GPS tracker units first made their appearance in 1994 and were primarily used as a military aid to coordinate efforts, ensure supply and rendezvous. Traditionally campaigns in featureless terrain like the deserts of Iran have been difficult but fitting military units with GPS made the unthinkable possible. By the end of the “Desert Storm” campaign there were GPS tracking units being fitted to tanks, supply trucks, aircraft, ships and they were even being carried by soldiers.
Although GPS tracking was initially developed for military use its appearance rapidly became common in more commercial fields and eventually households. Emergency Services were quick to recognise the potential to which GPS tracking devices could be put, especially in coordinating day-to-day operations and more importantly during disasters. Nowadays, police, fire services, ambulance and rescue personal are all routinely tracked to provide a fast and reliable service. Tracking ensures lives are saved and the appropriate and nearest teams are sent to attend at emergencies.
Construction companies were also quick on the uptake and projects such as the Channel Tunnel were immensely aided by GPS positioning devices. They made sure that the British and French civil engineers were able to meet up exactly in the right place despite being deep underground. Mining and mine rescue have also benefited from their use and opening up new seams and finding trapped miners have been made possible with the use of tracking systems.
They have also enabled the revolutionising of postal, courier and delivery companies, with fleet controllers able to send vehicles to the nearest addresses first, therefore saving time and money. Customers are able to follow their parcels and fleet managers can send the closest vans to pick up points, providing a more reliable and satisfying service for all.
The installation of GPS units into not just taxis but also public transport systems has made buses, coaches and trains easier to track. This gives customers a much better service as they can tell exactly when the next train or bus is due. They also mean that the car rental industry has benefited too, finding cars and locating fleet vehicles is much simpler these days with GPS devices attached. Companies and customers no longer have to fret as to where a car is parked or has been left as the tracker makes pinpointing the vehicle easy.
From tanks in war zones to delivery vehicles in congestion charge zones GPS units have made the jobs of military commanders and fleet controllers that much more simpler by the fitting of these small but useful devices.