After the deployment of 260 GPS tracking devices in garbage trucks, police cars, and other city owned vehicles over the last few years, the city of Grand Rapids recently suspended and warned various city workers. The reported offenses mostly consist of taking longer than authorized breaks and driving company vehicles for personal use. However, a few years back, a police officer was forced to resign after GPS data revealed that he or she was taking unauthorized breaks outside of his or her designated patrol area.
The city has recently begun installing GPS trackers on fire trucks with the goal of reducing the response times of some calls. Based on data provided by GPS tracking software, dispatchers can easily select the truck in the best position to respond
The tracking devices used by the city of Grand Rapids are not covert tracking devices; all employees are made aware of their presence on city owned vehicles.
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In the aftermath of the tragic deaths of 19 Arizona firefighters, the Florida Forest Service is outfitting its firefighters on the frontlines with GPS tracking systems. Using GPS tracking software, supervisors will know the location of each firefighter at any time, and be able to reach them more quickly in the event of an emergency.
The new GPS tracking program is being implemented in hopes of increasing the safety of those closest to potentially deadly blazes, including those using bulldozers to push back fire lines. According to the forest service, the program is possibly the first of its kind for firefighters. The GPS tracking program does not require cell phone or Internet service, but rather relies on “packets” of electronic information sent to supervisors’ laptops provided they are within a two mile range of the GPS tracking device.
Florida and Iowa police departments are testing GPS tracking devices which enable them to fire sticky GPS “darts” at fleeing vehicles in hopes of cutting off dangerous, high-speed pursuits to increase both public and officer safety. Using a firing mechanism installed in the front of the police cruiser, officers can deploy the GPS tracking devices from the inside of their cars. The deployed GPS darts are designed to stick to fleeing vehicles allowing police to track them from a safe distance using GPS tracking software. Here’s another post on GPS tracking for law enforcement.
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TrackingTheWorld’s all-weather EnduroPro GPS tracker offers an ideal choice for extreme weather conditions, from recent summer heat waves to below zero temperatures. Designed to provide accurate and reliable reporting in the most extreme conditions ranging from -40° to 185° Fahrenheit, the EnduroPro is also water-resistant to IPX-5 standards.
The Enduro Pro offers features not typically found on GPS tracking systems in the same price range and of comparable size. Gilbert Walz, CEO of TrackingTheWorld, said the tracker is also known for its versatility. “The EnduroPro tracker is used for a number of applications, including asset tracking, covert tracking, and personal protection.”
Time to first fix for the Enduro Pro is 29-seconds from a cold start, and less than one second from a hot start. The tracker includes a built-in motion sensor to extend battery life, which powers down the tracker when it is not in motion, resulting in one of the longest battery lives available for trackers of similar size. The device is equipped to operate for up to 16-days on a single charge based on five minute reporting intervals and one hour of reporting per day.
An ultra-compact tracker, the EnduroPro weighs 60-grams, and measures 67.5mm x 40mm x 21mm. Additional technical specifications include Quad-Band 850/900/1800/190MHz operation, GSM phase 2/2+ compliance, a 1300mAh, 3.7V Li-polymer backup battery, 50-channel all-in-view tracking, and a uBlox 6 GPS receiver. Designed for use with TrackingTheWorld’s GPS tracking software, the Enduro Pro provides fixed-time reporting, geo-fencing, emergency alerts, and customized reporting options.
Interface options include a mini-USB port for PC connection, an LED indicator for power, GSM, and GPS statuses, power and function buttons, and an MMCX RF connector for utilization of an external GPS antenna.
Scientists may soon be using GPS tracking technology to monitor and track hurricanes, according to a recent report published in Radio Journal. By utilizing a GPS tracking receiver in hurricane hunter aircrafts to measure disruptions in the sea and then comparing the data to that which is received from GPS tracking satellites, scientists can determine the strength of a storm, including wind speeds accurate within 11 mph. Using GPS tracking systems to track hurricanes may also be more cost effective than dropsondes, tubes containing scientific measuring devices dropped from planes directly into hurricanes, which cost more than $700 dollars each. However, GPS tracking for hurricanes is only effective for hurricanes at sea, not those which have already made landfall, and is somewhat less accurate than current methods.
