GPS Pet Tracking
By Anne King
If you have a dog or cat that is an escape artist with cross-country travel on its mind, you might want to consider a GPS pet--tracking device. The same technology that enables rangers to follow tagged animals will allow an owner track straying or lost pets. You can choose either a collar design or a backpack type that works with a harness.
Before you rush out to buy a GPS pet--tracking device you need to consider a few things. Firstly, in addition to the system having a GPS receiver, a transmitter is required so the animal's location can be reported. This usually means a service provider is needed.
Some pet--tracker systems are used with GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) that uses your GSM mobile phone and a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card for tracking. Note the SIM card provider needs to have a service in the area where you'll be using the device.
There are various ways of accessing the information that your GPS receives. These include via home phone, Internet, and software installed on your computer. Phone access is not recommended and installed software limits your access to information. Internet access to your GPS data is the recommended way to go. You just log on, enter your password and your pet is located.
Pet finding software allows you to define your pet's boundaries and upload them to your computer. If your pet goes beyond its boundaries then an alarm will sound and you can quickly locate where the animal has gone. If you are traveling with your pet beyond its boundaries you can disable the alarm, or if you are visiting another area you can upload new boundaries. Most systems allow you have more than one area entered.
All GPS units vary in sophistication as does the pet--tracking GPS. You can choose a unit that gives location and nothing else, or you can purchase a device that will give you location and the information of how to get there, including reference points along the way. As in any product, what you spend will define the abilities of your system. If your animal is a water lover make sure that the unit is waterproof.
There is a difference between dog tracker collars and GPS pet--tracking devices. The former are usually limited in range to about half a mile and are ineffective if your animal has been stolen and removed from the area. Beacon devices can only be seen within the range of the light.
A GPS Pet-tracking device that is not being worn is useless. If you invest the money, make sure that your pet wears his/hers all the time. Yes, animal snatchers will sometimes remove collars, but a surprising number don't think about doing so. Combined with micro chipping and registration, pet--tracking GPS devices will go a long way to ensure that your lost pet will be located.
Anne King is a sports and recreation writer in Boise, Idaho. For more GPS tracking information, visit Maps GPS Info.com which provides practical information on GPS and maps that everyone can use. The website includes product reviews and a maps/GPS glossary.
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