The Science Behind Fleet GPS Tracking

Earlier this year, our partners at Geotab reached an important milestone! Geotab reached 1 million subscribers on its fleet GPS tracking network as of February 2018.

1 million subscribers is an important industry milestone because it shows the growth of fleet GPS tracking as a whole. For instance, Geotab is now used in 137 countries and collects 2 billion data points per week.

Beyond celebrating Geotab’s achievement, this blog explores the science behind fleet GPS tracking. First, we will study its origins. Then, we will look at how fleet GPS tracking adapted and turned to powerhorse that it is today.

Roots of GPS Science

The original science behind GPS tracking comes from a military idea. For a long time, the military needed a way to locate and track their assets. They used a lot of ideas including radar, radios, and everything in between. However, the military did not fully trust those technologies’ reliability or accuracy.

Then, someone thought about using satellites and trilateration. What in the world do those words mean?

The Solution

Trilateration means using 3 satellites to pinpoint a receiver’s location. Confused? Don’t worry, you are not the only one! Here’s how it works.

Satellites send signals to receivers, which are placed in each tracked vehicle. When satellite signals are received, satellites can detect the distance between each receiver and itself. However, a single satellite cannot trace the receiver’s direction.

That’s why 3 satellites work together! Each satellite creates a circle representing all possible asset locations. Then, the 3 satellites overlap their 3 circles. Finally, the exact location would be the intersection between all 3 circles.

And how accurate is trilateration? According to many studies, the most accurate satellite GPS trackers capture locations within 3 meters of the actual location.

Adaptation of GPS

Even after the invention of satellite tracking and trilateration, scientists are constantly looking for new ways to use GPS tracking. Some of the biggest challenges of satellite tracking include:

  • Data lag between communicating with satellites in space, and
  • Costliness of satellite solutions.

One of the biggest innovations is shifting from satellite to cell towers. Scientists realized that cell towers are more readily available than satellites. Also, they eliminate data lag and provide real time tracking at a lower cost!

For that reason, many GPS trackers nowadays have a built-in SIM card and use cell towers to provide live tracking.

Big Data & Fleet GPS Tracking

Finally, it’s worth noting that the science of GPS tracking is still adapting. Scientists are constantly finding new and better ways to use GPS tracking.

Perhaps the biggest trend for GPS’s future is leveraging big data. Big data means collecting and owning data to make decisions. In other words, vehicle trackers collect and use much more data than standard fleet tracking.

A great example would be CMMS, a software that automates the maintenance process. CMMS uses GPS big data to diagnose vehicle issues. Then, the software creates work tasks for company maintenance staff – and no human input was needed throughout the process!

Geotab: Geotab Celebrates 1 Million Subscribers
GIS: Trilateration vs Triangulation – How GPS Receivers Work

Tamper Proof GPS Tracker Alternatives

“Our GPS tracker just didn’t work,” said a disappointed business owner. “It never did what it was supposed to do because it turned off half of the time!” What was wrong with the GPS tracker? Well, it turned out that the device itself wasn’t necessarily the problem. The business just needed a tamper proof GPS tracker.

The Problem

The business owner thought that their GPS tracker was a winner. After all, it was cheap and it was installed in just under 2 minutes. However, the quick install might have led to the problem – the device was fragile and was far from a tamper proof GPS tracker.

In fact, the owner later found out that employees unplugged the devices whenever they did not want to be tracked. They would then replug the device.

This left the owner to wonder – what are some good tamper proof GPS tracker alternatives?

Alternative #1 – Hardwired GPS

A popular alternative is hardwiring. Hardwiring is when mechanics install wires within the vehicle.

What are the advantages of hardwiring? For a long time, hardwiring was the go-to tamper proof solution. Since the solution was part of the vehicle, employees cannot tamper with tracking by unplugging a device.

On the other side, what are the concerns? According to fleet managers, some of the biggest concerns of hardwiring include:

  • Time. The vehicles need to visit a installation shop. It might not be feasible to do every single vehicle at once, so businesses tend to install the fleet in phases. As a result, the process could take several weeks to complete.
  • Cost. Some hardwired solutions can have upfront costs of over $1000/vehicle. Hardwired solutions are typically more costly because businesses need to pay for both hardware and installation.
  • Installation risk. Hardwiring requires a high level of technical skills. Businesses must ensure that the installer is certified in order to mitigate vehicle damage risk.

Alternative 2: Tamper Proof Plug and Play Solutions

Another alternative is using tamper proof plug and play solutions. Over the past few years, a lot of plug and play solutions developed anti-tampering hardware and software. For example, Geotab systems have two powerful anti-tampering measures.


