Overview Of Tracking Devices Information Technology Essay

Tracking devices or also known as detection system is a powerful device that observes a person or an object on the move and supplying a timely order sequence of a respective location data to a model. For an example, it is capable to serve for depicting of the motion on a display capabilities. (SpyEquipmentUK, 2010)

Nowadays, there is a lot of tracking devices detection devices in the world. With an ultrasonic transmitter and time depth recorder in a tether-attached housing that allowed automatic detachment and subsequent retrieval of the equipment.

It will only reduce energy consumption by requiring only a minimum number of sensor nodes to participate in communication, transaction and perform sensing of the target tracking in the wireless network. This will responsible to for observing the target to save the energy consumption and extend the network life. (SpyEquipmentUK, 2010)

Overview of tracking devices

Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) consist of a sensory devices and each devices has a limited processing and wireless communication capabilities, constrained computation power, battery power, storage capacity and communication bandwidth. It is capable in collecting information in its vicinity and exchange information for appropriate actions. This application is able to detect and track a target and report information about the target to a processing center.

In this report, I will focus on the prediction based cooperative target tracking in sensor networks. This is mainly designed to predict the target moving path. This system is typically to detect a target that can sense continuously to avoid missing targets and achieve long-term surveillance in a realistic mission.

Advantages of GPS in different areas

Tracking devices in human

Implant into human body (Global Spec, 2010)

This microchip can be implant into human, now, it has launched that the microchip can be implanted under a person’s skin and it will be used to confirm the health of a patient, history and the identity. The implant chip which is durable and the size of a grain rice and once implanted, the chip and the information will always be with the person and it will never get lost.

The tracking devices will be place by the doctor, where the doctor would pinch the skin and lifted it up, and the doctor would be somehow drill a small hole into the skin to place it underneath between the skin and the top of the muscle. It approximately23mm, which could only last for nine days, partly because it is still under experiment and partly is due to limited power in the tracking devices. The device will be held with three stitches, this is to allow the wound to held together and the most important would be the capsule of the devices don’t float around anywhere around the body.

However there is a downside towards the microchip implant. In the experiment that been carried out using the lab mice and rats that had been implant of the microchip, it does develop the cancerous tumors and malignant cancers around the tissues surrounding the microchip implant. This only happened in the lab mice and rats which it doesn’t really indicated that it would happen to human being where seeing the mice and rats may represent the exaggerated phenomenon of what it could occur in human. (TakePart, 2010)

For the cost of the tracking devices for human implant, approximately $166.95 per month where it will track 24/7/365 monitoring.

Through my understanding, tracking devices into human skin had its own benefits. For example, if a patient that is contracted with Alzheimer and had cip implant under the skin, whenever the patient get lost, it will be track easily as the patient won’t know the way to go back from where they come. With this cip implant, the family’s members can easily locate where the patient is rather than they get lost and search and rescue would be late. There is risk in tracking devices implant in human but the choice depends on the individual whether he/she wants it.

Ankle monitor (http://www.criminal-law-lawyer-source.com/articles/ankle_device_dui.html)

Ankle monitor also is one of the tracking devices to monitor drunken driving offender. This would allow the probation officers to check their alcohol consumption. Ankle monitor is also known as Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM). These device works with the setup the bracelet next to the modem that will download the data collected during the day and send it to the central computer. With this, the officer would be able to log in and monitor the alcohol intake anytime. (nytimes, 2010)

The SCRAM uses the transdermal technology, where the SCRAM will check the alcohol consumption by tracking and quantify any ethanol that is present in the skin when the skin is perspiration. This is to measure the alcohol that detaches the skin around the skin ankle, different from the blood test or any other method. The SCRAM also mechanically tests for alcohol consumption by the wearer. It will slightly vibrate while the bracelet takes the reading, else it will monitor the process which is transparent and it would have minimally turbulent to the user daily activities’.

Another good point would be the SCRAM can also detect any attempts of to obstruct or even remove the ankle monitor bracelet. It will also send report to those who are supervising the wearer. The SCRAM is one of the examples of enhancement for the tracking devices.

