Facts & Myths About GPS Handset Tracking With Btracking

Facts About GPS Handset Tracking

GPS handset tracking is one of the simplest tracking applications to use today, without the need for additional hardware, programming, installation costs, and additional plans as is required with dedicated GPS tracking units.   Solutions like Btracking.com offer a simple download to a smartphone, without contracts so that trial and adoption are very easy and simple to get started.

Btracking can provide powerful returns by providing:

  • Visibility into the field to support greater productivity
  • Safety
  • Transparent billing for various organizations

Setting up expectations is very important.  Within this article, we will discuss some of the facts and myths that spring up over time:

1.       The Btracking GPS tracking application tracks phone calls as well as location.

False.  The application is strictly a location based tracking application.  It has nothing to do with the voice functionality of your handset, nor rate plan.  The application is configured to simply send its location over a predetermined timeline (default of 5 minutes).  That is it.  It doesn’t recognize when one speaks on the phone or what is said.

2.       Handset tracking applications have no impact on battery power.

False. The application is set to wake up the GPS in the handset at a predetermined interval to send data to Btracking.com mapping portal.  Hence, having the app on your handset does take up a little more battery power than not having the application, as it requests the GPS to power up and send data.  However, our application uses only about 20% as much power on a client handset as does a ‘GPS Navigation’ program that is found on many handsets like iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.

To save battery power, there a few things you can do.  One can adjust the power saving settings on your handset, or change the reporting interval.  For example if you change interval on the ‘configuration screen’ of the app from 300 seconds, to 900 seconds, you are changing the reporting interval from every 5 minutes to every 15 minutes.  Hence, the need to wake up the GPS only 4 times per hour, and saving 3 times as much battery draw.  This is dependent on client requirements and preferences.

3. GPS handset tracking can be used for Lone Worker Safety.

True. The Btracking application has an SOS feature built within it, so that an ‘Alert’ can be sent immediately upon activation.  One simply hits the Send SOS button, and the application can send the location of the handset as a ‘high Alert’ via SMS, Email and online to predetermined destinations (supervisors/ emergency contacts/ etc.).   The alert is set to a default of reporting each minute for up to 10 minutes with the Alert notification.

The recipient of the SOS alert will have a link to Google Maps of the location of the distress signal on their own handset or computer.  They can then call the individual, or send for appropriate level of care/ support.

4.       Location data can be sent via voice service.

False.  The GPS location is reported via data transmission from the handset to Btracking mapping servers.  The location transmission cannot be transmitted via a voice only rate plan. Likewise, if one is on the handset speaking for extended periods of time, the GPS position will not be reported for the time period that they are speaking on the handset.  It will report the position once the position is ‘off the phone’.  The same is true of all other apps on most handsets that use the same modem for GSM and GPRS transmission.

5. Getting an accurate GPS location depends on “line of sight.”

True.  This means that, unlike radios and TVs that can receive their signals from above, the side, or through walls, GPS-enabled devices get signals only from above. Mobile devices need a clear line of site to the sky in order to get a good GPS reading. For this reason, phones running Xora do not always provide a location when indoors. When a worker is traveling, it’s best to keep the mobile device near the dashboard where line of sight is more direct. GPS location can only be acquired when line of sight visibility with GPS satellites in the sky can be obtained. 

6.       Dedicated devices or black boxes are an exception to the “line of sight” rule.

False. This is because vehicles with black boxes mounted in them also have external antennas, which receive GPS signals from the sky.

7.       GPS reception is more likely to fail when a mobile device’s battery is low.

True. This is true with all GPS activities on the handset. When workers are traveling, it’s a good idea for them to keep their phones plugged into their car chargers.

8.       GPS is accurate to within 100 meters 95% of the time and works pretty much the same way, regardless of which GPS vendor, application, or phone you choose.   

True. Although this is an average statistic, your experience will be with much greater accuracy on a daily basis, usually within 3-5 meter accuracy, all things being equal.  When you add in the opportunities for AGPS, and infrequent errors in GPS reads, the statistic becomes true on average.

9.       Someone can track my phone without my knowledge.

False. With Btracking, the application is configured for client approval and acceptance on the handset at all times.

  • The icon is visible once downloaded to a handset
  • Handset owner has complete control over GPS functionality, the app, and the phone itself

Companies usually issue policy requirements for having the application on during business hours and GPS on the handset active, so that the employee is available as would be expected during working hours.