stolentractor_20100324160709_320_240After having his business equipment stolen numerous times before (worth around $50,000), Scott Williams, a Tampa businessman, decided to take the matter of protecting his property into his own hands. He installed GPS trackers in his business truck and all of his landscaping equipment, so that he would be able to track its exact location in case it was stolen again.

And when it did get stolen yesterday morning, he logged on a friend’s computer and was able to see exactly where the truck and stolen equipment was heading. He then called up the police and gave them the exact location of the truck.

“When the vehicle was taken, he got with a friend who could track it on his home computer and was able to give our officer a play-by-play, street-by-street location of that vehicle as it was fleeing the area,” said Lt. Bruce Leidholdt.

Thanks to the GPS trackers, within a few hours, all of Scott’s equipment and truck was returned to him and he was able to get back to work.

Now most people wouldn’t normally expect lawnmowers and landscaping equipment to be tracked by GPS, but when you really think about it, all of this equipment is really expensive.

“A mower is $15,000. A weed eater is $400. Back pack blower is, like, $600. This stuff gets expensive,” Williamson said.

As of right now, the police haven’t found the thief, but they have found what seems to be his car and a gun inside it. And as for Scott Williams, he is just happy that the thieves didn’t put him out of business.

(Via MyFoxTampaBay)

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football-gpaWith the Super Bowl coming up soon, GPS tracking is becoming extremely useful and in high demand in order to keep everything running smoothly. And it’s not only for the police and investigations now, GPS Trackers are being used for anything that is considered important – they are being  placed in equipment bags, team buses, limousines, as well as on elected officials and personnel.

“At the Super Bowl, you’ve got a couple million dollars worth of athletes on buses, you want to know where those buses are at all times… The safety and security of athletes and personnel are our highest priority” said Jerry Hunter, founder and CEO of Oklahoma-based U.S. Fleet Tracking.

The GPS tracking systems being used at the Super Bowl prove that the people running these sporting events are not leaving anything to chance, they want everything to run as smoothly as possible and are not afraid to invest some extra money to make sure that it does.

(Via MetroNews)

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amandasbill1Kentucky lawmakers are facing a difficult decision in the case of whether or not to allow GPS trackers to monitor those convicted of domestic violence to keep them away from their victims. At least a dozen states are currently using the technology to make sure that violent offenders are no where near their victims, yet Kentucky has thus far held out.

Diana Ross, mother of Amanda Ross, a victim of domestic violence who lost her life around four months ago to the hand of her ex-boyfriend, Steve Nunn. Ross states that the law “would have saved my daughter’s life if it would have been in place.”

“She would not have stepped out her door that morning if she had had a GPS tracking device on her perpetrator,” Diana Ross said today on “Good Morning America.”

Even under an order of protection by a Kentucky judge, Amanda Ross was not safe from her attacker.

Amanda’s family is pushing for “Amanda’s bill,” a law that would require those served with orders of protection to wear a GPS tracking device so police and potential or past victims could keep tabs on their whereabouts to make sure they themselves stay out of harm’s way.

Currently, there are only 12 states utilizing this technology to keep tabs on domestic violence offenders.


(Via ABC News)

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google-near-me Google has recently released a new “Near Me Now” feature that uses the built-in GPS tracker in smart phones to show business and attractions that are around you. It is located on the Google homepage underneath the search bar, and will only appear there after you enable the GPS feature on your smart phone. It will then allow you to look up local business , attractions, reviews, hour of operation, etc.

For now it is only available on the iPhone (OS 3.0 or later) and Android (OS 2.0.1 or later) and only in the United States. Google did not say if it plans on making this feature available on other smart phones such as the BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, or if it plans on releasing this in other countries. But if it does, then it will be a huge threat to other location-based business finder apps like Yelp and Urban spoon.

(Via PCWorld)

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money-gps1 A new trend in bank security is the use of a credit card sized GPS tracker that can be hidden in a stack of cash. When the bank robbers steal the money, they will most likely not notice the GPS tracker between the bills, and get away with the cash and the tracker, giving police the exact location of the thieves. This is exactly what happened to three armed robbers (Timothy Rucker, 33, Phillip Griffen, 31, and Brandon Barnes, 25) when they robbed a TCF Bank branch on Dec. 30th. After pointing a gun at the bank teller and demanding money, they got away with  about $9,000 and unknown to them, two tracking device which can broadcast GPS, cell-phone and RF signals that police can monitor using a Web browser.