SCRAM isn’t for sales in public, as it only available for the officer and the authorities that monitor the wearer.

There is one example where Linsay Lohan was required to wear SCRAM and to be monitor because of the drinking behavior. The officer will be monitoring her drinking behavior from the ankle monitor that she were force to wear by officer. (girlstalkingsmack, 2010)

GPS in vehicles (car)

Nowadays, tracking devices are commonly in used in vehicles. This device could be used for monitoring the schedules for buses; it works with triggering the changes of the bus route display at the end of route. American Public Transportation Association that at the year of 2009, half of the transit buses in United States were already using this Tracking device. (gpsplanet, 2010)

Other than this, tracking devices also used for monitoring human driving behavior such as when a teenager is driving without parents surveillance. Tracking devices is popular in consumers’ vehicles because it can act as theft prevention and retrieval devices.

Other than this, parents can use this to monitor their children’s whereabouts. These tracking devices can b carried by the kid or the parents can placed it in the teen’s car as just to inform the parents the exact location where their kids are. (gpsplanet, 2010)

In my opinion, these tracking devices can be used in certain scenarios which could possibly happen in real life:

Retrieve stolen vehicles

This can be apply for consumers or commercial vehicles where the vehicle got stolen, the tracking devices will help to locate the stolen vehicles and retrieve it back where it is located. This would enhance the stolen vehicles rate drop as the stolen car would be easily to track back and last but not least, may be able to catch the thief that had stolen vehicles. (pcworld, 2010)

Services Management

This choice mostly used by commercial services (repair and maintenance) such as they need to track down where the truck had travel. It will help to quickly locate and dispatch the closest one to meet the new customer request or provide information. For example, DHL Company also uses these technologies to monitor the delivery of goods. It allows the user to enter 10 digit tracking number onto their website, where they would return the latest shipment information direct to the client PC, and mobile phone or hand held devices. (pcworld, 2010)

Tracking devices also had the downside too. There may have malfunction tracking devices that had been installed in the vehicles which the user doesn’t realize. There is a real life case where the tracking devices lead the driver to the wrong way, where the tracking devices told the driver to turn to right where he ended up at the railway tracks.

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Therefore, there’s a downfall for tracking devices. It would depends on the user itself whether the user want to use it or not. In my opinion, when the driver wants to go to a certain place and don’t know the route to the specific location, the tracking devices would be a solution although it does had history of misleading the driver to wrong destination. The misleading won’t always happen, therefore, most of the users would opt to use this GPS.

Tracking devices in cell phone

The widest used tracking devices probably would be the cell phone but very few people know that cell phone can be used to track their movements. All it needs would be a signal from the cell phone tower and to be turned on for it to be one of the most powerful tracking devices on the market. Each devices will work differently, depends on the devices where it will do some fancy math to determine its location based on the known location, telling the mobile phone exactly where it is at any given moment in time. (gpsfortoday, 2009)

As for the cost of this cell phone tracking devices, it would reach up to $99 permonth with unlimited web and data usage. Some also offer some cheaper package where it depends on the how frequent the user used the tracking devices system and charge accordingly. For example, TelNav provides a range of $5.99 to $9.99 per month depending on how frequent the user used it. For another company, ViaMoto also provide this tracking services where the user must pay $9.99 per month with a 3 months contract or $8.99 per month with a 12 month contract. (bigboxstore, 2009)

This is mainly in used when a police need to trace the kidnapper where he used a cell phone to contact the victim’s member to ask for ransom. There would be special devices to track down the caller from the cell phone so that they could locate the kidnapper.

Other than that, the parents can uses this cell phone tracking devices to monitor the child’s activities when they are not around the home or when they were working. What the parents needs would be a computer, or even a computer at work, where they can used the provided software to track the child whereabouts and as well as discover who had phone the child, who they had phone and the phone number behind all the text messages that the child had text to.