Here are our favorite GPS tracking news stories for Friday, June 7, 2013:
GPS Inventor Says Self-Driving Cars to Come
Brad Parkinson, former United States Air Force colonel credited with the invention of GPS, says that the future of GPS tracking technology is self-driving cars. Due to the advancement of GPS tracking technology, Parkinson said self driving cars could be just a few years away–especially since companies like Google are already testing them. Parkinson is now a professor at Stanford.
GPS Technology for Tsunami Warning Systems
The BBC recently reported that GPS tracking technology may soon be used to increase early warning time in the event of tsunamis caused by earthquakes. According to the report, GPS will be used to measure even the slightest changes in the geography of the coastlines in countries most likely to be affected by tsunamis to provide faster warnings than current tsunami warning systems which use seismic activity data.
NASA Working On GPS for Navigating Space
Popular Science reports that NASA is developing an “intergalactic” GPS system aimed at facilitating space travel anywhere in the universe. Navigation for space travel currently relies on radio signals sent from Earth, but those signals weaken with distance. The GPS project is designed to rely on light beams produced by neutron stars known as pulsars which spin rapidly and emit steady beams of light.
In addition to providing helpful information for business operations, GPS tracking systems are also used for personal safety. Here, we’ve outlined some of the best safety features today’s GPS trackers have to offer.
The Panic Button
Perhaps the most important feature of a GPS tracker for personal safety is the panic button. With the press of a single button, a GPS user in an emergency situation can immediately alert others. The panic button feature on most GPS tracking systems activates a rapid fire sequence of location alerts, followed by automated cell phone alerts via GPS tracking software.
The ability to communicate with another human being in the event of an emergency can mean the difference between life and death. If you’re selecting a GPS tracking system for personal safety, TrackingTheWorld recommends a tracking device with two-way voice capabilities.
Extreme Weather Durability
For personal safety, a GPS tracker with all-weather durability is important, particularly if you are an outdoor enthusiast. In situations such as mountain biking or snow skiing, your safety may depend on the ability of your GPS tracker to reliably function in less than desirable temperatures. Be sure to ask a GPS dealer for specifics.
Long Battery Life
Another of the most important safety features for GPS trackers is the ability of the tracker to operate for as long a period as possible without a charge. Depending on locate update intervals (how often you want the tracker to report your location), today’s GPS trackers can go as long as a month or more between charges. With this capability, or something similar, you can rest assured your GPS tracking system will function even if you forget to charge it once in a while.
While most larger police departments in Oklahoma already utilize GPS tracking systems, rural police departments in the state are realizing a need for GPS tracking systems in police cruisers due to an increase in vehicle theft. Some small departments are seeking federal grants to have the systems installed.
Thefts of police cruisers have even included SWAT vehicles, by thieves seeking the arsenal of weapons inside, which can be both dangerous and expensive. The most significant barrier for obtaining GPS tracking systems for small departments is budget constraints leaving department heads searching for federal funding and grants.
TrackingTheWorld’s AVL-300 GPS tracking device brings a new level of flexibility and durability to the GPS tracking market. With the options of both real time and passive tracking, multiple digital and analog inputs, the AVL-300 GPS device can be configured to meet the needs of nearly any GPS tracking application.
The AVL-300 offers 2 digital inputs and two analog inputs, including one that can be used as an extra digital input. The digital inputs make it possible to customize and SOS feature for your AVL-300. The GPS tracking device is also compatible with Garmin’s Fleet Management Interface. Additional cables are required to utilize this feature.
TrackingTheWorld’s AVL-300 also eliminates problems caused by GPS jammers as the device comes equipped with jam detection. The AVL tracker also features motion detection, and a broad range of operating voltages, from 8-32V DC.
Find out more about TrackingTheWorld’s AVL-300 GPS vehicle tracker.
As a result of grant funding, the state of Vermont will soon be using GPS tracking devices to provide better transportation services to veterans who need transportation to work, medical appointments, and more. Convenience and accessibility are some of the key goals of the GPS tracking program. In addition, the program will allow dispatchers to easily monitor the locations of all transportation vans throughout the state.