The concept of GPS, or global satellite position, dates back many years, and ever since 1996, GPS systems have been put into vehicles of all kinds. Today across Canada, many cities are using GPS for equipment such as snow plows to track where vehicles are and how they are moving, and fleet GPS tracking systems allow for more efficient work and less waste. The field of geospatial data analysis is rapidly growing across Canada, the United States to the south, and many other parts of the world, and often for similar reasons. GPS for equipment may be put in work vehicles, as mentioned above, or GPS for equipment such as laptops may also be installed. What sort of benefits may GPS for equipment offer?
Snow Plows and GPS Tracking
A major use for GPS in Canada today is on board snow plows. Many Canadian cities get a lot of snowfall every year, and GPS trackers are ideal for monitoring a fleet that may have 50, 100, or even 150 vehicles in it, all operating at once. Otherwise, it may be difficult to coordinate what all the vehicles are doing, and this can lead to some problems. Without the coordination of GPS, these snow plows may get in each other’s way, and these vehicles might overlap too much on each other’s work areas. What is more, a snow plow operator who can’t find more work will sit idle, and that wastes gas and creates emissions. Many Canadian provinces and cities have laws against idle vehicles creating emissions, and a city doesn’t want to face fines for these idle vehicles and their air pollution.
A network of GPS trackers in those snow plows, combined with geospatial data analysis efforts, allows for more efficient work to be done. This way, an entire city can be efficiently plowed on a tight schedule, and all the vehicles’ movements can be coordinated with ease. This prevents snow plows from getting in each other’s way, and this makes it easier to tell a given snow plow operator where to go in order to find new areas for work. Work areas may be assigned a certain area and their movement will be monitored with those GPS trackers.
There is plenty of need for GPS tracking in snow plows. The top 10 snowiest Canadian cities each report getting 55 days or more per year where two or more millimetres of snow lands on the ground, and deep snow may inhibit traffic. Montreal, for example, boasts a fleet of 172 snow plows, and if the snow is up to seven inches thick, that fleet can clear it all in under five days. A foot of snow, meanwhile, requires at least five days of work to clear away completely, but it can be done. GPS will make that work more efficient and practical all the while. But how else might GPS for equipment be used?
Other Uses for GPS
GPS trackers and similar systems can also be found in cars and trucks, planes, and even in handheld electronics such as laptops and cell phones, among others. For smaller devices, GPS trackers are used for marketing purposes, and the field of geospatial data analysis is rapidly growing. And when these GPS trackers are put in vehicles, that lends some security as to the vehicle’s location and usage.
A company may own a jet and some cars, and employees may borrow them for trips. A GPS tracker on that vehicle ensures that the vehicle is going where it should, and not being misused for some other destination. And GPS trackers are certainly useful in case a vehicle, private or corporate, is stolen or misplaced. If a car or jet is stolen, then the owners may use geospatial data analysis to track where it is going and home in on it, and recover it. These GPS trackers can even save lives, such as when a vehicle breaks down or is trapped by bad weather such as floods, a hurricane (common along the American east coast), blizzards, or anything else. Rescue teams can find the vehicle thanks to its GPS trackers and retrieve everyone they find there, and recover the vehicle too, if possible.