No GPS Tracker? An Ax Will Do!

ax_throwing_robyn_irvineEvery once in a while, we come across a news story that deserves to be printed for the sake of a good chuckle. Since it’s Friday, we thought we’d share this one with you. Enjoy!

Surprise! Ax-Throwing Champion Won’t be Robbed!

22-year-old Nicholas Uolla woke up yesterday morning in Hemet, California, and had a usual Thursday. He did things like eat breakfast, check his emails, and, you know – try to steal some jewelry from the home of a sweet old lady.

Uolla successfully broke into the home of Robyn Irvine, found her asleep, and tried to take her watch off of her wrist. Little did Uolla know that Irvine had an ax next to her bed – and she knew how to use it.

On Second Thought

Irvine, it turns out, was an axe-throwing champion (yes, there are axe-throwing contests!). When she grabbed her axe and yelled at Uolla, the robber stood stunned unable to move. Uolla eventually ran for the door, and Irvine decided not to throw the ax.

She later told press that she “…would’ve gotten him right in the spine or the back of his head…I hit what I aim for,” she said. Yikes! That should teach Uolla not to break into a home to try and steal a watch off of a person’s wrist! Uolla is currently in police custody, but press has confirmed that he was surprised by Irvine’s trusty ax.

If It’s Not GPS…

Many people today have a GPS tracker attached to valuable items. We often read stories of robbers that attempted to steal an item tracked by a GPS tracker, or someone trying to steal a vehicle that has a GPS tracking device attached. But, for those that don’t have a GPS tracker, there’s always the next best option: an ax. Of course, you’d have to be an ax throwing champion like Robyn Irvine…

For non-ax related tracking (or, hey, even if you want to track your ax!), we have all kinds of GPS trackers available. Call us today to let us know what you’re looking for, and we will find that right GPS tracker for you. As far as Irvine goes, it’s pretty clear that you don’t want to mess with this ax-throwing champion!

Lockheed Martin Unveils Mach 6 Spy Plane

lockheed_martin_spy _plane_gps

Official Lockheed Martin Photo

Step into the future with me, won’t you? Lockheed Martin has just unveiled the hypersonic aircraft to take part in service.

To put this into perspective: Lockheed’s last aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, could reach speeds three times the speed of sound. The Blackbird was the fastest aircraft in the world.

The newest Lockheed Martin creation, the SR-72 ‘Son of Blackbird’, will be twice as fast — that’s Mach 6 for those that are wondering.

An Unmanned Spy Plane

Lockheed is still in the process of creating the SR-72 aircraft, but the company envisions this plane as being completely unmanned. This aircraft will also be considered a warplane, which means that it may have missiles on board. These missiles would be extremely accurately guided weapons that work in conjunction with Lockheed’s own GPS software.

A recent press release by the Lockheed staff lets us in on just how mind-blowing this new spy plane will really be:

“…Hypersonic aircraft, coupled with hypersonic missiles, could penetrate denied airspace and strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour…” the release reads.

That means that this spy plane can dart in and out of restricted airspace largely undetected, launch a few high-targeted missiles, and return to its launching base. Don’t forget, too, that there won’t be any military presence onboard this unmanned aircraft.

Is your mind blown yet?

Incredibly Accurate GPS Technology

Connecting GPS trackers with spy planes isn’t something that most of us do regularly, but the military uses GPS technology around-the-clock for a number of different purposes. The latest spy plane from Lockheed simply pushes the envelope where unmanned planes, GPS tracking, and speed is concerned. This aircraft looks really cool too.

Lockheed expects the plane to be ready to fly by 2030. That sounds like a long time from now, but there’s also the possibility that the company could produce the plane prior to that estimated date.

That’s what’s happening in the world of aircraft and GPS today – pretty amazing, right?

If you’re looking into tracking something other than a spy plane, check out what we have to offer on our site. We have a GPS tracker for nearly every situation, so don’t be shy – let us know what you’re looking for.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Soon to be Standard

ADAS_sytems_volvoIn 2006, Toyota introduced something called the ‘Driver Monitoring System (DMS).’ The system was built to monitor drivers (as the name suggests) with safety being a top concern. As the years progressed, DMS became more refined and morphed into becoming part of ‘Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)’, and now it’s something that Volvo, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz are taking very seriously.

What ADAS Does

Essentially, ADAS systems incorporate a number of safety features into a vehicle. Features such as GPS trackers, lane departure warnings, driver mirror assistance, and an infrared LED camera into a car’s dashboard. Why a camera?

