07__north_pole_wolf_20091229091751_320_240We’ve covered many stories about GPS tracking being used to track wildlife, but this is the first time we’ve seen GPS tracking being used to track animals in the arctic. U.S. Geological Survey Researchers and scientists have been using GPS collars to send coordinates back to them which tell them where arctic wolves are traveling to. They have specifically been monitoring a wolf named “burtus” as he travels with his pack. Their goal is to discover what these animals do during the exceptionally long and dark winter in harsh arctic environment. But before these high tech collars became available, scientists were limited to studying these animals only in during the summer months and they were only able to theorize about how the wolves lived during the winter months.

“This year, we made a huge technological jump from notebook and pens to satellite collars because we wanted to find out what these arctic wolves do in winter in areas when it is dark 24 hours a day and temperatures can fall to -70 degrees Fahrenheit,” said David Mech, USGS wolf researcher, in a press release . “How far must they travel to obtain enough food to make it to the Arctic spring, which doesn’t happen until the next June?”

(Via Fox Spokane)

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minercA GPS fleet tracking system installed on a stolen service truck belonging to the Miner Corporation, has led not only to the successful return of the vehicle, but it also was instrumental in leading San Antonio police to an illegal stolen-goods route to Mexico.

Fortunately, for the Minor Corporation, they had a GPS tracking device installed on their truck so they were easily able to track it down.

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bludotA few months ago we reported that Blu Dot, a Minneapolis based design firm planned to plant their signature chairs around New York City, and to use GPS technology to see what would happen to them. Would people grab them? Would they adopt them into their homes? Would they sit on them? Using a combination of GPS technology and covert surveillance, Blu Dot found out.

“The key to this idea was involvement,” Michael Hart, founder of Mono, said. “Not just them taking the chairs, but the whole community with this notion of an experiment and ‘Where will the chairs go?’”

The design firm hired video company Supermarche to document the entire operation – complete with code names, hidden video cameras, and treetop perches where they would videotape unsuspecting people interacting with the chairs. Some chairs were sat in, others were nabbed, others were adopted in homes. The videographers found that colorful chairs were snatched up more quickly, while plain chairs were considered institutionalized and therefore sat in, but not taken as often.

Check out the video and see what people have to say about  curb mining!

(Via The Wall Street Journal Blog)

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sunderlandWhat was once viewed as complicated, pricey, and confusing, is now being employed worldwide to help increase efficiency and cut costs. What is it? It’s GPS tracking. GPS tracking is used almost everywhere ranging from private businesses to family tracking, to now the Scottish Sunderland University transit system. Previously adopted by English pub owners, Scottish administrators are now using GPS to track their own transit system to ensure that buses are on time and running smoothly.

‘Our software can send the data back every second through the GPS network to a remote, web-based server,’ said Neil Herron, marketing director for FleetM8.

‘As a fleet manager you can watch what your vehicles are doing and make real-time decisions,’ he said. Herron said Arriva has already fitted FleetM8 telemetry devices to buses on one route in Glasgow and the technology has since demonstrated that it can prevent buses from ‘bunching up’.

‘We hope to one day remove the phrase from the English language: “all the buses seem to come at once”,’ he said. ‘Our system is accurate to less than one metre.’

Herron says the next step is mobile updates for the bus system that will alert passengers when the bus is nearing. This system will also support mobile ticket purchase.

(Via The Engineer)

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graffiti-tagger The San Diego police have a new tool that helps them catch graffiti vandals. To use the tool, police take pictures of the graffiti and geotag the pictures using GPS location. Then a special graffiti analyst compares that tagging incident with other incidents to match them up and help find the vandal.

“When we catch that individual, we can charge him not only with that graffiti crime, but all the other ones as well… By looking at the locations we can essentially see where the suspect may live because what we’re finding is a lot of times suspects tag right around their homes. So, what we can do is they happen in a certain neighborhood and then we can start tracking to see who’s tagging in that neighborhood and try to track the individual that way” says Escondido police Lieutenant Bob Benton.

