- What is Cairn?
- Will Cairn work if I lose cell reception?
- My loved one is overdue. What should I do?
- Does Cairn drain my battery?
- Does Cairn show coverage data by carrier?
- Can I make emergency calls via other carriers?
- When is the Android version coming out?
- How will my emergency contacts know I'm OK?
- Do you have cell coverage data for trails near me?
- Is there a Cairn watch app?
- Can I see what points I've collected?
- What happens when I put my phone into airplane mode?
- Do I still need to carry a first aid kit?
- Why does my phone shut down in the cold?
- How much does Cairn cost?
- How can I help gather more data for the coverage map of the wilderness?
- My question isn't answered here. Now what?
What is Cairn?
Cairn makes it easy to find cell coverage in the outdoors and keep your loved ones up to date on your plans and progress. If you’re overdue, we give your safety contacts recommendations on how and when to contact search and rescue. You can also use Cairn to track key stats like distance travelled, elevation gained and ETA.
Will Cairn work if I lose cell reception?
Yes! It is designed to work offline, but it really helps if you download the map for the area you'll be exploring before you lose reception. We recommend doing this at home over wifi. Our safety notification feature only works if you set it up before you're out of range. But rest easy knowing that your safety contacts will be alerted if you're overdue regardless of your phone's status.
my loved one is overdue, what should I do?
Try to contact them by phone, and reach out to any other contacts on your notification email. If you are worried for their safety, we recommend you contact authorities. In most cases search and rescue teams prefer getting notified as early as possible. Search and rescue teams have stressed to us how important this is.
Does cairn drain my battery?
Cairn does use some battery if you've sent out a safety notification, but we are working on decreasing consumption all the time. You can control how often Cairn reports your phone's location to your contacts. We have found that putting your phone into low battery mode offers significant battery savings without interfering with GPS functionality and location tracking. On multi-day trips we recommend carrying a small battery pack (we do!). Tracking the stats for your trip is more battery intensive, and we recommend using the stat tracking feature only when you are moving.
DOES CAIRN SHOW COVERAGE DATA BY CARRIER?
Yes, you can tap on a point to see which carriers have coverage (or not) at that point. We don't have data for every carrier (or every point, for that matter) as this data is crowdsourced by other adventurers who use Cairn.
Can I make emergency calls via other carriers?
Yes! You may be able to make an emergency call (to 911, for example) even if your carrier doesn't have coverage. Your phone just needs to operate on the same frequency band as a carrier that does have coverage. Always try to call 911 in an emergency, even if it doesn't look like you'll get through.
WHEN IS THE ANDROID VERSION COMING OUT?
An Android version of Cairn has been our number one request, and is high on our priority list. If you'd like to be notified when we release an Android version, just pop your email address into this form. You can also request directly by emailing us at email@example.com.
HOW WILL MY EMERGENCY CONTACTS KNOW I'M OK?
Once you've started a Cairn, you'll see an I'm OK button that makes it easy to send all your emergency contacts a message along with a map of your current location. Choose from one of our pre-filled messages (e.g. Made it to the top!). or write your own. If you don't have coverage (and this is the best part), the app will send your message/location as soon as it notices that you have coverage again. We think it's a pretty handy feature. Once you end your Cairn, we let your contacts know you're safe.
DO YOU HAVE cell COVERAGE DATA FOR TRAILS NEAR ME?
We are still pretty much brand new, but we do have data for many popular trails in Washington, Oregon, and in Yellowstone, Yosemite. Mt. Rainier, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and Hawai'i Volcanoes National Parks. One of our team members (Nick) collected data for the entire Pacific Crest Trail (a four and a half month endeavor) for both Verizon and AT&T. We are counting on people like you to help map out the rest of the world.
IS THERE A CAIRN WATCH APP?
Yes! For those of you with an Apple Watch, you can send an I'm OK message with just two taps on your watch. You can also end your Cairn and see a snapshot of your location relative to your destination.
CAN I SEE WHAT POINTS I'VE COLLECTED?
Yes! We're happy to report that after you send a notification to your contacts, you'll see the points of cell coverage that you've collected. It's a nice way to see your own trail without using your phone's GPS constantly. And you can see where your phone did and didn't have coverage along the way. You can also track your stats, which also shows you distance covered, elevation gain/loss and a personalized estimated time of arrival (ETA).
What happens when I put my phone in airplane mode?
Unfortunately we can't tell the difference between airplane mode and no service. So any data you collect when in airplane mode will be recorded as no coverage. However, we know that using airplane mode in the backcountry saves your battery. And so we take this into account in our coverage aggregation algorithm for an area. Please use airplane mode as you normally would, but know that it will be recorded as no coverage.
DO I STILL NEED TO CARRY A First Aid Kit?
Absolutely. And the rest of the ten essentials as well! Cairn is just another tool to throw in your box of safety gear. We are not advocating that you use your phone at every opportunity, and we get that you probably want some peace and quiet when you're out. But the vast majority of modern day wilderness rescue operations are initiated by cell phones. We'll know Cairn is a success when it helps save a life.
WHY DOES MY PHONE SHUT DOWN IN THE COLD?
Phone batteries don't like the cold and your phone will shut itself off even if it has plenty of charge. Some people keep their phones in their inside jacket pockets, or slip in a hand-warmer to keep their phone batteries warm.
how much does cairn cost?
It's free. Hooray! However, we will need to pay for the development and server costs somehow, so you can expect to see some premium fee-based features appear in the distant future. But for the time being it's free and we expect the core functionality of the app to remain free forever.
HOW can i help gather more data for the coverage map of the wilderness?
The best way is to get more people using Cairn. You can invite people via Twitter or Facebook using our handy links. If you're a member of a Facebook or Yahoo outdoor group, share this website there. We can use all the help spreading the word that we can get.
My question isn’t answered here. Now What?
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re anxious to help.