In my opinion, parents uses tracking devices to track down the child is good especially when the parents had no idea where they had gone but, tracking all the phone calls that the child dialed and received, the phone number behind all the text messages that the child had send is inappropriate. It seems like the child had no freedom to dialed and received call from others, even worst is tracking down all the phone number behind the text messages. This is what I called jeopardizing the child freedom and it makes the child life live like there’s in a jail where every move is been monitor. This is against my principle where everyone should had their own freedom to dialed and received any phone calls as well as receiving and sending text messages to someone.

Tracking devices in animals

Some of the tracking devices nowadays make use of cell phone to transmit the location information from the pet collar while the devices uses radio signal. The pet has to be within the signal so that the owner can get information about where they were. For example, when going out to travel to Paris, and exactly still know the pet is as long as it has a cell signal. (bigboxstore, 2009)

The cost of a pet tracking devices would cost around $300.00 to 499.00. There also available some cheap tracking devices such as radio tracking. This radio tracking works similarly with the pet tracking devices, where the user must press a button and on the devices on the pet collar which would emit sound to alert the use about the location of the pet. (bigboxstore, 2009)

In my opinion, for those who really love the pets and would spend a fortune, they can get the pet tracking devices that works on the radio transmission. It would be a pain if the owner lost the pet and couldn’t locate the pet and have no idea whether the pet actually did been kidnap or just went out for a long walk before returning back to the home.

For example, this would be great if the owner wanted to have a walk with their pets in the forest and yet the pet always distracted by the ransom scent here and there and goes away into the wilderness. With the tracking devices, it would easily locate the pet in the wilderness.

Technologies for tracking

In this section, technologies for tracking would be surveyed and some of the tracking solutions are readily available in the market. It is to assist the finding solution for the pet or farm animals on the commercial market with the minimal system development.

Global Positioning System

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigational system that involves satellite s and computers that can determine the latitude and the longitude of a receiver on Earth by computing the time difference for the signals from different satellite to reach the receiver. (garmin, 2010)

The objectives of using GPS to track the animals are to provide a real-time animal tracking system. The real time tracking capabilities where the GPS data describe the current location of the collar would be transmitted to a hand help base station; capable of receiving and displaying the location on a digital map. During the olden days, the farmer would actually have numerous herding dogs where these dogs often act to herd, protect and keep the farm animals from wondering astray. When the herding dog is injured or lost, the entire farm suffers, and it is possible to keep an eye on the animals at all the time. The farmer can monitor the animals from inside of their home. (garmin, 2010)

For example, when the farm animals are been set out in the morning, the GPS receivers were switched on and then recorded the animals’ position for every 10 seconds. When the farm animals returned during the evening, the raw data files will be transferred to a laptop/computer.

Radio Frequency identification (RFID)

Radio Frequency identification (RFID) is a term that is used to describe a system that transmit (in a form of unique serial number) of an object using radio waves. A passive RFID tags does not need any power source because it produces the needed the energy by an antenna. The reading distance could be a several meters. Tracking it would be able to work if the moving objects have RFID tags and when the RFID tag is close enough to the reader, it can measure the location of the object. It is mostly in used usually for the animal identification. (rfidjournal, 2010)

Radio Tracking

Radio tracking is a system for automatic and continuous data collection which allows the radio tracking of several animals at the same time. Radio tracking consist of a system controller, antenna and a small size radio transmitter. The coordination of an individual’s location are calculated through triangulation on the basis of the angle of the incidence form the transmitter signal to each antenna. (trackerradio, 2009)

Based on the radar technology, the device can determine the location from moving objects in real time. The system consists of active transponders which transmit the signals to the station. This solution can work only for a few hours without changing the battery and the system itself is quite costly, as the system price for tracking 10 animals in a limited area is about 60000 Euros. (trackerradio, 2009)

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Bluetooth is one of the wireless technologies that enable communication between the Bluetooth compatible devices. It is used for short range connection between any two devices that had Bluetooth. For a Bluetooth range signal, it is about 10m and the resolution which tells the location. The principle of is about the same when using the global system for communication (GSM) location. (sourcinggate, 2010)

Wireless Local Area Network

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) sometimes also refers to as Local Area Wireless Network (LAWN) is a type of Local Area Network that uses high-frequency radio waves rather than wires to communicate between the nodes.