This camera monitors driver habits, and it sends out a flashing (or other) alert when drivers are not paying attention for whatever reason. These alerts aim to make the roads safer by keeping drivers tuned into what’s happening while driving.

Many different European car manufacturers offer DMS systems as a standard feature in models released in Europe. But now Ford is starting to offer ADAS as an optional feature in North American vehicles as well.

Why ADAS Is Important

How often do you see distracted drivers on the road? Have you ever seen someone drifting over a lane line or swerving in and out of lanes? This happens for a number of reasons, but one really good reason is that most drivers just aren’t aware of what’s happening. Some drivers are lost and looking at GPS devices and other drivers are simply not paying attention.

Integrating things like GPS tracking software and driver alert features into cars is something that car manufacturers are starting to support, and it’s also something that insurance companies and drivers alike are asking for. Right now, these systems are slowly trickling down to North America, but you’re going to see a lot more cars with ADAS systems in the very near future.

Soon ADAS Will Be Standard

It has been reported by press that both Volvo and Mercedes-Benz will be offering ADAS systems as a standard feature on most upcoming models. More interestingly, these systems won’t be reserved for luxury brands in the coming year. As mentioned, Ford will also be offering ADAS systems in some 2013 models.

GPS tracking technology on its own makes for a safer all-around ride. When you combine that technology with alert systems, the total package is ADAS – and that’s something that will keep drivers safe in almost every circumstance.

It’s also a really good idea to track your fleet with GPS software. This way, you can tell if a driver veers off-course. If you need some help selecting a GPS tracking device for your personal vehicle or for your fleet, just ask us. We have a number of GPS trackers that will fit your needs.

What do you think about ADAS systems? Is this something that you’d like to pay for, or should these features come standard withe ever car sold?

Seven Ways to Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life

keep_iphone_battery_longerKeeping your GPS tracking device up and running is imperative. That’s the main reason we offer so many GPS tracking devices that have a really long battery life. But, what about your smartphone? Are there ways to keep location data running on your phone (GPS technology) and keep your battery lasting longer?

Here are seven ways to keep location tracking data on, and still keep your phone in the green.

Seven Ways to Make Your Smartphone Battery Last Longer

1. Turn off push notifications: the need to know everything that’s happening on all social networks instantly will cost you! If you turn off your push notifications, you’ll help your battery out.

2. Turn down your screen light: on most phones, you can dim the light radiating from your screen. Just like your tablet or laptop screen, keeping your phone lighted up to the max will strain your battery.

3. Turn your phone off: gasp! What? Turn your phone off? I know, it sounds kind of crazy, but turning your phone off occasionally will actually help conserve your battery (and keep in mind that your phone will benefit from the restart once in a while!).

4. Keep things cooler: did you know that higher atmospheric temperatures means that your phone will have to work harder? It’s true. While you can’t avoid the heat if you live in a warm climate, you can keep your phone out of your hot car or away from other sun-drenched spots.

5. Close apps: it’s easy to forget to turn off background apps when you’re not using them, but letting those apps run will also drain your battery quickly.

6. Stop searching: is your phone set to search for WiFi? Every time your phone has to look for a signal, your battery is being used to its fullest extent. Turn off that WiFi search (just remember to turn it back on when you’re at home).

7. Open your inbox: does your phone automatically update your lock screen with email snippets? Try getting your own email instead. Why? You guessed it – setting your phone to fetch emails is a battery drain.

GPS Needn’t Disappear

It’s not a secret that GPS apps and location searches do drain a phone’s battery, but GPS isn’t entirely to blame. You can keep your location data running while you turn off other aspects of your phone. Or, better yet, purchase a GPS tracking device that will keep tabs on your location without draining your phone’s battery.

Need some help picking out a GPS tracker? We have the right tracker and GPS tracking software for you. Give us a shout for more details – and let us know if you have any additional battery saving tips!

Is NextGen a Bust?

gps_next_genThe government claimed it was the future of air travel. NextGen was touted as the absolute ideal way to fly. It was meant to overhaul the nation’s aviation system – a move from typical ground control to satellite and GPS tracker-based air traffic control. It was also meant to lessen the environmental impact that planes have.

But, how is the $40 billion NextGen project working out?

The Real Cost

According to an internal FAA report, the actual cost of NextGen is 3X higher than was originally quoted. And as far as the completion date goes, well, that’s not going to be in sight for another ten years. What went wrong?

The project keeps getting larger in terms of current technological development.

