As an electronic monitoring professional, possessing a fundamental understanding of how GPS works is essential. Click the button below to see a brief but informative overview of how GPS—and electronic monitoring platforms—work.
The BLUtag Difference
The electronic monitoring industry is littered with lookalike, cookie-cutter GPS products that are largely thinly veiled copies of the products created by their competitors. As the inventors of BLUtag, the industry’s first one-piece GPS tracking device, Securus Monitoring Solutions has never focused on keeping up with the competition. Instead, we focus on creating products like BLUtag that provide solutions to the challenges faced by law enforcement and community corrections agencies:
Arguably, keeping an electronic monitoring device properly charged is the most critical element to successfully monitoring an individual. Like all manufacturers in the electronic monitoring industry, we don’t make batteries. And rather than making outrageous claims about how long “our” battery lasts, we spend our time developing ways to make it easier for enrollees to keep our devices properly charged:
- Mulitple Low-Battery Notifications
BLUtag provides the supervising agent and the enrollee with multiple low-battery notifications that begin when the device has 10 hours of battery life remaining and continue at specific intervals until the device loses power. This provides the enrollee with ample warning to recharge the device.
- Simplified Charging Cable
Our rugged yet elegantly simple to use mechanical + magnetic charging cable that makes it easy for enrollees to reliably connect it to a BLUtag device—every single time. This will dramatically increase the likelihood of an enrollee keeping their BLUtag properly charged.
- Simplified Mobile Charging
We offer a small, lightweight and easy to use mobile charger that can extend a BLUtag’s normal battery life of 50+ hours from a single charge to 75+ hours. That’s 3 days of battery life in the unlikely event that an enrollee cannot get to an AC outlet.
Gaps in cellular networks can wreak havoc on an agency’s ability to effectively monitor the activities of enrollees in a given area. To eliminate the problems caused by coverage gaps in cellular networks, we invented DualCarrier™ technology that allows BLUtag to switch between two nationwide cellular networks on the fly—providing reliable, seamless coverage of enrollees as they go about their day-to-day activities. No one else in the industry offers this powerful solution.
- Since the introduction of DualCarrier Technology, our customers have reported dramatic reductions—as high as forty percent in some cases—in the number tracking alerts caused by drops in cellular coverage. Those reductions equate to hundreds of man-hours reouped for those programs as supervising agents were freed up to spend their valuable time managing their caseload instead of processing erroneous alert notifications.
Increasingly, false tamper alerts have fast become the bane of existence for supervising officers and enrollees. By design, BLUtag is equipped to reduce false tamper alerts using three unique design features:
- Rugged + Comfortable Strap
BLUtag is equipped with an ultra-rugged DuraStrap™ that is not only double the thickness of ordinary straps, it is also dramatically more comfortable to wear, reducing the need for an enrollee to make “overzealous adjustments” that often results in false tamper alerts.
- Dual Fiber-Optic Cables
To combat false tamper alerts, each DuraStrap houses TWO fiber-optic cables that allow BLUtag to better identify true tampers. The additional fiber-optic cable allows BLUtag to more definitively identify true tampers to the device, significantly reducing the reporting of unnecessary false tamper alerts.
- Durable Strap-Clip
BLUtag features a heavy-duty strap-clip mechanism that provides a more secure strap installation substantially decreasing the likelihood of false tamper alerts being created where the strap attaches to the device.
State-of-the-Art One-Piece GPS Tracking Solution
Small, durable, easy to recharge, with the most advanced tamper detection systems available, BLUtag represents the latest evolution of GPS tracking devices and is the most advanced and reliable GPS electronic monitoring device Securus Monitoring Solutions has ever created.
With its state-of-the-art GPS receiver, BLUtag provides unparalleled location accuracy plus the ability to communicate over dual 4G cellular networks for reliable nationwide coverage. Tracking data from BLUtag is received by our 24/7/365 Monitoring Solutions Center via VeriTracks, our secure web-based electronic monitoring platform.
What’s more, BLUtag is designed to seamlessly integrate with our BLUbox and BLUhome RF solutions to effectively and efficiently monitor enrollees in home confinement programs.
In addition, BLUtag offers these features and benefits:
GPS 101: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT IS GPS?
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based radio navigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force. It is a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. Obstacles such as mountains and buildings can block the relatively weak signals being transmitted from GPS satellites. The GPS project was started by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1973. The first prototype GPS satellite was launched into orbit in 1978 and the full constellation of 24 satellites was operational by 1993. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory website, the current GPS constellation consists of 32 Block II/IIA/IIR/IIR-M satellites.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Wherever you are on the planet, at least four GPS satellites are ‘visible’ at any time. Each one transmits information about its position and the current time at regular intervals. These signals, travelling at the speed of light, are intercepted by a GPS receiver like BLUtag, which calculates how far away each satellite is based on how long it took for the messages to arrive. Once it has information on how far away at least three satellites are, BLUtag can accurately pinpoint its location using a process called trilateration.
The strength of the signals coming from GPS satellites is relatively weak when compared to other communication satellites (e.g., military, telecommunications, television, radio, internet, etc.) and can be dramatically degraded by environmental factors. Common environmental factors include:
- “Urban canyons” found in major cities whose poor visibility of the horizon and GPS signal refraction caused by windows on taller buildings can cause degraded GPS signals
- Dense tree canopies in parks and residential areas
- Above- or below-ground parking structures with dense concrete walls and ceilings can completely block GPS signals. Not suprisingly, this also applies to prisons and jails.
- Densely populated areas where line of site to the horizon is blocked
These environmental factors (and many more) effect the ability of any GPS device, consumer grade, military grade or otherwise, to provide continuous and accurate tracking data.
HOW DOES ELECTRONIC MONITORING USE GPS?
The diagram below provides an overview of how Securus Monitoring Solutions uses the data received from GPS satellites to monitor individuals enrolled in an electronic monitoring program.