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GPS 101

If you are new to GPS wildlife tracking you may find that this section gets you a bit closer to understanding how they work. Of course there is much more to learn than the few topics listed here, after you read this please feel free to contact us. Our policy is to get back to you within 1 business day.

Where to begin:

With a project in mind consider starting by getting ideas of what you need including how much it will cost.

First have a look at our GPS Tracking Devices page to see what we have. The list at the bottom of our website includes species that we have built GPS for. Product sheets are in PDF format and are useful if you would like to see the specifications. We also have options for weight reduction, remote data download and activity sensors if you wish to obtain more than just GPS locations. Visit our testimonials page if you would like to hear what our customers said about our products.

Second, determine how much weight your study animal can carry (Read 5% rule). Product weight depends on multiple factors such as your desired battery life, which options you would like to add, what type of collar material we use, etc. Our sales team has a tool which estimates finished product weight based upon your needs.

If you are working with a very small species that spends much of the day resting you may want to consider using the Smart GPS feature. The reason is that you will pre-program GPS positioning times before you deploy the device. If the GPS is turning on at times when the study animal is resting in a place where GPS positioning is not possible (in a snow burrow, underground, in a tree hollow) then that will just waste battery life, no GPS position will result. Smart GPS will prevent this unnecessary battery use. Note that GPS positioning schedules can be changed remotely if you opt for the Remote Data Download option. This option allows two-way communication between you and the GPS collar/backpack.

So how do you determine how often you want your unit to take positions? Remember, the more frequently you program the unit to take positions, the shorter the battery life. If keeping the product weight light is your first priority, you should reduce the frequency at which the device attempts a GPS position.

Unless you want to capture the study animal again to get data from the unit, you will want to add Remote Data Download option. Smart GPS and Activity Sensor do not add any extra weight to the unit if you have already chosen the Remote Data Download option. This is because the hardware for these options all resides on the same circuit board.

When you are ready to request a quote, fill out the Inquiry Form as much as possible. We understand you may need your equipment "as soon as possible" but we need to know whether your deadline is feasible. In general, our lead time is 6 - 8 weeks depending on our production schedule.

Here is what we need to know in order to send you a precise quote:

  • What kind of animal are you studying?
  • Your shipping address
  • Quantity
  • Desired options such as Remote Download, Smart GPS, etc.
  • The length of time that you would like the product in the field
  • The number of GPS locations that you are interested in obtaining

Third, to help you understand our products and options, watch the videos we have created.

For those who have general questions about GPS tracking, we have Frequently Asked Questions. For terminology, check out this page. If you want to know why these products cost so much click here.

Why buy from Telemetry Solutions?

After you have found out what is available on the GPS wildlife tracking market you will need to decide who to buy your GPS products from. Here are the 5 questions you should always ask before buying GPS telemetry products.

GPS devices are complicated electronics. Without proper guidance you may have a hard time setting them up or making them operate as you wish. Having good customer support is a really important factor when choosing a telemetry company. Avoid companies that close for a month during summer or even two weeks at Christmas time. And if you don't get fast answers during the sales process that may be a hint that customer support will be equally slow. At Telemetry Solutions, we have a dedicated customer support team Monday through Friday. Aside from weekends, Telemetry Solutions is only closed for 7 days all year long!

When to place an order:

All of our products are custom made which means we need you to provide us specifications before we can start building your equipment. After placing your order, please be sure to promptly complete the online order so there is no time wasted especially if you are on a tight deadline. After you complete the form and it is reviewed by us the order is automatically and electronically submitted to our production department. We ask our customers to allow 6 to 8 weeks for us to build and fully test your GPS order. It is important that we have time for required tests since GPS on wildlife is likely to take a certain amount of abuse in the field. If you have less than 6 to 8 weeks, please contact us immediately to see if we are able to accommodate your needs.

What to expect:

As mentioned above, GPS devices are complicated electronics. Each GPS unit needs to be programmed with the user software. Our user manual is easy to understand so please read it when your order arrives. For tutorial videos, please click here. If you have trouble, start by visiting our troubleshooting page. Hopefully the manuals, videos and troubleshooting page will solve your problem, but if you need our assistance, we will be here 7:00am - 3:00pm Pacific Time Monday - Friday.

Refurbishment Services:

If you are able to recover a GPS device made by us, you can return it for refurbishment. Click here to read more about the service.

Thank you, we look forward to working with you soon.

Quintin Kermeen
President/Telemetry Solutions

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