GPS is short for Global Positioning System. GPS tracking systems are satellite-based navigation systems that are driven by a series of 24 geo-synchronous satellites that continuously transmit their position.
This data is used in personal tracking, navigation and automatic vehicle location technologies through GPS systems. GPS tracking devices are especially useful for knowing where automobiles and other motor vehicles are at and where their going, or how to get there.
All GPS Trackers are similar but offer different features. We will discuss the best GPS Tracker Device that can be used to track an auto in real time. The WorldTracker GPRS is a very small GPS Auto Tracker that literally fits in the palm of your hand. But when used with the optional weather proof case this tracker can easily be hidden on a auto or any other vehicle to track it whereabouts in 15 second intervals.
The Worldtracker GPRS may be ordered with a sturdy ABS plastic box who’s main job is protecting the device from the elements like snow, rain, hail, nuclear war(just kidding). The box is completely watertight and will also float which is perfect for private detectives tracking an auto that may plunge into the river.
The inside is padded with foam to cushion the following pieces of equipment:
- The receiver itself, with the battery compartment removed,
- An 8 cell AA battery holder for a 12V DV output,
- A magic blue box with interesting electronics inside
- A wire from the blue box into the Worldtracker GPRS device’s battery connector
As you can guess from the pictures WorldTracker GPRS is expected to be stashed away somewhere in the vehicle that is to be tracked. You can either put it into a place where it is hidden but still has some form of sky view, or you can affix it to the exterior of the car.
This can be done either with the lanyard that you see on the left side, or using the magnets on the underside of the box.
Use caution when handling the box – these magnets are pretty strong and can easily destroy data on a hard disk of the laptop you happen to have sitting nearby.
When I was testing where to place the box on my car (a Nissan Murano) I made some interesting discoveries. First of all, magnets do not work on plastic. Amazing how much of my car looks like solid metal but in reality is – equally solid – plastic.
Next I tried to clip the box onto the underside of the car, somewhere on the frame. Lesson learned here is that magnets do not work too well on the anti-corrosion foam that Nissan have sprayed very generously all over the body.
So basically what you need to do is test this on a car that is similar to the one you want to track, and you need to have a game plan for the case when the box falls off. Either use the lanyard accordingly, or be ready to quickly pick up the box (or its remains).
There is a great way to track the WorldTracker GPRS online but for now we will skip that since we are focusing on tracking mobile equipment like cars and trucks, etc.
Having the data available on a PC may be nice as shown below.
But in the real world it is more important to have access to the tracking data while you are actually following your target. Security Concepts have developed a number of different ways that allow tracking from a mobile device as shown below.
From the main page you enter your account ID, and then see the details of the last known position. You can select to show the maps through MapQuest or through the standard Microsoft map API but Pocket Internet Explorer offers Fullscreen mode now as shown below.
You can even see the same breadcrumbs, including the temporal coloring.
How the WorldTracker GPRS is Setup
To get started you need to have a valid SIM card and it needs to support data services. As mentioned before, Security Concepts are offering this as part of the overall package.
Open the back and remove the battery. Insert the SIM card into the slot and snap the back cover back on.
The GSM module is triband 850/1800/1900 MHz, so it will work well in the US GSM coverage area and in the urban areas in the rest of the world. If you need 900 MHz coverage get the one for the 900/1800/1900 MHz model.
Next is the configuration of the receiver. This is not done via GPRS as you may have thought.
Instead all the programming is done through SMS text messages.
This is actually a good idea because SMS is asynchronous – the network will deliver the message to the receiver whenever it comes back into a reception area.
If you are like me you will have to place the SIM into another phone first, and then use the phone’s system status viewer to find the number. Alternatively call someone and ask them who just called…
The programming of the WorldTracker GPRS through SMS messages is relatively easy and the programming manual explains the commands in detail. Here is a sample list of SMS message functions that can be sent to the receiver:
- Inquire receiver’s IMEI number (The IMEI is important because it uniquely identifies the receiver. It may also serve as the source for your account ID on the GPRS GateWay Server – In many cases the account ID were the last six digits of the IMEI.)
- change user name
- change password
- Set the GPRS APN that corresponds to the SIM provider
- Set the host URL that is receiving the GPRS packets.
- Specify up to three numbers. If GPRS not available, positions are sent via SMS to the first phone number. Panic messages are sent to all three numbers.
- Send report every x seconds, repeat y times. 9999 for unlimited.
- Reset receiver to factory default
- Get current position, reply to caller via SMS
- In addition to GPRS, send positions via email.
- Specify mail server for sending emails
- Specify how data is sent. HTTP/email/SMS, with fallback options
If you send the SMS in the right format you will receive a confirmation back. If you made a mistake you will get a SMS that shows where you went wrong.
That’s it, you are now ready to track vehicles and any other thing that moves. Now call the number of the SIM, and – provided the receiver has a fix – it will reply with a SMS that basically contains a $GPRMC line from the standard NMEA stream, including the position and the speed.
The WorldTracker GPRS is ideal and so small and very accurate that combined the weatherproof case make an ideal tracker for anyone include laymen to track the where abouts of an auto.
Tracking data can also be downloaded in CSV files for backing up data.
You can obtain a complete “Driving Report”. These detailed reports of mileage and travel activities can be printed by selecting “File” and then “Print” from within Internet Explorer. Travel data includes street address, duration of stops, mileage, speed and other travel data.
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