When GPS was first introduced, only the military could use its features. As today's technology has advanced, GPS tracking technology has been integrated into many everyday consumer and business products. GPS lets you track people, vehicles or assets in real time with stunning accuracy. But if you want to enjoy all the features and benefits of the technology outside the United States, here's what you need to know about international GPS tracking.
Limits of Domestic GPS
Domestic GPS devices use at least three satellites from a United States-based coordinate system to pinpoint an object or person. This standard technology works well for people within the country's borders, but once you're out of the domestic satellite range, many GPS components cannot communicate with international satellite arrays. International GPS devices use specialized components to recognize satellite signals virtually anywhere in the world.
Using GPS Trackers Abroad
In the past, formatting a GPS tracker for international use was fairly complex. GPS devices were shipped without SIM cards, and you'd have to provide your own card in order to use them - which was a difficult process based on the country in which the tracker was operating. These days, international GPS trackers are fitted with universal SIM cards that function around the world. If you own an older GPS device, however, retrofitting it for international use can be frustrating. Tracker prices have dropped significantly over the last few years (as have monthly GPS monitoring costs), so to ensure good performance overseas, your best bet is to invest in a new device.
Tracking Your Car
Safety is the primary goal with GPS devices. One of the most common and valuable uses for international tracking is personal car tracking. For example, your teenager takes the car across the Canadian border for a weekend getaway. International GPS allows you to monitor where the vehicle has been, where it's going and how fast it's traveling, all in real time. You can even get text or email alerts if the vehicle exceeds any speed you've selected in advance.
Monitoring a Fleet of Vehicles
When you run an international business, you're constantly moving business vehicles and assets among warehouses, stores and out to customers. Placing international GPS trackers on your fleet increases your control over your assets and allows you to monitor your drivers in real time from anywhere in the world as they travel between and within different countries. GPS empowers you to pinpoint lost or stolen vehicles and improve productivity on the road by reducing fuel costs and drive times (by choosing alternative roads during heavy traffic periods, for example). In many cases, GPS-equipped vehicles qualify for significant insurance discounts as well.
Shipping and Asset Applications
International GPS tracking is ideal for business shipping. If you use large containers for cargo shipping, GPS is easily embedded in the container itself. You'll always know how quickly your container is being transferred through customs, for example. You can even apply these trackers to shipments cross-country. Add a tracker to a shipment container moving between states or countries on a train or truck. Any issues arising with the shipment will include time stamps for detailed record keeping and management.
GPS trackers tell you where your personal or shipping vessel is located. If the boat is accidentally detached from its port location or is stolen, you'll have reliable information to share with local authorities. A business that uses a fleet of boats, such as a commercial fishing company, can leverage GPS to keep its crew working efficiently day and night. You can even use GPS coordinates to pinpoint the most productive fishing locations at any given time.
Creating "Safe" Areas with Geofencing
Most international GPS devices include an extremely useful feature called "geofencing". A geofence is simply an area you draw on a map via the GPS platform's built-in software. You geofence can be any shape and size and cover any area you choose. Most systems allow you to create as many individual geofences as you need. If your employees, family members or business assets exit the geofence area you’ve created, you can set the system to send you an instant alert via text or email anywhere in the world. And of course, you can track the exact whereabouts of your "targets" in real time as they move.
No matter where you are in the world, International GPS tracking devices are powerful tools that let you keep your family, your business and your possessions safe.