Harnesses are anti-tampering superstars. Harnesses hide the tracking device under the vehicle’s hood and away from open view. As a result, the system is protected against accidental kickers or deliberate yankers.

Unplug alert

Let’s say a mischievous employee gets creative. They go under the hood, find the device, and use a tool to remove the device. Can they get away with it?

No. Another precaution against tampering is setting up unplug rules. This is a handy alert and report system where all unplugs are documented. Meaning administrators can know when a device is unplugged when it next communicates.  However, it is important to note that there is no guaranteed time on when it will next communicate.


With both a harness and an unplug alarm, Geotab is a tamper proof GPS tracker system. Tampering with the system makes no sense! It’s almost like a staff member walking up to their supervisor, blindfolding them, then trying to walk out the building – probably not a great ending for that employee!

Looking to install a tamper proof GPS tracker? Check out Geotab’s Harness Guide!

Active Tracking: Keeping First Responders Safe on the Road

An ambulance drives through traffic, siren sounding and lights flashing. The dispatcher is on the line, collecting vital information, while monitoring the status of the ambulance at the same time. What if that dispatcher could follow the live movement of the ambulance as it drives along the road, knowing it was safely and quickly arriving at the scene?


This is now possible with Active Tracking.

What is Active Tracking and how does it benefit emergency vehicles?
Play the video to see it in action.

Paramedic Services, Fire Departments, and Police are all under pressure from the public to reduce response times, while protecting the safety of pedestrians and drivers on the road. Technology plays an important role in this effort.

Ideally suited for first responders, delivery and taxi fleets, and any industry in which knowing the precise vehicle position is critical, EMS GPS tracking system allows customers to view their vehicles in near real-time. For example, an ambulance dispatcher can watch the vehicle’s progress and reassure a caller that the ambulance has just turned off the highway onto their street. Another fleet dispatcher could closely monitor vehicle activity and see, at a glance, if a driver is driving too fast.

Using Active Tracking is very much like watching your fleet vehicles from a traffic helicopter.
Watch live as the vehicle slows down for traffic, accelerates, stops at the side of the road, or speeds down a winding road.

How It Works

Active Tracking is made possible with increased data logging frequency and animation in MyGeotab. The animation feature displays estimates of the real-time location of the vehicle onto the live map. Users are able to watch a simulated icon of the vehicle as it is moving. This new feature provides fleet managers and dispatchers with a very accurate representation of where a vehicle enabled with this technology is located at any given time.

When Active Tracking is enabled, smart technology is used to request data from the Geotab GO Device at varying frequency intervals. Then, the data is relayed to servers for processing and the position of the vehicle is reflected on to the live map. When the triangle icon is shown, this means the vehicle is in motion. As the vehicle slows down or speeds up, that change is also reflected in the movement of the icon on the map.

Previously, data was spooled into a buffer and then uploaded when the buffer was full. With this concept, some data could have been uploaded quite fast if the buffer was filled quickly. On the other hand, if there was less overall data coming in, it took the buffer longer to get filled and therefore the data would be received much slower.

To explain the data spooling and buffer concept, we can compare it to a filling a gooseneck jug with water using a cup versus using a funnel. If you were to use the cup to start filling the jug, you would have to wait until each cup was filled, then take the cup and carefully pour the water into the jug. This process would be extremely slow. Alternatively, if you inserted a funnel into the gooseneck of the jug, and poured the water directly into it, the jug would be filled pretty quickly. There would be much less of a delay using the funnel. Active Tracking is comparable to the “funnel method.”

Using patented algorithms, MyGeotab presents that granular location information on an animated map, demonstrating the steady vehicle movement — instead of the jagged jumps that are seen with other telematics solutions. As a result, Geotab’s Active Fleet Tracking solution provides deep, actionable insights that are particularly useful in applications where the exact location of a vehicle for dispatch purposes is essential.

How to Enable Active Tracking for Fleet Vehicles

Through the ProPlus Plan, you are able to activate features such as Active Tracking, third-party integrations and other special features. Active Tracking is automatically enabled for users on the ProPlus Plan. Our customers with the Pro Plan can turn on Active Tracking on the MyGeotab Vehicle Edit page (note: enabling this feature moves the device from Pro to ProPlus). Active Tracking is also required for time-sensitive server-based notifications and rules such as posted road speed warnings for the driver using GO TALK live in-vehicle verbal coaching solution.

For more information on Active Tracking or to upgrade your current plan to include Active Tracking, contact our support team.

