Mapmaking has been an integral part of human history for thousands of years. People have used maps as essential tools to help them define, explain and navigate their way through the world. This couldn’t be more true today with the prevalence of online and mobile device mapping tools.
Most telematics solutions represent vehicles as icons on a map. The accuracy of that data depends on the underlying map layer, how closely you are zoomed in, and the rate at which the vehicle telematics device is reporting back to your telematics solution.
Exactly how much information is shown, how often the map is refreshed, where the mapping information comes from and what layers are on the map are different from vendor to vendor. Accuracy is also dependent on your GPS receiver.
Digital Maps vs. Geographic Information Systems:
Digital maps display basic vehicle navigation information, which is often well-suited to simple track and trace applications, providing standard mapping data, street, address, latitude/longitude etc…
A GIS system is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, and manage data offering a more specialized and complete understanding and analysis of all aspects of the geography as it relates to a user’s fleet. GIS mapping combined with a telematics solution allows users to create interactive queries (a user can ask questions such as is this location on the street? What street segments make up a district? Can you color the route my trucks have covered?), create maps, integrate information, and visualize scenarios resulting in a greater ability to solve complicated problems, present powerful ideas and develop more effective solutions.
The capabilities of a given telematics solution will depend on whether its underlying architecture is based on a mapping solution, a GIS solution or a hybrid of the two. It typically costs more to offer a GIS map layer, but as pointed out, the user is better able to solve complicated operational challenges. This is where a good analysis of your business needs will help you determine which path you take. Reducing up-front costs is very appealing, however, in the long term, full cost of ownership should dictate which solution best suits your needs.
GIS enabled telematics solutions typically offer sophisticated importing capabilities of GIS databases. If you are planning on incorporating your GIS information in a telematics solution, be sure your project plan includes the following:
- You review your GIS databases with your vendor
- Document which databases are going to be used in your telematics portal
- Devise a plan for how you will initially import your GIS information into the telematics solution
- Create a process where your GIS information is continually updated with your vendor’s solution.
Webtech Fleet Center is a fully comprehensive fleet management solution that seamlessly integrates GIS Mapping for advanced fleet intelligence. If you’d like to learn how Webtech Fleet Center can power-up your business, or if you are looking for advice on what solution is best for your needs, you can reach us here.