Trio develop tester for enhanced GPS

LONDON — Agilent Technologies and Spirent Communications are to join CSR within the enhanced Global Positioning System (EGPS) Forum to create a test system for the EGPS standard.

The EGPS Forum advocates improvement to location technologies in mobile devices and is committed to meeting both consumer and regulatory needs for precise and consistent levels of location information.

The trio have developed a single system that can simulate both GPS and cellular signals to provide a development and test platform on which to build EGPS technologies.

CSR and Motorola announced the intention to create the forum in January this year.

Richard Catmur, location test product segment manager at Spirent Communications said, "We are pleased to be a key contributor to the development of a comprehensive testing capability for EGPS. The system we have developed in collaboration with CSR and Agilent goes much further than test systems developed for earlier Assisted GPS (A-GPS) technologies."

"Agilent is committed to leveraging the RF and data analysis strengths of the Agilent 8960 wireless communications test set to help our customers design enhanced 2G, 2.5G, and 3G devices such as those employing EGPS technology," said Niels Fach, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Mobile Broadband Division.

The EGPS Forum is open to a broad array of participants from the telecommunications industry including handset manufacturers, location technology companies, network infrastructure providers and mobile network carriers. Initial activities of the Forum will focus on evaluating hybrid technologies that enhance GPS by combining satellite measurements with timing measurements taken from cellular networks and on establishing the underlying infrastructure to ensure full interoperability of this technology.

By Colin Holland

GPS and Dallas burglaries

As I was reading yesterday's story about the rise in burglaries across Dallas, I couldn't help but think technology offered an easy solution.

As I understand it -- and I confess I may be wrong in this point -- the vast majority of burglaries are committed by professional burglars who loot several houses a month, month in and month out, until they get caught.

They then go to jail for some trivial amount of time, get out, and start the cycle over again.

If this is the case, the majority of burglaries in any large city are probably committed by a couple hundred hardcore burglars (while the rest are committed mostly by one-timers who see something valuable through a window and get an impulse to take it).

By:Andrew Smith

Assuming I'm not way off the mark in my assessment of the problem, couldn't society solve it by passing a law that said anyone convicted of burglary must wear a GPS tracking device for, say, 20 years after getting out of prison?

Such devices are cheap and they'd make it easy to track down professionals who returned to crime. If such professionals account for most burglaries, GPS would eliminate the vast majority of burglaries.

Presumably, there's some reason it's not that easy. Where have I gone wrong?

GPS system used to track sex offenders in southern Arizona

Anthony Garcia got busted, not by a cop on the street, but by an eye in the sky.
The 18-year-old registered sex offender got too close to a couple of schools, and he didn't stick to his probation-officer-approved schedule.
His probation officer wasn't anywhere around, but he knew where Garcia had been because of a satellite-based GPS tracking system quietly put into use 18 months ago.

Since late 2006, some child molesters who are placed on probation have been required to wear Global Positioning System ankle bracelets that track where they are 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Probation officers can download data whenever they want to check where a defendant has been and whether they're keeping to their pre-approved schedules. Or, the officers can sit at a computer screen to watch a probationer move from place to place in real-time, said David Sanders, Pima County's chief probation officer.
Pima County probation officers are monitoring nine local residents, plus 16 people who live in other Southern Arizona counties that don't have the necessary equipment, said Barbara Johnson, who supervises the sex offender unit of Pima County Adult Probation.

In each case, the child molesters are told there are certain areas where they can't go, Sanders said. If they go into an "exclusionary zone," the ankle bracelet sounds an alarm and immediately notifies his probation officer.
If the probation officer thinks it's necessary, he or she can immediately call the police, Sanders said.
Exclusionary zones could include playgrounds, school yards and victims' neighborhoods.
The tracking system also can be used as an investigative tool, Sanders said. Detectives investigating a sex crime can compare a sex offender's GPS data with the location and time of that crime to see if they match, he said.
Johnson stressed that probation officers are still doing all the same checks they did before GPS — making unannounced visits to homes and jobs, testing for drugs and alcohol and meeting with probationers on a regular basis.
"Just because they are on GPS doesn't mean we sit back," Johnson said. "It's just another tool for us to use."
Garcia, the 18-year-old, was placed on lifetime probation in February 2007 after admitting to sexual conduct with an 8-year-old relative.
A probation officer filed a motion to revoke Garcia's probation on May 6.
According to court documents, Garcia wasn't where he was supposed to be on 11 days, failed to live up to GPS requirements on six days, went near schools twice and failed to participate in his counseling program on a certain day. He also failed to report to his probation officer on another day.
Garcia said he didn't adhere to his schedule, and he didn't live up to his GPS requirements on those dates. Pima County Superior Court Judge John Leonardo could place him back on probation June 6, or he could sentence him to up to 15 years in prison.
Garcia is the first person placed on GPS monitoring who could have his probation revoked because of it, Johnson said. However, a warrant has been issued for a second sex offender who cut off his GPS monitor and disappeared.
Right now, the only sex offenders who are fitted with the GPS monitors are those convicted of "dangerous" crimes against children, who have been placed on probation, Sanders said.
The number who fall into that category is relatively small because most people convicted of such crimes are sent to prison, Sanders said.
In addition, there are some sex crimes that are not considered "dangerous" under Arizona law, Sanders said.
But the number is expected to increase, Sanders said, because there are a few dozen people in prison now who will have to spend time on probation after they're released.
The state is paying for the bracelets, which cost $6 a day, Sanders said.
He said he expects legislators will eventually expand the circumstances under which GPS can be required, possibly to include people awaiting trial, domestic-violence suspects and those convicted of adult sex crimes.
Although no studies have been done to see if the monitors have a deterrent effect on sex offenders, there is speculation they could make them think twice about committing bad acts, Sanders said.
"GPS makes the most sense in cases where there are exclusionary zones that have been set up for justifiable reasons, such as when you have a stalking-type situation when the victim is at a higher risk of being attacked," Sanders said.
Pima County Public Defender Bob Hirsh said he has problems with GPS monitoring, especially considering the cost.
"They've got to know where these people are every second of every day? What's the point of that?" Hirsh said. "I think it's all pretty circumstantial. I'm found near schools every day going to and from the grocery store."
There is no correlation between someone being successful on probation and GPS, Hirsh said. Some people succeed on probation because they've decided to change their behavior, and others simply because they are in a more structured environment.
"I don't see any benefit," Hirsh said. "This is just another example of encroachment by the government."
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or

The Big Fix: Will GPS systems be any help?

Thousands of local drivers have cars equipped with navigation systems offering turn-by-turn guidance. The latest even offer traffic alerts. But when the Big Fix closes Interstate 5 and turns J Street into a parking lot, will they help?

Short answer: somewhat.

Fair Oaks resident Oleg Kaganovich swears by his device.

He'll even set it to give directions to places he already knows.

"My wife makes fun of me for it, but I do," Kaganovich said. "Some of my family and friends roll their eyes (at) my amount of use of GPS."

And when I-5 closes to northbound traffic Friday, he's confident in the promise of his Acura TL's built-in system to guide him around the detour.

The problem is, while the Acura's system and others will find new routes to the airport, Chris Webber's restaurant in Natomas or to the Capitol, they can't tell you that right now cars are backed up for miles on Broadway, that Garden Highway is a nightmare or that there's a sock hop on Capitol Mall.

Consumer interest in the Global Positioning System has soared in recent years. According to a recent study, one in six U.S. adults has a device capable of triangulating his or her position. That number is expected to climb rapidly as more new vehicles come with GPS systems installed.

Meanwhile, hand-held models keep flying off store shelves.

High-end models offer voice prompts, connect to your cell phone, play your music, or can list points of interest along your route.

Systems offering real-time traffic updates rely on data given to them by local agencies.

In Sacramento, that information comes from the state Department of Transportation.

The agency collects real-time freeway speeds from hundreds of sensors in roadway surfaces.

The department sends traffic information to your Garmin, TomTom or Magellan.

It's also posted on various traffic Web sites, including

Surface streets might remain a mystery to many devices, however, since the city and county of Sacramento don't feed street data to the network.

"The data that is presented to the user is only as good as the data presented to us," said Nebo Nedeljkovic, the service-line manager for General Motors' OnStar system.

OnStar started primarily as an emergency service for GM drivers but has morphed into a full-fledged navigation system.

Nedeljkovic said OnStar users benefit from getting directions either by voice or through the car stereo from the service's central computers.

Rochelle Jenkins, a Caltrans spokeswoman, said the agency has been working hard to get the timing of all Big Fix closures to navigation system manufacturers.

"The three major ones are geared and ready to go," Jenkins said. "They will all detour their users."

Garmin spokesman Jake Jacobson said products getting traffic updates through an FM transmitter are ready for the Friday's closure.

"It will tell you when a traffic jam is happening on a highway, how best to avoid it, or whether the best route is to stick with the route even if you have a two-minute delay," Jacobson said.

TomTom's latest offer, the GO 930, allows users to gain from the experiences of others, as they report map updates or transmit actual traffic speeds either through a cell phone connection or by plugging into a computer.

