By Lawson Wong
Keep Track of Your Vehicle
Developed by the U.S. military, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have been around for decades.GPS is synonymous with navigation systems in cars, boats and planes that provide turn-by-turn directions to any location. With the Mini Tracker, SkyTRX has leveraged the GPS technology for another purpose: Attach it to any vehicle, and the pocket-sized device can track where the vehicle has been, how long it stopped at a certain location, and even how fast it was going.
What It Is
Looking like a USB thumb drive on steroids, the black device measures 3.8” x 1.46” x 1.34” and sports a USB plug to download the GPS tracking data to a computer. With a magnetic connector, you can mount the water-resistant unit to any metal surface on or in the vehicle, whether hidden under the car or proudly displayed on the roof. The Mini Tracker runs on two AAA batteries and comes with proprietary software to view the GPS tracking information logged by the device.
How It Works
Simply pop in the batteries and the unit is on. Using earth-orbiting satellites, the device tracks the movement of the vehicle and provides accurate information on its location. When you need to find out where your vehicle has traveled, retrieve the Mini Tracker from the vehicle and download all the tracking information to your computer via the USB connector. While not perfect, the GPS tracking supplies fairly accurate information as to the location of you vehicle, but don’t expect it tell you exact addresses where the vehicle stopped.
NOTE: Tracking devices may not be used to violate the privacy rights of others, or in violation of local, county, state or federal statutes. GPS tracking may be illegal in certain states.
The proprietary tracking software allows you to determine accurately where the vehicle went, when, how long it stopped, and even how fast the vehicle was going. You can view the data in 3 ways: Google Earth, Street Map or Activity Report.
- Google Earth: The data easily ports into the software and will work seamlessly to give you a bird’s-eye view of the travel path.
- Street Map: Track the path of travel of your vehicle on an animated street map. It will not only show where the vehicle traveled but also show you how fast it was driven and at what time it was at specific points on the travel path. Very cool feature.
- Activity Report: Displays a text summary of trips by day, including information on departure and arrival times from one location to the next, maximum speed driven on the day, and even distance between stops.
The Mini Tracker can store up to 100 hours of data on just the two AAA batteries. With no ON/OFF switch, the energy-efficient unit uses an ultra-sensitive motion detector to conserve power – automatically switching to standby mode when the vehicle is stopped. An LED light on the side of the device will flash red to indicate when the batteries are running low. In testing, I found that the device can log information for about three days. However, I do commute roughly 75 miles a day, so normal use will probably translate to about five to seven days before requiring a battery change.
Who’s It For
This compact, weather-proof device uses the power of GPS to let you keep track of your vehicle. You don’t need to be a private detective or a secret agent to use the Mini Tracker. This tool is perfect for those with a suspicious significant other or a parent who’s concerned about a teenage driver. Find out where your wife is really going on bridge night or if little Jimmy drives like Speed Racer. For less “Big Brother”-type uses, use it as a vacation trip logger to track where you stopped on your cross-country road trip.
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