I Thought Being Told To Eat Your Oatmeal Was Abuse

Perhaps this should be subtitled GPS Tracking for oatmeal. I just know that in today’s world we need GPS tracking to protect our school children from accident and terrorists, and per haps also to protect the bus drivers from the students.

Girl’s Unfinished Oatmeal Leads To School Bus Shooting

HOUSTON — A Spring Branch school district bus was shot up Thursday, police said. All because the bus driver refused to let a student aboard who was still eating her breakfast.
“She had oatmeal and the bus driver informed her that it was against school rules,” said Spring Branch ISD Police Chief Chuck Brawner. “They had some words and then she decided to get off the bus.”
The incident all started Thursday morning in the 9000 block of Kempwood.
Officials said after being denied by the bus driver, the student got off the bus, went back home and told her mother and boyfriend.
What the couple allegedly did next may surprise you.
“They called transportation and told the dispatcher they were going to get the bus driver,” said Brawner. “The mother of the student started looking for him in one vehicle and the suspect was in another vehicle.”
The boyfriend caught up with the bus at the intersection of Bingle and Hempstead Highway.
There were no kids aboard, only the driver, who told police he saw the boyfriend walk toward the bus carrying a gun.
"According to the bus driver, he pulled a weapon and shot one time at him,” said Brawner.
The boyfriend, Kendall Thomas, admitted to police he was angry and that he tracked down this school bus. However, he denied he pulled a weapon.
“He said he threw a bottle of perfume at it,” said Brawner.
Police didn’t find a perfume bottle, only a bullet hole.
"Four or five inches more and he would (have) struck the driver,” said Brawner.
Thomas has now been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, all over a bowl of oatmeal.

What else can I say … except that if the driver had had a competent GPS school bus tracking system with a "silent alarm"/"help me now" button the driver might not have had to come within four inches of losing his life.  How much is safety worth on your buses?  especially considering the GPS tracking will pay for itself in one year?

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Can GPS Tracking Pay For Itself In Vehicle Idling Savings Alone?

Many of us have heard the phrase “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”, or words to that effect.  The first documented source I can find is: IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S TOOLS – "Idleness is the root of mischief. This maxim has been traced back to Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Melibee’ (c. 1386).

Idling vehicles are even worse that idling hands, (although here are some interesting examples of what your employees are probably doing while you aren’t watching) … and in today’s world where we are “Triple Challenged” by the global recession, the high cost of fuel and the growing awareness of our need to protect our planet, idling vehicles has got to stop .. we need to do something now, today.

Unlike a lot of things we “know” we are supposed to be doing but can’t because they cost to much, or the technology isn’t there yet, GSP Fleet Tracking Systems can stop excess idling cold .. and pay for itself with reduced idling alone.

My GPS Tracking blogging colleague Rob Donat runs a great company in Arizona where he’s had astounding success in selling GPS Fleet Management via GPS into the notoriously light market of the past few years.

Here’s a great report he just published on how much money is being wasted with excess vehicle idling and how fast a business can end the problem with a great ROI.

You can (and should) read more about idling and the rest of the fascinating things Rob’s company,GPSInsight is doing here, but I’ve extracted this to show you Rob and the rest of us who know what really is going on in the fleets of America can do to put their money where their mouth is:

Decrease from 20% to 5% idling over 3 months

… The full report shows all the particulars & shows very clearly the effects of both using GPS Insight as well as managing the drivers to stop idling:

Decrease from 20% to 5% idling over 3 months

Note that this is only one of our thousand customers, and only 234 vehicles. I like the fact that GPS Insight truly is helping our customers make a big difference both in terms of saving fuel money, and the environment.

Another report shows that they have saved roughly TWO THOUSAND IDLING HOURS across their fleet of 234 vehicles by eliminating that 15% idling (based on 13,000 hours driven in the past month). With fuel costs plus wear & tear easily costing $5 per hour, they’ve seen a $10,000 PER MONTH savings, which is $42 per vehicle. We charge them $32.95.  So they make $9 per month just by reducing idling, and now they have all the other benefits of GPS Insight for free – efficient dispatch, proof of delivery, proof of driver hours worked, reduction in speeding, theft recovery, and so on.

Plus they’re not pi$$ing on the planet anymore…

Take a minute to let this sink in.  In my years of selling and servicing these systems the most common excuse I have hard time and time again is “We can’t afford it.”

Well the truth is, you can’t afford NOT to use GPS tracking equipment to mange your fleet.  It doesn’t cost money, it makes you money.  If every delivery truck, school bus, snow plow,coach or taxi you have out there in your fleet brought you in an additional $9 a month profit, what would that do to your bottom line?