What NextGen Addresses

What’s not to love about the concept of NextGen? Who doesn’t want to improve the flying experience? Frequent travelers everywhere are hoping the government gets this right, and the program does what they say it will.

  • It is estimated three times as many planes can fly the friendly skies when all is said and done.
  • Less fuel is used due to more direct routes.
  • Routes become more efficient.
  • Planes rely on GPS trackers to get from point A to point B, instead of relying on ground control stations.
  • The GPS trackers will broadcast their position not only to ground control, but to other planes as well. Now, the other pilots can see where exactly their plane is in relation to the other planes in the sky at that time.

These are some pretty big developments. But with big developments come problems.

The Issues

Today, it seems that the need for more planes in the skies to accommodate the predicted influx of passengers has diminished. The FAA had initially predicted 1 billion passengers by 2014, but now they have changed that to 2027.

This could be related to the fact that airports across the nation experience quite a bit of congestion. According to the FAA, another reason this figure has changed is because takeoffs and landings are down 26 percent from 2000.

Although they promised a smooth implementation of the program, it has been anything but. The new landing procedures they spelled out were actually not possible for some planes. The GPS trackers they used had glitches in the software, leading to planes being improperly identified. Oops!

All of these problems have led to airlines hesitating before jumping on board with the installation of the NextGen system in airplanes.

Budgetary Woes

The big issue for lawmakers is the cost, amidst numerous budget cuts. Since the system is technically not slated for mandatory use right now, lawmakers are quick to put this program on the back burner. However, an advisory committee has recommended the FAA focus on 11 of the 150 initiatives the program plans to implement. These 11 initiatives are the closest to being ready.

If the new procedures are implemented, it could boost the economy while at the same time lessening the impact of air travel on the environment. How much less? It is estimated the more direct routes will lead to a reduction of emissions by 24,250 tons.

That’s like 4,100 people choosing to bike to work!

There are significant benefits to the NextGen program. Hopefully, the FAA can figure out a way to implement it in the best way possible — instead of nixing the idea altogether.

In NY, Lawmakers Are Calling for GPS Trackers

gps_tracking_autismA recent ‘Center for Disease Control’ (CDC) study found that an estimated 1 in 50 kids have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is a number that has increased 72% in the past 4 years.

Each case is different, and severity levels differ too. Some kids living with this disorder are highly functional while others are not. Some kids also wander away from home regularly leaving parents in a constant sate of panic.

In NY, a recent case of a 14-year-old non-verbal autistic boy wandering away from school has caught the attention of the nation. In turn, this has caused lawmakers, parents, and educators in NY to propose voluntary GPS trackers for children with autism that have a history of running away from home.

The Case

On October 4th, Avonte Oquendo was seen on a surveillance video running out of the doors of the Riverview School in Queens, NY.

Here’s what unfolded in the Avonte Oquendo case:

  • The security guard that was stationed outside the doors of the school questioned Oquendo as to why he was leaving school, but did not stop him even when Oquendo failed to respond.
  • For 45 minutes, teachers roamed the neighborhood near the school, looking for Oquendo, and neglecting to call police.
  • It took school staff more than one hour to phone the child’s parents.

Avonte Oquendo has not yet been located.

NY Proposes GPS Tracker

The ‘NY Department of Justice’ already provides GPS trackers for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, so why not provide the same technology to parents of children with Autism?

The city can be a scary place for a child with Autism. Scary noises and flashing lights often cause these children to hide, which makes it even harder to find a child that has run away. A GPS tracker would certainly help.

How effective are GPS trackers? One NY senator estimates that a GPS tracker can cut down search and rescue time by a staggering 95%. Right now, NY parents of children with Autism can head to a local police department to fill out an application for a GPS device. But, as of this writing, this is not mandatory.

GPS trackers are an optimal way to keep anyone in need from wandering away from home. If you’re looking for a GPS tracker, contact us today to see what we can do for you. We also hope that Avonte Oquendo returns home safely.

Police Don’t Need a Warrant to Use GPS In Some Cases

4395757351_fd19d12e9cImagine a world where everything you’ve learned from crime novels about interrogating a suspect is no longer true. No bright lights, no trick questions, no “good cop and bad cop.” What if all of those things disappeared to make way for a GPS tracker that can provide police with all the details needed?

That’s the kind of GPS program that’s being tested out in Palm Beach, Florida, right now thanks to an emerging branch of investigation called GPS forensics.

What Is It?

All police need is a GPS tracker to find out exactly where a suspect has been at what time – making it simpler to find the truth. The Palm Beach department isn’t telling press a lot about the new GPS tracker program, but that’s understandable – it would be unwise for criminals to know all of the tricks!

