There are many reasons to track vehicles today. Companies that operate a fleet of vehicles may use vehicle tracking to monitor the location of their cars, determine where they are en route to a delivery or shipment and find out if their drivers are observing the rules of the road. Parents may want to use GPS vehicle tracking to know that their teenagers are safe, or to be able to give family members directions if they get lost. Adult children and caregivers can use GPS tracking to stay in touch with aging parents and allow them to maintain their independence while having a way to locate them if necessary.
The question is, how does one go about tracking a vehicle? This technology was unheard of just a few years ago. In the movies it takes sophisticated satellites and banks of computers, as well as a team of experts, to track someone one the move. But in real life it’s not that complicated. It’s really as simple as installing a GPS tracking device on the car. Once the device is installed it can be viewed online on an easy-to-use computer interface. With a web-based program there’s no software to install and data is available anytime there is an Internet connection.
Installing a GPS vehicle tracker is as simple as charging a cell phone. For those with newer vehicles, there is a GPS tracking unit that simply plugs into the car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port. This is the same port that mechanics use to diagnose problems in a car. It is usually located under the dash near the steering column. All cars manufactured after 1995 are required to have these ports. If there is no port, however, it’s still not a problem. For vehicles without an OBD-II port there is a device that connects with to the ignition with three wires.
All data collected from GPS trackers is stored for up to six months, making it easy for fleet operators to track trends and download data for expense reports and IRS mileage reports. It also makes it easy for fleet operators or even parents to see where their cars have traveled. Modern GPS units will even record location data when the car is not running, which makes it a valuable device if a vehicle is ever stolen or is being shipped. This device will record the speed driven and shows the route on a Google map where the vehicle has gone. This function allows the owner to see if their vehicles are being used responsibly.
The unit is discreet, so no one has to know it is installed on a car. It is legal to track any vehicle you own, so there is no reporting required. The monitoring records will only be released to the owner of the vehicle and there is no way to delete data. For those who do not want to be locked into an extended contract, there are short-term monitoring plans available. For anyone who worries about vehicles being operated by employees, inexperienced or aging drivers, a GPS tracker is an important device to have.