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