One of the companies in US, Aero Scout had developed a system which uses a standard Wi-Fi, wireless network and time difference of arrival algorithm to determine a certain location. The Aero Scout Engine software is able to calculate the location of tags or other enabled Wi-Fi devices. (sourcinggate, 2010)

For example, there is a case in LegoLand, Denmark, they had this child tracking application that had been develop by Aero Scout where the application is able to locate a child in LegoLand area within 3m accuracy.

Ultra sound

Ultrasound is cyclic sound pressure with a frequency greater that the upper limit of human hearing. Ultrasound Identification is a technology used to automatically to determine and the identity of the location objects with room accuracy. It can use with the combination of normal microphone and loud speakers for ultrasound position. (radiologyinfo, 2010)

Every loudspeakers sends individual coded sound and the receiver can calculate it position where it is track by the speakers. If the sound waves have clear way between speakers and microphones, it is possible to achieve accuracy of centimeters or even millimeters.

For example, there an Institute had developed an indoor location system, Cricket. It uses the combination of radio frequencies and ultrasound technologies to provide the location information to the attached host devices. Cricket can provide positioning precision of between 1 and 3cm. (radiologyinfo, 2010)

Video tracking/ image analysis

Video tracking is a process of locating a moving object over the time with the use of a camera, a recording system and an image analysis program for tracking and identification of objects.

An experiment had been conducted in Foulum Research Center in Denmark, where the measuring of the travelling distance of a farm animals, for example a pig within their environment had been tested, using an image analysis system.

It is done by placing a video recording above the litter where after the recording, the PC program were used to subtract images with 4seconds interval to measure the travel distance by determining the position of the farm animals. (radiologyinfo, 2010)

Selection of the tracking devices for proposes Fyp Company

Based on the proposed technologies, I would propose RFID technology to the FYP Company. Using a RFID tag, the owner can locate the lost pets that been tag with the RFID, where the tag is located at the collar of each pets.

There are a lot of RFID tags in the markets. All the information is transmitted wirelessly and stored by the tags automatically. At the other end, the reader is available to receive the transmitted data. The tag is attached to the pet; it has 3 important parts, chips, antenna and packaging. When the radio signal is sense by the tag, it automatically starts to read the signals.

Garmin DC-30 Transmitter

Wang Wang Pet shop would be using this tracking device. The device is made to take the beating that working dogs dish out daily. The antenna of the devices will always point to the sky for strong signal. When the animal is wearing the devices, every 5 seconds of the DC-30 transmits his position to the owner handheld, as the owner can see the current location. (skygistics, 2010)

The main housing is weighted to sit below the dog’s neck while a small, low profile GPS antenna is integrated into the collar strap and positioned on the top of the dog’s neck, providing a clear view of satellite with a minimal rotation. (skygistics, 2010)

The features would be:-

High sensitivity GPS receiver

Dog position updates every 5, 10 or 30 seconds

Seven miles range (approximate 11km)

Waterproof design

17-36 hours battery life, rechargeable lithium ion


Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 1.4″ x 1.17″ x 3.3″ (3.5 x 2.97 x 8.4 cm)

Collar length: 12″ (30.5 cm) to 20″ (50.8 cm) adjustable collar


4.1 oz (116 g) for transmitter and antenna

8.7 oz (246.6 g) total weight

Battery: Li-Ion rechargeable

Battery life: 17, 24, or 36 hours – (user adjustable transmit rate of 5, 10 or 30 seconds)

Waterproof: yes (IPX7)

The cost is around $199.99 – $229.99 per collar

Tracker Strike Collar

Another of tracking devices that Wan Wang pet shop would be using is Tracker Strike Collar. It is a lightweight sleek single antenna design and is able to turn on/off with a magnet. It is made of top quality straps and water tight body guarantee durability and long life. (skygistics, 2010)

It has a flashing LED to indicate that the collar is on. It also equip with Motion Detector where it will provide the hunter with a quicker “beep” to let the owner know when the dog has stop moving. The LED blinks every second and the battery life is expected to be 1000 hours. It uses a 3.6 volt lithium battery. (skygistics, 2010)

The feature would be:-

Watertight under hunting conditions

720+ hours of battery life under continuous use (3.6V AA full height)

Certified for use in AFTCA sponsored pointing dog field trials

Weighs 7.6 ounces (including collar)

User replaceable single antenna

Magnetic turn on/turn off

Blinking light shows that collar is transmitting

1/2 AA batteries can be placed in the collar to boost signal output

The cost for this device is around $125.00 – $150.00. This device can be obtained from Amazon.