Original Article By: Owen D’Acres, Customer Support Specialist at Geotab


Receive Real-Time Alerts & Monitor Driver Behaviour on the Go!

Real-Time Alerts Monitor Driver Behaviour on the Job

GPS systems offer fleets an abundance of data for managers to better monitor their vehicles and engine diagnostics. To make the process even more accessible, GoFleet offers the ability to send events recorded in real time to effectively monitor driver behaviours and stay on top of business needs. This poses as an advantage over some of the other driver behaviour monitoring systems that do not allow for updated real-time alerts.

Receiving alerts in real-time translates into being able to monitor driver behaviours while on the job. Alerts are generated when a rule set within the database is broken. GoFleet driver behaviour monitoring systems is designed with default rules that can be customized based on your company preference by selecting appropriate conditions. When the condition set is broken by a driver only then will a notification be sent out. These notifications can be sent to management or selective users via email, popup’s within the database or the device can be set to beep (within the vehicle) to fix the driver behaviour immediately.

Below is an example of a rule set around speeding. As per the condition set, if the driver drives over the set speed limit a notification will be sent out containing information about the speeding incident. These notifications generated can be customized based on what data your company would like to gain.

Creating a rule

Create a driver rule

Setting Conditions

1. Select “Add speed”

2. Set the speed limit you would like the drivers to remain within

3. Choose how to notify someone when a rule is broken

driver behaviour monitoring systems

Notifications are important, if a vehicle is spending too much time speeding/idling it leads to an increase in fuel consumption. The more money wasted on excessive fuel costs, the more your business bottom line suffers. By monitoring driver behaviours through alerts you can ensure that behaviours are fixed easily. You can also generate a report based on the number of times the driver broke the same rule set, allowing you to take corrective measures and keep a record for legality purposes.

Other example of alerts include programmed off-hour alerts. This means that managers can ensure that their vehicles are not being driven during non-working hours. Moreover, there are tons of other expenses that come along as a result of over-using the company vehicle or driving recklessly. There will be an increase in vehicle part replacements and more overall maintenance costs due to more wear and tear. To avoid further expenses take advantage of our solution; let GoFleet’s real-time alerts help for you.

For more information on the important features of GPS real-time alerts, and how it could help your business save thousands of dollars, contact one of our highly trained fleet consultants today!


1-888-998-1122 | [email protected]


Real Time Fleet Tracking

Real Time GPS Fleet Tracking

Live Track Your Vehicles with Real Time GPS Fleet Tracking

Real time GPS fleet tracking can be an important money-saving tool for any sized business. From the ability to reduce fleet idle times, improve driver behaviours and measure maintenance costs, the solution is designed to control expenses that can eventually affect your company’s bottom line.

Live tracking is an important and interesting feature offered by GoFleet’s solution. Designed to help locate the current location of your company vehicles; the solution is capable of playing back trip details, generating reports based on location visits and optimizing routes for customer visits.

How to locate fleet vehicles?

Locating vehicles within the database is fairly easy and accessible. You can select multiple vehicles at a time which will automatically populate on a map as shown in the image below or select individual vehicles to locate in real time. The status of each vehicle selected will then be displayed on the map, helping you quickly see the position of that particular vehicle. The application is also capable of automatically saving records of each trip made when vehicles are driven from place to place. The telematics device will record the distance travelled, time spent driving/idling and other important engine diagnostic events which take place along the way. Such data can later be generated (within specific time periods) to verify driver location needed from the past or even the current route taken during the day.




Fleet Management Reports

Reports containing such information can also be downloaded to better understand the data or used for important decision making. For instance, mangers can obtain reports of fuel efficiency based on the route taken and whether the drivers were idling along the way. These reports can be scheduled to determine areas where drivers may be wasting fuel. Increase in fuel usage might occur at times when there is needless idling, unapproved vehicle usage and speeding. Managers can then eliminate irrelevant fuel expenses by using the GoFleet’s real time tracking solution.

A few drivers may not like the idea of being monitored, but the overall savings of real time GPS fleet tracking will be worth the potential dissonance. With live tracking we can help managers regulate scheduled vehicle maintenance, monitor drivers in real-time and verify log times of employees. All of these aspects are important to saving the company time and money allowing you to never lose sight of your vehicles, but instead effectively manage your fleet to eliminate labour costs and bring forth positive changes.

For more information on the important features of real time GPS fleet tracking, and how it could help your business save thousands of dollars, contact one of our highly trained fleet consultants today!