By Ed Fletcher -

Tele Atlas to leverage TomTom's data within 6 months

Tele Atlas to leverage TomTom's data within 6 months
Speaking at the Reuters Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in Paris last week, Tele Atlas CEO Alain De Taeye explained that within six months of the Tele Atlas acquisition by TomTom - Tele Atlas shareholders have until May 30 to tender their shares - the company will launch a new generation of products including maps that carry TomTom's data on driving conditions.

Alain De Taeye explained TomTom has amassed 1 trillion data points, equivalent to driving every road in Europe and the United States a thousand times - information that can improve navigation by choosing a different route depending on the time of day and can also be used for new products.

Spirent Communications and Agilent Technologies to join EGPS Forum

Spirent Communications and Agilent Technologies to join EGPS Forum
CSR last week announced that Agilent Technologies and Spirent Communications are to join CSR and Motorola in the EGPS Forum, an open industry forum for evaluating and fostering enhanced Global Positioning System (EGPS) technologies.

Working with CSR, Agilent and Spirent are said to “have created an essential building block of EGPS: a single system that can simulate both GPS and cellular signals. This system provides a development and test platform on which to build EGPS technologies”.

CSR and Motorola announced the intention to create the Forum in January this year. So far Spirent and Agilent are the only companies to have joined, not demonstrating a huge success for this forum.

David Morse, “we offer peace of mind with PocketFinder, our GPS locator”

David Morse, “we offer peace of mind with PocketFinder, our GPS locator”
GPS Business News interviewed with David Morse, CEO of Location based Technology, a US-based company looking at introducing on the market a child/pet locator at $130.

GPS Business News: Who is Location Based technology?
David Morse: Location Based Technology is a company committed to helping families use technology to deal more effectively with the complications and demands of today's world. With two income families or single parent families, and travel associated with many occupations, it is difficult to know where your children are, if they are where they are supposed to be. We offer nothing less than peace of mind with PocketFinder, our GPS locator device.

PocketFinder is a family of GPS locator, so not only you can monitor where your child is, but also your pet or even your luggage.

GPS BN: How big is your company and how are you funded?
DM: Location Based Technology is a publicly listed company; we are quoted on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board. We are a small company. We have a unique structure; we have outsourced many aspects of our business. The core business is made of three people, and then everyone else is contracted: we have engineering in the UK, a development team in Zurich and engineers in China working on the tooling. We don't have the need to hire all these people in the long term, so we outsource.

David Morse
David Morse
GPS BN: What is the key differentiator of your devices?
DM: there is more than one! It is waterproof so kids and pets can be kids and pets. No worries about playing in the sprinklers or at the local pond/beach or pool. It is small (about the size of an Oreo cookie) and weighs about an ounce and a half (42.5 grams). It costs only $129.95 which is significantly less than any other real-time (GPS/GSM ) device. Finally, our End-User-Interface is absolutely phenomenal. We would love to give you a demo!

GPS BN: I have been told you have built an accelerometer in your device, what is it for?
DM: Yes, We have designed and built an accelerometer into the PocketFinder device. That enhances our ability to identify direction, speed, and impact (measured in G forces). Software is under development that will allow us to set a threshold, meaning a 2+G impact will activate the air bag in your car) so that the parent/guardian would receive a “High Impact Alert” if the device that their child, pet, elderly parent, etc. is carrying experienced an impact at or above the threshold.

Once the software is completed, we will also be able to provide enhanced location capability when the device is unable to achieve a firm GPS lock by being able to “follow” the direction and speed of the device as identified through the accelerometer. It is a very versatile and useful tool to add to the PocketFinder.

David Morse, “we offer peace of mind with PocketFinder, our GPS locator”
GPS BN: How do you want to differentiate from wireless operators that offer the same service in a phone?
DM: We aren't after the phone market. It is the young child, elderly parent with Alzheimer's or dementia, and the pets that we are focused on. A phone, even a restricted phone, is far more expensive than our product and try dropping it in water or spilling your drink on it. Its use is over. Swim with ours and know that it will work just fine. Additionally many parents want to know where their children are but don't like the friction of dealing with the cost of calls to and from their child to friends, etc.

GPS BN: $14.95 per month is serious money, so what is the addressable market? What are the most promising segments?
DM: Our primary focus is 4-5 years old up to 10-12. Right now, there are 38 million kids from 5 to 12 years old in the United States. There are 70 millions pets as well. We have seen a real demand for this kind of product.

GPS BN: Are you going to offer a pay per act or pay as you go pricing for consumers that have more limited usage of a tracking device?
DM: Unfortunately no. We must pay for carrier access and we do not have an option like that at this time. Perhaps the future once we establish value with the carrier and can swing customized plans.

PocketFinder's web interface
PocketFinder's web interface
GPS BN: When will your device be ready? Who is going to carry it?
DM: We are just finishing development and we are going through certification for GSM, FCC, CE, etc.
For volume production we have a commitment to start by the end of June; today we are pretty on track to meet this deadline. Then scale will grow over the next 6 months. We have selected strategic partners. They will be the face to the marketplace. We are looking at high profile consumer companies. But at this time I cannot be more specific.

GPS BN: Are you going to offer it also as a white label solution?
DM: We have specific apps that will be white labeled, but some retailers will carry it under our brand as the PocketFinder.

GPS BN: Are you targeting only North America?
DM: We will also be looking at Europe in the future. Our product is a quad band GSM and our machine to machine wireless provider, Kore Telematics, has partnerships with many wireless operators.

GPS BN: Mr. Morse, thank you very much.
DM: My pleasure.
By:Ludovic Privat

Lawyer challenges government use of GPS tracking

Goverment's use of GPS tracking device in Connecticut trash probe could become test case NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- An accountant charged in a federal probe of mob influence in the trash industry is challenging the government's use of a sophisticated GPS tracking device that he says was put on his car without a warrant.

Christopher Rayner's lawyer is asking a judge to decide whether the high-technology snooping violates constitutional protections against unreasonable government searches.

It's a "novel issue implicating questions about how the reality of GPS technology impacts traditional notions of Fourth Amendment protection," attorney Ross Garber wrote in a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Bree Burns to throw out any evidence obtained by the GPS device.

Rayner discovered the global positioning system protruding from the undercarriage of his car in September 2005. Garber later received a phone call from an FBI agent demanding Rayner return the device.

Garber, who has been recommended by Gov. M. Jodi Rell to President Bush to be the next U.S. attorney for Connecticut, brought the device to federal court in Hartford. After a hearing, the government agreed to preserve the device and make it available to Rayner if he was prosecuted.

The U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment on Garber's motion, which was filed Tuesday, saying prosecutors would respond in court.

In 2006, Rayner and 35 other people were charged in the case. Rayner, who was charged with racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.

Beginning in 1928 with the telephone, emerging technologies have continually required the courts to re-examine the reach of the Fourth Amendment, Garber noted in court papers.

The Supreme Court has allowed hidden recording devices to assist agents in taking notes, Garber said. The court also allowed agents to use a tracking device that emitted a weak radio signal, to help nearby agents as they conducted surveillance, he said.

But the court has taken a more restrictive view of other technology, Garber said. He cited a ruling that found the warrantless use of a thermal imaging device used in a drug case constituted an unreasonable search.

Garber said courts have been split on whether authorities should be required to obtain a warrant before using a GPS system.

"Significantly, no case appears to address the warrantless use of a GPS tracking device that is as advanced as the one employed in this case or a situation in which the government used GPS to monitor a person's movements for as long as in this case," Garber wrote.

The surveillance lasted almost six months, much longer than the warrantless surveillance of the other cases, Garber said. He called the surveillance "incessant."

"Fundamentally, while a person may, as a general matter, have no expectation of privacy on a public roadway, this does not mean that nonstop surveillance of a person's whereabouts -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week, month after month -- in public and private areas does not implicate constitutional privacy concerns," Garber wrote.

Authorities may have physically penetrated the car to install the device, which drew power from the car's battery, according to Garber. 'In effect," he wrote, "the government turned Mr. Rayner's car into a device to track his movements."

Rayner was accountant to James Galante, who was accused of paying a quarterly $30,000 mob tax to alleged Genovese crime family boss Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello in exchange for mob muscle to stifle competition. Ianniello pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Galante is awaiting trial.

Rayner, of Wilmington, N.C., last year pleaded not guilty to an additional charge that he participated in a scheme to circumvent a salary cap for Galante's minor league hockey team, the Danbury Trashers.

By John Christoffersen, Associated Press Writer

Tennessee: GPS cruises to Division II-AA title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — GPS has looked like a team going through the motions most of the 2008 Division II Class AA softball postseason, but when the Bruisers feel like playing, results like Friday’s are what happens.

GPS got things going its way with a two-out rally in the first inning and coasted to a second consecutive state title with a 15-0 five-inning victory Friday night at the Starplex facility.

GPS (29-4-1) breezed through the competition in last year’s field, outscoring opponents 45-3. The seven returning starters, five of them seniors, showed they still had it in them.

Another is junior right fielder Megan Givens, who got two hits in an inning for the first time. She said the Bruisers heard that St. Benedict had done some pregame “smack” talking and that got them going.

