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Wanted: Intro to real-time vehicle tracking

 
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volga21
Occasional Visitor


Joined: Mar 12, 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Azerbaijan

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject: Wanted: Intro to real-time vehicle tracking Reply with quote

I'm based in Azerbaijan and am interested to understand how vehicle tracking systems might work in our circumstances. I work in a head office but we have several remote sites around 4-500km away. I'm interested in tracking:
- road vehicles moving at "normal" speeds between sites
- heavy equipment (bulldozers etc) moving slowly and relatively short distances on a local site, typically off-road.

We have local mobile phone services including GPRS. GPS-based maps of Azerbaijan are not good but we have access to Google maps. We might also have the capability (but not the knowledge) to develop our own electronic maps in the region of our main locations and sites as we do some other GIS-type work.

What I'm hoping for is a cost-effective solution that enables us to record and look up a GPS track log for a vehicle on a head-office computer - so, for example, I can log on at lunchtime and see where a vehicle has been during the morning, or the previous day. I know there are subscription services that do that in developed markets like UK/US, but don't know how it could work in Azerbaijan - we don't really want to be using international SMS messaging for this!

I understand that we'd need some sort of AVL in each vehicle, which can send its data by SMS and/or GPRS - thse seem to be around US$300 each (or GBP300 in UK). What I don't understand is what we need to be able to access the data in a usable format in the office.

Thanks
Phil
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Darren
Pocket GPS Staff
Pocket GPS Staff


Joined: 11/07/2002 14:36:40
Posts: 23848
Location: Hampshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are quite a few solutions that would meet your needs. Aside from a GPRS or SMS link this one comes with desktop software that overlays the position on a Google Map.

You can monitor and track multiple devices as well.

See here.
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Tim Buxton
Pocket GPS Moderator
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Joined: 14/09/2002 20:56:18
Posts: 5231
Location: Surrey, United Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one of these and I think it's great. It could be an option for you, but obviously you'd need to check that there is a suitable GPRS carrier in Azerbaijan.
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Tim
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volga21
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Joined: Mar 12, 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Azerbaijan

PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for responses.

One of the things I don't understand is how much data (if any) these devices store between the times that they contact (or are contacted by) their base. Perhaps that's also connected to when you use SMS vs. GPRS. (We have a GPRS carrier in Azerbaijan).

I imagine that our head office would establish one mobile number to contact any/all GPS trackers and we'd use the GSM modem connected to a computer (not a smartphone/PDA) to achieve a GPRS connection with the tracker(?). I guess a GPRS connection will give us actual, real-time tracking when we happen to dial the tracker. But what happens in-between times? Does the tracker store data points and send them as soon as there is a GPRS connection, or does it just send SMS messages to the base phone every x seconds without storing any data?

And if the base phone receives a huge number of SMS messages every day, does the software read all those messages and extract them into a database capable of showing the track log?

I'm working on the assumption that our vehicles do not come back to base, so anything with rechargeable batteries won't work (for long). With the TR-151 I guess we could hard-wire to the car battery, not sure about the On-Trak but I guess it must be possible.

Also with On-Trak I wasn't clear from the article (or their website) where their website-map came into the equation if it isn't a subscription service and the tracker is going to communicate directly with my base phone. Was this just for the purposes of the review?

Thanks
Phil [/u]
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coastersteve
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Joined: 06/05/2003 18:01:04
Posts: 83
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The OnTrak unit wires directly to the vehicle picking up on ignition, permanent 12V and Ground.

There isn't any subscriptions, that's why it isn't mentioned on our website! Once you've bought a unit, register (For free) and then use our online logging/recording as long as you own the unit.

Hope this helps,

Steve
OnTrak
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coastersteve
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Joined: 06/05/2003 18:01:04
Posts: 83
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

volga21 wrote:
Many thanks for responses.

One of the things I don't understand is how much data (if any) these devices store between the times that they contact (or are contacted by) their base. Perhaps that's also connected to when you use SMS vs. GPRS. (We have a GPRS carrier in Azerbaijan).


The On-Trak unit sends data to the server by GPRS on a regular basis. A typical schedule would be every 10 minutes when moving, twice a day when stationary.

The On-Trak unit stores 5 - 8 positions between each connection, and sends them when it sends its current position. If it sends its position every 10 minutes, it also sends 5 stored positions, spaced every 2 minutes, at the same time.

(More old positions are stored and sent when they can in case the GPRS connection cannot always be made)

Each vehicle has a GSM/GPRS SIM and you pay for the GPRS connection in the mobile phone operators charges for that SIM.

There is no base phone.

There is a lot of data (well not much if you look at it in MB, but lots if you had to write it all out) that is sent from the vehicle to the server by GPRS. That is all handled automatically and you don't need to do anything.

You can look at the positions and the history on a web browser any time you want. The positions that are now stored on the web server are overlaid onto the latest Google map.

PM me if you want any more details.
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coastersteve
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Joined: 06/05/2003 18:01:04
Posts: 83
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

volga21 wrote:

I'm working on the assumption that our vehicles do not come back to base, so anything with rechargeable batteries won't work (for long). With the TR-151 I guess we could hard-wire to the car battery, not sure about the On-Trak but I guess it must be possible.

The On-Trak is intended to be wired to the vehicle battery (12 or 24 V).

There is an internal battery that gives about 1 week on standby, just turning on every half hour for a few minutes, or about 2 days turned on all the time. That battery is recharged when the vehicle ignition is on.

Normally the internal battery is only there in case the vehicle battery is disconnected or goes flat.
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