Those are the devices that are been propose for Wang Wang Pet Shop to use for their pets. The devices are considered cheap for a pet shop to own as each pet in the pet shop is extremely expensive. (skygistics, 2010)

The software design – Development Environment

The software used to develop the tracking devices was developing using Eclipse. Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment comprising in an integrated development (IDE) for Java Enterprise Edition. Eclipse provides a powerful workbench for programming Java application and the capabilities are expandable through the installation plug-ins. To develop the web application, Google Web Toolkit (GWT) plug-in was installed. This is to further the speed up the development. (waspbarcode, 2009)

The software design – Web Application

The server web client application was programmed entirely in Java using Google Web Toolkit (GWT), Google’s Map API Library for GWT and External user interface library for GWT. GWT is Google’s free development framework for building rich Internet applications. GWT translate Java code into appropriate HTML, Java Script, CSS and binding scripts which make the application dynamic via AJAX. (waspbarcode, 2009)

In the final, it is able to


Plot position and paths for multiple hands help units on the Google map.

Indication of the last known position of the unit as indicated by the color-coded star icon on the map.

Showed the used location’s calculation and distance sphere to each map.

Show the current location on the map


List of the position with an icon in a collapsible tree menu

Differentiate ironically between active and past devices and sessions.

Provide the show/hide functionality of each object.

Future tracking devices

Those tracking devices are currently in used in the commercial market have the advantages and the disadvantages. There are a proposed tracking devices meant for the scuba divers or under water swimmer. (xtremetracker, 2010)

This is the concept of tracking system that is especially designed for Scuba divers to be used when they are underwater. This system will help a diver to locate his or her partner if they would ever separate from each other while they are diving underwater. (xtremetracker, 2010)

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It is made of two devices, one of it is a transponder which tags with the air tank and the other devices would be at the wrist, a wrist watch like a receiver unit. The transponder sends out acoustic signal after every 5 seconds and is located in the transponder.

It will also receive signals from other transponder that is attached with the partner diver’s air tank. The receiver unit shows the information from the transponder to the diver through radio frequency waves. (xtremetracker, 2010)

Another of the future tracking devices would be GPS container cargo tracking. Using this idea, it will benefit the global logistic business, with 3 types of customers, Government, Logistic Service Providers, and Beneficial Cargo Owners. (ehow, 2009)


Currently cargo dumpster is increasing with the idea of eliminating dump-age from containers so that it can ensure they could collect the full taxation due on the cargo. In certain countries, the government who is handling the container transit which is very keen to ensure they collect necessary custom and tax duties. (ehow, 2009)

Another reason would be security. All governments are worried about the illegal / dangerous materials/ items inside a container. Now the governments are trending where all the type operations whereby all data relevant to the movement of cargo is contained within a single platform which include the manifest information with x-ray scan and location data. (ehow, 2009)

Service providers

From the range of the niche from the providers who are specialize in the movement of a certain types of goods. In order to cater for large scale shippers of manufacture good, they are concern with the security of the shipments as well as providing some of the added value customer service. (care2, 2010)

Cargo Owners

With the increasingly recipient or owner of the goods is turning to container tracking service providers to provide a simple technology to monitor and locate their container goods. With this, it could involve monitoring the container whilst in transit or it is at the container port terminal. (care2, 2010)

For customer to get maximum benefit with the minimal benefit, the technology will perform the task and the key elements of the system lies within the “human factor”. It is also important that customer should be ready to ensure that equipment is attached and activate correctly so that when the cargo arrives, there would be someone reliable who can ensure the hardware is returned to the start of the logistic chain so as to repeat the process. (care2, 2010)

The main benefits are:

Security of the container doors. With the ability of having immediate alerts of unauthorized door opening sent to the manager of the container movement operation. The information can be stored on the devices itself for analysis later.

