PDA

View Full Version : Anyone have experience using GPS to track vehicles?



Graz
04-13-2011, 11:46 PM
Example, a company provides cars for their employees. Can that company log in or something to find out exactly where their vehicle is? Can they enter a date and time from weeks prior to find out where the vehicle was? How are the results displayed on screen? A street map that shows a line where that vehicle was at a specific time? Thanks

Drachen Jager
04-14-2011, 12:11 AM
It depends on the system they run. I would say for most commercial systems you can find out where the car is now, but normally they do not keep a log of where the car has been in the past.

If it's an armoured car or something they may have a more advanced system that does log the location. It's certainly possible to do, but it costs more so you'd need a reason.

Graz
04-14-2011, 01:21 AM
Thanks. How is location displayed? Lat and Long, street map w/ a dot?

Drachen Jager
04-14-2011, 02:02 AM
Most have a map interface. I know of one GPS tracking system that uses Google Maps, it's not specifically for cars (although you could use it on a car), but it's the same principle (it is called SPOT (http://international.findmespot.com/) if you want to look at the product details).

Graz
04-14-2011, 02:05 AM
thanks again

Mac H.
04-14-2011, 09:40 AM
Example, a company provides cars for their employees. Can that company log in or something to find out exactly where their vehicle is? Can they enter a date and time from weeks prior to find out where the vehicle was?Absolutely.

eg: The interface here: http://interface.precisiontracking.com.au/?uid=ils

You can get a nice report with them listing everything and can look it up online, including speed etc.


How are the results displayed on screen? A street map that shows a line where that vehicle was at a specific time? ThanksThat's one of the options - you can run a replay of the journey showing it all on google maps with streetview on if you want ! It's very impressive.

For example, at the website above, select 'Replay' and then select a car, put in a date or time range and watch the trip be replayed.

eg: Select 'Nathan' . From 11-04-2001 8:00 to 18:00.
(It's an Aussie website so has the dates in Aussie format with day-month-year .. at least on my machine.)

You can see that he's set up the logger with only an update of every 10 seconds or so in some cases which is why it jumps around a bit ... but it is truly an amazing system.

And no - it isn't a privacy violation ... the developers set this demo up with their own cars as publicly visible to demonstrate how truly cool (and cheap) their system is.

You can also set up 'geo-fence' so that if the vehicle goes inside or outside of the area you get an alarm, SMS, notification etc.

It means that when the car arrives 'home' or at 'the office' you can get a note ... along with an automated logbook for tax purposes.

Good luck,

Mac

Graz
04-14-2011, 08:22 PM
Thanks Mac H., very cool and helpful

Hallen
04-14-2011, 10:15 PM
And just to be clear, the GPS is just a positioning device. It needs to be paired with a cellular device or radio in order to report it's positions. You can't track a GPS receiver without it having the technology to report its position to something else.

I think some rental car companies have a tracking system here in the US. There's also theft recovery systems that can track where a car is. Most of these probably do keep logs. Some may only log to the "black box" inside the car and report only current location when activated.
Privacy is a huge concern with regards to this kind of technology.

In the US, I think a warrant is required to place such a tracking system on a car without the owner knowing about it -- if you wanted the evidence to be admissible in court. Others with a legal background should verify that for you. I'm not an expert with regards to that kind of thing.

Aerial
04-15-2011, 12:29 AM
There's also LoJack and probably other systems like it that are intended for recovery of stolen vehicles. I don't know what the legal requirements are for the police to track a vehicle by its LoJack, but it's a system owners install with the intent that the police should use it to track the car if it's stolen.

Aerial

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-17-2011, 04:37 AM
Example, a company provides cars for their employees. Can that company log in or something to find out exactly where their vehicle is? Can they enter a date and time from weeks prior to find out where the vehicle was? How are the results displayed on screen? A street map that shows a line where that vehicle was at a specific time? Thanks

Yes ... all of that is possible, including logging previous locations by position and time.
Display is typically a map, but it could be just a list of coordinates and times that can be fed into a mapping program.

Just be kinda vague on exactly what software is involved. It's commercially available, BTW.

kwils
04-19-2011, 12:00 AM
Are you looking at re-purposing something existing or using a commercial product for this purpose?

The commercial products I'm familiar with can either be directly integrated with the vehicle (for power or telemetry) or be attached externally. ("Permits discrete placement of device" the website (http://www.trimtrac.com/about/features.shtml) says. Heh.)

One thing to keep in mind is how often the device will report. For constant real-time reporting, it should probably be hooked into the car's power so it doesn't eat up batteries. Otherwise they can store frequent location information then transmit in bursts- not real-time, but not as hard on the battery. You might be able to transmit a request for a real-time update as well.

Some devices can receive as well as transmit, so someone at a remote location can trigger an alarm or turn off the vehicle in response to the reported data. Also, some devices that are hooked into the vehicle's ECM can pick up on things like engine on/off, error codes, etc. They can also be set up to respond to particular alarms, such as leaving or entering particular area or exceeding a certain speed.

What the information looks like to the remote user really depends on the software the device's maker provides. The commercial devices I'm familiar with are NOT able to be received directly- the transmissions are processed by the device's maker then stored and presented for as long as the remote user has a contract.