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Hot Topics In The Mobile Computing Industry

Relationship with Location-Based Services and M-Commerce - Go to index page for Location-Based services

Global Positioning System & Automated Vehicle Location

Basic Concept of GPS-based Applications
Fundamental concept in GPS applications is that you can determine fairly accurately (ordinarily within 10-30 meters) the location of any device that has a GPS transceiver mounted inside the device. This determination of this location is facilitated by a series of satellites maintained by US defense establishment. Having determined the location of an object one can track its movement as it moves. Therefore, you can implement a number of business and personal applications based on this location like fleet management, health services in the public sector and number delivery services.

Global Position System (GPS) comprises of three parts:

  • 24 satellites that orbit the Earth
  • Ground control stations which monitor the satellites
  • GPS receivers can be attached to persons or animals, or mounted on object, such as a vehicle

The satellites are synchronized to emit encoded navigational information (exact positioning and exact time). Any vehicle equipped with a GPS receiver will intercept these transmissions. Using a simple mathematical formula derived from triangulation,* the receiver is able to calculate its own longitude, latitude, velocity and even altitude. For companies implementing GPS applications, this information, most often, would be transmitted to a central dispatch or control location.

GPS Applications
One of the fast-growing GPS applications is vehicle tracking. GPS-equipped fleet vehicles, public transportation systems, delivery trucks, and courier services use receivers to monitor their locations at all times. Public safety services, police, fire, and emergency medical services, are using GPS receivers to determine the nearest service vehicle to an emergency, enabling the quickest response in critical situations. Recently automobile manufacturers are installing moving-map displays guided by GPS receivers. For example, several Florida rental car companies are demonstrating GPS-equipped vehicles that give directions to drivers on display screens and through synthesized voice instructions.

*Triangulation: Collecting of signals from three or more satellites in carefully monitored orbit from which the receiver computes its own spatial relationship to each satellite to determine its position.

Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) is a technologically advanced method of remote vehicle tracking and monitoring using GPS. Each vehicle is equipped with a module that receives signals from a series of satellites, and calculates its current geographical location, speed, and heading. This information can be stored for later retrieval or, frequently, transmitted to a central dispatch/control location where it is displayed on a high-resolution geographical map.

Resources For more information on GPS and AVL:

  • AerComTec International - Manufacturers of a real-time GPS-based AVL system that communicates over cellular telephone networks - http://www.aercomtec.com/
  • ATX Technologies - Manufacturers of GPS vehicle monitoring and tracking systems www.atxtechnologies.com/index.asp
  • CompassCom AVL System for Tracking Public Safety Fleets -  Can communicate with multiple wireless networks simultaneously and interface with any standard in-vehicle AVL module. In addition, the system is compliant with E911 Phase II wireless requirements mandated by FCC. 
  • Michael Baker Corporation - Developer of GPS/GIS and GPS/AVL systems and provider of GPS/GIS mapping and consulting services www.mbakercorp.com/gis/
  • Magnatec Technologie GmbH - Manufacturers of GPS- and GSM-based AVL systems - www.magnetec.de  (for German) and http://www/magnatec.net (For English)

GIS (Geographical Information System)

This s the area of information technology that is closely related to GPS, public safety and location-based m-commerce applications. For more information go to the following resource site:

GPS Vendors

Related Resources:
>  Hot Topics Index
>  Current Topics 
>  Technological Advances
>  Glossary 


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