iphone_googlemaps_locateCommitting felonies just isn’t what it used to be. Swiping someone’s personal belongings and running off into the sunset is a thing of the past now that GPS tracking systems can be implemented in almost anything these days. If you can track your child, your pet, and your spouse, tracking a phone is no big deal.

Maybe Eddie Deleon, who practically invited the police into his home when he stole an iPhone with a GPS application, hadn’t received the memo quite just yet.

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firetruckWhen the FDNY wanted to cut costs and improve efficiency for faster response, they turned to GPS tracking. The system was designed to locate some 1,300 ambulances and fire trucks so workers could better dispatch emergency responders. When GPS tracking has proved to increase efficiency and cut costs for most businesses, the FDNY are still facing astronomical consulting fees from their Hewlett Packer private consulting firm. Facing budgetary constraints that may result in the layoffs of over 1,000 firefighters

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A scene inside the Tsunami Warning Center in Jakarta

A scene inside the Tsunami Warning Center in Jakarta

After 2005’s horrible earthquake and tsunami that left over 230,000 people dead and 1.8 million people displaced, Indonesia began setting up an early warning system. The Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System is made up of three different  levels: an earthquake monitoring system, a sea level monitoring system, and a computer modeling system that generates possible tsunami projections. The system collects its data using seismometers, tide gauges, and GPS tracking units mounted on buoys.

These devices detect changes in water pressure which can indicate an incoming tsunami. In addition, the system uses ocean bottom satellite-linked sensors which can warn of a tsunami just 5 minutes after an earthquake happens. Operators at the Tsunami Early Warning System would in turn alert the authorities , the media and communities.

“Right now we have in place what we call Service Level 1 [the earthquake monitoring system]. We use earthquake monitoring equipment to determine earthquake parameters and the potential for tsunami generation,” Fauzi, head of the Tsunami and Earthquake Centre in Jakarta, told IRIN.

In addition to early warning and deception operations, Indonesia is also working hard on discovering ways to get the warning out efficiently. So far tsunami warnings have been most effective by being disseminated through telephones, SMS and sirens. Sirens have been installed in several coastal areas and are being tested every month.

Unfortunately, scientists are predicting that another major earthquake will happen in the West Sumatra area in the next three decades. Here is to hoping that if there is indeed another major tsunami, all the cutting edge technology used in the Tsunami Early Warning System will help curb casualties and save lives before it’s too late.

(Via IRIN Asia)

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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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0_churchnightThree wise churches use free GPS and video surveillance from BrickHouse Security to protect nativity scenes from pilfering; churches and synagogues across the U.S. are invited to participate in this free program

New York, NY (Vocus) December 9, 2009 — Last year, BrickHouse Security offered GPS tracking devices to religious institutions across the country interested in protecting their nativity scenes, Menorahs, and holiday decorations. “We feel great to be able to report 100% success in protecting these cherished items,” said Todd Morris, the company’s CEO. “Still, we are sad that many institutions didn’t know about the program and experienced thefts or vandalism.”

BrickHouse Security is renewing the program this year, adding motion-activated camera surveillance to its arsenal. The company, a provider of safety and security products to consumers, most of the Fortune 500, and major law enforcement agencies, is highlighting the program through three (wise) churches located coast to coast. Each will receive not only a GPS tracker (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-car-tracking-vehicle-logging.html), but also the new Global Watchman remote cellular surveillance (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/cellular-surveillance.html) system. This system instantly captures images when it detects motion, whether in light or complete darkness, and automatically sends them as an alert to a PC or cell phone.

Grahm Memorial Presbyterian Church, located in Coronado, CA, is new to the program. “Last year, we bolted down all of our nativity scene figures,” said Phil Manion, the church Deacon in charge of the nativity scene. “Despite that, Baby Jesus was stolen and other figures were damaged. This year we’ll use GPS tracking and surveillance to catch them in the act and track down these items. The nativity scene means a lot to our congregation, not to mention being expensive to replace, and we’re eager to keep it intact through the holidays.”

The second highlighted church is St. Ambrose in Old Bridge, NJ, a participant in last year’s program. Said church member Alan Czyzewski, “We actually installed the small GPS device in the Jesus figurine. Fortunately, true to the Tale of the Magi, Jesus remained in the manger and out of a cross-town pursuit.”

The third church, representing the program in the Midwest, is St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, IL. Said George Smith, the church’s rector, “Our nativity scene was untouched last year, thanks in part to the GPS system. We’re certainly hoping that the prospect of picking up a tracking device diverts any attempts to remove the figures from the nativity scene this year, too.”

About GPS Tracking

GPS tracking (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-car-tracking-vehicle-logging.html) devices are used to locate objects virtually anywhere in the world using satellite technology. Most are small enough to covertly fit inside most everyday objects. Moving or tampering with the object triggers a silent alarm, alerting the owner that the object is mobile. The owner or police can then view the object’s path through a mobile phone or computer wherever it goes.

GPS tracking & GPS Logger (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-car-tracking-vehicle-logging.html) devices are finding their way into many new tracking applications, including organ donor shipments, child safety, vehicles and large equipment recovery, undercover police stakeouts where officers use the panic button to signal distress, and wildlife movement. For example, one BrickHouse Security customer used GPS to track alligators’ movement patterns.

