GPS Tracking Systems: New and Exciting Uses
GPS is a navigation system that was in development in 1973. It became operational in 1994. It was created by the Department of Defense and originally used 24 satellites. It is accessible by anyone with a GPS receiver. It was originally designed for military use and commercial aircraft.
The system uses satellites to fix a position on Earth but it requires a line of sight to four satellites from the receiver. Some GPS systems are so accurate they can pinpoint a location to within 5 feet.
The most common uses for GPS systems are in vehicles for tracking purposes. Fleet managers, logistical companies and others who have large vehicle fleets use GPS systems to monitor the locations of their vehicles and keep track of their employees. Car rental companies have been putting GPS navigation systems in their cars for years as an aid to their customers.
Emergency medical service units, fire and police departments use GPS receivers to determine which of their vehicles is closest to an emergency, thus enabling the fastest response time. Law enforcement personnel have used GPS tracking devices for decades to track parolees and other low risk law lawbreakers.
The National Park Service and other federal agencies use GPS systems to track endangered species in the hopes of learning their mating patterns. The National Atmospheric Research Lab uses GPS equipped balloons to monitor holes in the ozone layer over polar regions.
Those are the most common uses of GPS systems and GPS tracking devices. As you can imagine, GPS systems for tracking devices can be used to track anything that moves such as animals, packages and vehicles-the list is almost endless.
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But there are some new uses developing almost on a daily basis. One such use is tracking Alzheimer’s patients. It is estimated that there are nearly 5,000,000 Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s and the number is expected to quadruple in the coming years. Many of them live in hospice facilities or nursing homes.
As many as 60% of those will wander away from the facility and become lost and 50% of those who are lost may die from exposure, dehydration or injury within 24 hours. And because of their illness, they cannot verbalize to authorities who they are or where they are from.
A company in October of 2011 introduced shoes that will sell for $300 a pair. They will have a GPS system built into them that is specifically geared to address this problem.
Another application is one for dog owners whose dogs constantly get loose. A GPS tracking device can help locate them in minutes.
Those are a few new uses for tracking devices.
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