Most people are familiar with GPS (Global Positioning System) units to help them find their way while in an unfamiliar location. Television commercials have elevated GPS units like the Tom Tom nearly to a household name. In recent months the onset of mobile phones with GPS capabilities has allowed for a new aspect of marketing to take place as well as a new niche for social networking. Applications like Foursquare and other geo-location applications have gained widespread popularity by both consumers and retailers. Technological advances like this are to be expected in the 21st century. But GPS has gone a whole lot further than most people realize. In some cases it might even shock ardent sci-fi fans to see how far this technology has gone and to what extent it can be used in our everyday lives.
Everyone knows that you can use a GPS unit to find your location on a handheld device or to help you find your way to a specific location. GPS units have been used for years by campers to set way points on their hikes so they can find their way back to their base camp or revisit a really awesome location with a friend at a later date. But what many people don’t realize is that GPS units are now used to track vehicles and even individual people.
Fleet tracking has come of age and allows owners of fleets of vehicles to know exactly where their vehicles are at all times. This is a great help for business owners who require timely information on deliveries and work orders. It also allows the supervisors and managers to know the locations of technicians in the field in order to coordinate a logical route when changes occur. In some cases, insurance companies will offer discounts to companies that track their fleets via GPS. The managers can be notified by a computer when a certain vehicle is exceeding the speed limit or when there is a drastic change in the engine’s rpm’s that might indicate reckless driving. If the employer makes a disciplinary policy covering such abuses, the GPS tracking will help keep the roads safer and reduce the risk for a claim on the insurance.
GPS units can do even more than this. In many cases, convicted criminals that have been placed on work release or house arrest are required to wear an ankle cuff that includes a GPS tracker. This will notify local law enforcement to the exact location of the wearer. This can help if the convicted person doesn’t appear to scheduled parole meetings or required classes and in the case of attempted escape.
In the same line of thought, children have become the next logical target for GPS trackers. Many parents today, just as in years past, are concerned with their children’s safety. However, today’s parents have the ability to track their children’s whereabouts via GPS tracking devices. These GPS Personal Tracking devices allow parents to monitor the speed and location of their children and even can be programmed to notify them if the child goes to a pre-programmed ‘off limit’ location. This technology will make sneaking out a thing of the past. To take this tech just a bit further and we have biometric GPS. Simply explained, biometric GPS not only monitors location, but also vital signs of the wearer. For a person with disabilities, severe allergies, or other medical conditions this bracelet stays in contact with the skin of the wearer and monitors vital statistics as well as location. All of the information can be accessed remotely and an alarm can be sent if necessary.
There is even work being done that will allow a GPS tracker in the form of a micro chip to be implanted under the skin of humans in order to accomplish many of the above tasks.