Mallorca Company Tracks Staff Using GPS

Following on from our article on GPS tracking we asked for examples of the use of tracking technology being used by companies in the field.

One of the responses to our request was the novel use of technology by a Magaluf event and party organiser based on the island of Mallorca called WeAreMallorca.com.

The Magaluf company, WeAreParty SL, has a large team of in the field party promotions staff who are constantly on the move.

Carl White, technology liaison for WeAreParty, says “As a company we have around fifty people moving around a ten mile square area promoting our parties to over twenty thousand holidaymakers at any one time. It’s very important that we know where all the staff are at any one time so that we can best allocate people to foot traffic hotspots”.

The company has seen a dramatic increase in its effectiveness due to the use of the GPS tracking. As Carl says “before using tracking technology we were blind as to where our staff were. We were missing out on substantial promotional opportunities because our staff were frequently located in the wrong area at the wrong time. Now we can send teams to specific areas when we know they’re busy which in turn allows us to maximise our ability to represent the company properly at all times”.

The Technology In Use

Carl showed us an example of how they utilise the tracking tech by sharing a live map image of all their current promoters in the target area. Connected by push alerts to the staff phones Carl was able to direct staff on the fly to a beach area just as holidaymakers were calling it a day and leaving to go back to their hotels.

“The plan is to expand the use of this software so that we can in turn send alerts to our customers through an application. They will be able to follow directions to get to whichever event they are attending that night.” says Carl.

With over eighteen million visitors to Spain and a substantial number to Mallorca we can see why an application to capitalise on the numbers makes perfect sense.

It sounds like a unique way in which GPS is being used to a company’s advantage and we’re pleased to hear that Geo is being used in such a productive way.

Does your Company Use GPS Tracking Technology?

Please let us know if your company is using GPS tech in its day to day operations and we’ll consider a write up on your case study.

 

 

Climate Forecasting Penetrates into a New Age

While wind and solar earn broader use, hasty advances in weather forecasting could cost less for ratepayers and utilities. This is because storms are becoming unpredictable now and we know the degree of damage that it can cause to our lives, properties and families. That’s why we should have storm damage restoration plan ahead of us.  We must make it a point to secure restoration process to restore our life after the dent that storm and unpredictable weather conditions.

Solar energy was the most rapid-growing electricity generation of its kind in the US in 2016. While renewable powers keep on expand, the demand is also growing for a much better means to foresee the amount of power coming from these sporadic sources will be accessible for the grid.

Getting to Know More about the Program

Last week about its program to bind powerful computers to predict weather and several factors that identify the wind and solar installations output, there were new details shared by IBM. With the aid of the advanced data and machine operated analytics, IBM is doing a forceful drive to provide plant manages, utilizes, and grid operators a much clearer instructions on what their collections will produce today, tomorrow, on the coming weeks and even several months from now.

During the European Control Conference last week in Linz, Austria, IBM scientists together with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) told that they will make the prediction accessible for free among the users all over the US continent.

According to Hendrik Hamann the research manager of IBM, wind and solar forecast manufactured by the technology of IBM are as much as 30% more precise than conventional forecasts. Such accuracy could make it possible to prevent producing hundreds of megawatts of excess energy annually and lessen the requirement for new “peaker” plants to produce power during peak demand, potentially decreasing carbon emissions and saving millions of dollar among utilities and rate payers. An independent system operator of NREL study for New England discover that creating solar forecasting 25% more precise would provide potential cost savings of $46.5 million annually over the region.

“What we are doing is merging multiple models together into a single ‘supermodel’,” Hamann shares. Such meta-forecasting system can weigh a variety of weather forecasts basing to the historical performance data related with different atmospheric locations, circumstances and conditions. The result can be modified to various users – Nevada solar operators, Midwest utilities, wind-farm manages and many more.

The Result

As an outcome, there is a growing demand for better forecasting. “California operators need consistent updates to meet into their load forecasting process, so every 15 minutes we’re fueling 200,000 solar PV systems, modelling each single place on its own together with the irradiation forecasts,” Jeff Ressler says, the software services group head for the Clean Power Research, which gives prediction tools for utilities like of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Salt River Project in Arizona and Southern California Edison.

