Electronic Tracking Devices

An electronic transmitter hidden in the vehicle which emits a signal that is picked up by the police or a monitoring station. Vendors include: Alpine's Mobile Mayday, ForceTracker, Ford's Rescue, GM's OnStar, LoJack, BlackJax, and PageTrack2 from Motorola. There are a variety of services offered by each company, such as mapping services and vehicle-location if your car is stolen.

Types of Electronic Tracking Devices


GPS and GPRS architecture

The Global Positioning System uses a series of roughly 32 satellites located in medium Earth orbit to triangulate the position of an object. While it was developed by the US Air Force, it was put into civilian use in the early 21st century.


RFID and RFID architecture

Radio-frequency identification tags is one of the easiest and smallest devices that can be installed in nearly any component to enable tracking. These are commonly seen in retail items for warehouse management.


RSSI and RSSI architecture

Received Signal Strength Indication is a tracking system that uses real time locating technology to identify the position of an object or person. RSSI features wireless technology that can be installed into name badges or items.


LBS and LBS architecture

Location-based service is the type of tracking device used to make a person's cell phone reveal a location. Similar to GPS, this system can be installed in nearly any communications device or vehicle.


Inertial tracking devices are mechanical in nature and use gyroscopes to detect a change in orientation. These are fast and accurate, but limited in the distance in which they can identify movement.

The Future of Tracking Devices

The future is going to be portable, personal tracking devices. As we can already see with the GPS tracking watches and cell phones, the technology is making great strides toward becoming more and more consumer friendly. It is being packaged and delivered in a way that is very palatable for consumers and this means that tracking devices are going to be here for a very long time and in many different forms. If I had to put money on one become dominate it would have to be the cell phone, but the future is by no means certain. We will just have to wait and see what happens - but I know this for sure, GPS is going to be a big part of my children's lives and an even bigger part of their childrens's lives.

Other Theft Devices