Forget geocaching and geotagging. Some folks are coming up with even more creative ways of using GPS technology. The New York Times ran an article about some of these new uses, which basically involve tracking valuables.
Kathy Besa of Broomall, Pa., has a device about the size of a pocket pager attached to the collar of her 5-year-old beagle, Buddy. If he wanders more than 20 feet from the house, she gets a text message on her phone that says, “Buddy has left the premises.” From there she can track his movements over the Web…
Some parents are throwing a device into their child€™s backpack. An art collector in New York uses one when he transports million-dollar pieces. Every cyclist competing in the Tour de France has one attached to his bike…
A home builder is putting them on expensive appliances to track them if they disappear from construction sites. A drug company is using them after millions of dollars in inventory turned up missing. A mobile phone company is hiding them in some cellphone boxes to catch thieves.
The thing to keep in mind is that these are using specialized GPS trackers. While decreasing cost and increased availability make such applications economically possible, these are still not the same types of GPS units that you would use either for geocaching, auto navigation, or geotagging. The trackers referred to in this article require not only GPS location, but some method for broadcasting that location to a receiving unit. This could either be cell phone technology, radio, or WiFi. Usually there is a subscription fee associated with the device.
These devices do sound like they could save some heartache, but they also smack of intrusion on personal liberties. I’ve already heard of companies that track their employees’ movements via their GPS enabled cell phones. Personally, I’m glad that the GPS technology I use doesn’t have any broadcast capabilities (that I know of.)
[tags]GPS, gps tracking[/tags]