Locating Your Field Staffs? Geolocate Them

Geoconcept, a popular company that designs optimization of geographical local chat technologies for professionals, have launched their new app called Geoconcept Geolocate; an app for Android users. This app is the answer to the mobile teams’ need for geolocated information whenever and wherever they want it.

This GPS application allows professionals working on the field to determine direct location information on the ground, thereby giving a more comprehensive and accurate analysis.

The Geoconcept Geolocate app is now available in 2 versions; free version and premium version.

1. The Geolocation App helps improve databases.

In order for resource efficiency and company performance to be improved, Geoconcept Geolocate allows mobile teams to locate a certain object/building, landmark (forest, hydrant, or lake), place, or area directly from the gadget you’re using. At any given moment, the app will be able to give you coordinates from your location with the use of the GPS, without the need for an Internet connection. These coordinates will be recorded in the app itself as soon as these data has been captured by your device.

This app is very helpful to companies in terms of tracking and monitoring their operations; business establishments can easily locate their sales personnel, delivery staffs, and technicians by capturing the exact location of the customer, the delivery address, and their exact location to give you real-time update. This is also very useful for service-oriented government agencies like the military, rescuers, or firefighters on the field. Geoconcept Geolocate points you to coordinates using a mobile terminal to update and create new data based on their table of reference. The geo-located data will then be exported with the use of a CSV file.

 

2. The premium version features advanced geo-optimization.

Aside from the features that are already provided in the app’s free version, the premium version of Geoconcept offers more. This version allows the users to gain access to a complex web solution of database management; in addition to the geo-coding and navigation tools that are already found on the map, the itineraries can be optimized and there are additional geo-marketing features offered.

Furthermore, the premium version of this app enables data to be exported and imported to the database of SQLite; giving greater dynamic, synchronization with the information system, interoperability, geo-located pictures and videos, and the capture of infinite number of information items. Note, however, that for the free version, you are only allowed to import and export to only a maximum of 30 contacts.

This geo-locating app is now currently available for download on Google Play.

3. Free or Premium: What should you choose?

If your business has more than 30 staffs that you need to keep track of, you should download the premium version of the app. Aside from keeping track of a lot of field staffs, there are added features that you can utilize.

The free version of the app is recommended to small businesses that only has a few field workers or few transactions outside of the office. Choosing the free version might be the most cost-effective decision.

The sky tech behind GPS tracking devices explained

GPS is Ready for its Close-up

Though they existed only in the realm of science fiction until just a few years ago, devices using GPS technology have become common. We use GPS in our cars, our phones and our computers. We use it to keep our kids safe, prevent loss, increase productivity, even to keep time.

Hollywood has fueled a lot of misconceptions about GPS, and global positioning in general. There are no trackers as small as a pill, and they cant be implanted under someones skin. The size issue doesnt stem from the positioning system or the receivers themselves. Its all about the power source. Though receivers can be as tiny as a fingernail, and most are smaller than a quarter, the battery tech has not been able to keep up. So a GPS receiver like those in the movies might be able to be manufactured, but it wouldnt actually work. Yet.

 

What is GPS?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The system is made up of at least 24 satellites orbiting the Earth. The satellites communicate with specialized receivers on the ground, providing the exact position of the receivers. As of this writing, there are 31 operational satellites in the GPS constellation. Put in place by the US military starting in 1989, the GPS satellite constellation transmits a signal for its own use and a separate signal that anyone with the technological wherewithal is free to access. This has allowed manufacturers to integrate the technology into their products.

GPS satellites are constantly transmitting a signal toward the Earth, which includes their exact position and the precise time as measured by an atomic clock. Receivers pick up these transmissions, calculate how long it took the signal to reach them, and measure that against their own internal clock. By picking up a signal from at least 3 satellites, the device can then figure out exactly where it is using a process called trilateration: “If satellites are here, here, and here, I must be here.” The only information that is actually transmitted by a GPS satellite is its trajectory, along with those of all the other satellites in use, and the exact time of the transmission. The receiver then uses this information to calculate its position in 3-dimensional space as a set of coordinates. Well talk more later about why this is important.

Planar orbits are planned and maintained so that most areas around the globe are constantly in view of at least 4 satellites. The more satellites in view of a receiver, the more precise it is at detecting location. Under ideal conditions, a receivers position can be calculated to within a few feet, if not a few inches. The accuracy of a GPS receiver can vary based on multiple factors beyond coverage, like sensitivity, sources of interference, and the kind of satellites in view.