And the idling issue is only the tip of the iceberg of business problems you can save with GPS Fleet Vehicle Tracking equipment.

GPS Tracking — On Machines? You Bet

As art of our efforts to provide our readers the kind of news and education they need to truly know the GPS Business:

GPSWorld Market Insights Webinar Series

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GPS on Machines:
Applications, Markets, Trends and Technologies

Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m. Pacific / 4:00 p.m. Eastern
Speaker: Rob Lorimer, GPS World Professional OEM Editor
Duration: 60 minutes

Event Description

An overview of the current and future applications of GPS on machines along with an update on market trends and economic benefits of the widespread use of GPS on machines and more.

Speaker: Rob Lorimer

Rob L.

ROB LORIMER is the managing director of Position One Consulting and the editor of GPS World’s Professional OEM e-newsletter. His career history includes CEO of Beeline Technology (now part of Hemisphere GPS), managing director of Trimble Asia-Pacific, and OEM business manager for Trimble Europe. He is on the advisory committee of the International Global Navigation Satellite Society (IGNSS), is a regional judge for the European Satellite Navigation Competition, and is a part-time skipper with the Volunteer Marine Rescue (Australia). He has been involved in the world of professional GPS applications since 1987.

What You’ll Learn

  • What is the difference between machine guidance, machine control, machine automation, and autonomous machines?
  • Which technologies are being combined with GPS to enable guidance, control, automation, and autonomy?
  • What are the key applications and markets for machine guidance and control? What is driving GPS adoption?
  • What are the micro- and macroeconomic benefits of GPS machine guidance and control?
  • What are the roles of network RTK and clustered RTK in machine control?
  • How will GNSS impact machine-centric markets? Who are the principal industry players and their roles in different markets?
  • How will adoption vary around the world?
  • What are the emerging applications and markets?

Who Should Attend?

  • GPS manufactures
  • System integrators
  • End users
  • Researchers
  • Investors
  • Consultants and those with an interest in professional OEM GPS applications and markets

Register Now

Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved


State spends millions on rents for paroled sex offenders, sometimes illegally

These guys should have just ordered a radius map from Air Miles map to find out how far these places were from schools and parks before they spent state money illegally.

By John Simerman
Contra Costa Times

Posted: 01/17/2009 04:35:06 PM PST

State corrections officials spent nearly $22 million last year on apartments and motel rooms for hundreds of paroled sex offenders, paying more than $2,000 a month for some parolees and housing others in locations apparently prohibited under Jessica’s Law, according to a MediaNews analysis of bank drafts issued by parole agents and addresses from the Megan’s Law sex offender database.

The housing assistance, which has run for more than two years for some parolees, highlights a dilemma state officials face trying to enforce a voter-approved ban on sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park where kids "regularly gather." They must either find scarce housing and pay to put them up, or deal with a steeper rise in sex offenders who become homeless and lose the stability that experts call crucial to preventing recidivism.

A top state corrections official acknowledged that parole agents have sometimes spent state funds to house sex offenders in areas that officials later learned were illegal. He was unaware of some local examples MediaNews found using state data and a GPS handset:

  • In El Cerrito, a parole office has spent as much as $300 a week for sex offenders to live at the Budget Inn on San Pablo Avenue. The motel is within 700 feet of Mendocino Park, a neighborhood playground where small children swing, scramble through play structures and ride tricycles. A corrections spokesman said parole officials realized a few months ago that the motel violated Jessica’s Law and now they only pay for sex offenders to live there who are not subject to the 2,000 law…

    We can make maps of almost any radius for most any location in the US or Canada.  If one of our standard offerings from our “Order a Map” page isn’t what you need, just send us a note via our “Contact” page or call us at 719-966-4295 and we’ll work with you on your special needs for Radius maps, in air miles, statute miles, meters, yards, feet, you name it we’ll map it.

    About the Magellan Roadmate GPS

    Ferdinand Magellan was the first explorer to circumnavigate the globe. He did so under the Spanish crown in the 16th century. Since that time, the name Magellan has stood for navigation far and wide. Is it any wonder that there is a firm for global tracking services, therefore, named Magellan? Is it any wonder that the Magellan Roadmate series includes prime features for easy navigation and easy use?

    Ferdinand Magellan was the first explorer to circumnavigate the globe. He did so under the Spanish crown in the 16th century. Since that time, the name Magellan has stood for navigation far and wide. Is it any wonder that there is a firm for global tracking services, therefore, named Magellan? Is it any wonder that the Magellan Roadmate series includes prime features for easy navigation and easy use?