“We only lost two seniors,” Givens said. “I think every team is different, but this team still had the core coming back. We had to defend the title.”

The Bruisers made St. Benedict pay for walking No. 3 batter Jessica Phillips in the first inning with a run-scoring triple by Kamri Chester followed by an RBI ground-rule double by Jackie Baird and an RBI single by C.C. Gordon after Amy Campbell was hit by a pitch.
They grew lead to 10-0 the next inning, starting when Megan Givens doubled to deep center field. Before the inning was complete, Givens scored on the back end of a double steal, then came back up and hit an RBI single. Chester contributed a two-run home run among the hits in between.

“They were inspired,” GPS coach Susan Crownover said. “They were relaxed. I think they got confident when they started rolling, and the lead kept getting bigger and bigger. One of our parents, Bob Chester, calls it ‘the wheels on the bus’ when we get started.”

The early support was all pitcher Megan Wagner needed. She ended up with a two-hitter with two walks and three strikeouts.

Crownover said her senior right-hander was ready to play by the middle of the afternoon.

“We scored a lot of early runs,” Wagner said. “That took some pressure off. We just clicked. It was pretty sweet.”

Baird and Phillips paced the Bruisers’ 16-hit attack with three apiece.

By: Kelley Smiddie

An Easy Primer on GPS

In this week's Giz Explains, we're doing a quick rundown of a sweet technology that has evolved from a (deadly) serious military application to becoming a household utility, found in all kinds of gadgets: GPS.

Let's start with the acronym: GPS stands for global positioning system. Originally a DARPA-funded joint project of the Air Force and Navy, this satellite network tells ya where stuff is, like bombers and cruise missiles in decades past, or you as of mid-2000 when the government made GPS of decent accuracy available for civilian electronics. (It was available before then, but wasn't good enough for reliable turn-by-turn app.) The soul of GPS is the constellation of at least 24 satellites way out in orbit. Signals from four separate birds are usually needed for a standard GPS receiver to peg your position.

The GPS goods most people are familiar with are ones you mount in your car (though like we said, GPS will fit just about anywhere now) with the biggest players being Garmin, TomTom and Magellan. They used to be a lot more expensive, but now you can get basic namebrand models for not much more than $200, and cheap knock-offs for even less.

At a basic level, these all operate the same way, with variations in feature sets and UI: Your GPS receiver picks up signals from orbiting satellites and plots your position accordingly on pre-loaded maps. (The maps themselves typically come from one of just two companies, Navteq and Tele Atlas.) More recently, live traffic info (or something close to it) to avoid the Monday jam courtesy of an overturned 18-wheeler of pig lard has been the goal, with the pricey (but awesome) Dash Express delivering the up to the minute goods via GPRS cellular connection.

While GPS has gotten better in your car and on your wrist, the real excitement is its movements into cellphones and other gadgets such as cameras for location-based services (and maybe ads) and tricks like geo-tagging. Sprint's Instinct phone, for instance, makes a big a deal out of having real GPS while the iPhone has less accurate triangulation via cellphone towers, since being accurate to within several blocks isn't nearly as helpful as knowing where you are within a couple of meters. Friend finders and kid locators are options on pretty much every carrier.

As GPS modules get smaller and less power-hungry, you can expect GPS to keep showing up in ever smaller and crazier gadgets, since it'll be cheap and easy to cram it in. Manufacturers on everything from laptops to shoes are getting in on GPS mania, so even if you never owned a GPS device, odds are, you soon will.

Garmin introduces 'Lifetime of Navigation' plan for GPS-equipped BlackBerry handsets

Having GPS integrated into your handset is one thing. But, having to pay for monthly navigation service just isn't something most people look forward to doing.

So, to help ease the burden of navigating around town with your GPS-equipped BlackBerry smartphone, Garmin has introduced their new "Lifetime of Navigation" service. The navigation hardware giant is now offering BlackBerry owners unlimited use of their Garmin Mobile navigation software for a one-time $99.99 purchase.

The service is touted as giving GPS-loving BlackBerry enthusiasts more than their fill of GPS navigating pleasure for the life of their BlackBerry handset. That means you get Garmin Mobile's turn-by-turn voice prompts, traffic updates, weather information, and regularly updated maps for as long as your BlackBerry keeps ticking. “Garmin is one of the first to offer a one-time purchase navigation package for BlackBerry devices,” said Charles Morse, Garmin’s director of mobile and online marketing

Best 5 GPS systems (Continue)

1. Garmin Nuvi 660

The price tag is a little hefty, but if you can swing it, the Garmin Nuvi 660 delivers a solid-performing and versatile GPS device that offers navigation basics, tools for the world traveler, Bluetooth, and more. If the Nuvi 660 is too much for you, Garmin offers other models in the Nuvi series with the same great performance, so there's sure to be a model to suit your needs.

2. HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion

For the movers and shakers, the HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion delivers a sleek, all-in-one solution that can not only keep you on track during your travels but also with your schedule. This PDA-GPS combo is one of the sleekest we've seen to date.

3. Magellan Maestro 4250

The Magellan Maestro 4250 is one of the first portable navigation systems we've tested with a voice command feature. While the ability to operate the GPS device with the sound of your voice is cool, we're more impressed with the accuracy and solid performance of this mid-level system.

4. Mio C520 Navigation Receiver

The sleek Mio C520 is a good-value GPS device, packing in advanced navigation features, a large screen, and other extras for an affordable price. It's even sleek enough that we'd use it as a video player. Our only complaint is that we think you can get a slightly better experience and smoother performance from competing systems.

5. TomTom GO 720

Portable navigation systems are a dime a dozen these days, but the sleek TomTom GO 720 differentiates itself with a new Map Share community tool that gives you access to constant map updates and a useful safety option in case of an emergency.

credit:Bonnie Cha

Best 5 GPS systems

The Thomas Guide used to be the apex of car navigation, but GPS and digital-mapping technology have combined to make an evolutionary leap. These portable navigation systems can help you get from point A to point B with audible driving directions, color maps, points of interest, and much more. And while they were once a novelty tech toy for early adopters and gadget hounds, they've gained in popularity and the market is now flooded with them. To help you in your buying decision, we've selected our Top 5 picks for in-car GPS navigation systems. We will frequently update this list as we review new GPS devices, so check back often.
1. Garmin Nuvi 660
2. HP iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion
3. Magellan Maestro 4250
4. Mio C520 Navigation Receiver
5. TomTom GO 720

GPS Tracking On CTA Buses - Track Your Route Here

CHICAGO (WBBM) -- More CTA riders can track their bus routes now and figure out what time to get to the bus stop.
Starting today - the CTA has added 18 more bus routes to its Bus
Tracker program. That makes 32 of the CTA's 154 routes available
online. They’re mostly on the south and west sides and come out of the
CTA's Archer and 74th Street garages.

Buses on the 32 routes have GPS systems that let you track them.

CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney says there are a number of different
views, including looking at a particular bus stop and getting the
estimated arrival times for all buses that'll stop there in the next 20

Gaffney says new routes will be added to the bus tracker program throughout the spring and summer.

Before today when 18 more routes were added, she says the bus
tracker web site was getting three thousand hits a day. With 32 routes
online today…Gaffney expects many more..

She says feedback has been positive with most riders asking when will the program be available for *their* routes.

Routes now available are: 20, 35, 39, 43, 49, X49, 54B, 55A, 55N,
62, 62H, 63W, 94, 165, 9, X9, X20, 21, 44, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52A, 53A,
55, X55, 59, 60, 63, 67 and 75.

credit :

In-car GPS devices with integrated Bluetooth

You'd think driving from point A to point B would be a pretty simple task, but you can hit some roadblocks along the way. You get lost, people are calling to see where you are--all of which can be frustrating and distracting. Fortunately, there are driving aids that can help the situation. These five in-car GPS devices not only give you text- and voice-guided driving directions, but they also have integrated Bluetooth so you can pair them with your Bluetooth-enabled phone to make hands-free calls. Granted, it'd be safer if you just didn't talk on your phone in the car at all, but at least this way, you can keep your hands on the wheel. Read our reviews to see if one is right for you.

Trimble Raises The Bar For Mapping And GIS Accuracy With GeoExplorer 2008 Series

Trimble has introduced its next-generation rugged handheld computing devices with integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) technology -- the Trimble GeoExplorer 2008 series.

As one of three models available, the new GeoXH handheld is setting a new mapping and Geographic Information System (GIS) industry standard with real-time decimeter (10 centimeter) level positioning accuracy. With high-accuracy GIS data collection capabilities, field workers can easily perform effective mapping of infrastructure and more accurate asset inventories.

Because high accuracy positioning is available in real-time, utility workers, public works personnel, and others who locate buried and hidden assets can more easily excavate cables and pipes without the risk of damaging nearby assets. In addition, back-office data processing is eliminated, streamlining asset inventories and as-built mapping jobs."Utilities and government personnel require high levels of accuracy in their GIS databases in order to perform their daily responsibilities most effectively," said Doug Merrill, general manager of Trimble's Mapping and GIS Division. "The GeoExplorer 2008 series is an ideal solution to help achieve these goals and deliver on-the-spot positioning for more accurate and efficient asset management -- the first time around."