About an hour after the robbery, the police tracked down the robbers to Rucker’s parent’s house, which was their meet up point. After entering the house, police found a small handgun in a clothing bin, and behind a freezer, a blue nylon bag with $8,789, and the two tracking devices. The last bit of missing cash, $250 was found in one of Barnes’ socks.

The use of GPS trackers in banks surfaced in Illinois banks about two years ago, said Illinois Bankers Association spokeswoman Debbie Jemison, and is so new that the association isn’t sure how widespread its use is. But Jemison said newer security measures such as these may be part of the reason bank robberies have decreased.

(Via ChicagoTribune)

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Food banks in the United States are going high-tech in an attempt to automate and effectively distribute food to the people who need it the most. By using bar coding, GPS tracking, and automated warehouses, administrators hope to use technology to their advantage to feed more hungry people.

“What we tell people a lot is that we are a food distribution business wrapped in an altruistic skin,” says Jan Pruitt, president and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas.

Pruitt’s food bank along with the Food Bank of Central New York in East Syracuse are testing a $60 million effort to create state-of-the-art national computer network that will help automate services. This system called the Athena Project will let food banks standardize accounting, inventory, and donor software, use the Internet and manage pickups and deliveries using GPS tracking. Feeding America is installing the systems at no charge.

“We are going to gain so much efficiency,” says Linda Nageotte, Food Lifeline’s president and CEO. “We’re going to be able to provide so much better accountability, and this also really increases our credibility.”

Athena, she and others say, opens a world of possibilities:

-GPS tracking and instant communication to send trucks on the most efficient routes. Lutz says this alone can cut transportation costs by40 percent. Food Lifeline is equipping drivers with smart phones that eventually could scan in donations as they are picked up.

-Inventory management systems to track every food item, from truckloads of potatoes to individually donated cans. This not only saves time and reduces waste, but is a safeguard for product recalls.

-Generating lists of food, money and volunteer hours for donors, handy at tax time.

-Common software and backup computer servers, allowing agencies to trade or divert food, share donor information or step in if a food bank is overwhelmed by a disaster.

Such innovations aid a strategy that”needs to be twofold,” she says. “It needs to be about feeding the people who are standing in line better and it needs to be about making the line shorter.”

(Via AP)

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This week, the Today Show showcased “over the top” gadgets for Halloween and ways to keep your kids safe while they’re out trick-or-treating. Showcasing the BrickHouse Child Locator, they explained how the devices helps you locate your child even when in costume or a group of kids.


They also showed a GPS tracking device for your older kids that are out on their own. This second tracker is the Spark Nano Real-Time GPS Tracking Device. The great thing about this one is that the battery lasts on it for 5 days on a single charge and it can be tracked from anywhere through the Internet. This is different from the BrickHouse Child Locator since it uses GPS to locate your kids instead of RFID, which is more used for directional guidance.  Whatever age your kids are, make sure that they are safe this Halloween.

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The John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has come up with an incredible new technology that lets  cameras identify and track gunshots. The way the gunshot digital imaging system works is that it picks up the unique sound of a gunshot, and immediately aims all the cameras in the area at the spot of the incident, and at strategic locations such as intersections, local hangout spots. The sound activated camera systems also takes pictures of all the people in the surrounding areas to help looks for suspects, witnesses, and getaway cars. The system will then alert the police and forward them the photos.

This technology will surpass the limits of video surveillance by automatically moving to the spot of the incident and recording the moments before and after a violent act.  The system can also seek out explosions and detonations and help the police find the perpetrators much more efficiently and in an automated way.

“This is a great example of a technology that can be added to a law enforcer’s toolbox to deter crime and protect valuable assets,” says Teresa Colella, technology manager in the APL Office of Technology Transfer. “This agreement ensures that communities will benefit from this technology.”

(Via John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory)

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landfillTracking family members, vehicles, and assets makes sense because hey, they’re valuable. But tracking trash? MIT researchers say, yes. Announced on Tuesday, MIT plans to electronically track 3,000 pieces of common garbage over the next three months using GPS cellular technology. The tagged trash, all potentially recyclable, will be monitored from the time it’s thrown out in an attempt to find out exactly where it’s going: in the landfill or in the recycle bin. By showing people that recyclable trash is still ending up in the landfill, MIT researchers hope to promote a lifestyle change nationwide.

“Trash Track aims to make the removal chain more transparent. We hope that the project will promote behavioral change and encourage people to make more sustainable decisions about what they consume and how it affects the world around them.”

The project was inspired by New York City’s Green Initiative goal to divert 100% of the city’s recyclables from landfills to recycle centers. By creating “trash transparency,” MIT researchers hope to change people’s  recycling habits  by using this high tech GPS tracking technology.


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