GPS stands for Global Satellite Positioning, and ever since the 1990s, GPS equipment trackers have been highly useful in many industries. Fleet GPS tracking may be used for work vehicles, for example, and Canada is home to many snow plow fleets. Fleet GPS tracking systems allow vehicle owners to regulate where their snowplows go and when, and this prevents vehicles from crossing over into each other’s work area or getting lost. This fleet GPS tracking is just one of several ways to use modern geospatial data analysis, though. Laptops and cell phones are part of the Internet of Things and also use GPS and geospatial tracking, and ordinary cars and trucks, among other commercial vehicles, may have trackers in them, too. How might modern Canadian snow plow companies make the most of fleet GPS tracking today?
Snow Plow Coordination
Many Canadian cities get a lot of snowfall per year, and Canada’s top 10 cities for snowfall average 55 days per year of snowfall when at last two millimetres of snow lands. This snow cannot be allowed to sit there for long, since it interferes with traffic and pedestrians alike. Thus, Canadian cities have snowplow fleets on hand to clear all of this away, and such vehicles may operate in great numbers to clear away snow from roads and sidewalks alike. Montreal, for example, uses 172 vehicles to clear off roads, and 188 to clear the sidewalks of snow. It should be noted, though, that if these vehicles are not coordinated carefully, they may get in each other’s way or miss some areas of the city entirely. This is especially true of large fleets operating in larger cities like Montreal and Toronto, and worse yet, some vehicle drivers may idle because they can’t find more work. Without proper coordination, a vehicle’s driver may clear their assigned area, but not know of nearby areas to plow, too. Idle vehicles waste gas and create emissions, and many state and local jurisdictions penalize this by law.
This is where fleet GPS tracking comes in. Every snow plow in a fleet will have a GPS tracker in it, and the owner company will work with a geospatial data analysis company to track the location and movement of each vehicle in the fleet. This is vital for large cities and fleets, and gives a bird’s-eye view of everything taking place. In this manner, companies coordinate the work areas and routes of each vehicle in real time, which prevents any overlap in work areas and also ensures that no areas are neglected. A snow plow’s driver may have trouble coordinating their effort with everyone else, so geospatial data analysis from afar will handle it on a macro level. This makes sure that all work is done neatly and efficiently, and also prevents vehicles from idling and wasting gas.
Other Uses for GPS
It is clear that GPS is a great asset for snow plow fleets, but GPS has more uses beyond that. Work vehicles such as trucks, cars, or private jets may also have GPS trackers in them, so that the company can keep track of its property. Traveling business professionals may use or ride in these vehicles, and trackers ensure that they are behaving as expected. Such trackers who when and where the vehicle is traveling, and a worker may also be tracked with the electronic items that they are carrying such as laptops and cell phones or computer tablets. And of course, if a company vehicle is stolen or gets lost, then GPS trackers and geospatial data analysis allows the owners to track down the vehicle no matter where it ends up. NICB, for example, revealed that between 2012 and 2014, some 126,603 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys still inside. Without GPS trackers, recovering such vehicles may be difficult or even impossible, but geospatial data transmits the location at all times. This may be done for private vehicles, too.
Search and rescue is also made easier with GPS trackers, whether for work vehicles or private ones. If such a vehicle gets lost or stranded due to natural disasters or accidents, rescue crews may home in and rescue the occupants (and if possible, recover the vehicle too).