An example of the Graffiti Tracker’s effectiveness can be seen in the case of 19-year-old Isaiah Gastumel of Escondido, who was arraigned on six felony and 146 misdemeanor counts of vandalism thanks to the system. The court originally ordered about $22,000 in restitution to local businesses, but after using the  Graffiti Tracker to find more of Isaiah’s “work,” the amount was brought up to more than $185,000. Lt. Benton said that is a real success story especially in a hard to prosecute crime like vandalism.

(Via 10News)

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tweecret-santaFor over 50 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has provided children with Santa’s tracking data around as he makes his way around the world. Last year, they even set up a web site for kids to use to track Santa live online.

This year Norad is taking another leap forward and will be spurring offshoots into social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Earth, and Flickr. On top of that, starting December 24th, through a partnership with OnStar, kids (and whoever else who is interested) will be able to get live Santa updates on their in-car GPS system.

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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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himalayanbear02The Himalayan black bears are an endangered species that are slowly dying out. Currently, they are only 300 of the bears remaining in India. To protect them and help keep them from going extinct, they are being tracked using GPS collars throughout Kashmir by wildlife authorities. These collars will help in studying their behaviors and also preventing bear attacks.

“We can always monitor their movements and sound an alert once they start moving towards the human habitations” said wildlife warden Rashid Naqash.
Attacks by wild bears are pretty common in India, having ended up with over two dozen people killed and over 150 injured within the last 4 years. To keep both the bears, and humans safe from each other, the GPS collars will be monitored by wildlife experts in order to also make sure that the bears stay away from areas where people are living. But this isn’t the first time GPS tracking has been used to monitor bears, we previously wrote about bears being tracked in Truckee, California as well as throughout the state of Florida.
(Via Dawn)
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early_show_logo_jun08Today, with all the new advances in technology, anyone can be a spy, or can be spied on, all without anyone even noticing. There are tiny cameras and microphones that can be worn on your body, that even if someone knew that you were recording them, they wouldn’t have a clue of what you’re using to do it. CBS News Correspondent Daniel Sieberg of “The Early Show” tested this body worn spy technology, covertly hiding a camcorder watch, tie, and DVR pen on himself and daring the anchor to locate the devices.

Sieberg also described how people can protect themselves when they’re not at home. Some of these options include covert hidden cameras that can double as home surveillance systems. Among those are the Tissue Box Wireless Camera and Clock Camera Hidden Camera. These two devices look like standard fixtures on a night table or bedroom but are actually wireless. And you don’t have to go back to the original camera to gather the footage. There are options available that let you view all footage online from any computer with Internet for added peace of mind no matter where you are in the world.

Aside from the cameras that can do the spying, are the camera finders to help you locate the hidden cameras that could be watching you. For example, the Hidden Camera Detector automatically finds any cameras that are around you, and even catches the signal that the camera might be sending out. Lastly, Sieberg mentioned GPS tracking to unleash you inner security agent. As an ongoing series to monitor the spies that could be spying on your, CBS offers Early Show viewers the ultimate in both surveillance counter surveillance options.


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dog-gps A rare breed of birds called the Black Grouse, which is amongst the most rapidly declining breeds in the U.K. is now being tracked by dogs wearing GPS collars. The way Wildlife Rangers like Ally Macaskill use the dogs, is that they attach a GPS collar to the dogs which then track the birds. The canines location is then transmitted the the handset of the rangers (and can also be saved to view on the computer later to see which land has already been covered). When the dogs finally sniff out one of the birds, and see where they are, they stop on the spot and don’t move. They do this to show that they are “on spot”, which tells the ranger to come catch up and to identify the species of the bird.

“I’ve been very impressed with these GPS collars, which I saw used during trips to Scandinavia… They indicate whether the dogs are on the move or on point. When they get on point the collars mean I can get there quickly, with more chance of seeing what the dogs have found.” Said Mr. Macaskill

Right now, Mr. Macaskill estimates there are about 25 male grouse on the Perthshire’s Schiehallion estate that they are monitoring and trying to help them from going extinct.

(Via BBC)

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