Personnel Tracking with a GPS Real Time Location System

GPS location tracking
July 6th, 2020 / Updated: July 27th, 2020 / Worker Safety, Wireless Networking Asset Tracking, Condition Monitoring, Hazardous Area,

GPS is not a new technology, but its use across large industrial processing environments for worker safety is only starting to be realised.

A GPS signal receiver does not need to transmit any data and it operates independently of any telephone or wireless signal; Wi-Fi is only needed for data backhaul for RTLS applications.

This article explains how personnel GPS tracking can help reduce the need for dense Wi-Fi Infrastructure as part of a hybrid RTLS for true site wide personnel tracking.

White Paper: Enhanced Worker Safety in Process Industry Environments

Personnel GPS Tracking in Outdoor Environments

Site wide RTLS is a challenge when you consider the size of process industry facilities, such as oil & gas tank farms, refineries, or chemical processing plants. One technology alone cannot solve the diverse nature of the use cases in a cost-effective way, or practically, addressing the different physical and technical requirements.

Accurately tracking personnel in large outdoor industrial environments can become a costly investment and careful consideration should be given to the technology deployed in these environments to reduce the overall cost of ownership.

RTLS tags with GPS, BLE, LF and Wi-Fi capability offer a true hybrid solution that can solve the diverse range of use cases seen in industries such as, oil & gas, chemical, and pharmaceuticals.


Accurate Personnel Location Tracking with GPS

In less built-up outdoor environments, such as tank farms or storage yards, the inclusion of personnel GPS tracking technology in tags such as the iTAG X30, means fewer access points are required for accurate location tracking. The main purpose for Wi-Fi in these scenarios is to provide the backhaul of the location data to the location engine.

GPS personnel tracking - outdoor RTLS

For site-wide Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) functionality, you should consider the connectivity required for your RTLS requirements alongside the other uses of wireless networking, such as other sensor backhaul, data connectivity, or applications like VOIP.

Reduced Wi-Fi Infrastructure – Hybrid RTLS

Hybrid location is the only practical solution to the complexities of the use cases in the process industries. It involves using two or more location technologies as part of the same solution:

  • To deliver wider coverage with reduced infrastructure
  • To add greater accuracy in certain areas
  • To provide additional functionality
  • To reduce total cost of ownership

A hybrid location solution can involve multiple devices but can also include a purpose-built multi-technology device.

Hybrid location is not a new idea. Indeed, the need to use multiple technologies was recognised by many RTLS vendors over a decade ago, such as those that introduced two location technologies early on. An example of that is the AeroScout and Extronics iTAG100, which uses active RFID and Wi-Fi.

However, the progression of geolocation technologies and improvements in implementation techniques over that time make hybrid location an attainable goal for the solutions of today.

Hybrid location technology for RTLS applications.

iTAG X30 – Worker Location Tag with Hybrid Technology

Leverage hybrid technology across your entire industrial site with the all NEW iTAG X30 – improving worker safety and reducing the need for dense Wi-Fi infrastructure.

  • Accurately locate your workers in hazardous and non-hazardous areas, anytime, anywhere
  • Leverage hybrid technology, GPS, Wi-Fi, LF and BLE for accurate indoor and outdoor tracking
  • GPS capability reduces the need for dense Wi-Fi infrastructure in open areas
  • Fully certified for use in ATEX and IECEx hazardous areas.

The iTAG X30 is the latest addition to the Extronics RTLS range, which is proven in safety, accountability, and productivity applications across the world. Using the other parts of the range, we can build an RTLS that is tailored to your site and your application.

If you are interested in using the iTAG X30, please contact our team of experts today to discuss your use case. Contact us using the form below, email, or call +44 845 277 5000

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