GPS Vehicle Tracking Data: What Do I Get?

by : Ken Sink

What information is provided by GPS vehicle tracking systems? Here is a summary and examples of how you could use data provided by GPS tracking devices:
Location data: Latitude and longitude provided in degrees, minutes and seconds. It is accurate to 33 feet, which is as accurate as any commercial GPS device. A vehicle’s location is updated at intervals of between 2 - 15 minutes. The standard update interval varies between manufacturers or can be set by the owner (optional).

  • Who is closest to the customer that just called? See where all your employees are by checking the map. Never again call an employee just to find out where they are!

  • Speed calculation: Rate of movement in miles per hour. Movement in excess of a preset speed (standard) or owner-set speed (optional) triggers an alert, sent to the owner.
  • Are employees routinely speeding? Speeding causes excessive wear and wastes gasoline. Your vehicles represent your company to the public; what kind of an image is presented by a speeding or recklessly-driven company vehicle?

    Present direction: Compass direction the vehicle is traveling, expressed as north, south, east or west.

  • Is employee ‘X’ en route to the customer or leaving their location?

    Geofence use: A 'virtual' geographic boundary, created by the owner. Crossing this boundary triggers an alert which is sent to the owner. The alerts are usually e-mail messages or automated telephone calls from the system to the user, including the vehicle identification, date/time of crossing, location of crossing and more, depending upon the system. A Geofence can be 1/4 mile to 20+ miles in diameter.

  • Is a delivery truck approaching the warehouse? Is the gate open?

    Alerts: An automatic e-mail, sent to the owner, with the date, time, location, identification and other details related to some event which has occurred and deserves your attention. Alerts are triggered when a vehicle exceeds a preset speed or crosses a Geofence boundary, for example.

  • Email alerts can be sent to your Blackberry or portable device. You can monitor your company while out of the office or away from your desk.

    Fastest speed report: A daily report of each vehicle's fastest speed.

  • Why was employee ‘Y’ driving 80 m.p.h.?

    Historical data: A record of all data related to each vehicle, maintained for 90 days.

  • Which vehicles averaged the most miles driven each day? Export vehicle data to an Excel Worksheet to compare productivity between employees.

    Ignition on/off: Time, date and location of each instance where a vehicle's ignition was turned on or off.

  • When was Hooter’s restaurant put on employee ‘Z’s route?

    Idle report: Time, date, location and duration of each instance where a vehicle remained motionless while the engine was running. Owner can adjust the duration of idle allowed before a report is generated.

  • Idling the engine wastes fuel and causes unnecessary wear. Employee ‘Z’s vehicle idled twice as long as employee ‘Y’s vehicle; perhaps employee ‘Z’ should shut off his vehicle’s engine when making deliveries.

    Accumulated mileage alert: An alert sent at 3,000 miles, 5,000 miles or at an owner-set interval (optional) as a reminder to perform preventative maintenance.

  • Email: time to have the oil changed on vehicle ‘A’.

    Location on demand: The ability to locate and display location info when requested, regardless of when the last scheduled update occurred.

  • Where is employee ‘Y’? I need to find him right now!

    Map detail: Vehicle location is displayed on a street map, which the owner can enlarge or reduce to see more or less map detail.

  • Employee ‘A’ says Main Street is closed for construction, what is the next street West?

    Landmarks: Reference points which may or may not be visible on the map created to designate locations important to the system user. Landmarks could be customer locations, the user’s shop, warehouse, satellite offices, etc.

  • Who has been to the warehouse today?

    Breadcrumbs: When requested by the owner, a trail of points can be displayed on the map, indicating a vehicle's route during a certain time period.

  • Do routes overlap between vehicle ‘A’ and vehicle ‘B’?

    Many GPS tracking system providers offer additional information, but, as I hope you can see, even this list of basic data will give you all the info you need to manage your vehicles.