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GPS Locator / Fleet Tracking... Low-Cost Options?

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  • GPS Locator / Fleet Tracking... Low-Cost Options?

    I'm starting to research some form of fleet tracking for about 20 slow-moving vehicles... Basically, I just need some form of a GPS locator I can place on each of these vehicles and sit at my computer (connected to the internet) and view the location of each of the vehicles spread out over an area of about 30 miles of roadway for about 6 hours. I don't need exact locations (within 1/8 mile or so), but I do need them to be fairly real-time (within a few minutes).

    I've been messing around with Google Latitude on my computer and Droid, and as far as the software end of things goes, it's pretty much exactly what I need! However, it's the fact that I really don't want to have 20 Droids (or other applicable smart phone) tied up just to use Latitude, and Verizon (my cellular contract provider for the event) can't give me a straight answer on what phones will work on Latitude, but have offered up that many of their phones have the "chaperon" GPS features on them, but according to their reps, require me to use Verizon's software to track the locations. And of course, they can't provide me with any form of an example of this in use.

    The next option is perfect from the technical aspect. Why? Because it does exactly what I want it to... However, the cost throws it completely out of the question for the time being. The fleet tracking systems are perfect, but I've not found any of the companies yet the seem to be willing to offer any form of a weekly "rental" of their equipment/service. Many of the companies I've looked at have great-looking products, but the only questions I've not had answered yet are whether or not they'll rent me the equipment (would be fully insured by the event) and what software I'll be using to do the tracking.

    Some of the options: - Good-looking stuff. - More good-looking stuff. - Possible lower cost-to-own option, depending on how it works.

    Basically, I just need a dumb user interface... As in, the people get in the provided vehicles, drive them, and I know where they are for about 6-7 hours. They never have to touch anything technological. And the vehicles, with the exception of 4 of them, will all be ATV's/UTV's. About 4 will be owned by consenting individuals (and have 12v outlets for power), and the rest for all under full control of me and the event.

    Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions on items or directions to look? Personally, I'm trying to get some feedback from the folks at Zoombak, simply because of the size and design of the product, but fear there could be a lot of added costs involved, putting it right up there with the "real" fleet tracking systems.
    Play with it, 'til it's broke.

  • #2
    get the cheapest of the Java phones with GPS and run GPS'ed on them.

    There are many such solutions (including ones using cheap BoostMobile).

    But a dedicated HW is going to be more stable than phone based options. Let us know if you find any low cost dedicated HW options. Especially the ones whose mapping interface can be run on our own servers.


    • #3
      Just found this in another thread in this section...

      Originally posted by BigRedBee View Post
      There is a fairly common way to track vehicles. Take the output of the GPS, create a packet using a TinyTrack (from Byonics) or something similar, transmit it over a ham radio frequency, and it's instantly available for all to see on the web. like this:
      If I had the time, something Arduino-based for the binary conversion could keep the cost down on a project like this one... Heck, with the GoogleMaps API, writing a simple VB.NET container application would leave me with limitless options for viewing... Hmm...

      However, I'm thinking that BlackBerry was an option from Verizon that they could provide me with, which looks to be supported by either GPS'd or instamapper. Another great option...
      Play with it, 'til it's broke.


      • #4
        Hmm... Since I'm already involving the HAM radio boys in the event, I may have to stop by their shop to see what they know about this packet radio transmissions... Looks pretty dang promising to me. (and being that it's in the middle of farm country, access to a grain leg is no problem to help with the traversal of the terrain)

        HAL Communications is located in Urbana... A town I visit quite a few times a year anyway!
        Play with it, 'til it's broke.


        • #5
          Virtual Fleet Supervisor

          I know of an option that would provide you with the "best of both worlds":

          1. has all of the real functionality of what you need and are looking for
          (real gps fleet tracking)
          2. VERY AFFORDABLE!!!

          Check out Virtual Fleet Supervisor

          $99 GPS Tracking devices, $23.95 per month tracking service
          They have a device that PLUGS IN to your vehicle... permanent install, no cost
          NO contracts whatsoever, FULL 30 DAY money-back guarantee!

          They will suggest that you try one device for 30 days to make sure it does exactly what you need! How do I know? I work for them

          Even if you don't go with us, PLEASE call me and I will tell you what you really want to STAY AWAY from!!! There are some times when you find it is better to save your money and do nothing if you were going to buy something without being able to rely on it!!

          Drew Sheahan


          • #6
            Please advise which option you choose. Thanks.
            CarPC: Mini-MAC Coming Soon!


            • #7
              Currently, the course of action will be to use the two demo units that the communications company has offered. They'll be put in the the trailing vehicle and the ATV bird-dogging the 88-year-old guy who's going to run the race again.
              Play with it, 'til it's broke.


              • #8
                GPS Tracking

                there are many GPS tracking devices & companies in the market. I like to use They are used by many law enforcement agencies & investigators in the US.


                • #9
                  Well the most obvious for low costing GPS tracking is:

                  You cant go wrong there!