With the GeoExplorer 2008 series, the user can select the model that best suits their needs. The GeoXM handheld provides 1-3 meter accuracy. It integrates reliable, real-time corrected GPS so users can relocate assets with confidence and fulfill work orders more efficiently.

The GeoXT handheld offers all of the features of the GeoXM, plus a submeter receiver and Trimble's unique EVEREST multipath rejection technology. This model is ideal for working in difficult environments such as under canopy, in urban canyons or anywhere high-accuracy data collection and maintenance is required.

For even higher accuracy applications, users can select the GeoXH handheld for real-time decimeter level positioning.

The entire GeoExplorer 2008 series, including the GeoXT and GeoXM handhelds, are equipped with a high-resolution 3.5 inch VGA (480 x 640 pixel) display. This high-quality display, along with its rugged design and extended battery life, gives field workers a clear and crisp view of all maps and allows them to keep working all day, regardless of weather conditions.

Powered by Microsoft Windows Mobile version 6 operating system, users have the flexibility to select any mobile GIS or field application software that best meets their specific field requirements, whether it is off-the-shelf or a customized solution.

In addition, access to the familiar Microsoft software suite, including Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and Outlook Mobile, from the GeoExplorer 2008 series handhelds gives users the tools they need to maintain data integrity and effectively communicate with the office.

For enhanced connectivity, the GeoExplorer 2008 series' integrated GPS receiver gives users location information for navigation and data collection activities. With Bluetooth wireless technology the GeoExplorer 2008 series allows users to connect a cell phone for access to the Internet to receive real-time corrections from VRS networks as well as download background map data.

Users can also connect to Bluetooth-enabled laser rangefinders, barcode scanners, and digital cameras to provide additional capabilities and increased productivity in the field.

The Trimble GeoExplorer 2008 series is available now through Trimble's Mapping and GIS distribution channel.

GPS, to lead us home and quickly

The week that saw these geographic images coming in also saw India’s two leading players in the growing niche of global positioning satellite (GPS)-based navigation tools announce compelling extensions to their product range: between them, they have extended the reach and affordability of such solutions so that the rest of us — not just owners of pricey cars — can say, “GPS, lead me home!”
The Hyderabad-based SatNav Technologies has launched voice prompts in nine languages — Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil and Telugu — to augment its Satguide map offerings. These work with laptops, desktop PCs, hand-held computers and mobile phones which are GPS-enabled.

The cost of mag guides ranges from about Rs. 1,200 for one city to Rs. 4,300 for 30 cities in India. If you don’t have the GPS receiver, it can be had for around Rs. 5,000 ( MapmyIndia, based in Delhi, has extended its solutions to the GPS-enabled mobile phone, with the launch of iNav.

It covers 18 major cities with detailed street-by-street maps, and helps to set up routes to 55,000 towns and villages.

Buyers have the choice of paying a monthly Rs. 249 for the service or uploading the full map data to their phones for Rs. 1,200 (one State) or Rs. 4,500 for all India.

Monthly subscribers would need an Internet connection with their phones to access the service ( The solution already comes preloaded on some Blackberry or Sony Ericsson phones in India.

Handset makers like Nokia also offer dedicated navigation phones such as 6110 which come preloaded with navigation solutions for India.

The latest 6210 Navigator, soon to be launched, includes a compass for pedestrian users.

Credit:Anand Parthasarathy

Zonar Systems Produces Applications That Improve Student Transport

Based on its recent analysis of how telematics can be used to improve the safety and efficiency of school bus transportation, Frost and Sullivan recognizes Zonar Systems with the 2008 Product Innovation of the Year Award. The Award cites Zonar's strong technical and practical leadership by reducing operating costs and maintaining the best performance in the pupil transportation industry.

Mike Martin, Executive Director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the industry's largest trade group, congratulated Zonar on its Award.

"The big yellow school bus is a mainstay American institution, with a performance record second to none. Public expectations have never been higher for safety, security, reliability, and at a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, achieving the best possible operating efficiency. Zonar is making a significant contribution to help us meet all of these expectations."The company offers the school bus industry an extensive suite of integrated, complimentary hardware and software solutions. System components include Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report (EVIR), Global Positioning System (GPS), ZPass, and the web-based data management application, Ground Traffic Control (GTC).

"Zonar's fleet management solution translates into increased student safety and security, optimized asset utilization, and enhanced operational efficiencies of school bus fleets," says Frost and Sullivan Research Analyst Neelu Singh.

The patented EVIR system ensures mandatory pre- and post-trip safety inspections are performed, eliminates paperwork, and speeds vehicle repair while reducing overhead expenditures. This system also provides a very critical component to the pupil transportation industry, verified child checks that prevent students from being left on the bus.

The bus driver uses a hand-held RFID reader and companion RFID tags mounted in critical inspection "zones" to electronically document inspection observations. The information is logged and wirelessly transmitted to a secure database, which can be accessed by transportation officials through GTC. This confirms inspections are completed thoroughly and accurately.

"Our products and services represent the collaborative efforts of countless dedicated professionals within the pupil transportation community. It's an honor and privilege to be part of this community and we believe this Award validates our ongoing commitment to customer driven ingenuity," said Zonar Senior Vice President of Marketing, William Brinton.

The company's patented web-based RFID card system, ZPass, for student ridership tracking, enables parents and school officials to easily pinpoint student location while aboard a bus. All information is stored in a secure database accessible only to chosen administrators, and each RFID card contains a unique identifying number. No personal information about the child is stored on the card.

Zonar is first in the industry to merge the functionality of Google Maps for Enterprise with client map data from county or school GIS systems. Combining GPS and RFID technologies provides instant vehicle location information and helps analyze the profitability and fuel-efficiency of routes.

"With this solution, transportation officials no longer need to rely on a variety of third-party mapping solutions to supply trip and safety data or pay costly premiums for access to special features such as satellite imagery," notes Singh.

Each year Frost and Sullivan presents this Award to the company that has demonstrated the ability to develop and/or advance products with more innovative capabilities than competing vendors and products.

The Award recognizes the company's successful adoption of new or existing technology that has become a part of its well-designed product family. Such innovation is expected to significantly contribute to the industry in terms of product performance and degree/rate of technical change.

Frost and Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development.

Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

Garmin Electronics Aboard Mainship Trawlers

Garmin International has announced that it has signed an agreement making it the exclusive OEM marine electronics provider for Mainship Trawlers for its 2009 Models. "We're excited to be associated with Mainship Trawlers and their reputation for reliability, value, and design -- the same qualities that our customers have come to expect from Garmin," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales.

"Whether you're a dedicated and experienced captain, or a newcomer to the world of powerboating and passagemaking, the combination of Mainship and Garmin is a powerful union."

New Mainship boat owners get three choices of electronics packages, all featuring Garmin's state-of-the-art GPSMAP 5208 multi-function touchscreen chartplotter and sonar.The GPSMAP 5208's 8.4-inch (diagonal) touchscreen makes navigating menus a snap because the "virtual buttons" change depending on the function -- allowing boaters to intuitively see and select the information they want, while eliminating the clutter they don't.

For those long journeys, the GPSMAP 5208 comes pre-loaded with detailed U.S. coastal charts, as well as detailed Explorer Charts data for the Bahamas.

For unparalleled situational awareness, new Mainship Trawler owners can choose to pair the GPSMAP 5208 with other Garmin Marine Network(TM) components, including sonar, XM WX Satellite Weather, radar, autopilot, or other third-party NMEA 2000 or 0183 devices. Customers can also choose to connect multiple GPSMAP 5208 displays for separate stations.

In Mainship's premium electronics packages, customers can take advantage of Garmin's new GMR(TM) 24 HD high-definition radome, which provide enhanced target separation and clearer definition, particularly at close ranges.

The new GHP(TM) 10 Marine Autopilot system is also available to Mainship customers. This innovative autopilot features Shadow Drive(TM), a patented capability that automatically disengages the autopilot if the helm is turned, allowing for quick manual maneuvers. Once a steady course is re-established by the helmsman, the autopilot automatically re-engages.

For reliability, the GHP 10 does not use a rudder angle sensor -- the one component in any autopilot system that is most prone to failure.

AT and T Business Customers Stay On Track With Xora GPS TimeTrack

Small and large AT and T business customers now can keep their companies on the right track with Xora GPS TimeTrack. AT and T and Xora hace announced the availability -- on May 23 -- of the award-winning solution for workforce management for AT and T customers.

Xora GPS TimeTrack uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to give businesses timesheet data collection, job/work-order management, payroll integration and location tracking capabilities on AT and T-powered smartphones.

Xora GPS TimeTrack will be available via wireless download on the BlackBerry 8800, BlackBerry 8820, BlackBerry Pearl 8110 and BlackBerry Curve 8310 handsets, as well as the AT and T Tilt, BlackJack II and MOTO Q 9h global smartphones, which use the largest wireless data network in the U.S."With the addition of Xora GPS TimeTrack to our robust portfolio of GPS-based offerings, AT and T business customers have access to one of the leading mobile field-service solutions on the market today," said Michael Woodward, vice president, Business Voice/Data and Wireless Products for AT and T's wireless operations.