The Satellite Blocks, Current and Future

Currently, there are four types of functioning satellites in the GPS constellation, known as Blocks, with a fifth on the way.

There were 10 GPS Block IIA satellites still in use as of August, 2011. Two of these have been in service for over 20 years. They were launched between November of 1990 and November of 1997, with an expected lifespan of 7½ years. Though theyre aging fast, Block IIA satellites have done impressive work, performing longer than anyone could have expected.

To replace the graying Block IIA satellites, the Block IIR satellite was developed by Lockheed Martin and began service in 1997 with the last launched in 2004. The 12 orbiting IIRs are the core of todays Global Positioning System.

GPS Block IIR(M) satellites began launching in 2005. These improved versions of Block IIR added new jam-resistance for military signals, in addition to being the first to broadcast on L2C, a second civilian signal. L2C is designated for use in commercial applications, improving on accuracy for dual-frequency receivers. L2C also broadcasts at a higher power, allowing for better signal penetration in areas with heavy vegetation cover, and even inside buildings.

The final satellites in the second generation of GPS are known as Block IIF. They first began service in 2010 and the second was launched in 2011. Ten more are planned to launch and replace failing Block IIA units. The IIF series has a longer expected lifespan, 12 years, and is capable of broadcasting on the L5 frequency, the third frequency intended for civilian use. Though it has only gone through preliminary testing, it is expected to begin broadcasting in 2012. L5 is intended for “safety-of-life transportation” applications, such as commercial airlines. In conjunction with the first two civilian GPS frequencies, through a technique known as “trilaning,” L5 is expected to provide accuracy under a meter without any sort of augmentation.

Under development is GPS Block III. The US government has committed to purchase two satellites in this series, with the option to purchase an additional 10. The first is slated to launch in 2014, and will add a fourth civilian GPS signal, L1C. L1C will allow the GPS network to interact with satellite navigation systems maintained by other governments (Russia, Europe and possibly China), with the promise of improved service and accuracy worldwide.

Practical (and Impractical) Applications

The most common private civilian use for GPS devices is in turn-by-turn navigation systems. These types of systems are sold as standalone units and are regularly integrated into cell phones and automobiles. Typically, their coordinates will be accurate to within a few yards under ideal conditions. As mentioned earlier, GPS receivers are only provided coordinates by the satellite constellation. The navigation device itself must turn that into a usable address that the average person can read.

The way they do this can vary. Some devices require a user to download and install maps. The device will then use those downloaded maps to translate coordinates into addresses. Other devices, like cell phones, will connect to a mapping system on the Internet, transmit the coordinates they receive to a mapping program, and get addresses back. Each method has its advantages. Downloaded maps allow for quicker response times and usage in areas with poor cellular coverage. Internet mapping provides more up-to-date information and decreases the likelihood of outdated maps.

GPS tracking devices work on the same principle, but instead of displaying information, they transmit their data to a server over the Internet. That server hosts a platform that users can access to view the devices current and past locations, and often other information, like speed. Most devices transmit their data using a local cellular network to mitigate costs, but some send out a satellite signal, allowing for use anywhere in the world. Receivers used in surveying have drastically increased precision and efficiency in the field. With specialized tools to augment precision, they can be accurate to within inches on the horizontal plane and the vertical, allowing for height measurements. Surveyors frequently use the GPS system to measure altitude of features they would otherwise be unable to reach.

In addition to the uses above theres something else most people wouldnt think of. Everywhere around the world, there are GPS receivers set up to receive the time. Everyone from investment banks to the FAA use GPS time synchronization, taking advantage of the atomic clocks on every GPS satellite. The network your cellular phone is connected to receives its time from the Global Positioning System, allowing everyone to keep precisely the same time. Scientists in remote laboratories use GPS timekeeping in experiments where precise measurements are vital, and even large national laboratories compare signals to ensure that their results are as accurate as possible.

Where the Tech is Going

In the future the Global Positioning System will continue to be expanded and improved. Integration with multiple satellite navigation systems will allow for faster communications and more accurate responses. People will come up with new applications to take advantage of these improvements, as well as the additional signals that will be broadcast in the future. Ten years ago, who would have thought that anyone with a cellular phone would be carrying a GPS receiver? How will GPS have changed our lives by 2022? Well wait, watch, and find out.

