GPS Locate and satellite technology pinpoints lone workers

The GPS Locate feature on the Safe Hub lone worker safety system uses satellite technology to pinpoint and protect lone workers.

GPS Locate, satellite technology
GPS Locate uses satellite technology to pinpoint and protect lone workers.

We all rely on technology in so many aspects of our lives, and it’s getting more sophisticated all the time. On a day-to-day basis, we want technology to be simple to use and powerful, while fitting into our lives seamlessly. The details of how technologies work may be beyond us, or they may be protected by patents and corporate secrecy. Take for instance the Global Positioning System (GPS). We don’t always need to know how it finds us on a map, we just need to know that it will. But in fact, the science behind GPS is remarkably simple – and an insight into these basics underlines just how powerful it is. In this blog, we’re focusing on the satellite technology behind GPS, and the real-world applications for the Safe Hub lone worker safety system.

Satellite technology that pinpoints people on the ground

At its heart, GPS is a network of satellites. This network consists of 30 satellites broadcasting radio signals in a permanent near-Earth orbit of approximately 20,000 km. Now used widely around the globe, GPS was initially set up for US military navigation. The first satellite in the system, Navstar 1, was launched in February 1978.

In the twenty-first century, GPS has exploded into prominence and is now widely used in a variety of settings. It’s used by companies in almost every sector to help with logistics, transport and security. It’s transformed the way we travel, as satnav means we’re no longer reliant on map-reading in the car. And indeed, many of us have a GPS-enables device with us all the time in the form of our smartphone.

This is something that the Safe Hub lone worker safety system can work with. Safe Hub’s GPS Locate feature provides pinpoint accuracy in understanding where lone workers are. For many employers, there are certain times when they need to know where their lone workers are in a hurry. And for workers themselves, their wellbeing is enhanced by knowing they can be found – and helped – when they’re in a crisis.

GPS is a demonstration of why maths is important after all

It turns out that GPS is a practical application of a school maths topic: trigonometry. It would be fair to say that it wasn’t a favourite subject for many people at school. Chances are you haven’t used it actively in your adult life, even if you did get to grips with it at all. But you don’t have to understand trigonometry to benefit from it. GPS location is founded on some very simple but powerful trigonometric truths.

Four GPS satellites are visible all the time from any point on the globe. At regular intervals, they each transmit the current time and their location to a high degree of accuracy. The signals from all four satellites reach your GPS-enabled device. It then calculates how long the message took to reach you from each satellite, and therefore your distance from each of them. By overlaying the information from three visible satellites, GPS uses the distances and angles between the signals to pinpoint your location. This process is called trilateration.

Satellites give Safe Hub the power to protect lone workers

For Safe Hub, this information on the lone worker's safety device or Safe Hub app can be used to protect them. When using Safe Hub, the lone worker’s GPS location is reported to the system every ten minutes as standard, and whenever a Red Alert, Yellow Alert or Worker Down alert is raised. This GPS information is then immediately available to the operators at our Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), who can take action to help a lone worker in trouble. The GPS Locate function is available on all of our Safe Hub phone apps and dedicated devices. With Safe Hub in their pocket, around their neck or clipped to their belt, lone workers in a crisis know they can be found quickly and receive any help they need.

A key advantage of Safe Hub is that it lets us customise the settings for each client. One option is to alter the frequency of regular non-alert GPS reporting. We can also adapt reporting to ensure the use of GPS Locate complies with our clients’ individual policies and procedures around privacy. Clients can choose exactly who can see a worker's GPS location, and how that information can be used. Each activity performed within Safe Hub is tracked to allow for monitoring and compliance. That way, we protect lone workers and reassure their employers that technology is on their side. #GPSLocate #SatelliteTechnology #LowestTotalCost #LoneWorkerSafety

Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today to find out more about GPS Locate driven by satellite technology and all of Safe Hub’s other lone worker safety features.

Post by Steve White

Steve is Chief Technical Officer at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He works closely with the technical development team and all LWS clients to ensure the effective deployment of Safe Hub. This guarantees the correct integration of Safe Hub with existing and legacy systems, its appropriate scalability, and the efficient operation of systems.

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