The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has announced the signing of a three-year exclusive contract with 3S Group Ltd, as their continued sole recommended supplier of trackers for expeditions. 3S Group Ltd have been providing tracking systems to Mountain and Lowland Rescue Teams since 2010, and work with MOD, Police forces and MCA (UK Coastguard) to provide search management solutions that are used for missing person, crime and counter terrorist searches in the UK and abroad.

This year saw record breaking numbers of participants, with over 500,000 young people working towards their award across the UK. As the only DofE recommended solution since 2012, and with a support team of experienced search and rescue practitioners, 3S Group Ltd provide a complete software package alongside the tracker device purchase, from plotting routes and creating expedition cards, to monitoring and messaging, and over the years have supported thousands of participants in their endeavours.

The DofE commented, ‘DofE are delighted to announce our contract renewal with 3S Group (formerly Mapyx). We have collaborated for many years on the provision of trackers for our expeditions. Our continued partnership will continue to give all DofE leaders, participants and parents the reassurance they need when they are embarking on their DofE journey. Knowing that a young person can be easily tracked using 3S technology via a satellite signal and importantly get immediate assistance if required, gives peace of mind to all of us involved in DofE expeditions’.

Expedition groups use a tracker attached to a backpack, which sends a satellite signal at regular intervals so that their location can be tracked and monitored. With 3S Group’s full software package, this means that supervisors and assessors can monitor ‘in the field’ on laptop, PC, tablet or mobile device, with the advanced tracking solutions available on Windows, iOS, Android and web platforms. Having access to view a group’s position means less waiting at checkpoints for a party who may be very behind, lost, or even ahead of time, and enables an all-round more coordinated expedition.

Tracking for an Efficient Expedition

Being able to track participants means a much more efficient, coordinated expedition for leaders who can use this information to inform decision making, prioritise check-ins with groups, or to make a call on when to intervene, if at all.

Young people who have an underlying health condition have the assurance of a back-up communication device in case they need to request assistance, and from the point of view of emergency services, locating a casualty is time critical. One key feature of the SPOT trackers is an SOS button, which triggers a coordinated emergency response if appropriate. Although serious incidents are extremely rare on expeditions, this is a function that aids emergency response to an incident by providing location data for expedited assistance, particularly in areas of poor mobile signal or for isolated areas in large national parks.

In the Classroom

To be used as a teaching tool as well as on expedition, MX Map can be installed on a school’s network and accessed via licensed computers to draw and print routes at any size or scale, and to create DofE expedition cards. As a comprehensive planning tool, the system provides the means to plan before heading out, and then to analyse post-expedition, in order to compare a group’s tracked course against their planned route.

‘It is a privilege to empower young people to achieve their full potential’

3S Group are proud to continue to support thousands of participants on their journey to achieve their DofE Award. Managing Director, Steve Wood, explained ‘We have been delighted to renew our relationship with the DofE as it empowers more young people than ever with the opportunity to challenge, explore and serve. We are proud to be able to provide a tracking solution that enhances the expedition experience both for participants and leaders. Groups use our trackers to mitigate risk, but also to make the whole process more efficient; from planning in the classroom to monitoring out on expedition. It is a privilege to empower young people to achieve their full potential, and to encourage exploration and independence, and we hope to continue our partnership with DofE for years to come.