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Feature Spotlight - Capture GPS Coordinates

March 21, 2016 by Jessica Gullickson

Each Feature Spotlight highlights one important tool in the TrackAbout toolbox that helps you operate more efficiently and maximize the utilization of your assets.

About GPS Capture (Smartphone Only)

TrackAbout is excited to announce the following enhancements to our iOS and Android apps.

  • Being able to capture GPS coordinates during mobile transactions, and
  • The display of maps on the web site that show asset and transaction locations in mobile geotagging.

Get better information about your inventory.  Know where your assets are when you need them.

These features are available to TrackAbout's iOS/Android subscribers and must be enabled by our Support team. Contact for assistance.

How GPS Capture Works

Once enabled, the TrackAbout iOS or Android app will work with your device's built-in location services.  Each time an asset is scanned, the app will attempt to capture GPS coordinates and information about that scan.

Location accuracy will vary based on several mobile geotagging factors, such as device capabilities and what networks are available (GPS, cellular, and WiFi).

When saving a transaction, GPS information will be sent to TrackAbout along with the rest of the record information and will be available immediately on the website.

What You'll See

Viewing a Transaction Record:If a location was captured for a given transaction, the user will have an option to view a map when viewing the mobile geotagging record on the web.

Viewing an Asset's History: When viewing an asset's details and history on the TrackAbout website, click the blue "Map" link to pull up the map view.




Clicking a marker on the map will reveal:

  • Asset's Tracking Number (Barcode)
  • Date and time of geolocation capture
  • The degree of accuracy of the coordinates as reported by the device to our app at the time of capture.




When multiple assets are on one record, users can "View All Assets on Record" to see them all on the map.

MapView_Multiple Assets

Keep in mind, maps will only show when geographic coordinates have been captured.  For example, records captured prior to enabling this feature, or from devices not permitting the use of Location Services will not have maps.

A Word About Accuracy

Smartphones have built-in location services which provide coordinates to the apps that run on them. When an app asks the device for its current location, the answer comes back with an estimation of the accuracy of the location. The accuracy can be as good as 5 meters, or it can be literally miles off. It's not a perfect system, and it can be stymied by a variety of factors.

  • GPS does not work well indoors. Devices must have line-of-sight to multiple satellites in the sky for the highest accuracy.
  • Some devices can be very slow to get a GPS "lock" (locking onto three or more satellites in order to triangulate position).
  • If the GPS satellites can't be seen, the device may attempt to estimate position by querying the nearest cell tower, in which case you will get the GPS coordinates of the cell tower.
  • If cell towers are not accessible, the device may attempt to look up the GPS coordinates of nearby WiFi access points. Google, Apple and others drive special cars around collecting coordinates and WiFi network names (SSIDs) in order build up a global database for location services. Querying this database can sometimes yield wildly inaccurate location coordinates, especially in the case where a WiFi access point has been moved and the lookup databases have not yet been updated.

It's an imperfect system, but it's the best we've got.

Why You Need It

  • Improved Asset Management.  GPS information gives you better information about where your assets are located, when you need to know it.
  • Excellent for troubleshooting customer discrepancies!  Geolocation information provides detail needed for identifying exact place of delivery and "proof" of customer receipt.
  • iOS/Android smartphones and tablets can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of traditional rugged devices.
  • Fast and continuous scanning capability.  Check out the YouTube video to see scanning in action.
  • TrackAbout works simultaneously on smartphones, tablets and rugged handhelds so you can outfit employees with the device that best suits their needs.

Additional information about iOS/Android application pricing, set up and features can be found at our TrackAbout Corporate website on the Smartphone Module page.

Contact our Support team at with any questions.

Topics: Asset Tracking, Feature Spotlight, Mobile Devices

Written by Jessica Gullickson