New Technology Could Change Rescue Work
GPS trackers are small devices that receive satellite signals from space resulting in highly accurate positional data for their users. This locational data can be used for numerous applications related to personal safety from teen driving management to vehicle fleet management. It is also the reason why so many police departments, fire departments, ambulance companies and other first responders all choose to equip automobiles with GPS tracking devices. With all of the positive things GPS systems offer the technology itself still has some limitations. These limitations include signals from orbiting satellites being unable to go through concrete and different forms of metal. However, that may all change if the claims from a company called Cambridge Consultants are true about development of a product that can determine locational data of a person or asset indoors, and this is something that could be critical to saving lives in rescue situations.
GPS tracking devices have been evolving and advancing ever since consumer grade versions of the units hit the market. Unfortunately, being able to determine with accuracy the position of an object or person indoors has been a hurdle GPS simply has struggled to clear. Looking to develop a solution capable of providing emergency personnel the ability to locate any person or asset located indoors, Cambridge Consultants has allegedly now accomplished that goal with a product that uses sensors and internal algorithms when GPS is no longer effective.
Using power-efficient circuitry and affordable sensors, the tracking device would be able to transmit with accuracy it's location inside almost any building or infrastructure. The new GPS tracker was also manufactured to be small enough in size for a person to wear on their belt or inside of a pocket/purse.
When asked about how the new GPS tracker could enhance safety, a rep for Cambridge Consultants explained how the tracking device could be utilized to help locate fire crews in smoke-filled homes or buildings. Abandon buildings and house fires can put firefighters in harm's way, but even in conditions where smoke and confusion are prevalent the GPS device could provide the locational data necessary to save lives.
Personal tracking devices that call upon various sources to determine positional data have been used in the past, but most of these trackers are using radio frequency, weak GPS signals or some form of Wi-Fi technology. However, with more smart phones being manufactured and GPS tracking technology advancing, many components have substantially dropped in cost. That means components such as pressure sensors, magnetometers, gyroscopes, cellular data modules and other items can now be combined with existing technologies to create a cost-effective tracking solution capable of monitoring a person or object inside of a building. Most importantly, this form of real-time GPS tracking will be financially feasible for small businesses and families once it debuts on the consumer market.
No timetable has been set when Cambridge Consultants will launch the new GPS tracker, but their is no doubt if the GPS personal tracker indeed is capable of meeting manufacturer claims that it will be a valuable tool. Hopefully, a tool that can boost safety and save lives.
Maryland Lawmakers Against VMT Tax
Privacy advocates everywhere were upset when states such as Oregon began the process of implementing a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax to pay for rising road maintenance costs. The reason why privacy advocates are upset is because in order to calculate the miles traveled per vehicle tax GPS trackers would have to be used to determine historical driving activity. This would give government agencies not only access to mileage driving records but all driving activity and that is where the concern rests. Although many states are pursuing this method of taxation while many others are turning a simple blind eye, elected officials located in Carroll County Maryland are taking a radically different approach that has both their constituents and privacy advocates excited. This is because the officials are pushing a bill known as 682 that would essentially ban the state of Maryland from establishing any form of VMT tax that would equip GPS tracker devices upon automobiles.
Justin Ready, one of the republicans behind House Bill 682, explained that any form of VMT tax would essentially violate privacy rights of Marylanders, but if lawmakers were not proactive that the Department of Transportation could very likely introduce such a measure within the next ten years. Another concern Ready had was that some of the states looking to adopt a VMT program that uses GPS tracking would do so in lieu of current fuel taxes. Whereas Maryland officials wanted to have a VMT tax in addition to the current gas taxes motorists already pay at the pump.
Another proponent of HB 682 is Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild who has been on record speaking about his concern over any program that uses GPS satellite technology to monitor not only mileage but potentially all vehicle traveling activity. Rothschild would go onto state that using GPS tracking devices as the tool to calculate driver mileage,
"constitutes a gross violation of [Marylanders] Fourth Amendment rights."
Ready also emphasized the concern Rothschild publicly stated by also explaining that VMT tax plans that call upon the use of GPS trackers could have much greater and far-reaching implications. It would have the potential to create a more Big Brother society where all Marylanders are under greater government surveillance. Ready would later explain that HB 682 would be instrumental in safeguarding the privacy rights of Marylanders by preventing the state from having endless power of how it chooses to monitor citizens because of the advanced and detailed information provided by real-time GPS tracking devices.
Do you believe VMT taxes would infringe on Fourth Amendment rights of Marylanders?
Would you be okay with your state placing a GPS tracker system on your automobile to record driving activity?