I understand that there have been a lot of complaints about the lack of updates on the Iditarod site. We certainly hope that they are able to provide better updates throughout the race. Its certainly not a job I'd like to have, being responsible for that many people, dogs, locations, and statuses. I can barely keep track of one musher.
Some of Karen's helpers are able to track her progress using the state of the art GPS data available to us. Even though she complains about the ear tag, its helped us out a lot on finding out where she's at, how fast she's moving, and how far she's traveled.
We try to keep everyone posted about when she's on the move, what checkpoint she's nearing or has passed, and whether she appears to be camping out. We realize that the data is not 100% accurate as far as checkpoints, landmarks, etc. but its pretty close, and frankly our only other alternative was to pack a person with a satellite phone and camera in her bag and the Iditarod officials frowned about that, even if we could have found someone willing to do it, so GPS tracking will have to do.
What we haven't told everyone (shhh, you're the first to know) is that we have a supercomputer and very expensive graphics mapping at our disposal so that we can actually zoom in and see her.
Most people will see something like this when they use the GPS tracker:
I mean, that's a bit pathetic. a tiny little blip with her bib number on it. Oh sure if you put your cursor on the bib number it gives you all of her stats, including the temperature where she's at. What it doesn't tell you is how many dogs she's got, or who is running lead, how well she's racing, or anything fun and exciting! Its kinda hard to get all involved in a cool race like the Iditarod when all you do is follow a little blip on a big map with a line on it showing the course.
That's where the SMT-2010 mapping software comes in. Using super high resolution satellite imagery, we are able to zoom down to even the smallest detail and show you snippets of the excitement going on in the Iditarod race.
As an example, I took a snapshot of the field, zoomed in on Karen's position, then using the high tech graphics on board the SMT-2010 mapping software, I was able to locate Karen's exact location as of 7:54 pm Eastern Time: