Cases for GPS Tracking

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Late last year, hay bales in Oklahoma began disappearing.  In the wake of a severe drought that drove the cost of hay sky-high, thieves began targeting hay for profit. Farmers began suffering losses as the huge bales began mysteriously disappearing from harvested fields. Wanting to get to the bottom of it, the local sheriff acted quickly by setting up a sting operation.
hay bale image
Selecting a recently “hit” farm for the operation, the sheriff placed portable GPS trackers inside hay bales and used the GPS technology to set a geo-fence boundary around the farm. The sheriff then waited to receive the text or email alert that would indicate that one of the GPS-rigged bales was “on the move.”  It didn’t take long.

After they received the alert, the GPS tracker made it easy to track the alleged thieves right to their hay stash. After tracking the bales, and placing the suspects under surveillance, officer’s suspicions were confirmed and they soon had confessions from the two local men, who face felony convictions for Knowingly Concealing and Withholding Stolen Property, following the hay heists.

In Fresno, a man, recently released from jail from a parole violation, broke into a landscaping business to steal the keys to a company vehicle parked outside the business. The man quickly made off with the truck.  When employees discovered the theft, they notified police and provided coordinates transmitted by the GPS tracker installed in the vehicle.
landscape truck
Police quickly located the truck, along with the suspect, who was considered to be a violent criminal. He didn’t get far. He was found stranded with the truck right where it broke down, alongside the highway.

When a tractor trailer was reported stolen from a Love’s Travel Center on Interstate 40 in Jefferson County, Tennessee law enforcement issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) for the “Carolina Southern” branded Freightliner truck.
truck stop
Trucking company officials relayed GPS tracking coordinates to law enforcement as it traveled across several highways. When officers were finally able to stop the truck, it bore little resemblance to the vehicle initially reported missing. Officers found that the suspect had affixed new tags to the vehicle, and painted over the original branding with white paint to conceal the truck’s identity. The trailer was reported to have been loaded with over half a million packs of cigarettes, retailing over $3 million.

In this case, the on-board GPS unit turned out to be crucial to the recovery of millions in merchandise.

In Toronto, a case involving professional car thieves led police to crimes in neighborhoods throughout town. Apparently, thieves were casing neighborhoods for high-value automobiles, and then breaking into homes to steal the keys. It took mere seconds for them to drive away in the stolen vehicles.  Police were tipped off to the car-theft ring when a vehicle was stolen following a home break-in.
luxury car
Police soon after placed a GPS tracker on one suspects’ car, and tracked him to several other stolen vehicles. Authorities were surprised when they also tracked the suspect to a Toronto rail yard, and found that thieves were stealing keys to brand new vehicles as they arrived from manufacturers.
Rail Yard
Next, the suspects recorded the VIN numbers to those same vehicles.  The VIN’s later provided addresses for owners of the newly purchased vehicles. Thieves simply went and picked up the cars using the stolen keys.

Recently in Philadelphia, over 17 pharmacies throughout the city suffered losses as thieves orchestrated a series of armed robberies in search of high demand prescription drugs. In each case, the thieves wore masks and approached pharmacy staff at gunpoint, demanding the pills. Then, the men ran out to a get-away car, making off repeatedly with pills from pharmacies around town.
To catch the thieves, police cleverly positioned small GPS trackers inside pill bottles, and delivered them to targeted pharmacies in the area. This time, when thieves demanded the pills, they also got the GPS tracker.

Agents were able to track the thieves straight to their home, where police were able to make an arrest within hours.  Evidence found in the home confirmed that the suspects were likely responsible for the multiple armed robberies occurring throughout the city.

Similarly in New York City, police officials recently announced a plan to track Oxycontin thieves.  As narcotic robberies become an increasingly violent crime causing injury and death to law enforcement, pharmacy employees and bystanders, officials are seeking strategies to protect everyone. By planting decoy pill bottles in pharmacies, they hope to track thieves straight to the stash houses where drugs are accumulated for illegal sale and distribution.

To learn more about GPS tracking and GPS tracking applications call (480) 661-1916.

GPS Tracking Landmarks

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 Landmarks for GPS tracking
What is a Landmark?

Landmarks are used in GPS tracking applications to help us determine if vehicles are stopping at various locations; either previously known to us or unknown. Landmarks can be created anywhere on the tracking map to mark a location of interest or importance. A Landmark Stop Report can be generated based upon the recorded stops made from within, or outside of landmark locations.

How can Landmarks help me?
If for example, you create a landmark around “Bob’s” house, you can generate a Landmark Stop Report based on the landmark; “Bob’s House”. The report will identify all stops made at this location.

On the other hand, Landmark Stop Reports can be used to identify any stops that do NOT fall within designated landmarks. This provides an opportunity for you to investigate any stops that you were previously unaware of. Use this filtering method when you want to identify vehicle stops that may represent unauthorized or previously unknown locations. Each recorded stop can be viewed on either the GPS tracking map or Google Maps for easy identification.

  • As a fleet manager, The Landmark Stop Report provides a valuable tool that can enhance mobile workforce management by providing insight into daily activities.
  • As an investigator, landmarks can help detect previously unknown locations by filtering out those that are already known.

Landmarks provide a valuable tool to view the history of vehicles stops at landmark locations, and the duration of each visit.

What to Landmark?
If you’re operating a business or manage your company’s fleet vehicles, the landmark report increases the effectiveness of your GPS reporting. It helps you determine when your vehicles are making authorized or unauthorized stops at designated locations. These locations could be homes, other businesses, job sites or any other locations that are meaningful for running your business.

GPS tracking landmark at job site                GPS tracking landmark at residence

When you want to make sure that vehicles are stopping at required locations, create landmarks there so that you can observe these stops and their frequency.

For investigations purposes, landmarks serve to confirm activity at frequented locations, while detecting activity at new ones.

GPS tracking landmark IP camera

For additional functionality, we’ve included an IP camera link to your Landmarks. This feature enables you to generate a quick link to your IP camera positioned at any landmark site. By creating an IP camera link, you’ll have access to video feed in cases where you benefit by further monitoring a location by sight.

How to Landmark?
Create a landmark directly from any GPS tracker’s stopped location. The next time you run a landmark report, you’ll be able to see if any other stops were made at this particular landmark. Or, choose any location on the GPS tracking map to create a landmark. Add it to a landmark group if you’d like to generate Landmark Stop Reports based upon several landmark locations. We include all the information you need to analyze landmark stops, including the date and time, the stop length and a mapped image of the stop location.

Options for filtering Landmark Stop Reports include a stop interval function, where you can choose to view stops that occur beyond a specified length of time. We recommend that you query stops over 4 minutes to filter out traffic lights.

Because people, not vehicles, usually move about many landmark locations, it is important to remember to include the area around the location (i.e. the parking lot) when creating landmarks; not just buildings. This ensures that GPS trackers within your vehicle will emit the stop data necessary to generate a Landmark Stop Report, providing you the information needed to make informed decisions.

All Landmark features are supported by the CovertTrack Online Command Center; our easy-to-use, online GPS tracking site.

GPS tracking Geo-Fence
How does a Landmark differ from a Geo-Fence?

Unlike a geo-fence which sends an alert when your GPS tracker crosses the perimeter of a designated zone, a landmark compiles data for selected locations when a vehicle stops there. Set a geo-fence if you want to be notified via an email or text alert when a tracker crosses a zone perimeter. Set a Landmark when you would like to be able to generate a report identifying vehicle stops within landmark locations (or outside of landmark locations). Landmarks also enable IP camera links, so visual access can be created for these locations.

What Landmark Stop Reports are Available?
Select any date range to view Landmark Stop Reports and choose whether you’d like to filter by tracking devices or tracking device groups.

To determine stops inside landmark area(s) search by:
1) all landmarks
2) select landmarks
3) select landmark groups

To determine stops outside of landmark area(s) search by:
1) not within any landmarks
2) not within selected landmarks
3) not within selected landmark groups
Searches outside of landmark areas are most useful when you first create landmarks at locations where your GPS trackers are known to stop.

Need More Help with Landmarks?
If you need help with Landmarks or Landmark Stop Reports, please contact our Technical Support Team at
(480) 675-9545.

Contact CovertTrack
For more information about GPS Tracking or GPS Trackers, call CovertTrack at
(480) 661-1916.

The GPS Tracking Interface

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Part 2 of Choosing a GPS Tracker 

There are two critical elements to consider when purchasing equipment for GPS tracking. The first is the GPS tracking device itself. The second, and just as critical to effective tracking, is the GPS Tracking Interface. The Interface is the tracking service that supports the tracking device, enabling it to deliver location, condition and report data to your online tracking dashboard. The interface also enables the features and alerts on your GPS tracker to operate.

GPS tracking dashboard

Most GPS tracking Interfaces are web-based applications. They enable users to log on to a website to view the location of people, assets or vehicles on a satellite-style mapping system. GPS tracking features and alert functions are integrated into the system so that they are easily activated from an online tracking dashboard.

Most popular GPS Tracking Features and Alert Functions include:

    • Live Tracking
    • Email & SMS Alert System
    • Geo-Fence Boundary Alerts
    • Motion Alerts
    • Proximity Alerts
    • Low Battery Alerts
    • Panic Button
    • Landmark Locations
    • Current & Historic Speed
    • Address & Latitude/Longitude
    • Tracking Reports including Stop Times & Addresses Visited

A robust, yet easy-to-use tracking interface is the ideal choice for a variety of GPS tracking applications. Most people don’t have time to take lengthy training courses, download software that requires frequent updates, or want to be tied to their home or office for tracking. You’ll benefit most from being able to track your valuables from anywhere, from any computer or mobile device, using an online interface that provides usable features that enhance tracking operations.

GPS trackerThe GPS Tracking Interface directly controls the tracking intervals at which your tracker gathers and displays tracking data. Any tracking interface should provide multiple tracking intervals  – reporting  from around 15 minutes down to 5 seconds. Having a range of available reporting intervals enables you to manage your GPS tracking. This involves balancing battery life with tracking functions to get optimum performance from your GPS tracking equipment.

Buzz words often associated with GPS tracking are Real-Time Trackingand “Live GPS Tracking”. Many trackers have the capability to report real-time data, but not all tracking services offer this feature. What is means is that you’ll “see” the tracker moving in real time on your tracking map. The movement is happening LIVE, while you’re watching, giving you the advantage of knowing where any asset or individual is located at any time.

Live tracking is especially important for investigators and fleet managers, or anyone that needs up-to-the-moment location information. When you limit yourself to a few “locates” per month, you can’t “see” your tracking devices as often as you need to. A service that provides unlimited report intervals down to 5 seconds is ideal to support genuine live tracking.

Access to unlimited Historic Tracking data is another beneficial feature, especially if you’re a security officer or in an investigations field. This feature enables you to retrieve tracking data from any historical time period as needed.

Another important aspect of any GPS tracking interface is the GPS tracking map. You’ll need a map that is powered by a mapping provider that updates continually, like Bing or Google. Also useful is the ability to view the map in multiple views, like roadmap, aerial and bird’s eye views, in order to see the tracking in a manner that is most effective for you.

Any tacking service you choose should provide all the tracking features and alert functions that will enable you to effectively track the things that matter to you.

If you need help choosing a GPS tracker, call our sales support team to review your specific application needs. We can help you determine the GPS tracking system that is right for you.

For more information call CovertTrack Group at (480) 661-1916.

Types of GPS Trackers

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Part 1 of Choosing a GPS Tracker

GPS trackers are built in many shapes and sizes, offering a variety of available tracking features, reporting options and power sources. The best tracker for you will be determined by your objectives and the focus of your tracking.

There are two critical elements to consider when purchasing equipment for any GPS tracking operation. The first, is the tracking device itself. It must have the ability to perform all the functions required for the intended application. Second, and just as critical to effective tracking, is the tracking service supporting the tracking device (more on this later).


Portable_GPS_TrackerProbably the most versatile tracking device, the portable GPS tracker is a self-contained, battery powered device used to locate, monitor and track the things that matter to people. The most common applications include people tracking, vehicle tracking and asset tracking.

Choose a portable tracker when you’re going to slip it into a purse or backpack for personal protection or family safety; drop it into a glove box or fasten it to a vehicle for tracking vehicle location or monitoring driver habits; minimize theft and ensure recovery of valuable shipments, high-value assets or equipment.

Many accessories equip trackers to suit specific applications. For example, case styles include those that enable carrying the device on a belt clip, while others feature specialized magnets that enable users to mount the unit to a variety of assets, including vehicles. Most portable trackers include the option to add an external battery pack when you wish to extend tracking up to 45 days. Use a portable GPS tracker when you need to deploy a tracker on a vehicle – quickly and discreetly.

Portable trackers can be smaller than a credit card or slightly larger when equipped with an extended battery pack. Most are considered All-In-One trackers – they include everything needed to operate within their own casing, including the antennae and on-board battery. Portable trackers are a good choice when you want a multi-purpose tracker to fulfill a variety of functions.


Hardwire_GPS_TrackerHardwired GPS tracking devices employ a vehicle’s battery to power the unit, eliminating the need for recharging. These devices are hard-wired right into the vehicle and can’t be removed quickly for use in other applications, but are ideal for fleet tracking, or anytime a vehicle owner wants to monitor business or personal vehicles.

A number of hardwired GPS trackers are specialized with heavy-duty, weather-proof casing, making them optimal for monitoring motor sport vehicles, RVs, tractor trailers and heavy equipment. Many also come equipped with relay Input and Output triggers, enabling you to customize your tracker with remote outputs like ignition kill or door lock, while receiving alerts for events like unauthorized zone crossings, speeding and more.

Powered assets and high-value equipment that aren’t necessarily mobile are also good places to use hardwired GPS trackers. Some hardwired trackers incorporate a backup battery on board, so if the power is cut, the user receives an alert and maintains the ability to track the asset for several days or more. Generally, more than enough time to “see” where the asset has traveled. Common applications include monitoring off-site company equipment or assets that may be vulnerable to theft or misuse.

Hardwired devices are easy to install, but professional installation is generally recommended. The tracker is usually hidden behind the dash or in an inconspicuous place, enabling users to choose between open or covert tracking applications.


Data_Logger_GPS_TrackerData loggers are GPS trackers that record tracking data for retrieval after-the-fact. You’ll know where the tracker has been, but you won’t be able to track it in real time. These devices don’t require an active tracking plan, but rather require the user to download and install an application on their computer in order to view the tracking data.

Data loggers are usually used by those needing an extremely cost-effective way to see where an asset or person has been, not where they are now.


Edge_GPS_trackerPlug ‘n Go GPS trackers plug into the OBDII connector of a vehicle to access power and onboard computer information. They are not hard-wired into the vehicle. The deployment can be somewhat hidden, depending upon the vehicle’s design, and is usually located under the dash, just below the steering wheel. Plug ‘n Go GPS trackers offer a non-secured, but simple method for tracking fleet vehicles while providing general vehicle diagnostics.

Plug ‘n Go trackers are capable of providing live tracking, depending upon the tracking interface that supports the GPS tracker.

Next week – Choosing a GPS Tracker, part 2 – The GPS Tracking Interface.

For more information on GPS Tracking call CovertTrack Group at (480) 661-1916.

How GPS Tracking Works

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GPS Satellite

If you’ve ever wondered how a group of satellites orbiting the globe can help you track an asset, vehicle or another person right here on earth…here’s how…

Global Positioning System

The Global Positioning System is a space-based, global navigation satellite system based on 24 orbiting satellites. Originally built for the US military, it has become essential to almost all of us for both business and personal activities. More on that later…

GPS constellation

Each satellite’s position is always known, thanks to a mathematically predictable orbit. Each satellite orbits at an altitude of approximately 20,200 km, circling the Earth twice a day. The satellites are arranged in a way that ensures that there are at least four satellites in view from virtually any point on the planet. When four or more satellites have an unobstructed line of sight to their ground stations, the system provides reliable location and time information anywhere on or near the Earth, even during inclement weather.

Triangulation and GPS Position Calculations

The satellites become reference points. Any location on earth can be determined based on its relation to them. Your GPS tracking devise receives messages from these satellites and then determines the time it took the satellite message to reach it. Based on this amount of time, GPS position calculations can determine the GPS tracker’s location when compared to the satellites.

GPS Position Calculations Take the Speed of Light into Consideration

Because detecting the time it takes the satellite’s message to reach the GPS tracking device is essential in the GPS position calculations, the speed of light has to be taken into consideration. If the clocks on GPS trackers were just 1,000th a second off from the satellite’s, which is the speed of light, the location determined from the GPS position calculations would be off by about 200 miles!

GPS Satelites

While three satellites can locate a point in space, four are needed to compensate for the speed of light. This fourth satellite is a cross-check to the other three satellites. The three satellites will intersect at a single point, while the fourth satellite will not. GPS trackers detect this discrepancy, then, subtract whatever is necessary to bring all the satellites to a single intersection point. This is how the GPS position calculations can provide an accurate location of the tracker, anywhere on earth.

GPS Applications

GPS applications extend into everyday activities, from banking to finding your way to a new destination. GPS tracking technology is now used to control the power grids, enabling well synchronized hand-off switching and continuous electrical supply even as demands increase.

GPS Tracking technology can be used to track individuals who may be in distress. 911 callers are easily located when using their cell phones, thanks to GPS technology.

Civilian GPS tracking applications include monitoring the movements of assets, vehicles, people, and pets for safety, security and covert operations.

covert vehicle_tracking

Other civilian applications include recreational use. For instance, geocaching, an outdoor sport activity, involves participants using GPS trackers to hide and seek containers, called geocaches, throughout the world.

For more information about GPS tracking or GPS trackers,
call (480) 661-1916.


GPS Tracker Placement

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Most tracking problems that occur when tracking with a portable or “slap ‘n go” GPS tracker, can usually be traced back to one very important factor – placement!

Placement of any GPS tracker is the key to getting the best tracking performance. The optimal placement of a GPS tracker is to position it with the antenna side of the device facing up, with a clear view of the sky. But, if you require a covert application on a vehicle, that is simply not possible.

GPS constellationThe reason GPS trackers are normally placed in clear view of the sky is because they use transmissions from satellites to locate themselves in time and space.  The 24 satellites that make up the Global Positioning System orbit the earth at an altitude of approximately 20,000 kilometers; consequently, the signal is weakened as it travels toward the earth’s surface. When objects stand between the GPS tracker and the sky, the signal strength can be inhibited.

Furthermore, GPS signals do not penetrate through many solid objects such as concrete or metal. But, what they can do is bounce, and when placed correctly, the GPS tracker receives the signal that bounces around the periphery of the vehicle to determine its location. With this in mind, the optimal deployment locations for your tracker are illustrated in the diagram below.

GPS Tracker – Exterior Vehicle Placement

Optimal GPS vehicle placementIt makes sense that the ideal placement is close to the perimeter of the vehicle, away from the engine, in proximity to the bounced GPS signal. To receive the best reception, place the device beneath the passenger compartment areas or back portion of the underside of the vehicle, with the GPS antenna side facing DOWN, toward the ground. Placement in other areas may cause signal obstruction, which can lead to poor tracking results.

SideView_of_vehicle for GPS placementHybrid-Assisted GPS

Choosing a GPS tracker with hybrid-assisted GPS can enhance tracking function, as it works in conjunction with the GPS signal to locate the tracker.  By triangulating cellular signals from nearby cell phone towers, the tracker can locate itself in the absence of a GPS signal. In cases where the GPS signal is lost temporarily, triangulation will maintain tracking, at a slightly reduced degree of accuracy from that of GPS tracking.

GPS Tracker – Interior Vehicle Placement

When you have access to the interior of a vehicle, there are several places that are generally good for GPS tracking. Place the tracker under or behind the dash if possible. Since the GPS signal streams in the front window, and there is very little to inhibit the signal within the material of the dash, the signal strength of the tracker should be very good. Be sure to check that the device is deployed in an area free of metal obstructions.

Placing the device under a seat is another option for interior placement. It will result in a faster, easier deployment than placing it within the dash, but obstructions ON the seat could occasionally inhibit the GPS signal from reaching the tracker.  It is important to check that these areas are free of metal obstructions from above.

GPS Tracker – Improper Placement

Never place a GPS tracking device near a heat source, fuel tank or near the fuel lines of any vehicle. The tracker’s battery can become a fire hazard if placed too close to any of these areas on a vehicle.

Never place a GPS tracker in the trunk. The trunk of a vehicle is never ideal for GPS tracker placement because it’s completely surrounded by metal that will obstruct the GPS signal.

To learn more about GPS trackers or placement of your tracker,
contact us at (480) 661-1916.

GPS Tracking with Geo-Fences

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If you’re not using geo-fences with your GPS tracking, or if you’re not sure how to use them, you’re missing out on a tool that could significantly enhance your GPS tracking operations.
Geo-fences can be a valuable part of GPS tracking for personal, business and investigative applications.

What is a Geo-Fence?

A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter or boundary that can be drawn around any location or geographical area on your tracking site. A geo-fence can include the perimeter of a home, neighborhood, business, job site, mall, hotel, city or even an entire state! When a geo-fence boundary is drawn, you (and up to 9 other users) will receive a text or email notification alerting you that your GPS tracker has entered into or exited the geo-fence zone. Geo-fence technology has an abundance of applications, limited only by the imagination.

Geo-fence maps

Geo-Fences for Personal Use

Increasing family safety is one example of a popular personal use for this technology. Parents or caretakers can set geo-fences around schools, neighborhoods, after school programs or sporting event locations to receive an alert when a child enters or exits any of these pre-defined areas. Receive a text message or email alert when your child leaves school; then receive another alert when they arrive home. Of course you can always monitor their progress in between locations, by logging on to your tracking site from any internet enabled device to view your tracking live.

geo-fence school zone

This technology works equally well when you have children playing in your neighborhood or for protecting elderly family members that may wander away from home or care facilities. They can even be of use for pets, to notify owners if they run off while you’re away. By using geo-fence boundaries, you can keep track of what’s most valuable to you!

Geo-Fences for Business Use

Geo-fences are equally useful for businesses. They can be used to help prevent theft by notifying managers when high-value vehicles or equipment are removed from job sites. Managers can set geo-fence boundaries around businesses, territories or even regions to identify when employees are arriving and departing, or use them to detect any unauthorized use of company vehicles or equipment after hours.

Many businesses use GPS tracking to promote employee accountability. Geo-fence settings can help eliminate unauthorized stops, inefficient routes and side trips without directly monitoring each vehicle.

Geo-Fences for Investigative Use

Investigators use geo-fences during tracking operations to provide notification when targets move from place to place. There’s no need to have eyes on various locations at all hours. The geo-fence boundary sends out an alert when your target leaves or arrives at any designated location. Geo-fences can also be used to draw “off-limits” zones when you need notification that someone has entered an area that they should not be.

Geo-Fence Time Intervals

CovertTrack’s geo-fence system is unique because it enables users to set geo-fence alerts for specific time intervals on specific days of the week. In many circumstances, users don’t want to be alerted during periods of expected geo-fence crossings, such as heavy traffic periods around a job site. This feature provides users full control to limit alerts to overnight hours or any other time intervals deemed significant. A user can monitor a child going to and from school during the week, while having alternate geo-fence zones and alerts for the weekend. Setting geo-fences only takes a few moments, and they remain intact until the user removes them.

geo-fence settings

(Time Windows – Add more Time Windows when you need even more alert options)

Each geo-fence can be named, so alerts sent by email or text messaging provide the information you need to know the location of your tracker. Simply log on to the tracking site to see where your tracker’s going next!

For more information about GPS Trackers or Geo-Fence settings, contact us
at (480) 661-1916.

GPS Jammers – Blocking the Signal

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Millions of consumers, businesses, law enforcement and the U.S. military all rely on GPS signals on a daily basis. They’re used for everything from maritime and aircraft location systems, financial-securities clearing, mining and electricity distribution, road tolling, to weather forecasting and much more. Despite their importance in our communities, many people have adopted the use of GPS jammers in an attempt to block GPS signals, even though jammers are illegal and pose a potential threat to public safety.

Why do People use GPS Jammers?
Jammers are popular with some commercial drivers who don’t want to be tracked by employers. 

Airplane affected by GPS JammerIn one case at the Newark Airport in New Jersey, engineers noticed that the GPS-based landing system was experiencing daily disruptions. Something, they found, was interfering with the signals from GPS satellites. After several months, investigators from the Federal Aviation determined that a truck driver, who passed by daily on the nearby New Jersey Turnpike, was using an inexpensive GPS jammer in his vehicle to avoid paying highway tolls. The trucker was cruising past twice a day, temporarily crippling an airport as he went.

Since many employees don’t want their every move monitored, they attempt to “jam” the signal emitted from their on-board GPS devices, thereby attempting to evade tracking. Although some feel the tracking is somewhat invasive, employers usually enlist GPS trackers on company vehicles to secure vehicles and cargo, while employing methods to increase fuel efficiency, productivity and driver safety.

Criminal Use of GPS Jammers

Vehicle Theft GPS JammingCriminals employ GPS jamming technology to evade law enforcement while stealing high-value assets, cargo and vehicles. The jamming device broadcasts a strong local signal on the same frequency as the GPS device, attempting to drown the GPS signal and prevent the device from determining its location. This can make it more difficult for people to protect their property, and for law enforcement to locate it when stolen.

What Happens when a Person “Jams” the GPS signal?
The signal that jammers emit can seriously affect communication networks used by police, fire, and emergency medical services, to the detriment of the public safety. Jammers can prevent emergency responders from homing in on the location of a 911 caller in an emergency situation, as GPS is increasingly relied upon for guiding emergency services to the scene. The interference can affect any nearby device or system, reliant on GPS technology.

Are Jammers Legal?
Much of the public is unaware that it is against Federal Law to use, import, advertise, sell or ship any jamming device that blocks, jams or interferes with authorized communications – on private or public property. Still, jammers can be easily purchased online, and are advertised as privacy protectors and tracker blockers. Most websites don’t advertise that these devices are illegal to own or operate, and the average consumer is unaware of the jammers’ capabilities to wreak havoc. Yet, some knowingly choose to use jammers for their own benefit, at risk to public safety.

What can be done to Stop Jamming?
Recently, the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau launched a dedicated tip line to address the dangers of jammers and to stop the deliberate jamming of GPS signals. The Tip Line – 1-855-55-NOJAM (or 1-855-556-6526) –makes it easier for the public to report the use or sale of illegal cell phone, GPS or other signal jammers.

The FCC is requesting that the public call the toll free Jammer Tip Line immediately if:

      • you are aware of the ongoing use of a cell, GPS, or other signal jammer;FCC Jammer Tip Line
      • Ÿyour employer operates a jammer in your workplace;
      • Ÿyou observe a jammer in operation at your school or college;
      • Ÿyou observe an advertisement for a jammer at a local store; or
      • Ÿyou observe a jammer being operated on your local bus, train or other mass transit system.

 Fines for violations of the law run up to $112,500 per violation, and can lead to criminal prosecution (including imprisonment) or seizure of the illegal device.

Do Jammers Block all GPS Tracking Devices?
There are a few devices on the market that offer superior performance in “noisy” environments through the use of an adaptive, digital filtering technology which can actively suppress interference. This technology has been proven to MicroTracker II GPS Trackerovercome interfering signals; those much stronger than conventional GPS receivers can withstand. The MicroTracker II – GPS Tracker is an example of a device that is less susceptible to GPS jamming. This device suppresses the signal from the jammer, and looks for other GPS signals to determine location. These innovative features result in the most sensitive and reliable GPS tracking technology in today’s market.

Read more about GPS jammers at or
For more information about GPS trackers that feature this anti-jamming technology, call (480) 661-1916.

Managed GPS Tracking – Balancing Battery Life & Update Performance

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The biggest dilemma for users of battery-operated GPS trackers can be managing the balance between battery life and update performance. Everyone wants the fastest updates so that they can see the tracker moving across the map in Real Time. But faster updates burn more battery, and packing additional battery into a device increases the cost, weight and size.

