Check out the best GPS tracking devices for child safety, pets, and outdoor adventures.
One day you will be able to go to your local consumer electronics store or pet shop and buy tracking devices off the shelf. At this stage the companies selling these technologies tend to build relationships with their target markets in other ways, through associations and media that is focused on the particular features and benefits of their product and the web.
This article will give you information on the 5 different trackers that they were impressed with in their research, there are hundreds more. If you are looking for a tracker to solve a particular problem, whether it is a person with a disability, a child who catches the bus or walks to school, or a pet that just can’t stay confined on your property (there are collar based systems to discourage them from doing that), there are solutions for Africa. They are just not easy to find other than going on the Internet, which does make it hard to touch and feel the device.
Keep in mind that buying the device is just part of it. There is software that you need to learn how to use and they will come with or with provision for a SIM card. Effectively they use the mobile network to connect to the Internet when needed to either share the GPS coordinates with you, or to send you an alert.This must also be considered in the cost, which is not typically high. Some vendors include the first year in the purchase price.
As you will see from these examples, some of them will track and let you know if the person or pet is outside of the geofence, or perimeter you have set up, for example if you were tracking a family member suffering from dementia such as Alzheimer’s and they are know to go on walks and become disoriented, you could have their device let you know if they are more than 250 meters from their home. Some devices have drop sensors so they know if the user has had a fall and some will allow you to talk to the person, which is great for example for a diabetic who is still conscious but may have forgotten to take their insulin.
The big issues is that they are not all created equal, some are more complex and difficult to use, many may not have local support. My suggestions are:
1. If it is for someone with a health condition, talk to the relevant association and see if they know of anything suitable.
2. Check out the website and see if there is a local stockist for something you think might be suitable.
3. If you can find a bricks and mortar (or any) stockist, see if you can test a product or if there is a money back guarantee. Their sales pitch will most likely tell you that their product is the only one that meets the needs of your loved one. That is highly unlikely. I did some research a couple of years ago, looking at whether I might set up a business retailing personal tracking solutions. There were a lot of solutions available and some very strongly held opinions.
4. Go online and read reviews. Many products have fake reviews and fake reviewers. You want to find people who have bought and paid for the product and preferably a few of them depending on how important this problem is. You can also find reviews of solutions on geek type forums and the online forums or support groups for the condition your loved one has.
5. Talk to people who have used them, or have unbiased opinions. Do note that sometimes people will be irrationally positive about a solution they invested in even if it is not a great product. That is human nature so you need to find a few people to talk to, if this is important to you and I’m assuming that by the fact that you read this blog. If you would like to read more of my blogs on personal GPS tracking you will find several here.
Footnote: There are radio frequency solutions available that are very cheap. They involve a tracking device, typically a watch, bracelet or necklace that sends out a signal. The positive is that they are smaller than GPS devices and the batteries can last up to a month. The negatives are they have no GPS, a range of less than a mile and you need search and rescue people walking around with Yagi aerials (very similar to a TV aerials) because they don’t even know which direction to look in. To a degree at least you get what you pay for. If you’re loved one does things like leave the rest home, hop in a taxi and drive 80 miles to his old home, this technology will never find him.