This really is a big deal. There aren’t many GPS tracking applications that could be considered “life and death”, or that put someone’s freedom at risk. But offender monitoring happens to be one of them. If even one aspect of an application such as this becomes compromised, it calls into question the validity of all of the tracking data that the system has collected and streamed. Let’s dig into this a little deeper.
Federal suit filed against Leon County, probation GPS provider http://t.co/enO3r1vfMy
— Tallahassee Democrat (@TDOnline) March 19, 2015
Indoor, or indoor & outdoor, tracking is a difficult application for GPS-based technology. At least without integrating a cellular triangulation module into the device. It requires that a signal be constantly acquired, lost, and then reacquired again. It is an inherent vulnerability of GPS, and one that service providers deal with on a daily basis. To offer any kind of indoor tracking capabilities, each and every component of the GPS equipment needs to be state-of-the-art. And then it needs to be rigorously field-tested in the most extreme of tracking environments. Each and every potential scenario needs to be simulated.
Then things need to be beta-tested, then tweaked, and then field-tested and simulated again. In an application as critical as offender monitoring, devices should be deployed only after there are absolutely no doubts about the integrity of the device. If any aspect is compromised by even a little bit, it can create a cascading domino effect throughout the wireless communications that are occurring behind the scenes.
To get to the bottom of things, the device model in question should be thoroughly examined and reverse engineered, to ascertain what might be to blame for some of the issues that are being experienced. Then historical data and device diagnostics should also be forensically examined. This will help narrow down the possible source of the problems. But, this is simply the start. This device might need to be completely re-engineered to something more appropriate for a complicated environment, such as indoor tracking. There are challenges to an application such as this but, if you are going to approach the offender monitoring space, one cannot cut corners.
We have more great articles in our archives on GPS technology. “GPS Satellite Rocket-Maker Owned by Elon Musk To Sue Air Force.“