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El Reg PARIS team fires up the GPS tracker

Successful test of main payload locating unit

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

It's all go at the El Reg Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) command headquarters, and we've just taken delivery of the GPS tracking device designed to enable us to recover the main payload.

PARIS: Sponsored by Peer 1Our plan is to use an off-the-shelf tracking unit which reports its position via the mobile phone network. Of course, this won't work where's there no mobile signal (at high altitude, for instance), but since we're not concerned about tracking the entire flight of the main payload, we'll settle for a post-landing fix.

This task has been assigned to Blue Tree Service's KoolTrax Lite, a compact unit which allows online tracking via a handy Google Map. Naturally, we were keen to give the box a whirl, so we fired it up and set off on a quick jaunt to see how it performed.

Here's the recorded track of our test, as captured by Blue Tree's servers. Yes, it's in Spain. And no, we didn't get stuck here on account of that pesky Icelandic volcano, as some of you suggested when we ran the hacked Canon A560 test video. For the record, El Reg's Iberian Bureau is handling the PARIS testing, so now you know...

The Google Maps track of our GPS test

Mercifully, we resisted the temptation to fire up a laptop inside the command vehicle and monitor the thing live online, thereby risking a surveillance feedback loop scenario as the KoolTrax's position was immediately displayed on the PC sitting next to it on the passenger seat.

Accordingly, the fabric of time and space remained intact throughout, and on the next page, you can find the log corresponding to the map. Note the point at which our transport got stuck behind the local school bus - twice...

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