GPS Accuracy

Location Accuracy

The advertised location accuracy of most GPS trackers less than 3 meters. Accuracy can vary outside this standard deviation based on environmental factors such tree cover, tall buildings, GPS antenna used, device engineering and GPS device install location.

 

GPS-Accuracy-Comparison

Speed Accuracy

Speed accuracy is something we do not put a lot of thought into but speed accuracy can vary quite a bit. The GPS tracker and the GPS on your phone is more accurate than the speedometer on your vehicle. The older the vehicle, the less accurate the speedometer is. Speed is significantly impacted by changing the factory tire size. Wear changes the tread depth and size of a tire over time. An old tire is not as large as a new tire so the axle spins faster giving a false speed.

To determine speed accuracy from the GPS tracking map, scroll your mouse over the map route leading up to the speeding incident if you are using Geotab. Other GPS trackers will not be as accurate and do not have as much data. If the vehicle speed gradually increases, it is valid data. If the speed jumps from 40 to 85 with nothing in between, it would be difficult to hold a driver accountable for this because data is missing between these two points.

 

Posted Road Speed (PRS) Accuracy

Posted road speed varies from super accurate based on Fleetistics testing, to occasionally not so accurate. It is far more accurate than it was 5 years ago. I have driven past speed limit signs and watched the data change in Waze within feet. Generally, the more populated the area, the more accurate the data because there is a greater chance someone will submit a correction or from mapping cameras that frequent these areas more often. PRS is only as accurate as the data provided by the government, data that is submitted by citizens or AI, and the data set selected by the GPS tracking company. Cameras with artificial intelligence are helping reduce the time between a speed change, or new sign going in, and the time until it enters the data set. Citizens can submit corrections to the mapping companies which will be included fairly quickly. I submitted a road through the heart of Tucson, AZ to OpenStreetMaps and it was updated quickly which eliminated a lot of speeding exceptions. A submission to Google was live within two days. Highway speeds and primary surface roads are generally very accurate but it can vary by state.

In short, you have to validate exceptions.

 

Employees

Often times employees will claim the GPS is incorrect. Performing the two tests below will give you the confidence that the GPS is more accurate than the employees description. If you have to, do the test in the vehicle with the employee. If the GPS tracker is off, and it happens occasionally because of external factors, the deviation is typically so great it is obvious. Since 2001 Fleetistics has not seen a situation when the deviation is consistently X and you cannot tell something is wrong. The deviation is generally 30x and the vehicle plots in the ocean or 250 miles away for 1 or 2 data points, the speed goes to 321 MPH to cover this distance and then the plot comes back to the expected route. This is typical of a reflected GPS signal most often seen going under an overpass. Most of the time the GPS device filters this data because it cannot be valid. If the track follows the road, the data is accurate. Accuracy is one of Geotab’s strongest features.

 

Accuracy Testing

Below are two tests you can conduct to get a feel for the accuracy for a particular vehicle. The question is what is the business case where the accuracy is in question?

 

  1. Speed Test: Set the speed buzzer on your Geotab GPS device at 70 MPH and take a drive. Open WAZE and view the speed Waze indicates you are traveling and compare it to your speedometer. Waze will be more accurate reading because it is not impacted by tire size and other environmental factors. This will determine your speedometers margin of error. Increase your speed at a normal rate until you reach the speed set on your Geotab device. When the buzzer goes off compare it to Waze and your speedometer. You will now know the margin of error for the Geotab device in relation to your speedometer.
  2. Location Test: Park your vehicle in a particular parking space. Open Geotab, change to satellite view and see if your vehicle is plotted correctly. This will show the accuracy. Below is the picture from my truck today. It is showing the correct parking space and even the GPS being on the left side of the parking space. I would estimate this is within 2 feet of the actual GPS location inside my truck.

GO9 Technical Specifications

Speed Graph

Collision Reconstruction Limits Heartbreak Over Collision Damage

You can’t always prevent collision damage,

but you can prevent the heartbreak. Thanks in part to Geotab’s Collision Reconstruction add on, there is a happy ending to what could have been a very sad story.