Live Tracking Can Help Your Company’s Fleet Operations

Help Your Company’s Fleet Operations with Live Tracking

Using live tracking for your fleet will allow you to see where your vehicles are directly from your computer screen at any time of the day. In addition to instantly locating your vehicles, you can see where they have been and how fast they were going. Instant alerts can be set up to notify you if the driver goes above a set speed, drives out of an authorized zone, drives aggressively or idles excessively. Live fleet tracking will help you increase productivity and lower fuel costs. Within a matter of weeks, your company will see a fast return on investment.

The saying is true, “You cannot manage what you do not measure.” Trying to keep track of your employees while they are driving can be a difficult task. Live tracking gives you a deeper insight into how your employees are using your mobile assets. Company inefficiencies can come in many forms, and GPS fleet tracking software can help you see them clearly so they can be addressed. Some of the inefficiencies that that fleet management software can help you uncover include:

– Poor routing

– Employee moonlighting

– Excessive idling

– Speeding

– Unsafe driving habits

– Gasoline theft

– Liability risks

– Theft of company assets

– Exaggerated or false time sheets

– Excessive breaks

– Late start times

Live tracking allows you to reduce your fleet’s hidden costs which can add money to your bottom-line. You will be able to easily monitor your drivers and your vehicles to find out information that was once unknown. The system works like a virtual manager. When your drivers are off the clock, it becomes a security guard watching after your vehicles.

Many companies are amazed when they uncover the percentage of their employees that are conducting personal business while they are at work. The tracking system provides valuable details about where your driver has driven, their start and stop times, total daily miles driven and much more. Many fleet managers uncover their employees stopping off with their company assets to service non-customers for cash.

Live tracking can also save you money on fuel. The system closely monitors how long your drivers are idling their vehicles. For each hour your vehicles are idling, one gallon of fuel is being wasted. This can really add up over time or with a lot of vehicles on the road. The fleet management software will send you an alert whenever a driver idles excessively so that you have time to have the behavior corrected immediately. You can also run reports with all of the drivers’ idle times.

For more information about how live tracking can help your business, Contact Us.

Best Real Time GPS Tracker Offers Many Fleet Benefits

Many Fleet Benefits Offered With Best Real Time GPS Tracker

GoFleet’s best real time GPS tracker provides fleet managers with a better insight into their fleet drivers. Managers are able to become more efficient in the daily operations and start controlling their costs related to fleet operations. When a company implements GoFleet’s best real time GPS tracker, fleet managers are normally blown away by the variety and quality of management tools that are available to them. The best real time GPS tracker is more than a system to locate fleet vehicles. It is a management tool that no fleet manager should be without.

GoFleet’s best real time GPS tracker can be integrated with a variety of back office software vendors that many fleets work with. Integration is crucial for streamlining business operations and keeping a business as uncomplicated as possible. When you are able to integrate your necessary software, you will be able to simplify dispatching. Your dispatchers will not be required to check multiple screens to get dispatching information for one job.

Most businesses with fleet operations will say that fuel is their largest cost. With GoFleet’s best real time GPS tracker, you will be able to control how the fuel is being used since you cannot control fuel costs. The best real time GPS tracker allows you to reduce fuel costs significantly in many ways. Automatic alerts can be send when drivers are practicing inefficient fuel use practices such as speeding, driving aggressively or excessive idling. In addition, efficient routing cuts fuel consumption because your drivers are not using unnecessary mileage. Drivers will know not to drive off of the authorized route because they know their fleet manager will be notified immediately. This will prevent drivers from driving miles out of the way for their favorite cup of coffee or home for a quick break.

GPS Technology: Helps Emergency Responders

Response Time Improved For Emergency Responders Using GPS Technology

GPS technology is being used in the Ozark foothills to help emergency responders. Frank Wideman, a natural resource engineer at the University of Missouri, teaches the responders how to use GPS technology to provide faster emergency services in Madison and Iron counties.

The GPS technology is being used to help the volunteer firefighters locate the 300 local fire hydrants. A local Boy Scout troop worked with the town’s volunteers to locate and save the location information of all the fire hydrants in the Global Positioning System map. This is extremely helpful because it is hard for the volunteers to be able to know the exact location of all the fire hydrants in the area.

When the emergency responders are dispatched, the GPS location information is sent electronically to the firefighters. The information includes the emergency location, the nearest fire hydrants and individual fire hydrant information. The GPS technology system shaves off minutes of critical emergency response time because the volunteer firefighters are not stopping to ask residents where the hydrants are or searching through paperwork for fire hydrant locations.

