Monday, 30 April 2007 12:06

GoFinder brings budget vehicle tracking

A sub-$A500 vehicle GPS tracking system is about to reach the Australian market.

The Trimble TrimTracPro will go on sale in Australia at $495, and distributor GoFinder says this makes it the first device of its kind that's affordable for mass-market uses such as monitoring teenagers' use of family cars or watching for the improper use of fleet vehicles.

Applications include detecting a vehicle travelling outside an set area, speeding, being operated outside agreed hours, and not being operated during working hours.

The small (15 x 6 x 4cm) device obtains its position by GPS and then reports it via SMS and the web for a $1.25 per day service fee. It can be powered by a pair of AA batteries or by the vehicle through an optional adaptor.

Globalstar Australia has just announced a tracking service using satellite communications, which it says will be cheaper than cellular networks although no rates have been disclosed.

"The controversial 'spy in the cab' argument may be unpopular with some drivers and their unions but it is only a concern with people who do the wrong thing," said Graham Thomas, CEO of GoFinder.

But that's the argument that's always trotted out when privacy issues are raised, and government agencies aren't always convinced by it. For example, "Systematically using GPS to check up on workers and try to determine how well they are doing their jobs would be going too far," Canadian federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said late last year.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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