked with the GPS or not, if it got the Iridium or not and which kind of transmissions was sent

  • the fact you pay for it only when you use it and you are not roped into an automatic yearly payment to use it.

Being based in New Zealand I got the Yellowbrick tracker from G-Layer.

If you live downunder, check out these guys at: www,

I’m probably going to hit the field again for a few months mission. The Yellowbrick will come with me and will be my true mate. I could probably end up in areas where there’s no internet nor mobile phone connection . The Yellowbrick tracker is going to be my only link to the world, to my family and to all my dear friends. For Christmas my mum wanted to give me as a present a smart phone, because i’m still going around with an old school Nokia 1200 from 2007, I use it to phone and to text, as it was designed for. Ah right, it has got also a flash light. Which is pretty cool. The real reason my mum, an italian Mamma, wanted to gave me a smart phone was to be able to get in touch with his son, living on the other side of the planet (New Zealand) and soon going somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I told her “No, thanks. I’ve got something better for you” “Mum, this is the Yellowbrick”.

All opinions expressed in this blog entry  are from the author, not from G-layer



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