It is important that the fire fighters know where the fire hydrants are located because they need to quickly determine the length of the hose, the pumping capability and the type of connector needed. The information that was gathered by the local Boy Scouts about each fire hydrant includes the installation date and the manufacturer. This information is also helpful to officials for replacement and maintenance decisions.

The GPS technology is also being used to help search and rescue teams find lost or stranded campers, hikers and boaters visiting the mountains. Many of the area’s steep canyon trails are only accessible by foot and are unlit. Cell phones send the GPS signals to the emergency dispatch team. Responders are able to find the people despite the darkness and rugged terrain. According to Democrat News, the GPS technology has cut search and rescue times by approximately 75%.

Using the GPS technology for emergency responder services also saves property owners in the area money. The shorter response times in the event of a fire, lowers the Insurance Service Office ratings (ISO ratings). Risk experts rate the quality of the fire protection services in the area. The lower ISO ratings equal lower insurance premiums for the local property owners. When the GPS technology was implemented for emergency services in the Ozark foothills, the ISO rating decreased 3 points on a 10 point scale.

Realtime GPS Tracker: Benefits Your Drivers

Drivers’ Benefit From GoFleet’s Realtime GPS Tracker

When drivers first find out that their employer is going to implement a realtime GPS tracker system in the business fleet, they are usually not happy. This is only because they have not been fully informed of all the benefits the GPS technology can provide to them. Drivers will be thrilled when they find out what GoFleet’s realtime GPS tracker can do for them including providing additional safety and job security.

The most important thing a realtime GPS tracker system can do is keep the drivers safe. Their employer will always know where the drivers are so they will not get lost. Audible turn-by-turn navigation can easily direct drivers to remote job sites. Drivers will no longer get stuck on the side of the road calling to find out accurate directions.

If a vehicle gets stolen, a realtime GPS tracker will be able to alert law enforcement officials exactly where the vehicle is located. Having the realtime GPS tracker installed will not only prevent thefts, it will lead to quick recovery. The driver will not be side-lined while their employer finds another vehicle for them to use.

GoFleet’s realtime GPS tracker also deters distracted driving. Drivers will be safer because they will not have to answer their phones while they are driving or get distracted when they are in the middle of a risky job. Instead of text messaging or taking on the cell phone, GoFleet’s large touch screen displays two-way alerts instantly.

There is also a remote panic switch add-on that can be used for high-risk jobs. If a technician needs emergency assistance, all the driver has to do is press the button. Their employer will automatically be notified of the driver’s location so they can dispatch help.

In addition, GoFleet’s realtime GPS tracker saves employer’s money leading to job security. When a business runs efficiently, it contributes to its long-term success. Drivers can rest easy knowing their employer is doing everything in their power to maintain a successful business.

For more information about GoFleet’s realtime GPS tracker, Contact Us.

Real Time Fleet Tracking: GoFleet’s Ultimate Solution

GoFleet’s Real Time Fleet Tracking: The Ultimate Solution

Real time fleet tracking is the ultimate fleet management solution. It is a powerful tool that allows fleet managers to effectively run day-to-day operations, improve customer satisfaction, and keep their trucks on the road.

Improves Customer Satisfaction

GoFleet’s real time fleet tracking helps businesses improve customer satisfaction. Employees are able to provide a higher quality customer service. When a customer calls to find out what time a driver is supposed to arrive at their location, your dispatchers will be able to view the vehicle’s location and provide the customer with an accurate estimated time of arrival.

Your customers will also appreciate a shorter service window. Unlike many of your competitors, you will be able to tell your customer when they can expect your driver. For example, many companies give a 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. service window. That means the customer will have to wait at their location 5 hours for service. You will be able to confidently tell your customers your driver will arrive within 45 minutes with traffic.

When your customer needs urgent or emergency service, they will be surprised how fast your driver arrives at their location. GoFleet’s real time fleet tracking system lets dispatchers send the closest vehicle to the job site. In addition, your drivers will have more efficient routes to get them to the location using the shortest and fastest route possible. Improved customer service leads to more business, long-term customers, high customer retention rates and it gives you a competitive advantage.

Keep Your Trucks On The Road

Your drivers cannot work when your vehicles are in the shop. GoFleet’s real time fleet tracking helps to keep your vehicles on the road using convenient automobile maintenance alerts to remind the managers, shop personnel and drivers that the vehicle is due for scheduled maintenance. Getting your business vehicles maintained on time, equals reduced downtime and higher productivity. Furthermore, the real time fleet tracking system reports mileage automatically. Your drivers will not be responsible for writing down the mileage or letting you know their vehicle is due for maintenance.