Thursday, 25 October 2012

Where is my stolen Car

Your dream Car.

It was bought from your hard earned money, and it was beautiful, loved and a cherished possession. One day, you find it missing!!

Your car has been stolen, it was not only a car, but your love, your passion, and something you cared for so dearly. You rush to police station to report the theft, and what do you get. Assurance that police will do everything to trace the car and you would hopefully get it back.

But, on a second thought, can Police do everything, be realistic, understand what happens to a car when it gets stolen. Read this

Theives of the day, are smart and are getting smarter. If you can get your car keys duplicated from any car market, what stops them from making one. Did you assume that chasis number engraved on your car can help to identify the car.

Once the car is stolen, it is driven down to some safe place, where either the chasis number is changed before being sent to far off state for resale, or the spares of the cars removed and solde in the open market. How do you see so many original spares available in the grey market.


How installing GPS vehicle tracking system increases the chance of faster vehicle recovery -

You have got a very less window of time in your hand, say for example, it may take a thief only 4 ~ 6 hours to bring the stolen vehicle to a safe place, and another couple of hours to dismantle the spares. Effectively, you have 8~12 hours to track down the vehicle, before you get to see the spares being sold in the market next day. How many days Police may take to reach the safe place, if it is not known to them, may be couple of days, and what shall they get from there even when they reach. Few spares !!

The system that is installed concealed inside the vehicle and keep tracking the location of your vehicle every minute comes handy. The recent cases where Dynakode has been able to assist in recovery of vehicles were all recovered within the same day in 4~6 hours maximum. One of the vehicle that was recovered was already parked on the dismantling platform.

There is no doubt, central locking & alarm systems, gear lock, steering lock all play an important role. These are the devices that helps in prevention of theft, but none of them is useful when it comes to recovery of vehicle that is stolen. GPS tracking system is not the replacement for security systems you install in your vehicle, but is the only useful tool you have that can help you recover the vehicle that is stolen

Specifications to look for in GPS tracking unit

Specifications to look for in GPS tracking unit

The GPS tracking unit comes in many different vairieties. As the saying goes, one shoe doesnt fit all, its true for tracking solution as well.
Get the basics of GPS tracking from earlier post here

This topic covers few of the technical specifications that one must check before selecting the solution. The variance in these technical specification also either increases or decreases the cost of the unit on whole.

The GPS/GPRS unit is an integrated unit with GPS Receiver functionality and GPRS/GSM data transmission facility. The location coordinates calculated by GPS module are transmitted to server using the data communication channel provided by the GPRS or GSM.

The main functionality of GPS module is to

a. Calculate Location Coordinates – Latitude, Longitude
b. Calculate Altitude – above mean sea level
c. Calculate Direction Heading – Direction of the movement eg. SW, SE, NW,NE etc.
d. Speed calculation – based on changing location coordinate over a period of time unit
e. Optionally calculate distance between two measurement points.
f. Dilution of Precision (DOP)– Measured as Horizontal, Vertical, Positional (3D), and Time Dilution of Precision. A DOP value between 2-5 is considered as good enough for the route navigation. Whereas DOP value above 10 are considered poor and should be rejected.

GPS Accuracy and Limitations
Common Factors affecting the accuracy of GPS:
• GPS Technique employed (i.e.: Autonomous, WADGPS, DGPS, RTK, etc.)
• Surrounding conditions (satellite visibility and multipath)
• Number of satellites in view
• Satellite Geometry (HDOP, GDOP, PDOP etc.)
• Distance from Reference Receiver(s) (non-autonomous GPS ie: WADGPS, DGPS, RTK)
• Ionospheric conditions
• Quality of GPS receiver

The precision or accuracy quoted by many GPS manufacturers is often done using a statistic known as CEP (Circular Error Probable) and are usually tested under ideal conditions.
CEP is the radius of the circle that will contain approximately 50 percent of the horizontal position measurements reported by the GPS receiver. This also means that 50% of the positions reported by your GPS will be outside of this circle.

Due to this variation in the CEP and horizontal position calculations the distances measured using the location coordinates returned by the GPS unit may not be accurate and vary.

Minimum Specifications to Check in the technical document provided with the GPS tracking unit -

1. Calculation of Location coordinates with CEP < 5mts, More the value less the accuracy
2. Support for Remote Configuration OTA / SMS : Needed to troubleshoot, or control aided features
3. Power Supply - 9V - 24V, higher the range better are the chances that the unit won't fail due to intermittent high voltages
4. Operation Temperature Range -10 deg. - 70deg
5. GPRS Class B and Class 12
6. Internal Battery Backup of upto 4 to 6 HRS
7. Support GSM Frequency Band 900/1800 MHZ

The above forms the basic and needed core specifications. Anything above it, is value add to the device and make it feature rich.

So, next time you are on the task to decide the good solution for yourself or your organization, get the technical specifications and scan through it for the above. More likely the units with the above minimum specifications shall serve the purpose and work for long.

Feel free to send your questions to us, and we would be happy to assist.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Basics of GPS Tracking

Lets start with understanding few basic terms -

1. GPS : Global Positioning System - (Source: Wikipedia) The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.

2. GPS Reciever : This is also known as GPS unit, is a a gadget which allows you to acurately pinpoint your position, its job is to locate 4 or more satellites. Using the mathematical principle - trilateration - it can find out its own location anywhere on the earth.

3. GPRS - General Packet Radio Service : This is a packet oriented mobile data service on the 2G and 3G cellular communication system's global system for mobile communications (GSM). You know this as Internet Data Connection on your mobile, and use it for browsing internet, checking emails, downloading softwares / songs on your mobile device.

Devices supporting GPRS are divided into three classes:

3.1 GPRS Class A device: Can be connected to GPRS service and GSM service (voice, SMS), using both at the same time.
3.2 GPRS Class B device: Can be connected to GPRS service and GSM service (voice, SMS), but using only one or the other at a given time. During GSM service (voice call or SMS), GPRS service is suspended, and then resumed automatically after the GSM service (voice call or SMS) has concluded. Most GPRS mobile devices are Class B.
3.3 GPRS Class C device: Are connected to either GPRS service or GSM service (voice, SMS). Must be switched manually between one or the other service.

How does GPRS device make connection

A GPRS connection is established by reference to its access point name (APN). The APN defines the services such as wireless application protocol (WAP) access, short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), and for Internet communication services such as email and World Wide Web access.

In order to set up a GPRS connection for a wireless modem, a user must specify an APN, optionally a user name and password, and very rarely an IP address, all provided by the network operator.

GPS + GPRS = Unit deployed in your vehicle for real time tracking

A GPS reciever and the GPRS hardware sit side by side in the same box ( normally referred as : GPS tracking Unit ), powered by same battery source. At regular intervals or predefined events, the unit sends the GPS data using the GPRS connectivity to the central server ( referred as : GPS tracking Server )

The basics are clear, in nutshell - A unit that has both GPS reciever and GPRS hardware module interfacing together forms the GPS tracking unit. Once this unit is installed inside your vehicle, the self locations reported by the unit indicates the location of the vehicle. All the data that is send to the tracking server is then presented to the user on the maps / reports.