Hints for Hiking and Traveling with a GPS

What Is It Good For

A Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, when properly used, will help to guide you to your destination, and will also take you back to where you started. Still, if you really want to be sure that you will not get lost, then in addition to a GPS, you will also need a decent compass, a map and, if you hike in mountainous terrain, an altimeter.

Bearing, Heading and Distance

A GPS, when set to guide you to a specific waypoint displays navigational information derived from signals received from satellites, the most important being Bearing direction from the current location to a waypoint, Heading direction in which you are traveling, both in degrees, and Distance in km or miles to a waypoint. Remember that though one of the GPS displays includes a compass rose, a GPS is not a compass. Unless you move at 10 miles per hour or faster, the Heading and speed indication given by the “compass”  display on the GPS are not reliable.  However,  the BEARING to your next waypoint as reported by the GPS is accurate independent of speed of travel.  This is the reason why you need a compass when hiking. However, some GPS units, in particular those made by Magellan, in addition to the Sun/Moon rise and set computations, superimpose on the compass rose the current position of the sun and the moon. If the sun or the moon are visible, and they are not too high above the horizon, then the Magellan type GPS will also provide you with a convenient and a fairly accurate compass display when you match the compass rose “sun/moon”  with the real sun/moon..

Magnetic Deviation

Most GPS units let you choose between True and Magnetic North. The magnetic deviation computed by your GPS is of course an approximation based on your current position. It may vary by a few degrees from the actual magnetic deviation. However, unless you know the exact magnetic deviation for your location, use the one provided by the GPS to coordinate the GPS with the compass readings.

Marking Starting and Intermediate Locations

When traveling or hiking a GPS lets you easily enter/mark coordinates of your current location usually by pressing once or twice a certain key. Always mark your starting location so that you can find your way back after the hike and also mark intermediate points.

Hiking in the Woods

When you hike under dense foliage your GPS may have difficulty locking on to satellites. In general, once a lock is achieved, it is easier to keep it, even under heavy foliage, then to reacquire the satellites under the same conditions. Thus try to keep the GPS on while hiking in dense woods. If the satellite lock is lost try to find a clearing to reacquire them.

Traveling or Hiking to a Specific Waypoint

You can either follow a route consisting of several waypoints or you can set the GPS to guide you to a specific waypoint. In either case the GPS display will show the distance to the next waypoint and the Bearing to that waypoint. Set your compass to that Bearing and follow the compass. You will not need the compass if you travel at 10 miles/hour or more the Heading indicator on the GPS is then reliable. As you walk or travel, the distance to the next waypoint should be getting smaller if it does not, than you better check your equipment. Sometimes as you follow a trail, or drive on a city street, you know that to get to a specific waypoint you will have to make, e.g., a 90 degree turn. The problem is that you dont know exactly when to turn. To find out when to turn watch the Bearing to that waypoint on your GPS and watch your current Heading (on the compass if you walk, on the GPS if you drive). As you approach your turning point the Bearing should be approximately 90 degree less than the Heading for the left turn or 90 degree more for the right turn. Of course if you straddle 360 degree mark, you will have to correct for it by adding or subtracting 360. E.g., if your Heading is 10 degrees and you expect to make a 90 degree left turn, then proceed till the Bearing indicator shows 10 90 + 360 = 280 degrees.

Accuracy

Due to the Selective Availability, a fudge factor introduced by the Defense Department, signal reflections, atmospheric phenomena, number and spatial geometry of visible satellites and the inherent precision of the GPS satellite clocks, there will always be some error in determining your location, speed and altitude from GPS readings. I find my GPS to be accurate to within 0.1 miles most of the time. However, occasionally the error can go up to 0.25 (or more) miles. Take this error into account when hiking. The altitude accuracy is specified as +/- 600 feet (95% confidence)  that is why you should also carry an altimeter.

Source: GPSInformation

Navigation equipment

The most basic navigational instrument found on any vessel is the compass. Despite having been in existence for hundreds of years and being continually refined and modified, with new improved types being introduced, it retains a central role in the navigation of any sea-going vessel.

The echosounder is an important navigational aid although in the context of fisheries, it is more highly regarded as an aid to detecting fish. Similarly, sonar that has been developed to search for underwater targets can be used for navigation.

