Here is a quick little story ripped from the headlines about the effective use of GPS real time tracking:
According to reports coming out of Boston, police recently made use of GPS real time tracking system to seize 360 pounds of marijuana and to make 3 arrests.
Upon executing a search warrant at a certain location, the police found a crate containing the illegal substance. After a brief field test that verified the contents of the crate, they were then able to get a second search warrant that allowed them to place a special GPS real time tracking device that allowed them to follow the crate to a new location.
The three suspects in the case were also observed trying to move the crate by loading it into a van. It was at this time that DEA agents made a move and captured them.
According to DEA estimates, the 360 pounds of marijuana would have had a street value of around $700,000.
There are a few different interesting aspects of this example that I thought were worthy of note. The first is that the police obtained a warrant to install the real time tracking device inside the crate. We have seen in two different cases where the use of GPS tracking has come under direct attack in the court system. Earlier this year, a Wisconsin court ruled that warrantless GPS tracking is legal. Then a few months later, a New York court ruled that warrantedless GPS tracking is illegal. It is no wonder that the police in this case wanted to play it safe and get a warrant before installing any GPS device.
It is also rather interesting the speed with which the police were able to get a warrant. I don’t have a time line sitting in front of me, but it sure sounds like the police were able to get what they needed in just an hour or so after discovering the illegal drugs. That is pretty fast, but is probably related to the fact that they verified that the substance in question was actually something that is illegal to posses.
The second important thing is the the police actually chose a GPS real time tracking system for this particular situation. When you want to track something that you want to take action on, like a fleet vehicle or a teen driver or a distressed spouse, then you need to have some real time information in order to take action on. Sometimes data logging GPS trackers will simply not cut it and you need something that is going to give you on demand information. The police realized this in this situation and choose an appropriate tracker. Are you doing the same for your tracking needs?
The third and final interesting thing is that the police let the criminals engage in enough activity to sufficiently incriminate themselves before swooping in for the arrest. If you are being tracked by the police with GPS then the last thing in the world you should be doing is committing a crime, but because the police were covert about they were able to install the device and catch the criminals read handed. This is important for those of use who will want to do some covert GPS vehicle tracking ourselves. Are we being wise about our device placement? Are we making sure we are in a position to take action on our real time data?
It can be a very fruitful exercise to examine the effective use of GPS tracking devices. It will help our minds better understand all of the useful applications of the great technology and examine our own practices. When we examine how we make use of GPS technology against these real life examples we are better able to see our own shortcomings and see areas for improvement. If we are using GPS real time tracking, do you think you can see any ways to improve your own use of this powerful technology?