How to Participate

Organizations interested in participating in this program should visit http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com/baby-jesus-gps/ and supply their background and contact information. Those selected to join will receive a free GPS Tracking device to use through the holiday season, and in some cases will also receive a surveillance camera.

“Like our customers, we at BrickHouse Security value the sanctity and harmony of the holiday season. We are happy to be in position to come to the aid of churches, temples, and other organizations looking for a way to protect their community from this crime,” said Mr. Morris. He added: “While we can’t blanket every nativity scene or Menorah, we hope that the potential of GPS tracking (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/livewire-lightninggps-trackingdevice.html) and the examples set by our three highlighted churches is enough to discourage would-be thieves and vandals from putting a damper on the holiday spirit.

About BrickHouse Security

BrickHouse Security provides security and surveillance products to consumers, businesses of all sizes including roughly half of the Fortune 500, and more than 500 local and national government agencies such as the NYPD, LA County Sheriffs, and the FBI. The company and its products have recently appeared on the CBS Early Show, NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News, and the Associated Press.

BrickHouse Security offers a wide range of leading-edge safety, protection, and counter-surveillance products to help its customers protect what they care about most. Its industry-leading experts seek to be the go-to source for all of its audiences’ needs by providing timely information through the company’s informative blogs and content, and by identifying, developing, and selling quality products that represent the best and the latest in safety and security.

The company is headquartered in New York City and serves a diverse US and international client base.

 

 

Media Contact

Andy Stevenson
VP of Marketing
BrickHouse Security
646-253-9130

 

 

###

A ful copy of this press release can be found here.

 

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radar-vs-gps While driving down the A4174 highway near Bristol, on November 28th 2008, Gareth Powell was clocked going 61 mph in a 50 mph zone by a police officer with a speed gun. The police officer wrote him out a ticket that Powell was positive he didn’t deserve.

He said: “I’m an extremely careful driver and I was certain I hadn’t broken the law.”

At the time, Gareth had a GPS navigation system in his car that was not only tracking him but could also tell how fast he was going. After contacting Navman Wireless (his GPS device’s manufacturer) and getting the records of how fast he was going at the time, he was able to provide proof that he really was within the speed limit. It turns out that Powell had been moving at 48 mph. In court he managed to have the director of Navman Wireless IT, Barry Neill, serve as an expert witness to back him up:
“The GPS fix on Gareth’s vehicle from the tracking system was excellent when he was clocked by the speed gun… The eight satellites locating his vehicle were advantageously positioned. Under good conditions, GPS tracking technology is accurate to within three meters.”
Thanks to the GPS navigation system in Powell’s car, he was not just able to beat a speeding ticket, but he also managed to prove that GPS devices can be more accurate then the speed guns used by the police officers.

(Via RoadTransport)

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satalliteThanks to the Ford Motor Co. and Auburn University, our cars might soon be equipped with a futuristic GPS system that can predict and help avoid car accidents before they happen. The way this will work is that the car’s stability system will communicate with a GPS satellite and depending on the speed and direction of a car, the road ahead and current conditions the system will calculate whether an accident is probable. If so, the GPS satellite will communicate with the car and activate the car’s stability control system to help prevent the accident. This $4 million dollar breakthrough project will quite possibly revolutionize driving safety.

(Via AutoWeek)

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217-suicidalMany states are deliberating whether or not it would be worth-while for them to use GPS tracking systems to monitor the whereabouts of domestic violence offenders who have orders of protection against them. It has been argued by many state governments that often these orders of protection are violated thus resulting in the deaths of many victims.

On the other hand, some lawmakers argue that the GPS systems are likely to help in some cases, but not all. They also argue that the GPS systems would come at a significant cost to tax payers. Furthermore, some states argue that because of these high costs, the thought of using this new technology is simply a delusion of grandeur. Meanwhile countless numbers of abused women have been relating stories of the protection orders being violated by their ex-partners. In one tragic case, a woman named Leigh Ann Olson told the story of how her ex-husband violated his protection order and fatally shot their five year old daughter Makayla, before shooting himself.

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0409_federal_way_transit_center

Federal Way Transit Center

Last week in Seattle, law enforcement used the GPS feature installed in most cellphones to track a murder suspect as he fled from the scene at the Federal Way Transit Center. Merlin Bell was suspected of shooting and killing Devon Winston Parks. Witnesses told police that they had seen Bell speaking with Parks before the shooting and then identified Bell as the shooter.

Police were able to obtain Bell’s cellphone number and worked with T-mobile to track his cellphone while the police searched for him. Soon after the shooting a police dog found Bell hiding behind a bush with a revolver hidden nearby. Furthermore, police were able to identify Bell in an MTA surveillance camera shooting. Police say that the surveillance footage reveals that the victim has been in a defensive position. Overall, the insurmountable evidence presented against Bell was enough to put him behind bars under second-degree murder charges.

This story is another example of how A-GPS technology, now common in most cell phones, is helping law enforcement do their jobs more efficiently. It’s becoming very clear that GPS, combined with the CCTV surveillance cameras installed in many transportation systems are helping the authorities bring in dangerous criminals at a faster pace than ever before possible.

(Via Seatlle 911)

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