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Archive for December, 2013

When will GPS transmitters get small?

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that……..  First of all, GPS are not transmitters, they are receivers.  GPS data are often transmitted but that’s not a function of the GPS.  Am I getting grouchy in my old age?  Maybe.  But I need to be quite specific so that there are no misunderstandings.  Over the years I have made it a habit of using consistent language to describe our products in order to be as clear as possible with potential and existing clients.   So we agree that GPS are not transmitters?  Good.

Now on to the next thing….when will they get small?  Small indeed!  I started in this industry in the 1970s and at that time not only was there not GPS for wildlife but the VHF transmitters available were not exactly small.  The folks who are old enough to remember those big transmitters as well as the large receivers and heavy batteries can probably appreciate how far things have in the wildlife tracking field.  But there are a lot of young people out there who are not only new to this field but also expect GPS data and expect it to pop up on their mobile phone without having to set foot in the wild.

I know that is the way things seem to be out in the world these days but it’s still hard for me to reconcile this attitude in relation to wildlife tracking very small animals.  Even so there are ways to get these things done.  I have been kicking one idea in particular around for a couple of years.  But just because something can be done doesn’t mean anyone is going to buy it.   4 years ago we brought out a GPS that had a total weight of 2 grams and people were not exactly beating a path to our door to purchase it.

For less than 10 grams we can make a GPS with remote data download and a solar rechargeable battery that will give thousands of GPS points remotely.  So when will GPS transmitters get small?  Answer:  They already are!  Next question!