SafeTRX phone app

SafeTRXSafeTRX is a mobile phone app (iOS and Android) that has been developed for maritime use.
In Australia, the Volunteer Coast Guard provides a monitoring service for the app.

Bushwalking requirements and mobile phone usage

  • Mobile phones are usually not kept turned on for extended periods during bushwalks.
  • Many remote bushwalking locations do not have mobile network coverage
  • Simple user operation is an advantage
  • The ability to send out an emergency alert is a desirable feature.

Australian Volunteer Coast Guard

Safe TRX features

  • Trip details are entered by user – there is a fee payable per trip
  • The app communicates location information from phone’s GPS via its mobile data connection (when available)
  • Australian Volunteer Coastguard receives trip information on their central console.
  • Overdue trips are flagged for attention at the central console.
  • Overdue trips can be escalated to Police SAR by Australian Volunteer Coastguard when they cannot be resolved and details of the trip forwarded
  • An alert/incident notification feature(s) recently added
  • SafeTRX provides a “location last seen” reported by the app when the phone last had a network connection.

Limitations and issues

  • On land phone network coverage is not reliable in remote bushwalking areas – phones trying to connect can rapidly flatten the battery
  • SafeTRX does shut down the app at low battery levels but the phone continues to try to maintain a signal with the network while turned on.
  • Enabling the phone GPS required by SafeTRX increases phone battery usage and therefore also decreases battery operating time.
  • A flat phone battery compromises the use of the phone for emergency communications via the apps and voice/SMS
  • Those with a good technical knowledge will recognise limitations, but non-technical people may rely on the app without fully understanding them.
When visiting remote areas you must always leave your trip intentions with a designated safety contact.  Mobile phone apps should not be used as a substitute for this process.
While BSAR and Buswalking Victoria do not endorse SafeTRX for bushwalking usage, individuals can download and use the application.

External links

Last Updated on February 17, 2021