    The Magellan Roadmate series consists of several models of handheld GPS devices for the North American continent including the United States. Each one has ease of use through their interactive displays that are so simple to understand, you really don’t even need to read the directions! The common features include six million points of interest (POI). With these points, you can click on the icon and the GPS will give you directions, including which exit to take, as well as other helpful information about the locations. POIs include gas stations, hotels, ATMs that are searchable by category, name, and city or nearest to your position.

    Other features are listed below. The home icon lets you select any location as your home base. QuickSpell is a Magellan Roadmate GPS system feature that checks your spelling as you type, and can quickly search addresses and POIs. SayWhere is a text-to-voice feature that can provide street names and step by step directions to get you to your next location. SmartDetour and Auto re-route are two of the best features to help you avoid heavy traffic, construction, or road closures. The Magellan Roadmate helps you navigate around these frustrating situations, and will re-evaluate your route to keep you on track, even as you turn off the original route. Auto NightView is a great feature that automatically adjusts the LCD screen brightness and color for optimal viewing in low light settings. All Roadmate GPS systems have address books available so that you can save repeat information for future trips. This way, you avoid having to repeatedly search for the same POI.

    There are a number of other great features that aren’t common to all models. As an example, the Roadmate 1430 has a useful tow truck icon to indicate your exact location so that tow trucks can get to you quickly and easily in case of an emergency. The 1430, 1400, and 1200 models also feature 2D and 3D views for enhanced route visualization. Every Magellan Roadmate comes standard with detailed and accurate maps for every country in North America, plus Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and pinpoints your location precisely to within 3 meters in real time. Each unit has rechargeable batteries that last for up to three hours before the next recharge. The Magellan Roadmate GPS creates customizable travel routes, and some models can hold as many as twenty locations at one time!

    Users love the flexibility and grand detail received in using these sleek little compact GPSs, especially since you can take them anywhere! You can also attach it to your windshield or dash with accessories that comes with. There is a volume adjustment so you can hear around noisy situations, and the level will come back down when it becomes quieter. Additional maps are available for download for the UK and European countries, as well. For everyday life, excursions into traffic or your own little epic adventure, the Magellan Roadmate GPS is a fantastic buy!

    About the Author:

    GPS Science For Non-Scientists (NASA, Please Copy)

    U-blox has released a handheld version of its tool for evaluating and analyzing GPS performance. U-center mobile provides a highly flexible platform, adapted to the limited viewing area of handhelds, to configure and test GPS products and visualize the collected GPS data, the company says.

    According to u-blox, u-center mobile provides satellite status and positioning information, facilitates 2D representations of any GPS parameter in real-time, and offers extensive configuration options. Additionally, the system has a data recorder with playback functionality that enables GPS data logging. Log files created with u-center-mobile are compatible with desktop u-center, allowing log files to be analyzed either on the handheld or a PC, the company says  Full article here: 

    A nice GPS Tracking test and development tool released here,  The average consumer-level user never needs to be concerned with the mechanics of the GPS but there are many civilian applications that could benefit

    Continue reading “GPS Science For Non-Scientists (NASA, Please Copy)”

    Use of Public Transit is Soaring — ITYS

    For years now as city mayors and mangers rode to work by themselves in their BMW’s and Cadillac’s, that transit is going to be the salvation of your city — if it can be saved, that is. You read it here first. Now read what USA Today has to say ..

    Use of public transit is soaring.

    Transit agencies had record or near-record ridership in the first three months of the year, thanks to high gas prices, a mild winter and, in one city, the Super Bowl. By Joe Raedle, Getty Images Mass transit systems around the nation have seen a spike in ridership. Mass transit systems around the nation have seen a spike in ridership. At least a dozen communities set records for the number of people riding buses, trains and light rail, even though some cut service because of tight budgets, according to the American Public Transportation Association. More people returning to work helped, says Michael Melaniphy, the association’s president and CEO.

    Public transportation use up across the nation in 2011

    He says ridership on what’s called:

    • Heavy Rail — subways and elevated trains — increased in 14 of the 15 systems that have such transit.
    • Light Rail — streetcars and trolleys — rose in 25 of the 27 cities that have it.
    • Buses — 34 of 37 large cities saw increases in ridership.

    "It’s nationwide," Melaniphy says. The result: fuller trains and buses straining the capacity of systems….