"Xora GPS TimeTrack is easy to use but packs several features that help keep mobile employees in the field rather than in the office, so they can answer calls faster and make more customer visits during the workday while generating significantly less paper. That translates into increased efficiency, reduced costs and improved customer service."

"Xora GPS TimeTrack is an easy-to-use workforce-management solution that delivers powerful ROI and scales well from a small and medium business (SMB) to a large enterprise," said Sanjay Shirole, Xora CEO and co-founder.

"We were first to market with workforce-management products in 2002 and have leveraged this vast experience to provide more than 50 industry-specific templates to customers in construction, trades, field services, transportation and government. Now, AT and T's wireless business customers have the ability to significantly improve productivity by using this top-selling mobile workforce management product."

Outstanding Solution
Xora GPS TimeTrack is an outstanding solution for any company with service personnel in the field. Xora GPS TimeTrack acts as a mobile version of the punch clock on which employees in the field can log starting and ending times for shifts, breaks and specific jobs by using a simple interface.

A list of scheduled jobs for the day, along with relevant information, is delivered right to the smartphone. Mobile workers also can use the solution's FlexFields feature to record specific job-related data so that the company can more accurately bill customers, cost out jobs, track inventory and servicing information and pay employees.

Back at the office, management can view all of the information on a PC in near real time, including detailed maps showing the current location of all workers, detailed location activity, landmarks and street addresses. Xora GPS TimeTrack also interfaces with many popular accounting and timekeeping programs.

Xora GPS TimeTrack also includes the following unique features:

- IndustrySmart automatically configures the solution for the customer's specific industry.

- JobPix allows photos of jobs taken with the smartphone to be attached to specific job records.

- JobTalk gives the user the ability to use the smartphone to record an audio clip of job notes that can be attached to a specific job record.

- Smart Job Zones automatically records job start and end times when a worker enters or leaves a specific job area.

- Xroutes with TrafIQ is an optional service that optimizes routes, sequences the delivery stops and dispatches them to the phone to capture planned versus actual delivery time information. TrafIQ takes traffic into account and provides an additional level of fuel savings and better on-time predictability for deliveries in the industries in which "every day is different."

- Early Warning System (EWS) detects any signs of declining usage in the product and triggers proactive corrective action from Xora customer support, which in turn leads to low churn levels.

EU gives green light to TomTom takeover of Tele Atlas

EU regulators on Wednesday approved Dutch technology group TomTom's takeover of Tele Atlas after an in-depth probe found the deal would not significantly reduce competition in the SatNav sector.

The European Commission concluded that the 2.9-billion-euro (4.3-billion-dollar) takeover of Tele Atlas, a leading Dutch maker of digital maps, by TomTom, which makes portable navigation devices, "would not significantly impede effective competition.

"The satnav (satellite navigation) market is important for consumers. After thorough investigation, I am now satisfied that the innovation and competition we have seen in satnavs until now will continue after this merger and that consumers will continue to benefit from new and innovative products," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

However the European Commission's investigations into the satnav and mapping sectors, increasingly used by car drivers throughout Europe, are not over.

In March, it launched a separate detailed antitrust probe of Finnish telecommunication equipment giant Nokia's takeover of US digital navigation group Navteq.

The EU executive arm's initial investigations indicated that this proposed merger "raises serious doubts with regards to vertical competition concerns," it said in a statement after a first review of the deal.

Europe's top antitrust watchdog said it would rule by August 8 whether to block the the proposed takeover worth 8.1 billion dollars or let it go ahead.

Spirent Federal Announces High Dynamic GPS/Galileo/GLONASS Simulation System

Spirent Federal Systems announces the Spirent GSS8000 simulation system, designed for use in the most demanding applications. Over 20 years of development experience has culminated in a system capable of simulating high dynamics with unsurpassed accuracy.

The Spirent GSS8000 supports up to 20,000g acceleration, up to 120,000m/s velocity and 250Hz (4ms) processing rates, with millimeter-level pseudorange accuracy. Spirent's implementation supports real-time delivery of full 6 degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) trajectory data from external sources at 250Hz.

An industry first, the GSS8000 provides up to 3 RF carriers integrated into one simulator chassis. Configurations may be selected from multiple constellations and signals, including GPS L1, L2, L2C and L5; Galileo L1, E5ab and E6; GLONASS L1 and L2; and SBAS L1 and L5. Classified testing for GPS is available to authorized users, and the GSS8000 architecture is designed to support future upgrades for Compass, QZSS and GLONASS L3 signals.

The GSS8000 supports Spirent's full range of capabilities for testing advanced navigation and positioning systems, including anti-jam testing. The GSS8000 can generate coherent wavefront signals for all elements of Controlled Reception Pattern Antenna (CRPA) electronics units and can provide testing for non-spatial anti-jam techniques, such as spectral filtering, as well.

"We are seeing an increased interest in testing CRPA systems among Spirent Federal's clients, and the GSS8000 is ideally suited for that application," commented Mark Wilson, Director of Sales for Spirent Federal. "The GSS8000 is an industry vanguard and reflects Spirent's commitment to provide our customers the capability they need across all GNSS application areas, today and looking forward to the future."

Astrata Group Awarded Major Telematics Contract For Customs Vehicle Monitoring

The Astrata Group has announced that Geneva-based Cotecna has been awarded a major contract to produce a transit monitoring system for the Government of Senegal's customs operations. The contract, the first for Astrata in the West African country, is to provide Remotely Deployed Units (RDUs) and fixed tracking units as part of Cotecna's Transit Monitoring and Traceability solution, which is designed to remotely monitor the movement of vehicles transporting goods.

Pat Ellis, Astrata's Regional Director for Europe and Africa said, "Astrata has been working closely with Cotecna on several public sector opportunities and we are pleased to announce the first of these to come to fruition in Senegal."

"This contract for the Senegalese government project underlines our progress in marketing Astrata's advanced Telematics solutions in international markets," Ellis said.
Michel Lagarde, Vice President Institutional Business Department / Customs Support Unit with Cotecna said, "Astrata offers us flexibility in its fixed and remotely deployed tracking solutions. Astrata's global experience in providing these solutions was very important to us. It is ideally suited to the customs and excise project in Senegal."

Under the terms of the contract, transit vehicles will be equipped with either Astrata's GLP100 or RDU GPS devices. Both devices are capable of detecting a vehicle's exact location and are equipped with a communication module, which transmits data concerning the vehicle's position, speed and direction and reports on predefined events to a remote control station.

This information enables Senegal's Customs Department to enforce compliance with transit regulations and rapidly detect any abnormal behavior occurring during a journey, such as prolonged vehicle immobilization or deviation from an authorized route.

Initial delivery of the GLP100 units is scheduled for July 2008. Deliveries of the Remotely Deployed Units are set for mid-August.

Astrata's GLP100 is a compact and technologically advanced GPS tracking device specifically developed to meet the rigorous demands of fleet management and homeland security applications. A primary feature is its small, flat and lightweight form, making it easy to conceal within a vehicle. It boasts real-time monitoring, secure communications and expandability to other sensors, effectors and data devices.

Astrata's RDU is a state of the art module, which permits self-contained, battery operated tracking units to be fixed to vehicles in a matter of seconds. Using the RDU, the trucks can be monitored moving along expected routes. The RDU can easily be swapped between vehicles and is an effective tool for many situations in which vehicles need to be monitored for a limited period of time.

More Than 550 Million GPS-Enabled Handsets Will Ship By 2012

In the wake of personal navigation devices' success, cellular carriers have started to offer on-board and off-board navigation solutions, as well as a range of LBS (Location Based Services) such as friend finder and local search on GPS handsets.

Community and social-networking-related functionality, such as the sharing of POIs (Points of Interest) and geo-tagged pictures, is also becoming popular and is expected to boost GPS-enabled handset uptake as carriers, handsets manufacturers, and service providers look to capitalize on the LBS trend.
"While most CDMA handsets are already GPS-enabled and GPS is set to become a standard feature in GSM smartphones, GSM feature phones are next on the agenda to be equipped with GPS technology," says ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte.

"GPS chipset vendors increasingly target handsets, looking for new markets and spurred on by the recent dramatic growth of personal navigation devices."

However, as GPS begins to penetrate lower-end phones, the cost, power consumption, and footprint of GPS chipsets will have to be further reduced. This will be made possible by single chipset technology and the emergence in 2009 of combination chips integrating GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi all on one die.

Major silicon vendors such as Broadcom, NXP, and Atheros are well positioned to develop such solutions following the acquisition of GPS chipset vendors Global Locate, GloNav, and u-Nav, respectively.

At the same time, the thorny issue of indoor GPS coverage has to be addressed, since handset-based LBS services are frequently used in challenging environments with reduced GPS signal strength. Network-assisted A-GPS and high-sensitivity GPS-receivers are becoming key requirements to reduce the time necessary to acquire fixes and to improve location accuracy.

