GPS & Mobile Tracking
By Eric McManis, Armellini Express Lines Inc.
Whether you’re tracking your fleet or tracking your dog, GPS systems are affordable, flexible, and invaluable to keeping your business on track.
Global Positioning System (GPS) is an accurate worldwide navigational and surveying facility based on the reception of signals from an array of orbiting satellites.
Not very many years ago if you wanted to track your deliveries you would have your drivers call in every hour or invest a lot of money in a satellite tracking system. These systems were bulky, required specialized equipment, and meant engaging in a costly service contracts.
With the emergence of GPS enabled mobile devices this is no longer the case. There is a solution to fit any budget depending on the features desired.
Mobile Phone Tracking
The most inexpensive type of location tracking uses the GPS feature on most smartphones (and some not-so-smart phones). Location tracking apps can be downloaded, and with the assistance of a website or standalone PC program current locations can be determined.
Most phones use Assisted GPS (aGPS) which take locations information from cell towers as well as the orbiting satellites. Assisted GPS estimates a location by triangulating the distances between multiple cell towers. Usually this happens while the device is contacting GPS satellites or if the satellites are blocked (like indoors).
An application like Google Latitude is an example of a simple tracking application. And it’s free! Locations can be viewed on any PC or right from another mobile phone.
Personal Navigation Devices (PND)
Using hardware based personal navigation devices such as Garmin is also an option. The units are strictly for GPS (no cellular assistance) and selected models could run in the hundreds of dollars.
Tracking and navigation software or subscription-based services are available but generally there is a fee associated with using PND’s for fleet tracking. A few providers of such services can be found here