    So why are you reading about this on a blog about GPS tracking system,s and technology?  Simple.

    One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of operation on these systems is the role GPS tracking can play in absolute bottom-line savings.

    Sure. customer service is nice, but when the chips are down, as when you have to move more and more people with the same strained resources, GPS tracking should be one of the first places to look to improve your bottom line.

    We in the industry have known this for years, but it’s surprising how many senior managers still think that GPS tracking is an excess cost that they can’t afford.  In fact, it pays.

    GPS and Trucking — HOS (Hours Of Service) Part 1

    Here’s another installment in the mini-series on why American trucking executives should pull their head from the sand and start maximizing the bottom line with GPS.

    If you’re John Q. Public reading the mail here you may not even know what HOS represents.  If you’re a trucking manager you probably think of it as a nuisance.

    Basically the US Federal Hours Of Service rules govern when a driver can and can’t drive.  In simplistic form they dictate that a driver can work 14 hours a day and be off for 10 … but oh my goodness it’s ever so much more complicated than that.

    Here’s a great presentation I came upon courtesy of the Nebraska State Patrol.   look it over and then reflect on how well you think you can manage a trucking business just by sitting at a desk and relying on paper reports on an irregular basis,  Nebraska State Patrol Training Brief

    Got that all committed to memory now?  Are you willing to risk fines of up to $11,000 per day per driver in violation?  And in some cases even criminal prosecution?  See here and here and here for just a few examples.  Notice that in addition to guilty please in a federal felony case one of the owners was ordered to pay more than a million dollars in fines and restitution.  Got that much headroom on your business errors and omissions policy?  Of course, many insurance policies don’t cover intentional criminal acts anyway

    Want to think over something a lot cheaper and more reliable than insurance?  You can put a very accurate passive GPS tracker on your vehicles for less than $600 each and absolutely no monthly cost.  It would unalterably show when the vehicle is moving, sitting at idle or shut off.  Get hit with a charge of violating or letting your drivers violate the HOS rules and this could be a life saver.  Not to mention the fact that it would be continually monitoring the use of the vehicle, unauthorized idling time, speeding, taking free roads and charging you for tolls and any of 10,001 other ways you could be losing money.

    If you want to spend a dollar a day you could get all that information real time.  Save 45 minutes of excess idling each day and the unit is paid for.  Get one extra delivery per month by managing driver’s hours more effectively and you’re making money hand over fist … and most GPS tracking users find they make an extra delivery per week, or more.

    So would it cost, or would it pay?

    How Many Times Will This Go ON? Years and Years and the Story is the Same

    I’ve been working in the area of fleet management with GPS racking for more than 12 years now.  I wonder, with a “shaking my head” kind of wonder, how long it will take before business and government leadership realizes how utterly remiss they are if they are not supervising their vehicles and workers using GPS tracking?

    I will more than pay for itself … what’s the REAL reason you are scared to know what your employees are up to?

    Hamilton fires 29 city road workers who allegedly ran personal errands when they should have been patching potholes

    Fresh asphalt is applied to a pothole.

    When a small army of road crews left the city’s public works yard, the “hot box” of fresh asphalt in each municipal truck was full and the workers had a list of potholes needing repair.

    At the end of the day, the asphalt was gone and workers confirmed their roads had been fixed.

    Sixteen of those city work crews, however, were secretly followed by private investigators armed with video cameras and access to GPS tracking devices on the trucks one day in October.

    The result of the covert surveillance was unveiled by the city Monday: Almost all those monitored were fired —29 unionized employees, with another two suspended without pay — accused of drawing a day’s pay for, in some cases, just minutes of actual work.

    The workers are accused of spending the day in coffee shops, bars, at their homes and running personal errands.

    (emphasis added:  I can assure you, from direct, personal experience, this happens ALL the time in both commercial operations and municipal work forces.  It is happening RIGHT NOW in your city, unless you are already monitoring for it.)

    They weren’t patching roads, they would go and do personal things

    “They weren’t patching roads, they would go and do personal things,” said Lloyd Ferguson, chairman of the public works committee.

    “To do less than an hour’s work for a full-day’s pay is unconscionable. That’s why we had to deal with it so swiftly and so severely.”

    He called it the largest purge of municipal employees in Hamilton’s history.

    What happened to the asphalt is still under investigation.

    A city worker told the National Post some employees dumped it into sewers or ravines, while others sold it to private paving companies doing driveway patching.

    A Hamilton resident told the Post a door-to-door salesman from a paving firm bragged in the summer he would patch their driveway using genuine fresh asphalt, “the same stuff used by the city.”

