vehicle tracking

For years I've shied away from tracking systems such as spotwalla mainly because of the annual fees. recently I have been trying to research alternatives any advice from yourselves on what you've tried would be useful before committing.
  • Spotwalla - excuse spelling gives a nice little map which you can track yourself on and emergency buttons coverage seems extensive, cant work out the annual fees / cost though
  • Trakking from datatool gives a map for tracking hides on the bike and is thatcham approved. I am assuming the map is shareable would it be ok on our rallies? annual fee for the one I looked at was just over £100 a year- runs from bike battery / internal and has minimal electrical draw but would seem to cover most of europe
  • Bike track - thatcham approved any other info would be good
  • meatatrack - thatcham approved again any more info on this one any one
  • lastly something called the bubbler app for a mobile phone there is a fee but the big drawback seems to be it flattens your phone battery
There are a multitude of personal trackers out there for old people and kids both of which seem to get lost and require recapturing, has any one any experience of these as they are a lot cheaper than the above some are just like a wrist watch not really that big a deal to have with you on a rally and may well do the job just as well .
I've tried to plough through this on line but they don't seem to discuss the items I wont to know about

Firstly I'd like a tracker that follows me or the bike and my family can access my whereabouts on line, secondly a can share my location with the rally master via the same app - is spotwalla the only game in town for this? or will one of the others do the same and be acceptable
cheap would be good but may not be the sensible choice


Rally Bonus checker
IBA Member
Spotwalla is only a third party tracking app - this does not involve any fees at all, it is free. I think you are getting confused with the spot device itself, which does attract a now considerable yearly fee.

I have forsaken spot because of the alarming rise in fees over the last couple of years, and have taken to using an app called SWConnect (made for iPhones). This, I believe, is very similar to Bubbler, which is for android phones, and developed by an Iron Butt rider. There was an article in the Iron Butt magazine about it a year or two ago.

If you go with SWConnect or Bubbler, you can use them via and through the spotwalla site and this, therefore, can be viewed by anyone you send a link to, exactly in the same way as you can with the spot device, i.e. by family, friends and the rally bastard.

It is, as you identified, power hungry, and I get over this by mounting my phone on a handlebar holder, plugged into a power source whilst I am riding.

I've been using it for a year now, and it tracks perfectly.

You can also record and send photographs of the bonus location from within the app, and send personalised texts rather than being limited by the spots 'OK' button.

The only down side is that there is no emergency button, but that wasn't a deal breaker for me.


IBA Member
Evening all...

Stig, have a look in the chat and banter section and the thread Owl started called “SWconnect”.

If I want to track a route I use this app in conjunction with Spotwalla and found it works well.

Another app I have used is life360 ( but for full functionality you need to subscribe. If you have an iPhone you can always use the “find my friends” app as well, not sure if android phones have a similar function but these will only give you a spot location and not a track history.

However as I think Owl and I have found, these can be power hungry when being used with a phone so, for a while now I’ve been thinking about a gps tracker on the bike (your post just re-ignited this) so I’m going to buy one of these and see if I can get it to work with Spotwalla and it will be a permanent tracker.. you get what you pay for but it may be a very simple and cheap solution.

This will still need a PAYG SIM card which will carry a cost but.... . If I can get it working I’ll let you know.

Your comment about trackers used for children or old people, commonly called “Wanderer Control” these tags are normally just beacons that communicate with a local base station or paired device and typically have a range of 100 meters so not much good over long distances.



IBAUK Webmaster
Staff member
Premier Member
IBA Member
I use Bubbler GPS Pro on my phone. The fee is a one-off £10 and is more than worth it. The Lite version is free and is also usable for our purposes. I have run multiple 24 hour tracks with it and battery life is not an issue. Bubbler itself is one of the less draining apps and whenever I check, Bubbler's battery usage is dwarfed by Android services or even "Idling".


Premier Member
I use Spotwalla and SWConnect just like Owl. Works fine for me as an ex-SPOT user, so far not missed the Emergency button or the fact that SPOT is satellite-based whereas SWConnect relies on cell phone signals
Thanks for the replies, I not the best on adopting new technology and there seems to be a multitude of choices out there, I am still shying away from any smart phone app as they do suck the life out of your battery and I haven't got a charging system whilst on the move. the personal trackers seem to be small and portable some you just buy a sim card thingy for once a year (cost done) other are monthly fees I am still joyfully researching these, the bike ones once fitted to the bike draw from the bikes battery a small amount but do seem to require a monthly fee. car ones can be similar but you can find free ones once the initial purchase has been done or so it seems. some links below to what I've been looking at.

this all seems a bit of a minefield

the bike ones I was recommended to at the nec in November by someone that was a little more clued than me on this,

the trouble as always with this sort of thing to much choice will keep updating as and when I get to understand some of this

Stig of the dump
yes I have one of them bit of a last resort, was thinking of upgrading that to one that would run my lap top and jump start the bike if needed some may recall had to bump startmy bike in wales on the bbr last year, the real lesson was don't stop the engine and leave everything turned on not the easiest things to bump aint fjr's but plenty of hills in wales.


