Iditarod Sled Dog Race Organizers Turn To Rugged Mobile Computers

By PRESS RELEASE — March 05, 2009

For more on rugged devices in the field, check out the Mobile Enterprise feature article Real-World Rugged.

Trimble announced that it is the official provider of outdoor rugged computers for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race-- The Toughest Race on Earth. Iditarod race officials will use the Trimble Nomad handhelds and the new Yuma rugged tablet computers to help with safety, communications and logistics challenges over the 1,150 mile race through the heart of the Alaskan wilderness which is scheduled to begin March 7.

While the Nomad functions as a powerful advanced handheld computer, the new Yuma puts the power of a fully-functional PC in the hands of people who work outdoors. The family of products is an ideal fit for the Iditarod, as it provides a rugged platform for computing on the trail and at checkpoints.

"Our goal every year at the Iditarod is to make the race safer for participants, as well as more accessible to people around the world that follow the event," said Stan Hooley, executive director of the Iditarod Trail Committee. "Using Trimble rugged computers will give us a greatly increased ability to communicate in the harshest of environments in order for us to provide the continuum of safety that we are committed to provide for each team on the Trail. The extreme challenge of musher and dogs against the elements is timeless. Now, we add highly-sophisticated technology, like truly rugged computers, GPS and wireless communication, to improve the event's logistics. It's a great juxtaposition."

"The Iditarod is the ultimate test of toughness, not just for dogs and mushers, but also for the equipment that makes the race possible," said Shawn Curtis, marketing manager for Trimble's Mobile Computing Solutions Division. "The Iditarod epitomizes everything Trimble's rugged outdoor computing is about. The Toughest Race on Earth is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate Trimble's capabilities, as we facilitate real-time data communication, provide logistical support, and capture critical data like sled dog health as mushers progress across the 1,000-plus miles to Nome."

The AT&T-certified Nomad handheld computers will be used to scan barcodes when sleds enter and leave check in points to capture time and location data. They will also track the number of dogs to identify when an injured dog must be left behind. Race officials, veterinarians and logistics personnel will use the Yuma tablet computer for real-time communication to enhance safety and to capture location information to keep race participants and officials informed as the race progress. In addition, Yuma will facilitate uploading data to the Web to keep race fans updated in real time.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race celebrates the historical values and the lifestyle of sled dog mushing. The 37th running of "The Last Great Race on Earth" also celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the National Historic Iditarod Trail and the 50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood. The Iditarod embraces the high technology research that allows products such as the Nomad and Yuma to create a safety net for the mushers and canine athletes as they make their way through the Alaska Range on to the Mighty Yukon River and across the Gold Coast of Norton Sound in order to arrive safely in Nome Alaska.

The Trimble Nomad packs an amazing amount of functionality into a powerful and full-featured rugged handheld computer. The Nomad handheld computer features Windows Mobile 6, an 806 MHz processor, up to 1 GB of Flash storage, a long-life battery and integrated wireless capabilities such as GPS, 802.11g and Bluetooth. The Nomad handheld also features a high-resolution, sunlight-visible VGA display that shows graphics and maps in crisp detail.

The Nomad rugged computer makes it easy to collect, save and transmit data in the field because it's available with so many built-in capabilities, plus you can use the Nomad's CompactFlash (CF) and Secure Digital (SDIO) slots to add even more devices.

The versatile Yuma is a fully functional computer that brings full office capabilities to the field. The Yuma tablet computers mobile package features Microsoft Windows Vista Business, integrated WiFi connectivity, Global Positioning System (GPS) and two geotag-enabled cameras. The Yuma is expandable via two USB 2.0 slots -- a 34 pin Expresscard and SDIO slot. The seven-inch sunlight-readable WVGA color touch screen is ideal for a host of mapping and form-based applications

The Yuma tablet is at home in the harshest outdoor conditions as a hand-carried computer, mounted on a tripod or pole for data collection, or secured in a vehicle-mount for use as a computer on the road. It is equally adept in a climate-controlled office.

The Yuma rugged tablet computer is expected to be available in April 2009.

The Nomad and Yuma computer's rugged construction makes them ideal for forestry, public safety, field service, utilities, military and other outdoor or service-related applications.

Trimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location--including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions may include software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978, Trimble is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.



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