GPS tracking refers to a device that uses a Global Positioning System to determine the exact location of whatever it is attached to and record said location at regular intervals. The object in question could be a vehicle, a person, or any other asset that the unit would fit into. The location can be recorded within the tracking unit or transmitted to a central location. This allows the asset’s location to be displayed on a map or in real-time for analysis or tracking purposes.
Generally speaking, GPS tracking units fall into three categories: data loggers, data pushers and data pullers.
Data Loggers: These systems simply log the position of the device at regular intervals, usually to an internal storage device such as a memory card. For example an avid runner may purchase one of these devices in order to determine the length and duration of a run.
Data Pushers: These systems are used in the security industry to “push” (send) at regular intervals the position of the device to a dedicated server for analysis. These units are great for fleet control, finding stolen vehicles, animal control, keeping an eye on a child or even covert surveillance of someone’s movements.
Data Pullers: Unlike the data pushers, these systems are always on and can be looked up whenever someone needs to. These units are usually used when the location of something only needs to be known if it is missing – like property that may be stolen. These types of devices have raised a lot of concern over personal privacy since the data can potentially be stored for some time revealing people’s habits and covert watching of their movements.
The next step?
Road usage charging: The road usage charging technology allows governments to manage roadways by charging drivers based on the time of day you drive, the location of your journey and the distance you travel. Soon not only will you have to pay for the gas that you put into your car, you will also receive a bill from the government charging you for where you went in that car! Right now this technology is still in the infant stage and is only being tested in a few small markets… but with the ever increasing demands on roads, costs of upkeep and traffic congestion the odds of this technology going global is looking like a sure thing.
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