Vodafone targets ad dollars with new GPS

Vodafone New Zealand marketing bosses have eyes on next-generation Global Positioning Satellite software for mobile phones to boost advertising revenue.

But they say this latest mobile phone accessory - joining internet access, MP3 mobile players and cameras - will not be a big earner for some time yet.

GPS technology looks set to be the next big thing for premium phones, giving customers the ability to use phones to find where they are driving or walking and the location they are trying to reach.

In a deal with Australian online mapping firm Compass, Vodafone has started offering the service on Blackberry phones.

The market for GPS mobiles is likely to take off later this year with Apple's iPhone expected to be GPS capable.

Initially the Vodafone deal with Compass will be limited to revenue from corporate customers who would pay $2.50 a day for casual use or $10 a month to use Compass.

The service is an early sampling by Vodafone of the potential growth from the new GPS-capable phones.

As GPS technology for mobile phones develops - it has never met forecasts to take off in the past - so too will the value of the information it provides. For Vodafone, one of the big benefits will be developing advertising revenue.

Vodafone Products general manager Kursten Shalfoon said more money would be raised through attaching marketing information.

"What it means is that where we will now say, "Turn left at this street," we will give instructions to turn left at the, say, Caltex, and a promotion will spring up that says if you buy petrol there now you will be able to get a special price."

He acknowledged the dangers of including too many marketing messages on the premium service and annoying customers.

Company Sees ROI From GPS Fleet Tracking System in 18 Days

The FieldLogix GPS fleet tracking system recently helped Sunshine Landscape reduce overtime costs dramatically. Prior to FieldLogix, the company relied on a paper time sheet system for their field employees to document work hours each day. They became suspicious of the accuracy of this "honor" based system and decided to install the FieldLogix GPS fleet tracking system in November of 2007. Within 18 days of installation, the company's labor savings paid for the entire first year of the system's costs.

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) May 14, 2008 -- The FieldLogix GPS fleet tracking system recently helped Sunshine Landscape reduce overtime costs dramatically. Prior to FieldLogix, the company relied on a paper time sheet system for their field employees to document work hours each day. They became suspicious of the accuracy of this "honor" based system and decided to install the FieldLogix GPS fleet tracking system in November of 2007. Within 18 days of installation, the company's labor savings paid for the entire first year of the system's costs.

Nothing is more troubling than finding out that you have been losing money for years and didn't even know it. This is exactly what happened to Carlos Contreras at Sunshine Landscape in Palm Desert, CA. Carlos' team of 15 employees have been using paper time sheets for years to document their work hours for payroll reporting. In his words, these paper time sheets were based on an "honor system." The employees would document their work hours and would turn the time sheets in at the end of the week. He always suspected that some things didn't quite add up with the hours they documented and what actually took place in the field. Carlos then decided that GPS tracking would help him address these concerns and give him more control over what took place in the field. After researching 5 different GPS fleet tracking systems, he selected FieldLogix due to its user-friendly interface, affordable hardware, and extensive e-mail alert features. Upon installing FieldLogix, Carlos' suspicions were immediately confirmed. By using the system's activity reports, he found that his "honor system" was being abused by his employees. By having an accurate way to measure daily work hours, his overtime costs dropped immediately. In fact, his overtime costs dropped by more than 2 hours per man per day with no change in the workload. Based on his calculations, he paid for the entire first year of the system within the first 18 days. Carlos stated: "It dropped my labor costs by 35-45 percent." Carlos mentioned that he wished that he bought a GPS system years ago, but put it off because it wasn't a high priority at the time. Carlos is not alone in his discovery. A study by the Aberdeen Group reports that companies that have implemented a GPS tracking system see a 13.4 percent average reduction in overtime costs.

FieldLogix provides real-time location updates for vehicles and construction equipment. It automatically monitors activities such as excessive engine idling, speeding, and personal use of company vehicles. It has been described as "GPS on auto-pilot", because users can create operating policies in the system and receive e-mail alerts when operators do not comply with these policies. This includes alerts for after hours use, excessive speeding, and deviations from a specified operating schedule. In addition, it provides real-time location updates for vehicles and equipment and sends maintenance reminder alerts when they are due for service.

About Field Technologies: Since 2002, Field Technologies has been providing GPS tracking systems to companies throughout the US. The company provides products that operate with technologies developed by industry leaders such as Microsoft, Motorola, T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, and ESRI. Due to our industry leading methods of sales consultation and customer support, Field Technologies has continued to grow dramatically and has GPS devices installed in thousands of vehicles nationwide.

To learn more about FieldLogix and view an on-line video demonstration, visit us at

Telmap Goes Beyond GPS Navigation with Release of Navigator 4.5

ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) 2008 — Telmap, the world leader in mobile location solutions, today unveiled Telmap Navigator 4.5, introducing a whole new level of personal mobility into mobile navigation. Telmap Navigator for the first time introduces features and functions that allow the user to experience beyond GPS navigation. These features include the use of cell data location when GPS is not available, better mapping functions, integration of public transport data, dynamic content deck empowering operators to dynamically offer mobile content, a new and improved traffic feature, and the release of APIs for both the Telmap Andromeda platform as well as the Telmap navigation application, for integration with 3rd party application providers.

“Knowing how to get from point A to B coupled with the use of location services on a mobile device, makes our solution an even more powerful tool for the end user,” said Oren Nissim, CEO of Telmap. “By introducing features like cell data positioning and real-time public transportation routing, we are allowing users to experience beyond GPS navigation and the traditional use of navigation in the car. At Telmap, we are committed to providing more and more useful features and content that expands the possibilities for using the application all the time – whether driving a car, taking a train or walking.”

Beyond GPS navigation: The best route possible

Going beyond GPS navigation, combining cell location data with GPS positioning provides a more powerful tool for the end user and allows them to ‘see’ where they are even inside buildings and in urban canyons. While the technology itself is not new, the combination between Cell ID and GPS positioning provides a consistent location to the user and also allows operators to utilize their network assets to give the user a better experience.
With the integration of public transport data, Telmap is the first supplier of personal mobile location services that delivers true multi-modal navigation. Public transportation data is now integrated onto the data systems that feed Telmap’s powerful Andromeda platform for mapping and route calculation services. With this data, Telmap’s new ‘Walk & Ride’ gives users several options to get from A to B and routes that are visible to the user include choices with multiple combinations of buses, trains, subways, as well as walking or driving routes. Once the user has selected a preferred method of transportation, directions are given in clear map format with voice instructions powered by Telmap’s new text-to-speech engine that is now available in North America and the EMEA region.

Telmap includes an advanced traffic feature in Navigator 4.5 that allows users to view several optional routes based on traffic conditions, along with the estimated travel time for each option presented. Nissim continued, “It is clear to us that up-to-the-minute traffic data is very useful for people who are traveling their regular routes, even more than people who are on vacation or a business trip. By providing options based on current traffic data, we are giving users who regularly drive these routes a view into the current conditions and are allowing them to choose an alternative, giving them more control and a higher level of satisfaction from their mobile navigator.”

New Navigator also introduces Telmap’s Dynamic Content Deck that empowers mobile operators to quickly, easily and economically provide and manage mobile content to their subscribers. Using a server-based approach to dynamically manage content improves individualized features in 4.5 such as mobile search, mapping and routing that includes customized content like points of interest, festivals and events, parking space availability, and weather. This new feature gives carriers unlimited flexibility in determining what content to deliver, when to launch content, and how to display the data so that the consumer now has access to the richest and most up-to-date content available.

Beginning with Navigator 4.5, Telmap is opening up the mobile navigation platform, making the Telmap Andromeda platform API and Telmap Navigator API available for 3rd party developers. Telmap’s commercial API Program is immediately available to technology providers, wireless carriers and developers. For more information about access to the open APIs and full capabilities, visit the Developer Zone at

Smallest GPS tracker ever

INTERNATIONAL. TariffMan has today announced the release of the smallest ever GPS tracker, the Velo. The device is manufactured by a third party, but it is the combination of one of the company's GPRS sim card tariffs which has enabled it to offer an excellent tracking package.

The Velo has a super-sensitive 'active' GPS receiver which allows for more accurate and faster GPS positions. It has an integral movement sensor so that you can be alerted if it moves without authorisation. And it also has a central Panic button so that it can be worn as a personal safety device.

The Velo can also, be armed and disarmed by way of a key-fob, making it perfect for tracking motorbikes, quad-bikes and jet-skis along with the more traditional assets such as cars and trucks.

On top of this, should anything untoward happen and you become suspicious of what is happenning with your asset, you can covertly 'call' the Velo and listen to what is going on in the immediate vacinity of the unit. This is vital if you need to know if someone is in real trouble or if it has been a false alarm.

The Velo can be hard-wired into any asset which has a battery or its own power or it can be used as a stand alone device such as when worn about the person. Battery life is in the region of 4-5 days under optimum conditions.

As far as we can tell, the Velo is the smallest GPS/GSM/GPRS asset tracking device available,and can even be used as a key-ring. Coupled with our GPRS tariff, it is also the most cost effective.

