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GPS technology lets us find out the location of a vehicle, a pet, or a family member. That obviously includes the kids or teens in the family, too. What happens is that the location of the GPS receiver is obtained from the GPS set of satellites and is displayed, overlaid on a map background. If you have a receiver on your car, typically, the navigation systems will tell you not only where you are but give you directions for going from point A to point B. It will actually tell you where to take a turn. So, there’s quite a bit of value addition on these processor based GPS receivers. Most navigation systems will tell you verbally where to take a turn.
It is not hard to imagine a simpler GPS device which sends the position information to a control center. You would then be able to monitor a specific car, a fleet of taxis, or any other vehicles. You can also have such a device on the person of your child or teenager, and you could get the location information for them from time to time. A service provider receiving such GPS information from children can arrange to send you this information for you to view it on a map. You can simply have an alert sent to you periodically intimating you of the position of your kid. You may only be interested in knowing if your kid reached school or is staying within a perimeter you have set up. Alerts can be sent to you to let you know of these events.
One approach is to actually have a GPS receiver that the person carries or even just wears it in his/her shirt pocket or is a part of clothing some way. Now that cell phone devices are required to carry a GPS receiver chip, the services can be operated as an extension of the communication services of the mobile phone carrier companies. It’d also be easier to convince a child to carry the mobile phone all the time. They are likely to do it anyway.
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Mobile Phone Based Services
Most major carriers offer these GPS tracking services. Since the location information can be obtained from anyone, they offer the services for anyone and typically call these services something about tracking friends and family. AT&T Family Maps, Sprint Family Locator, and Google Latitude are the names of services that exist today. Verizon and Alltel, too, have similar services.
AT&T Family Maps was launched April this year. Anyone with a cell phone on the network can be tracked. Besides GPS, triangulation between cell towers is used to improve positional accuracy. People being tracked are given periodic alerts that they are being tracked. You can receive the data on a PC or a mobile phone. You can track the people on your family plans, which costs as little as $9.99 for two and up to $14.99 for five people. The other services are similar.
The Latitude service is operated by Google, and you can choose to get the details on you computer or a mobile device. In either form, you can see an icon of the friend or family member on a map giving out the current location. The party being tracked has to agree to be tracked. He/she may set any location as current location. This can also be at a city/town/country level. You set it up so that you are currently in Timbuktu, much like being invisible on chat window! Google lets you communicate with the friend of family member via mobile, chat, or email. You can also get driving directions to the other party’s location.
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Tracker Based Services
In this form of service, the tracker will have to be somehow carried, much like a pager has to be carried, by the person to be tracked. Depending of the service level chosen the person, vehicle, or what have, you can even be tracked internationally via satellite communications. The service operators typically run a general tracking service where besides tracking children andfamily members, it provides services for tracking a fleet of vehicles and other things.
A typical example of this kind of services is the LiveViewGPS. They provide a range of devices depending on your needs, and they can be bought. The actual tracking service is subscription based like the mobile based services.