From The Forest To The Streets

One officer, beginning his career as a fish and game warden, switched over to the Palm Beach Police force after realizing the benefits GPS trackers provided police. When working as a game warden, he spent a lot of time wandering the woods, marking the best fishing spots on a handheld GPS tracker to pass the time.

The more he used it, the more he realized the data collected by the device would really be useful to law enforcement.

So he taught himself how to extract certain information from GPS trackers, brought it to the police department, and has been hard at work ever since. The majority of his work focuses on GPS trackers in boats (he is in Palm Beach, after all), with busts ranging from watercraft crashes to human smuggling.

GPS In Action

An example of GPS forensics at work: FBI agents discovered 33 people aboard a 40-foot fishing boat, 25 miles off the coast of Boynton Beach. The woman who owned the boat told the FBI she was returning from a trip to the Bahamas when she came across a ship that was sinking, offering a ride to the 31 stranded people she allegedly came across.

But when sifting through the GPS location data, it was discovered she was lying through her teeth. The boat did not travel the course she had stated. She and the captain had smuggled the 31 people from the Bahamas to the tune of $5,000 per person. Seven of the 31 had actually been deported from the U.S. previously!

But, what about the legal part? Aren’t GPS trackers illegal without a warrant?

The Legal Bits

Here’s the loophole: police departments can legally track suspects if that person has a personal GPS tracker. From there, police can simply track that person using the GPS tracking data – works like a charm!

How can a GPS tracker help you? Contact us, we can set you up with the perfect solution!

 

Photo by aldenjewell via Flickr Creative Commons

Hedgehogs With GPS Backpacks Released Tomorrow

7166669617_b4f2af31c0England: GPS Trackers To Save Hedgehogs

Even though they have spikes, hedgehogs are still cute! They resemble a porcupine with their coat of spines, and curl up into a spiky little ball whenever they feel threatened or scared. Certainly not the animal you would want to cuddle up with at the end of the day!

In England, the hedgehog population is declining. Efforts are underway to restore it, thanks to places like Shepreth Wildlife Park in Cambridgeshire. The park takes in sick or injured hedgehogs in order to care for them until they are healthy again, at which point they are returned to the wild. But will they survive once released?

Find Out With GPS Tracker Backpacks

One way to find out is to release a pack of hedgehogs with GPS tracker backpacks. 24 of the hedgehogs the wildlife park has rehabilitated will be released with GPS trackers worn just like a backpack, weighing a mere 1.8 oz. But how do you get the tracker onto the hedgehogs back? Don’t the spines complicate things?

Not after a “quick trim!” Since you can’t shave the area of spines (it is nothing like hair, after all), researchers will clip away a section of spines measuring an inch square. The GPS tracker backpack will then be glued in place, and all before the anesthesia wears off! In a few months, the device will fall off as the animal sheds its coat of spikes, which takes place naturally a few months from now.

The Study

Researchers will monitor the movements of the hedgehogs 24 hours each day via computer. They want to see how long the rehabilitated animal survives after being released, if it reproduces, and if rehabilitating the animals is making any difference at all in terms of boosting the population.

They’ll use the data they collect to determine the best spots to release rehabilitated hedgehogs in the future, and the best way to go about releasing them. They’re letting them go in numerous places in the area as a test: Shepreth on the border of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, West Stow and Beck Row in Suffolk, and Ely in Cambridgeshire.

They also want to take a look at how the animal behaves when it is released back into the wild. Is there a specific weight the animal should be when it is released for hibernation purposes? Are the animals even going into hibernation as they should?

Preparations Already Underway

To get them ready for the big day (which is actually slated for tomorrow), researchers have set up special pre-release pens outdoors which prepare the animals for constant outdoor living.

Another important precaution researchers have taken: they monitored the hedgehogs for two weeks, 24 hours a day, with the GPS trackers on their backs to see how they reacted to the devices. You don’t want to send a hedgehog on its way with a GPS tracker that ends up driving it nuts, and causes it to die prematurely!

If an animal is detected to be stationary for a certain period of time, a researcher will be on the job, tracking it down to ensure it hasn’t died. Each animal has its own volunteer researcher keeping an eye on its movements to ensure swift response.

Do you have something important you’d like to track? Contact us, we’d love to help!

 

Photo by www.thegoodlifefrance.com via Flickr Creative Commons

Grant Allows Student Research Team To Further Develop GPS Agricultural Drone

gps for crop spraying
When it comes to exciting innovations in technology, where would we be without the research teams at colleges and universities? One of the newest tech ideas comes from a team of student researchers at the Middlesex County Academy for Science. This team is working on a GPS tracker drone that can spray crops for farmers.

