Background: I've been asked by a friend to estimate the cost of setting up a GPS tracking system for a small fleet of buses, so we can do real time reporting of bus locations via a webmap.
In my research, I saw three kinds of active GPS trackers:
Some major considerations are
- minimizing long term costs, and
- making the system as reliable as reasonably possible.
Secondary concerns are minimizing up front cost, latency, difficulty of installation/setup, level of support required after the initial setup is complete.
The buses run within a 5 mile radius, so radio is feasible.
With an eye towards reducing long term costs, radio seems good: it would be the only way to run the system without a middleman.
SMS requires cell phone towers, and satellites require a space program. I am concerned that a DIY solution with radios might prove to be less reliable, though.
But if we bought SMS transmitters that provided the data through a third party API, they could go out of business, or have unacceptable down time or latency.
- What would each of these three solutions look like?
- What hardware is involved?
- What are the trade-offs between them?
- What problems have you encountered?
- Have you used a system that Just Works?