GPS tracking is the process of using a GPS tracking device to locate an object’s position on the earth’s surface. GPS, short for Global Positioning System, has been around for decades. The US military first used it in the 1960s. Nowadays, civilians also use it.
How does GPS tracking work? This technology uses satellites in space and tracking devices on the ground to find the location, time, and velocity of an object. Twenty-four satellites in space orbiting the earth every 12 hours send signals to receivers in GPS devices on the ground. There are usually three additional satellites in case one of the 24 satellites malfunctions. Ground stations in various places around the world are used to monitor satellites.
Today, a wide range of industries use this awesome technology for various purposes. For instance, during a disaster, rescuers and searchers can use GPS devices to make their work easy. If it is a large region, these devices can help them avoid searching the same place twice. Surveyors also use GPS. It usually saves money and time when mapping things like rivers, power lines, and highways.
Vehicle Tracking is another important use of GPS. It’s actually one of the best ways of preventing car theft. If someone steals your car, you have access to data such as movements and towing alerts. This way, the authorities can recover your vehicle within a short time. If your business uses fleets, GPS makes asset tracking possible.
What is Asset Tracking?
GPS functions don’t end at tracking fleets and ensuring that drivers are not engaging in risky behaviour. How would you monitor assets such as generators and containers in the field? GPS-powered asset tracking enables you to keep tabs on all your assets, whether big or small. It is crucial, especially if you have a large fleet and need regular reports on assets’ status.
Why Asset-intensive Industries/businesses Should Consider GPS Tracking Technology
Asset-intensive industries like oil & gas, manufacturing, and utilities can benefit from GPS tracking technology. Here are some benefits of GPS asset tracking.
Reduce Costs Caused by Loss of Assets
When you don’t monitor your assets, the chances are high that you will lose or misplace some of them. And since you will want to replace them immediately, you will spend more. Asset tracking helps you monitor your assets at all times and prevents loss.
Ensuring that your vehicles are always in perfect condition helps you avoid unnecessary repair costs. GPS tracking allows you to remotely assess your engine hours and schedule maintenance.
Important in Case of Theft
When an asset is stolen, you receive alerts such as low battery and zone exit alerts. You also have the power to disable the engine remotely.
How Real-time Location Tracking Works
GPS uses a technique known as trilateration to calculate the position, time, and velocity of an object. Satellites send microwave signals to GPS receivers on the ground. Receivers use the position and distance of at least four satellites to determine the longitude, latitude, time, and elevation of an object. The other satellites make the object’s position more accurate.
Real-time tracking or active tracking is where a GPS device relays live data to a central tracking system. This technology usually comes in handy in fleet management as the supervisors can get updates from assets on the field as they happen. For instance, they get notifications on computers or smartphones when a vehicle breaks down or is involved in an accident.
What is Geofencing
Geofencing is a system that uses GPS to create a virtual boundary (representing a real-world location). You are notified when a target object enters or exits this boundary. This virtual boundary is called a geofence. Geofencing enables a fleet manager to get updates when an asset leaves or enters a geofence.
Pros and Cons of GPS Tracking Asset Management
One disadvantage of GPS tracking management is accuracy. Barriers like mountains, tunnels, and buildings can interfere with the signals since GPS requires a clear sky to work. The good thing, this issue is normally temporary and lasts a few minutes at most. Secondly, drivers and employees may feel like you are violating their privacy by tracking their actions.
All in all, the pros of GPS tracking asset management far outweigh the cons. With GPS tracking, business owners will have peace of mind knowing that all their assets are being monitored.