Tracking, it would be great if the customers can use real time location information to generate wealth management information.

There would be also container monitoring as the devices include a number of telemetry sensor that can detect light entering into the container, it’s useful especially the container been sabotaged, as well as temperature monitoring, useful for reefer type of containers. It is also an accelerometer to report if the container has been dropped.

Those are the benefits for tracking the cargo which would benefits for all the people, government can supply all the equipment on a build, operation transfer basis where the purchase is finance. For customers who wish to make a capital purchase, they can provide support and maintenance agreement to ensure the equipments can reach its maximum operational lifespan. For leasing, it had developed a unique system where customer can rent and the price depends on the number of containers and length of transit. (care2, 2010)

Future tracking devices would be designed to work under extremely low power and extreme condition. Microchip Technology Inc. currently is working on a tracking device where they had practical design exercise to take extremely low power tracking devices to the top of Africa’s famous mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, during 2 separate climb. (Tmfassociate, 2010)

The goal is to provide the engineers with an entertainment way to learn about designing a device that could operate in extreme conditions with a limited battery power budget. The tracking device is designed to run for more than two months on a single charge, from 2 Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries. (Tmfassociate, 2010)

The components consist of a GPS receiver, a barometer and a temperature sensor which are used to log the altitude, longitude, latitude, UTC time, barometric pressure and temperature. The climb had started and they faced a lot of problem which this tracking devices is still under experimental level. (Tmfassociate, 2010)

There’s new about this tracking device that is made to withstand the extreme low power and extreme condition. Other than that, UK company also seriously considering implementing tracking device in school uniforms.

Below is the news about tracking devices on uniform. (deseretnews, 2010)

In my opinion, there are many possibilities out there for the future tracking devices where we would have known since there are too many ideas out there for the developers to buy the idea and develop it. Some of the ideas really will help in the future tracking devices. (deseretnews, 2010)


As a conclusion, some tracking devices are used to support daily life usage. Tracking devices is one of the technologies to help human in tracking their belongings. As mention on the above, there’s many usage for tracking devices. Some of it is used to track someone or animals or their properties.

Based on the discussion, there are about the usage of the tracking devices on human, animals and properties. Tracking devices can be implement on human, where they won’t get lost and will be detected by others, SCRAM for the drunken driver, an enhancement of tracking devices to monitor, also called as house arrest, and etc.

Other than that, there’s about the technologies used on the tracking devices, such as using Bluetooth, RFID, wireless Local Area Network, ultrasound, and video tracking/image analysis. These technologies are used on the tracking devices; specifically describe how the tracking devices work using which methodologies.

On the later part, it is about the selection on which tracking devices that are suitable for Wang Wang Pet shop for FYP. The devices that been proposed are mean for small pets that’s either for rent or sales. With these tracking devices, the pet will never get lost again. Inside of it, there’s also the cost of a tracking devices.

The next would be on the software development for the tracking devices. It used Eclipse to programmed where Eclipse allow the programmer to use Java, PHP, C language to program the software. Eclipse is one of the programs that is used widely to program and design the software for tracking devices.

On the last part, it would be the future of tracking devices. In the discussion, there’s tracking devices for underwater diver so that they won’t get lost if they are separated with their partner. There’s also cargo tracking devices where it wills benefits government, clients and service providers. The tracking devices are use to track where the cargos are currently and any cargo dumpster. It also has the feature of light sensor and temperature sensor in order to prevent the cargo been sabotaged.

The other would be tracking devices on school uniform where the teacher and parents can track their child whereabouts. This would decrease the child been lost or kidnap after school.

Therefore, tracking devices had its pros and cons. It would be handy for those who is busy at work and wanting to monitor their beloved. For those been monitored, it would be a mess as they lost the freedom of doing anything’s.

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