IBA Member

The gps unit I mentioned in the post above arrived today.

I’ve put it on a 12v battery and inserted a PAYG sim, as long as the sim does not have a security pin active, you can either call it, (you need to have voice mail on so it answers the call, then you hang up) or, you can send it a text and it will text back with it’s Latitude, longitude, speed, date, time and then a link to google maps so you can see it’s position..


I’m now looking at how I get it to work with Spotwalla or another mapping service such as...

The gps unit, if powered on all the time, can text a mobile if it moves (200m). Which could come in handy.

Will update, as I make progress.

cool Jon I look forward to see how you get on with it. I am going to do some experiments with battery life on my phone. as an app could be a cheap option if I can get the phone to last long enough, personal trackers still look like an option although finding the right one could be the challenge, did find one that seem to fit the bill now I cant find the same one again. the bike ones I've looked at don't seem to have the coverage where does western Europe now end?
still researching and prepared to look at all options.


IBA Member
Hi Dave.

Had another play with the GPS tracker and it’s working well. However, the one I’ve bought off eBay seems to be a Chinese clone of a GT02A. The one I have has slightly different commands and they are limited compared to the real thing ( If I’d done a little more research I’d have bought the real thing... more over, I would (and still may) go for one with an internal backup battery, these seem to be around £40. The beauty of these is that they’ll keep alive if anyone cuts the wires....

However, for what I want this is perfect...I can ping it with a text and get a location, set up a text back if the bike moves, ok it’s 200 meters and it’ll travel a distance in the time it takes to get the text but that’s the risk.

There’s no security on it so if you give out the number for it to anyone getting it’s location, they need to send the passcode as well. With that they can then change any setting so you should not make that public...Edit Note by just giving out the phone number and telling anyone who wants your location to ring the tracker is safe as they, only need to wait for an answer from the voice mail and hang up. It will then text back to them, your location.

I’ve found a couple of gps tracking servers but, for a decent one there is a subscription and you need a sim in the gps unit which also costs, my sim is a Tesco PAYG and its 4p a text. So, although I can get it to work with an online tracking service I don’t think it’s worth it for decent tracking you would need it to give its location ever 5mins. So I won’t do much more with it, primarily because of the cost, unless I pay for a data bundle it’s going to get silly and I have an “all you can eat” contract on my phone as it is. The other reason is, I don’t think I can get it to work with Spotwalla as it’s not supported. I believe Spotwalla is the only tracking service the IBA will recognise (please correct me if I’m wrong) so it will stay a simple tracker for close friends.

As I’ve mentioned I use SWconnect and link that to Spotwalla and it’s still the simplest and cheapest solution I’ve found... (well it’s virtually free). Once you have it set up it’s just so easy.

On the battery usage, I may have been slightly wrong here, yesterday I nipped down to the ACE cafe for a coffee and set it running on the way back, it’s roughly a 50min ride and I use approx 2% battery (no more) on my iPhone so I don’t consider that too bad.

Spotwalla has the advantage of being secure..

If you need help setting this up, message me.

Last edited:


IBA Member

I think if you go with any of the three you list, you wouldn’t be disappointed especially if, you can get some of the cost back by way of an insurance discount.

Let me which one when you do decide.

Spotwalla is not the only option. Also, different tracking objects should use different GPS trackers, right? For children and the elderly, small trackers are a good choice, such as AMERICALOC. For vehicles, you can choose a small or normal size tracker, such as Optimus 2.0.
Last edited:


Rally Bonus checker
IBA Member
I think you're getting a bit confused with Spotwalla and Spot - they are two different things.
Spot is the device you fit to your bike or yourself, and which requires an annual fee.
Spotwalla is a free website that takes the track from Spot and shows it on their website as a Google map which can be shared.
I too grew weary of the ever increasing fees from Spot, so dumped it in favour of SWConnect, which is an iPhone app that you can link to Spotwalla in the same way as my old Spot device.
If you have an android phone there is another app called Bubbler that does the same thing.
I cannot now remember whether these apps are free, but if there was a fee, it was nominal, and there is no yearly subscription to pay.