Fleet GPS Tracking
November 24, 2009 5:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a GPS system for the fleet at my business. We have 6 trucks and run a small service company. I'm having a hard time finding what I need.

Admittedly, I don't know much about GPS systems.

There are so many options out there but I can't seem to find one that suits my requirements.

I want each truck to have a GPS like a TOM TOM or Garmin so that they can program their job location in and find directions to the next job. But I also want my service manager to be able to track each vehicle in real time.

So far all I can find are either the TOM TOMs of the GPS world, or a hidden GPS system in the trucks so that I can track them. There doesn't seem to be a blend of the two.

If you have any experience with this, I would love some help. Thanks.
posted by Tavern to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered a cell phone based option? I am only familiar with Verizon wireless solutions, Field Force Manager and VZ Navigator. Those two programs have a monthly fee associated with them that would let you do both of the things you listed. I would guess that the other major carriers provide similar services.
posted by Phoenix42 at 6:06 AM on November 24, 2009

You're not going to be able to roll your own here, that's for sure. I don't know a lot about these services, but I know UPS has a spinoff that does some of what you want. Dunno if it's ideal for a small company, though.

See here.
posted by paanta at 6:58 AM on November 24, 2009

I worked for a company awhile back that had to manage a large number of field people and we grappled with this same problem, though for us the issue was more a route/scheduling challenge than a 'where are they now' sort of thing. Turns out that routing and scheduling are pretty thorny, especially if the route is variable.

For something small, you might check out something like mologogo. You'd need to invest in the GPS-enabled smartphones they support, and it looks like there's a recurring fee for the service.
posted by jquinby at 7:46 AM on November 24, 2009

I appreciate the ideas. We thought about using cell phones, but they were too hard for them to use while driving and seeing where they were going on the map (small screens, hand held not mounted, etc.) Those will be great for tracking but I would also like to have the service techs be able to input an address and get a quick route.

I was hoping there would be a way to buy them all gps' like Garmin's and then use an online site like mologogo to track them.
posted by Tavern at 10:32 AM on November 24, 2009

I have almost no real information, but I do know the concept. There is a website where you can install an app on a cell phone, and it pings back to the website with gps location info. Maybe instatracker or something like that? But the cool thing is that you can buy prepaid phones that have generous datapackages (Tracphone, I believe), and you end up with an almost free solution for the tracking. Just plug the phone into the truck and off you go.

And use another solution for the directions.

But I would caution: what will the cost/benefit be to this? What problem are you trying to solve? Because sometimes people don't take kindly to being tracked like this, and might burn off any cost savings you might reap by gaming the system.
posted by gjc at 5:02 PM on November 24, 2009

Unfortunately there is no real blend, because you are asking for two completely different functions.
1. Tracking. Something with a gps chip in it, which communicates to the motherserver over some sort of radio (I would guess cellular data network?)

2. Routing and guidance.

The only commonality between the two systems is a GPS chip, which is super cheap compared to the other bits of the systems (a screen and maps and memory and processing power and routing algorithms etc. etc. for the guidance, and radio, servers, infrastructure for the tracking... so there isn't much saving with combining the two.

IMHO I think you would be best served with finding a good tracking solution, and buying some consumer gps tomtoms for the guidance.
posted by defcom1 at 6:12 PM on November 24, 2009

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