For the fishing industry, radar has proven an invaluable aid to navigation, particularly in areas affected by fog or restricted visibility. While navigating, the fishing vessel uses the radar to avoid collision with other vessels by a process known as radar plotting which takes into account the track of the “own vessel” to determine the true track of the other vessel. In modern radar this calculation is carried out automatically using inputs from the vessels log and compass, known as Automatic Radar Plotting Assisted (ARPA) radar. The procedures used are laid down in the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). During navigation, in restricted visibility or during darkness, vessels can navigate in restricted waters by radar using the echoes from buoys or landmasses to keep to safe water. During the fishing process, vessels use radar to measure the distance of other fishing vessels or fishing gear to ensure that they have sufficient sea room to set and haul their own gear. This is very critical in areas of high fishing density, which are usually areas in which fog or restricted visibility is likely to occur.

Recent years have witnessed a rapid development in electronic equipment to fix the position of a vessel while at sea. Early navigational equipment such as Radio Direction Finding, Console, Decca, Loran and Omega have one by one given way to more accurate and reliable position-finding equipment based on satellite. Modern navigational equipment seems to have reached the ultimate where the position of a fishing vessel can be measured to within 10 metres at all times with a high degree of reliability and precision. This has been attained by the introduction of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

In its simplest form, the GPS will show Latitude and Longitude and Course and Speed. In more sophisticated versions, the position of the vessel can be displayed on a monitor, with data from other sources shown in relation to the vessel. The most common of these types is the Electronic Chart Display and information System (ECDIS). In this system the vessel position is shown against the background of a nautical chart. The direction and distances of various points on the chart can be measured and navigation made much easier. Other data can also be included and, for fishing purposes, underwater obstacles such as wrecks or rough ground can be displayed. In a similar fashion, the individual skipper can input good fishing grounds or favourite trawl tows.

Source: http://www.fao.org/

About GPS

The Global Positioning System is a satellite-based navigation system consisting of a network of 24 orbiting satellites that are eleven thousand nautical miles in space and in six different orbital paths. The satellites are constantly moving, making two complete orbits around the Earth in just under 24 hours. The system allows users to obtain 3-dimensional positions, 24 hours a day in any kind of weather anywhere in the world. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use GPS.

GPS satellites are powered by solar energy. Small rocket boosters on each satellite keep them flying in the correct path. GPS satellites transmit low power radio signals. Civilian GPS uses the frequency of 1575.42 MHz in the UHF band. The signals travel by line of sight, meaning they will pass through clouds, glass and plastic but will not go through most solid objects such as buildings and extremely dense vegetation. Each satellite has an onboard atomic clock. A GPS signal contains three different bits of information a pseudo random code, ephemeris data and almanac data. The pseudo random code is an ID code that identifies which satellite is transmitting information, ephemeris data, contains information about the status of the satellite, current date and time. This part of the signal is essential for determining a position. The almanac data tells the GPS receiver where each GPS satellite should be.

Athletes use GPS units to track and measure speed, distance, location, heading, altitude gain or loss and much more. A GPS unit is a receiver that locks onto the satellite signals and process the data from three or more satellites to generate location, speed and heading information. A GPS receiver must be locked on to the signal of at least three satellites to calculate a 2D position (latitude and longitude) and track movement. With four or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine the users 3D position (latitude, longitude and altitude). When an athletes position has been determined, the GPS unit can calculate other information, such as speed, bearing, track, trip distance, distance to destination and a lot more.

There are several brands and models of GPS receivers many are small hand held units that can be held in your hand, strapped to a waistband or placed into a pocket during an athletic activity. Some GPS receivers are small and very light and can be worn like a wristwatch. Some GPS receivers are now being produced just for Athletes with features that add a new dimension to training and racing. These athlete GPS units may come with activity logging software so athletes can upload training and race data into computerized logbooks. Cell phones toady include GPS tracking hardware there are many smart phone apps are made for athletes.

There are many software products and websites that athletes can use to log and display data generated during an athletic activity using a GPS unit. If your a serious outdoor athlete or just want to track and log your outdoor athletic activities checkout a GPS unit phone app. The GPS system is free to use with no user fees of any kind. Your only cost is the cost of the GPS unit or app. Some GPS units suitable for athletes can be found for under $100 US and some very good phone apps cost very little, some are even free.