Prices are set at US$399 but there are no contracts to sign and no monthly rentals. This price includes up to 2,000 positions each month for the first 12 months. After that, an annual payment of US$40 is required for continued tracking.

This device is perfect to attach to kids, school bags, young drivers keys, teenagers who are out late at night, lone workers, motorbikes, quad-bikes, jet-skis or even just thrown into your luggage before you fly on holiday so that you can easily trace your luggage quickly should it get lost.

For more information, visit

The Domestic Military–Civil GPS Balance.

The following overview of the current
GPS management structure is intended to show how the United States
balances the military and civilian roles domestically as well as in the international

National Security. The Department of Defense is responsible for the day-today
management and operation of GPS. Within DoD, the U.S. Air Force is in
charge of carrying out these responsibilities. Research and development is
managed by the GPS Joint Program Office (JPO), which is part of the Air Force
Materiel Command in Los Angeles. Personnel from other military services,
DoT, NATO, and other allied nations are also involved. Testing and evaluation
are conducted jointly by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center
and Air Force Space Command (AFSPACECOM), which also manages the
operation and maintenance of the system.

Vodafone targets ad dollars with new GPS

Vodafone New Zealand marketing bosses have eyes on next-generation Global Positioning Satellite software for mobile phones to boost advertising revenue.

But they say this latest mobile phone accessory - joining internet access, MP3 mobile players and cameras - will not be a big earner for some time yet.

GPS technology looks set to be the next big thing for premium phones, giving customers the ability to use phones to find where they are driving or walking and the location they are trying to reach.

In a deal with Australian online mapping firm Compass, Vodafone has started offering the service on Blackberry phones.

The market for GPS mobiles is likely to take off later this year with Apple's iPhone expected to be GPS capable.

Initially the Vodafone deal with Compass will be limited to revenue from corporate customers who would pay $2.50 a day for casual use or $10 a month to use Compass.

The service is an early sampling by Vodafone of the potential growth from the new GPS-capable phones.

As GPS technology for mobile phones develops - it has never met forecasts to take off in the past - so too will the value of the information it provides. For Vodafone, one of the big benefits will be developing advertising revenue.

Vodafone Products general manager Kursten Shalfoon said more money would be raised through attaching marketing information.

"What it means is that where we will now say, "Turn left at this street," we will give instructions to turn left at the, say, Caltex, and a promotion will spring up that says if you buy petrol there now you will be able to get a special price."

He acknowledged the dangers of including too many marketing messages on the premium service and annoying customers.

GPS thefts — the new crime trend in Haverhill and Valley Lawrence police use 'bait car' to catch thieves

It has become one of the hottest targets in car burglaries.

The theft of GPS units — electronic devices that gather location information from global positioning satellites and display it on digital maps — has become a trendy crime in Haverhill and Lawrence.

Haverhill police said they have received several reports of vehicles' windows smashed and GPS units taken from inside. It's happened on streets, in driveways and at a hotel.

Haverhill City Councilor William Macek, a member of the city's Public Safety Committee, said GPS devices are simply the latest automotive technology to be the target of thieves.

"First it was eight-track players, then radar detectors, then CD players," he said. "Cars have always had something of street value that is stolen. The industry began coding radios so that once they are removed no one can operate them without that code. Maybe they should have some kind of a registration system for GPS devices."

Lawrence police aren't waiting for such a system. They have planted a fake GPS device in a "bait car" to catch thieves.

"We're not keeping this a secret and we want to get the word out on the street that we're doing this," police Chief John Romero said.

"Hopefully, the word will get around to the people who are going after this stuff that the truck or car you break into might very well be a bait car that police are watching. We are going to give them something to think about. If we do this often enough, people might think twice," Romero said.

"We only had eight GPS thefts reported for the first eight months of last year — then at least 16 over the last four months," he said. "It took a little longer, but it's become a trend for us, too. In response to this problem, we have put a bait car out there with a fake GPS that looks like one, except it's not functional. But nobody is going to know it's a bait car until we arrest them."

Lawrence police experimented with a bait car in December. But cold and frosted windows in the vehicle used didn't attract the attention of GPS thieves who couldn't see inside the car.

Now that spring is here, police are trying it again.

On May 5, officers teamed up with detectives of the special operation division to install a fake GPS in a city vehicle at 265 Park St. near Willow Street. The GPS was placed on the dashboard and attached to the windshield with suction cups. A $100 cell phone was placed in a cup holder and the car doors and windows left open to opportunistic criminals.

It took just 15 minutes for the bait car to draw interest, Detective Carl Farrington noted in his report.


Police watched a man get into the car and pull on the power cords of the cell phone and GPS, which had been purposely wrapped around the cup holder to slow down thieves.

When Farrington and Officer Shaun McLellan approached, they startled the man, who froze for a moment, then ran away. Carlos Cruz, 22, of 267 Park St., was caught and charged with breaking and entering into a vehicle. It was the third automobile on the street broken into on that day, police said. The GPS and cell phone were found on the ground where Cruz dropped them, and he had a syringe and needle on him, police said.

Romero said GPS units are easy items to steal and sell for thieves who might also have a drug habit.

Last week, the bait car was back on the street, placed in another GPS "hot spot" identified by the department's crime analysis unit.

"We're going to be throwing different types of vehicles out there so there's no set pattern. And we're going to move around to areas that have already been established by crime analysis as problem areas," Romero said.

"A lot of the thefts are coming from our commercial vehicles," he said. "We've had ambulances where GPSs have been taken from. Utility company trucks, cable company trucks, too. They all have GPS. It might wind up in one of those."

A snapshot of GPS thefts in Haverhill

HAVERHILL — Global Positioning System devices are a popular target for thieves here, according to police reports.

These are some of the incidents listed with police from this year:

A man told police someone broke into his sport utility vehicle on Steeplechase Court sometime in the early morning of April 21. The man said the driver's side window of his SUV was broken and that his Navitech GPS device, valued at $225, was gone. He told police that his vehicle's alarm system was activated but never sounded.

Thieves smashed the driver's side window of a 2005 Toyota Sienna minivan parked at a Victor Street home and stole a Niovision 7100 Global Positioning System device valued at $600 in February.

A guest at Comfort Suites hotel on Bank Road told police someone smashed a side window of his rented 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee and took his Magellan 3100 GPS valued at $150 in January.

A woman told police someone entered her unlocked 2008 Nissan Altima while it was parked in her driveway on Colby Street in January and stole several items, including a Magellan Global Positioning System device valued at $180.

By Mark E. Vogler

The offer paid off. The answer lay in knowing what time it is when you make your sextant measurements. For example, say your Greenwich almanac predicts that the sun is highest at noon. Your shipboard clock, synchronized to Greenwich time when you left port, says it’s 2 p.m. when your sextant measures that event. Then you must be the equivalent of two hours west of Greenwich.

In 1761 a cabinetmaker named John Harrison developed a shipboard timepiece called a chronometer, which lost or gained only about one second a day—incredibly accurate for the time. For the next two centuries, sextants and chronometers were used in combination to provide latitudes and longitudes.

In the early 20th century several radio-based navigation systems were developed and used widely during World War II. Both allied and enemy ships and airplanes used ground-based radio-navigation systems as the technology advanced.

A few ground-based radio-navigation systems are still in use today. One drawback of using radio waves generated on the ground is that you have only two choices: (1) a system that is very accurate but doesn’t cover a wide area or (2) a system that covers a wide area but is not very accurate. High-frequency radio waves (like satellite TV) can provide accurate position location but can only be picked up in a small, localized area. Lower frequency
radio waves (like FM radio) can cover a larger area, but are not a good yardstick to tell you exactly where you are.

Too early to judge success of GPS program for auto thieves, official says

The project manager for the Winnipeg auto theft suppression strategy says it's too early to judge the effectiveness of GPS monitoring devices being worn by chronic car thieves.

The project was launched at the beginning of April; six youths with multiple car-theft convictions who have been deemed at the highest risk of reoffending were assigned to wear the ankle bracelets.

A GPS monitoring bracelet is displayed by a provincial official in April 2008.A GPS monitoring bracelet is displayed by a provincial official in April 2008. (CBC)

Last week, a 17-year-old boy removed his court-ordered GPS ankle bracelet and disappeared. Police described him as one of the worst repeat car thieves in the city.

That teen was rearrested 10 days later in the city's North End neighbourhood, where police said he was in another stolen car. He faces a variety of new charges, including theft, resisting arrest and assault, and he remains in custody.

The case has led some in the city to suggest the GPS-monitoring program has already failed.

But Brent Apter, project manager for the program that monitors youth considered at high risk of stealing cars, believes it's still too early to judge the project.

"It's very early in the project, and to start assessing the effectiveness of the project, its impact. It's a little bit too early to tell just yet," he said.

"I would like to say that the response from the number of youth who have them on right now have been fairly positive. One youth was seeing it as a face-saving measure — he knows that he's being monitored. Another youth saw it as an awareness in that he'd be monitored by us and we'd know his whereabouts, so it would be a support for him to maintain compliance with his court-ordered conditions … one other youth says it impinges on his lifestyle."