This team doesn’t need to worry about funding either. The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Program has just pledged a grant of $10,000 to the school’s young researchers.

Schools Helping Schools

The MIT InvenTeam Program exists to give those with revolutionary ideas for inventions an economic boost to help push the idea into reality. They seek out ideas that solve real problems, and this crop dusting drone will help farmers save money by “efficiently and accurately” spraying crops with pesticides.

Agriculture is still a rich part of our heritage here in the US, but it is increasingly more difficult with farmers realizing it just isn’t going to pay the bills. MIT realizes that this is one solution to the problem, and is betting these students figure out a way to invent an unmanned, GPS tracker driven drone that farmers can actually afford.

The Drone

It is designed to spray crops on smaller-sized farms. The unmanned vehicle measures 5 feet across and features 16-inch rotors. Not only will the drone rely on a GPS tracker to manipulate its way over the fields, it will also feature a camera for visual tracking. The main goal of the team: keep the drone affordable. After all, farmers are looking to increase profits. Hard to do that when you are required to spend a fortune on the drone!

The team the school has assembled to work on the project is impressive. It consists of a pesticide specialist from Rutgers, drone expert from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (who actually helped create the Predator drone the military relies on), computer vision specialist, expert in aerial crop dusting, and the senior manager at Lockheed Martin, just to name a few.

The Program’s Goal

The grant program itself seeks out those individuals making a difference by creating things that make a real change for the better in their own communities. With a rich background of farming in the Middlesex County area, the Edison Academy students are doing just that.

And just who decides the recipient of the grant? Judges consist of a wide range of people — MIT professors, researchers, and alumni, experts within the industry, and those who were chosen to receive the Lemelson-MIT award in the past — all worked to make a final decision.

In all, there were 15 finalists chosen for consideration to receive the grant. School officials are thrilled, stating it displays their devotion to working hard on solving real world problems with the education they are receiving there.

We often write about the use of GPS trackers when it comes to wildlife, but it’s nice to see GPS technology being used for practical uses like spraying fields of crops. Don’t you agree? And, of course, if you’re looking for a GPS tracker, we have what you need!

 

Photo by MASEV via Flickr Creative Commons

Boston Schools Open One Hour Early Due to Strike

boston_bus_strikeThis morning, Boston schools are slated to open an hour earlier. Is it because they’re testing out an earlier start time? No. It’s actually due to a recent bus driver strike.

Two drivers were fired as a result of the Veolia Transportation Inc. driver strike over one month ago. This has lead to a shortage of drivers, and has also left a lot of parents with no way to get kids to school. The best solution was to open the schools one hour earlier, so that parents can drop kids off before heading to work.

What happened? Why did the drivers suddenly strike?

The Strike

On October 8th, bus drivers took a stand for what they considered unfair treatment. The drivers argue that working conditions altered and not negotiated by the driver union, and that the integration of GPS trackers has made it hard for drivers to take small breaks.

The company had installed GPS trackers in order to provide drivers with faster and better routes to schools. But, drivers argue that the trackers did not find better routes. Instead, drivers are stating that the trackers have made it harder to get kids to school on time. As a result, drivers are on strike and bus lines aren’t running.

The Aftermath

Even though the buses are back to their scheduled routes, parents and city officials are concerned there could be another strike. The union that represents the city’s bus drivers has tried to assure the public they needn’t worry, that the strike was conducted by what they called “rogue employees.”

Two were fired in connection with the strike, after five were suspended. The contracts of the city’s bus drivers explicitly state that strikes, slowdowns and stoppages of any kind are against the rules. Furthermore, if union members participate in a strike or stoppage, they can be terminated immediately.

Union officials were in the midst of working with Veolia after union members had filed a complaint against the company. In all, there were over 50 grievances filed with the union. Besides the GPS trackers, there were issues with last minute schedule changes that decreased the hours the drivers worked, rude treatment, and payroll inconsistencies.

Bottomline

If you learn anything from Veolia Transportation, it is this: if you integrate a GPS tracker into your fleet, think carefully about what system you use. Choose GPS trackers that are truly beneficial, will save time, and will allow your drivers necessary breaks.

Need a reliable GPS tracking system for you fleet? Don’t choose one at random. We have a ton of GPS trackers that you can use to track any vehicle in your fleet, and out trackers are also reliable. Call us today for more details.