Many GPS tracking products on the market now are comparatively primitive, solving the battery dilemma by providing 2, 5, 10 or even 15-minute updates. Some are even “ping” based, updating their location only when specifically requested. One problem with this technology is that you don’t have the option to see real-time tracking.  Secondly, you won’t see a historical playback (with any degree of accuracy) that displays where the tracking device has been, if you weren’t watching at the time.

What can users do to Increase Battery Life while Maintaining Performance?

At CovertTrack, we offer our users a choice of multiple tracking intervals to perform “managed tracking” while employing GPS trackers.  We’ve found that a tracking interval of about 30 seconds is a good balance between battery life and update performance for general tracking. Since most of our GPS trackers provide tracking intervals down to 5 and 10 seconds, you can employ these faster reporting intervals during times when you want to see the tracker moving in Real Time (also referred to as Live Tracking). For most applications, you’ll find that this constitutes only a small percentage of your overall tracking time, so by setting a 30-second interval, you can extend the charge on your battery.

GPS Trackers - Battery Level & Report Interval

GPS Trackers – Battery Level & Report Interval Setting

Conversely, you can set the tracker to report at higher report intervals when you know a vehicle will be travelling a very long distance, and you don’t need to see it moving in real time. In these cases, you can conserve your battery by setting the interval high, then reducing it when needed.

By employing a “managed tracking” strategy for battery conservation, you’ll see that your tracking device doesn’t simply track for “X” number of days. Depending on the type of tracker that you own, your battery could last up to 70 to 90 hours of actual movement time, with 5-second reporting. When the device only moves 1 hour per day, that means the battery will last approximately 70 days on a single battery charge. When the vehicle moves 2 hours per day, the battery will last roughly 35 days. Since most vehicles don’t move nonstop, average driving time per day is generally determined to be about 2 hours. Setting your tracker to report about every 30 seconds will result in much more battery life from your tracker!

Another technology that plays a role in battery conservation is our Advanced Power Management. Users don’t need to be cognizant of this feature; the trackers are pre-programmed to stop reporting when a certain threshold of “no movement” is reached.  Trackers go back into full power mode and resume transmissions the instant the device begins to move again.

One more thing to bear in mind when striving for optimal battery life is the GSP tracker’s deployment location. Deploying a unit incorrectly can cause it to continually search for GPS signals or lose its location fix, resulting in above-normal battery use.  You can check this by inspecting the Raw Data Report, available on the CovertTrack mapping site, for missing data entries. If this is found to be the case, the tracker should be repositioned for a better “line of sight” to increase performance. If you’re unsure about proper GPS tracker deployment, click here to see a diagram.

In closing, it’s important to remember that in most cases the user can “control” a GPS tracker’s battery life, by employing “managed tracking” techniques and ensuring proper placement. The convenience for you as a user will pay off in fewer device retrievals and charging frequency.

If you have any questions about these topics or any others, please contact a member of our Support Services Team at (480) 657-9545.

GPS Tracker – Battery Care & Maintenance

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Whether you’re an investigator or security specialist, an important thing to remember when you own a portable, slap-n-go GPS tracker, is to keep it stored in a cool, dry place when not in use.  Also, don’t forget to charge your battery once a month to keep it in top shape.

Most portable GPS trackers today are equipped with lithium ion batteries. Just like other battery- operated electronics, a lithium-ion battery can be the one of the most expensive replacements on a device.  Keep it in the best condition possible to keep it ready for use and to keep your ROI high.

Charging times will vary per device, depending on the size of the battery and the charge remaining on it. Your charge could take anywhere from a few minutes to up to 24 hours. It’s never recommended that you leave a battery unattended while charging, so, charge it in segments if you find that’s the case for you.

When charging, always charge your battery on a fireproof surface and never place your battery near a heat source or fuel source.

If you just purchased your portable GPS tracker, be sure to charge your battery completely before deploying it for the first time.

Log on to the CovertTrack Online Tracking site to check the battery level of your device any time The battery level indicator is clearly visible on the tracking dashboard.

GPS Tracker Battery Indicator

Visit to check your battery level

Finally, remember to send any device containing an extended battery to us annually for a Maintenance & Safety Check.
Contact support services for more information (480) 657-9545.