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GPS: Saving Lives Every Day

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are about much more than just the fastest way to get from point A to point B and avoiding traffic. GPS technology has become a central part and building block for safety in so many industries. It's now a fundamental part of our modern emergency response system. When it comes to life or death, time is a critical element that’s not always on our side. In rescue missions, having a precise location is essential to deploying the closest emergency aid team. This technology has allowed for us to respond to events. GPS devices provide solutions from personal to global application that will continue to create more efficiency across the board from safety procedures to ultimately living another day.

Public Safety & Disaster Relief: GPS has played a vital role in public safety and disaster relief by protecting life and reducing property loss in a more accurate and timely manner. Search and rescue (SAR) teams use GPS, GIS (Geographic Information System), and remote sensing technology to create maps of disaster areas where little or no mapping information is available for operations. Another system developed by NASA used by many government agencies, including International Cospas-Sarsat, is the Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS). It tasks the GPS satellites to swiftly detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons which has saved countless lives. Wildfire management uses aircraft with GPS and infrared scanners to identify fire boundaries and “hot spots.” Fire maps are exported to field computers to equip firefighters with real time information to help them to help them extinguish the flames. GPS devices are also helping scientists study and predict earthquakes allowing for us to take precautions. Meteorologists rely on this technology to track storms, flooding and assess water vapor content by analyzing the transmission of GPS data through the atmosphere. This information keeps the public informed of weather conditions. GPS technology has become an international standard for equipping and coordinating emergency teams and fleet vehicles. Leading to more resourceful operations by being able to view in real-time where their teams are in the field in the transportation network system. Allowing for the prediction of a crisis or problem areas, the dispatch of police, firefighters, and EMTs to get to the location faster and in result saving more lives.

Protecting our Rails: Positive Train Control (PTC) a computer-based crash avoidance system was developed to calculate crash prediction and prevent derailment due to ever changing conditions. Thanks to GPS, the software is able to track an active train’s location, distance from other trains, speed, railroad traffic and the condition and placement of tracks. If a problem is detected, the PTC is able to stop a train in its tracks to prevent a series of unfortunate events from occurring. Congress extended the RSIA of 2008 to ensure successful development and installation. It is expected to be implemented across the board for Class I Railroads by the end of 2018. Learn more on how it works.

Protecting our Roads: The evolution of motor vehicles continue to create innovative technology that is designed to create a safer driving experience on the road. More often than not, wrecks are caused by human error. As the mission for safety evolves we’ve seen motor vehicle companies adding in GPS, cameras, hands free, radar sensors, auto braking, lane adjustments, etc., to ensure the driver is more aware of their surroundings. In the worst case scenarios the vehicle can take control to avoid collisions or call for help if passengers can’t. Unfortunately, as technology & society progresses so do our distractions, we aren’t always present because we’re constantly multitasking. Even with the added safety features, driving distracted will continue to be a factor in motor accidents. The next vision on the horizon is Automated Driving Systems (ADS) that will one day, after all the kinks are figured out replace human drivers to provide significant safety benefits. Currently, we are seeing partial Automated Safety features such as lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and self-parking vehicles. Eventually, the industry will make the shift to fully automated vehicles that will take over the hassle of driving, instead of us driving them, creating safer driving conditions and preventing fewer accidents and deaths every year.

Protecting our waters: Standard or high-tech GPS technology can provide a boat’s exact location which is critical on the vast water landscape. It provides latitude, longitude and altitude to SAR teams in emergencies if a distress signal is emitting. But it does more than just its standard capabilities of pinpointing a location or providing direction. Many factors come into saving lives at sea and GPS technology has improved search and rescue strategic planning. From conserving fuel to integrating with advanced communication systems GPS technology can safely direct auto pilot systems, track water depth, plus direction speed and proximity of other vessels on or in the water. All of this has contributed to safer excursions on the water.”

Protecting our Skies: GPS technology first and foremost provides the quickest and most efficient routes for aircrafts. The technology has made it possible to track and coordinate planes in the air. Having knowledge of accurate locations, the environment and weather conditions prevents collisions when sight is limited. This technology has improved pilot reaction time when assessing dangers and determining the best and safest course of action in the air.

Tracking Assets: No one should have to go through the tragedy of losing a loved one and milk cartons pictures aren’t the best way to find a missing loved one anymore. Nowadays GPS tracking comes in many forms when it comes to keeping track of people, furry friends and important assets. Most of us have them, smart devices are equipped with location services utilized by many apps. On some smart phones, we now have the ability to drop a pin and provide instant directions. Unfortunately not all of us have smart devices, that’s where other tracking products come into play from wearable tracking like fitness bands, kid wearables, pet wearables, elderly wearables to accessories for bags, wallets, keys and stuffed animals. Some of them are even equipped with SOS buttons such as our iTrail Solo, a portable battery operated tracking device with a panic button to emit a distress signal. These devices allow family, friends and in the case of emergency, law enforcement to pinpoint a location on an asset and send the assistance needed.

Getting the Bad Guys: GPS technology is on duty 24-7 assisting law enforcement and the military in local to global active operations. The adaptable technology can predict, track, locate, and target a person, place or thing of interest in a matter of seconds. The technology is widely used for preventative and reactive measures in the field such as tracking missiles, guiding troops and controlling the number of casualties. Danger comes from all angles and GPS has given law enforcement the ability to protect life above all else and stop threats in their tracks.

As you can tell GPS technology is essential in saving lives. If you need a GPS partner for your life saving or asset tracking operations then take a look at our iTrail GPS Tracking line. We offer solutions from asset to fleet tracking to help you keep the most important people and assets in your life and business safe and secure.

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