I think we all have a vision of our dream car from our youth. For me it was always a little red rag-top. A couple of years ago I found her. She was a Chili Red Mini Cooper with a blue denim convertible top. Her name, chosen by her previous owner, was Rosie.

She had a lot of life left in her when I was recently hit from behind. The impact pushed me into the vehicle in front of me so I had collision damage both front and rear. As I dialed 911, I watched the other two very young drivers call their parents. Though the damage appeared superficial, my dream car was possibly going to be totaled, and ahead of me the negotiation with the insurance company loomed large.​

Accessing the Collision Reconstruction Data

The first thing I did when I got home was fire up the the computer to pull the accident data. With the collision reconstruction add on, it took just a couple of minutes.  The truth is often not exactly what we remember,and in this case, that was the case.

How could I have been so certain I was at a complete stop when I was hit from behind?  The collision reconstruction data showed I was driving 6 mph and slowing to stop. I wondered in that moment if the other drivers had similar flaws in their memory of the event. Also, the data indicated an initial accident level impact at the rear of my vehicle propelling me forward at 6:07:06 PM. Two more minor spikes on the graph indicate backward motion at about half the force of the initial impact. I suspect one of those may have been the force of my roll bar deploying.

Processing the Claim

Processing of the claim for the collision damage was somewhat slow. The insurance company had to reach all three drivers involved for their statements before they could make a determination of fault. I had advised the insurance company that I had the data and could prove exactly what happened, but they had to go through their process. Apparently the crucial information they needed from the driver in front of me, was how many impacts he heard, relative to what he felt, to verify that the rear vehicle actually hit me before I hit him. I wondered if his memory was clear on that point, but was confident the data would back me up if it was not.

Had there been any question, the G force and speed graphs above would tell the entire story. Had it ended up in litigation, the engineers at Geotab would have provided me with expert testimony in the form of a formal report explaining and validating the data from their collision reconstruction. Lucky for me, the insurance company just wrote a check to cover the collision damage.

Unfortunately,

The next day I received the dreaded call… after further review it was determined the frame was bent, and due to severe collision damage Rosie and I would not be seeing any more highway miles together. The insurance company settled, and I was off to find a new car. Knowing that I had solid facts acquired through collision reconstruction, allowed me to negotiate from a position of power, rather than accepting whatever the insurance company decided. I had a nice fat down payment in my pocket, and my former loan was paid off.

I promised a happy ending, so here it is. Not quite 2 weeks from the collision event, I was driving my new car. I could not find another Chili Red one, but British Racing Green can grow on a person. My new road pal is 2 years and 50K miles younger, has a turbo charger, and a far superior sound system. I am naming him Jack Hammer, after the salesman at the Mini dealer (I swear that is his real name).

Thanks Jack!

Thanks Geotab!

Navigating US Road Conditions and Gridlock

Gridlock is Slowing Us Down

Road conditions and traffic congestion or gridlock are a major factor that affects punctuality, productivity, and safety.  Unfortunately, driving in less than ideal road conditions, and stopping to wait in gridlock is something we must live with.  In any case, awareness helps us to avoid some of the worst situations and better cope with the rest.

Can We Eliminate Gridlock?

We all encounter it and we all hate it, but can anything be done about it?  Texas A&M recently released its annual Urban Mobility Report. It explains some of Road conditions - Gridlockthe WHY and offers a long list of potential remedies to avoid gridlock.  It is clear there is no one solution, but many small things that can be done to impact this problem plaguing metropolitan commuters and fleets.

What are some things a business can do?   Both small and large businesses can use remote workers where practical.  Another idea is to schedule services for off-peak travel hours by offering incentives to customers for scheduling their service in those off-peak hours. These simple measures are just starting points.  The Big Data that is available through the efforts of companies like Geotab, can be used to better understand and prevent the ongoing gridlock in the US.

 

Road conditions - pothole

Road Condition in the US

According to The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report, pavement condition in the US has continued to decline over the years.  Some states do better than others when it comes to filling potholes and repairing deficient bridges.  It is interesting that the dollars we spend on construction projects to improve road conditions do not always correlate to the percentages of improvement achieved.