    Chris Murray, Hamilton’s city manager, said the case started through internal monitoring of productivity that flagged a problem. The city then retroactively checked records on GPS tracking devices installed on most of its work vehicles.

    The GPS data showed some trucks had not travelled to the areas some workers had been sent to and for which employees had signed off at the end of the shift as having attended.

    Outside investigators were called in, leading to the covert surveillance and further investigation.

    “What our evidence reveals is that not only was that work not done, but they weren’t even working,” said Mr. Murray. “What they said happened and what in fact happened were two different things.”

    Each of the 31 employees under suspicion was interviewed individually. Only two spoke truthfully about their activities, said Mr. Ferguson.

    While the workers who came clean each received a 30-day suspension without pay, the remaining 29 were fired for neglect of duty, theft of time and breach of trust.

    That almost all workers who were followed — randomly selected by investigators — were found to be breaching city expectations is concerning, said Mr. Ferguson, who is also an elected city councilor.

    “It does beg the question and, believe me, members of council will be asking these questions of how rampant it is,” he said.


    “I would suspect that this is not unique to Hamilton.”

    Chris Murray, Hamilton’s city manager

    Mr. Murray?  I can assure you it is not unique to Hamilton at all.  Thanks for standing up, recogniz9ing an issue, and taking a responsible approach to rectifying the rape of Hamilton taxpayers.  If only more city management would take their role that seriously.

    Who Says Police Need Warrant for GPS Tracking? Supreme Court, That’s Who!

    This has always been a hot topic here at Satviz.com, the place where you can learn about GPS ROI.  There are 50 states in the US, plus the district of Columbia .. all with their own laws regarding GPS tracking.  There have also been a number of Federal Court cases on this subject.

    However, this recent US Supreme Court decision is going to weigh very heavily on the clandestine tracking industry, and on overly zealous police agencies in the future, in the view of Mr. GPS that is.

    Police need warrant for GPS tracking: court

    (Reuters) – The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that police cannot put a GPS device on a suspect’s car to track his movements without a warrant, a test case that upholds basic privacy rights in the face of new surveillance technology.

    Supreme Court 1The high court ruling was a defeat for the Obama administration, which had argued that a warrant was not required to use global positioning system devices to monitor a vehicle on public streets.

    The justices unanimously upheld a precedent-setting ruling by a U.S. appeals court that the police must first obtain a warrant to use a GPS device for an extended period of time to covertly follow a suspect.

    The high court ruled that placement of a device on a vehicle and using it to monitor the vehicle’s movements was covered by U.S. constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures of evidence.

    There are no precise statistics on how often police in the United States use GPS tracking in criminal investigations. But the Obama administration told the court last year it was used sparingly by federal law enforcement officials.

    The American Civil Liberties Union rights group hailed the ruling as an important victory for privacy. "While this case turned on the fact that the government physically placed a GPS device on the defendant’s car, the implications are much broader," Steven Shapiro of the ACLU said.

    "A majority of the court acknowledged that advancing technology, like cell phone tracking, gives the government unprecedented ability to collect, store, and analyze an enormous amount of information about our private lives," he said.

    Some of you realize, of course, that I am a former GPS program manger and former CEO of my own company selling GPS tracking systems into the industry and government verticals.  I’m a big, big believer in the use of GPS tracking, not only for catching ‘bad behavior’ … everything from slacking off at work to criminal deeds.

    But I am also a great believer in personal freedom and especially wary of what Steve Shapiro of the ALCU says in his final paragraph above.

    GPS tracking is a GREAT tool for it’s intended purpose.  Including the catching of criminals.  BUT, and it’s a big but, I firmly believe police ought to be restricted to using it in cases where it has met the tests of probable cause before a judge … exactly as they have to do today in order to tap phone conversations.

    Never mind the personal privacy issues.  If you can just collect rams and reams of data on everyone … and then go fishing through it, the potentially harmful effects are mind boggling.

    Is there anyone reading this article who HAS NOT done something in his/her car s/he would just as soon not be held accountable for?

    If you stopped at that porn movie store or went 85 on the freeway in a rush to get home home Friday, should that be made apart of your permanent records … open to manual data analysis, or worse yet, automated systems like “Carnivore”, which is reading this message right now, as I send it … although the NSA will “neither confirm or deny” … because me writing this article or you reading it might affect “national security”.

    Let’s make great use of GPS tracking technology whenever and where ever it’s appropriate … but let’s remember the whole reason we live in the USA .. The Constitution.