Apter said it would take at least six months to determine how well the tracking devices are working.

Not a shackle

The GPS monitoring units have hard plastic casing for the electronic components, and a large rubber strap and locks around the wearer's ankle.

Apter would not comment on how the youth managed to get out of his bracelet, but said he did not cut it off. The device gave off a "tamper alert," to officials, but the youth had disappeared when they attempted to contact him.

The teen is the only one who has removed a bracelet so far in the Manitoba program, Apter said.

"The device isn't a shackle or a handcuff, and has passive security systems, as opposed to an active security system," he said. "That wasn't what the design of the unit was for."

20 GPS units available

Auto theft is a complicated problem, Apter said, and the electronic monitoring devices are only part of the solution. Youth in the project are also subject to intense supervision by probation officers and other officials.

'The device isn't a shackle or a handcuff,' says Brent Apter with the Winnipeg auto theft suppression strategy program.'The device isn't a shackle or a handcuff,' says Brent Apter with the Winnipeg auto theft suppression strategy program. (CBC)

"The electronic monitoring program was never touted to be a panacea, and I would never speak to it in those terms," he said, adding that the program will look at levels of compliance and recidivism to determine if GPS monitoring has been a success.

A total of 20 GPS ankle bracelets are available to be assigned to youth under the GPS monitoring program.

About 100 youths — both in custody and in the general public — have been designated Level 4 offenders under the program. A youth must have at least two convictions, plus other factors such as lack of remorse or probation breaches, to reach the highest risk level.

Level 4 offenders are contacted up to 36 times per week under the program, compared with regular youth probation of two contacts per month.

A Level 4 youth must receive a sentence including a condition to take part in the electronic monitoring program before an ankle bracelet can be put on. Some youths have been identified as potential participants in the program, but are still awaiting sentencing, Apter said.

To be considered for the electronic monitoring program, a youth must have a long record of auto theft and be considered at a very high risk of recidivism, as well as have a history of non-compliance with other methods, Apter said.

Scientists, therefore, decided that the only way to provide accurate coverage for the entire world was to place high-frequency radio transmitters in space. A transmitter high above Earth would broadcast a high-frequency radio wave with a special coded signal that could cover a large area and still reach Earth far below at a useful power level. This is one of the main principles behind the GPS system. It brings together 2,000 years of advances in navigation by providing precisely located “lighthouses in space” that are all synchronized to a common time standard.

The GPS system can tell you your location anywhere on or above Earth to within about 20 to 30 feet. Even greater accuracy, usually within less than three feet, can be obtained with “differential corrections” calculated by a special GPS receiver at a known fixed location.

Elements of GPS

GPS has three parts: the space segment, the user segment, and the control segment. The space segment consists of a constellation of 24 satellites plus some spares, each in its own orbit 11,000 nautical miles above Earth. The user segment consists of receivers, which you can hold in your hand or mount in a vehicle, like your car. The control segment consists of ground stations (five of them, located around the world) that make sure the satellites are working properly. The master control station at Schriever Air Force Base, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, runs the system.

Ground Stations

The GPS control segment consists of several ground stations located around the world:
• a master control station at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado
• five unstaffed monitor stations: Hawaii and Kwajalein in the Pacific Ocean; Diego Garcia in the
Indian Ocean; Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean; and Colorado Springs, Colorado
• four large ground-antenna stations that send commands and data up to the satellites and
collect telemetry back from them

A Constellation of Satellites

An orbit is one trip in space around Earth. GPS satellites each take 12 hours to orbit Earth. Each satellite is equipped with an atomic clock so accurate that it keeps time to within three nanoseconds—that’s 0.000000003, or three-billionths of a second—to let it broadcast signals that are synchronized with those from other satellites.

The signal travels to the ground at the speed of light. Even at this speed, the signal takes a measurable amount of time to reach the receiver. The difference between the time when the signal is received and the time when it was
sent, multiplied by the speed of light, enables the receiver to calculate the distance to the satellite. To calculate its precise latitude, longitude, and altitude, the receiver measures the distance to four separate GPS satellites.

Military Uses for GPS

Although the GPS system was completed only a few years ago, it has already proved to be a valuable aid to U.S. military forces. Picture the desert, with its wide, featureless expanses of sand. The terrain looks much the same for miles. Without a reliable navigation system, U.S. forces could not have performed the maneuvers of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. With GPS the soldiers were able to go places and maneuver in sandstorms or at night when even the Iraqi troops who lived there couldn’t. More than 1,000 portable commercial receivers were initially purchased for their use. The demand was so great that before the
end of the conflict, more than 9,000 commercial receivers were in use in the Gulf region. They were carried by soldiers on the ground and were attached to vehicles, helicopters, and aircraft instrument panels. GPS receivers were used in several aircraft, including F-16 fighters, KC-135 aerial tankers, and B-52 bombers. Navy ships used them for rendezvous, minesweeping, and aircraft operations.

GPS has become important for nearly all military operations and weapons systems. It is also used on satellites to obtain highly accurate orbit data and to control spacecraft orientation.

The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a private, nonprofit company established in 1960 to serve and support U.S. national-security space projects and programs. We operate a federally funded research and development center specializing in space systems and technologies. Aerospace provides systems engineering, architecture, and development support to the U.S. government, principally the United States Air Force. We also perform national-security work for other agencies in the national interest.

Our primary resource is people. Technical and scientific professionals of the highest caliber are responsible for a corporate tradition of excellence. Nearly half of our employees are members of the technical staff. Two-thirds of the technical staff hold advanced degrees in a broad range of disciplines, and about one-fourth of those staff members hold doctoral degrees.

Our corporate headquarters is located in El Segundo, California, next to Los Angeles Air Force Base. Regional offices exist at Air Force launch sites on the East and West coasts; at Johnson Space Center in Texas; at satellite operations and technology centers in California, Colorado, and New Mexico; and in the Washington, D.C., area.


GPS receivers can be carried in your hand or be installed on aircraft, ships, tanks, submarines, cars, and trucks.
These receivers detect, decode, and process GPS satellite signals. More than 100 different receiver models are already in use. The typical hand-held receiver is about the size of a cellular telephone, and the newer models are even smaller. The commercial hand-held units distributed to U.S. armed forces personnel during the Persian
Gulf War weighed only 28 ounces (less than two pounds). Since then, basic receiver functions have been miniaturized onto integrated circuits that weigh about one ounce.

Let a GPS unit guide your travel

Many of us will be hitting the road for vacation this summer. Whether you're going across town or across the country, GPS units make road trips a breeze.

Global Positioning System units used to provide little more than driving directions. Today's GPS devices offer many more features. You'll find points of interest and real-time traffic information as well as MP3 players, photo viewers and audio book readers.

But before you buy a GPS unit, do some research. There are several different types of GPS units. Marine units are designed for boating. Trail GPS units are helpful to hikers. You want a street GPS unit to help you navigate streets and cities.

Some units incorporate live traffic information. You'll need to pay a monthly fee for this feature.

The traffic information helps you avoid gridlock and save travel time. This in turn helps you conserve gas. You can also find alternate routes. Some even recommend detours.

One unit to consider is the Dash Express ($400). This two-way, Internet-connected system is unlike any other. It provides real-time traffic data from other Dash users. You can also access locally relevant information from the Internet.

The Dash lets you plan routes and send them to the GPS unit. A monthly plan (about $13) is required for Internet-connected features. A one-year prepaid plan works out to about $11 a month and a two-year plan is about $10 a month.

Screen clarity

No matter what features a GPS unit offers, if you can't read the screen, it won't be helpful. Look for a bright color screen and a wide angle of view. You're a safer driver when you're not squinting at a GPS screen.

TomTom's One XL S ($350) features a large 4.3-inch touch-screen. It can be updated with real-time traffic service. You can also share your maps with others.


A crisp screen helps when you're driving, but it can't match text-to-speech. Units with text-to-speech capability read directions to you so you don't need to watch the screen. But all text-to-speech is not created equal. Look for a GPS unit that announces both distance and street names.

Garmin's nuvi 350 ($350) announces the names of exits and streets. Two- and three-dimensional maps will help you find your way. A receiver for traffic information can be added.

Points of interest

A GPS unit can help you navigate a strange city, but that's no help if you don't know where the attractions are located. So look for a unit that has a large database of points of interest. You'll find cultural spots and tourist attractions. Restaurants, hotels and other businesses are also listed.

Magellan's Maestro 3250 ($400) features 6 million points of interest. You can also access AAA TourBook information. The 3250 also provides voice directions and accepts voice commands. A traffic receiver is built in for real-time traffic.

Saving money

Most of us are on a budget. So ask yourself this: Do you really need a dedicated GPS unit? Or, could you get by with something less?

GPS add-ons are available for many gadgets. You'll find them for some music players, PDAs and cellphones. See what's available at your local electronics store.

Most of these add-on options are relatively inexpensive, but you will probably give up some convenience. They will also likely be smaller and harder to read than a dedicated GPS unit.

Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: To subscribe to Kim's free e-mail newsletters, sign up at: Contact her at


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