Heavy Duty Trucking, commenting on the report, posted, “The percentage of urban interstate mileage in poor condition increased in 29 states with one-third of the nation’s urban interstate mileage in poor condition being concentrated in just five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, and New York.”  “Massachusetts ranks low in the overall rankings but shows the nation’s lowest traffic fatality rate, while South Carolina reports the highest.”

 

Highway Safety

Safety awareness and training are key to every driver coming back safe every day.

There is a wealth of information available on highway safety in the US.  This information is provided by safety experts, insurance organizations, and fleet technology providers.  Understanding the safest and most dangerous places along your routes can save lives.  Here are a few resources you may find helpful.

Bad Weather = Poor driving conditions creating gridlock.

Snow and ice create a dangerous combination.  They cause accidents and endless gridlock.  Knowing when to avoid dangerous weather saves time, lives, and expensive commercial vehicles.  You can add forecast weather service to your GPS tracking easily. MyFleetView allows you a 30 day trial of our weather services.  The map displays where your vehicles are in relation to the weather conditions  and weather related roadway threats you select.  See how below.

Weather - Watches and Warnings

Weather – Watches and Warnings

Northeast Roadway Threats Overlaid on Watches and Warnings

Northeast Roadway Threats Overlaid on Watches and Warnings

Adding current and forecast weather to your MyFleetView map is easy!  Start your 30 day trial today!  Here’s how.

4 Steps to Adding Services

4 Steps to Adding Services

Adding Services step 1

Adding Services step 1

Adding Services Step 2

Adding Services Step 2

 

 

What’s New in MyGeotab Version 1903

MyGeotab Version 1903 Coming Soon to your MyGeotab UI

Let’s take a look at some of the newest features and revisions.

 

UI Enhancements

Report Download

 

In MyGeotab version 1903 the changes are subtle but very effective.  The “View” button has been more appropriately named “Reports” and you can download reports without first viewing them in the browser.  Surely that will save lots of time and help new users to get around more easily.

A “My Location” button has been added to the menu.  This will help users visualize where vehicles are in relation to where the user is and can be used much like the “Nearest” selection available from zones.  Now I am here.  Who is closest to me?

 

 

Trips HistoryThe Trips History report in browser view has been revised to separate driving and stopped time in separate rows for clarity.  You will find that this improves readability because critical data is now set apart.

Other report revisions you will welcome are on the Vehicles report.  Additional columns can be added or hidden and rearranged in the order you prefer,  Your newly created view will automatically save for future use.  The group name is now shown under the vehicle name, and a red icon identifies vehicles that have not reported.  No way to miss that!

 

More Cool Stuff in MyGeotab Version 1903

When editing zones or geofences, the zone editor window now has 2 tabs, one for properties and one to view the zone on the map.  This will make zone edits faster and easier.  There are also some new reports coming to the Marketplace.  If you have “feature preview” turned on in your user settings, you will find the Purge feature is now accessible as well.  You can set the system to automatically purge data older than a specified time frame.

So watch for the changes and be sure to call us if you have any questions.  Follow this link if you want to see the full list of updates included in MyGeotab Version 1903, including updates to the SDK.

 

Required in Cab ELD System Documents – How to Stay Compliant

What is required?

Beginning on December 18, 2017, a driver using an ELD must have an ELD information packet onboard the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) containing the following items:

 

FMCSA allows electronic documents

  1. A user’s manual for the driver describing how to operate the ELD;
  2. An instruction sheet describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and step-by-step instructions to produce and transfer the driver’s hours-of-service records to an authorized safety official;
  3. An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; and
  4. A supply of blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) graph-grids sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for a minimum of 8 days.

The problem with a paper manual is keeping it up to date as the rules and technology changes.  FMCSA has acknowledged in their FAQ that electronic documents meet their requirements.

What’s the Solution?

ELD Info add in from Geotab

Never worry about having the required in vehicle documents, updates, and training again.  Just install the free ELD info add-in from the Geotab Marketplace.  You drivers can access it from their dashboard in Geotab Drive.  The add-in includes direct links to the latest versions of the required documents listed above (except for the paper logs required in the event of ELD malfunction).  It also has training videos, important contacts, announcements about updates to the app and workflow documents.  The add-in is absolutely free, but you must access the Marketplace from your MyGeotab account to install it.