Sunday, August 9, 2009

GPS Logger - A Different Way to Use GPS Technology

Welcome to the new age. The age of the GPS logger. GPS or Global Positioning System is a technology that nearly everyone is familiar with these days. At one time, it was secret military equipment. Now, it is nearly as mainstream as telephones, televisions, and home computers.

A relatively new use of the GPS satellites is the GPS logger. A GPS data logger is a really cool gadget that can accurately track the coordinates of anything, anywhere on the planet. Does this sound like something that only James Bond would need? If it does, you really need to think again.

There are a ton of practical uses for GPS loggers. Let's get far away for spy vs. spy stuff for a minute. Suppose that a courier company is paying it's drivers by the mile. It would be very easy to figure out that if the driver wanted to make more money, he would either need to make more deliveries, OR travel more miles while making the deliveries. Cab drivers are famous for taking the "scenic route".

In this case a GPS logger would be the perfect tool to keep the deliver driver honest and the client pleased with a fast delivery. A GPS logger is a device that receives a signal from the nations network of global positioning satellites. These device then sends a request to several satellites asking for the current position of itself. Several satellites work in concert sending the data back to the unit. The unit then, through triangulation, calculates it's exact location on the planet and records it in the GPS locator's memory logs in terms of latitude and longitude.

A GPS logger can be as small and portable as a key chain to be inconspicuously placed in a package or it can be a device that is permanently installed on a company delivery van.

Imagine the following scenario. Company "A" hires a courier to take a sensitive package to company "B". The driver for company "A" is paying the driver fifty cents a mile for the assignment.

The distance from company "A" to company "B" is 100 miles. It's easy to calculate that the delivery driver would get paid $50 for the job.

Let's assume that Mr. deliver driver wants to make a few extra bucks so he cleverly takes the round about scenic route and stretches the trip from 100 miles to 150 miles. This would mean that Mr. Sly delivery driver would make $75 dollars instead of $50.

If company "A" charged company "B" a flat rate based on the 100 mile trip, they would lose money because the driver milked more miles out of the job. If company "A" charges company "B" by the mile, they will be billed for 50 extra miles. The result will be that the delivery ended up costing them more than they expected to pay and chances are that the next time they need to hire a courier, they won't give company "A" their business. Company "A" will not only have overpaid the driver, they will have lost a client.

This can be a huge problem for a courier service and it will most likely drive them out of business. Enter the GPS logger! If a GPS logger was installed on the drivers vehicle, a sort of "bread crumb" trail would be left by the driver. When driver returned to the base, the courier owner or manager could download the data from the GPS logger into a computer. The data could then be superimposed on a map. This would show the exact route that the driver took.

If the driver was being sneaky and padding the bill by slipping extra miles into the trip log, it would instantly be known to those in charge. Either the driver would have to come up with a pretty good explanation for the extra miles or he would be looking for a new job.

The cost of purchasing the GPS logger would quickly pay for itself. Not to mention, if the drivers were all aware that GPS loggers were installed in their delivery vehicles, they would all be honest employees. The result would be happier customers and more money in the bank for the delivery company.

This is only one of many applications for a GPS logger but I'll cover more in future posts.  One thing worth mentioning is that you should never track anyone without their knowledge and permission.

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