GPS Tracking of Crews

GPS pins on the Live Map show crew positions AngelTrack collects the GPS positions of crew members via their mobile devices. Positions are collected whenever a crew member uses his or her mobile device to access a crew-side page in AngelTrack.

Crew-side pages always have black backgrounds... versus the white backgrounds of back-office pages (dispatch, billing, supervision).


Permanently Marking the Critical Waypoints

At certain times, AngelTrack permanently stores a crew member's GPS position and date and time:

The permanently recorded coordinates are called "GPS pins", and there should be three recorded for each transport. The pins can then be viewed on the Live Map, after the fact, to compare the recorded positions and times against the requested street addresses.

Waypoints are shown on the map using these icons:

Shift's posting station C
Origin address C
Destination address C
GPS pin
(critical waypoints)
pin

GPS pins are important

GPS pins are important because they are admissable as evidence if the company is ever sued or indicted. The GPS pins show exactly when and where the crew arrived on-scene or at destination. This can be used to prove the timeliness of the company's emergency response, if you are being thrown under the bus for a bad medical outcome.

The data is tamper-proof: it cannot be altered, not even by the AngelTrack administrator.

GPS pins are also useful in detecting and disciplining crew members who take unauthorized detours, marking themselves on-scene even though they are actually still pfaffing around in a restaurant.


Tracking via Company-Owned Devices

Enable Location Services on iPhone Company-owned mobile devices should be configured to allow the web browser to obtain location data from the device's GPS hardware. This is necessary because AngelTrack -- running in the web browser -- will request the device's location in order to upload a GPS pin.

The variety of operating systems and web browsers have different ways of allowing or disallowing the web browser from requesting the device's GPS position. You may need to experiment with your company's chosen hardware in order to figure out the correct settings. The picture shown at right is the iPhone's configuration page -- underneath the "Settings" icon -- with Location Services allowed for Safari (needed by AngelTrack) and Find Friends (used to locate lost devices).

In any event, once the correct settings are in place, lock the settings so that they cannot be changed back.

While you are at it, services like Apple's "Find Friends" will permit your supervisors to view the locations of all company-owned devices on a single map, whether or not the devices are using AngelTrack at the time. This can be very useful when attempting to locate a misplaced or stolen device.


Tracking via Personal Devices

Personally-owned devices that employees use in the line of duty can also provide GPS position information to AngelTrack, if the device's owners so choose to. It is best to write company policy requiring all personally-owned devices used in the line of duty to be configured (at least while clocked in) to honor AngelTrack's requests for location data.


Monitor for Compliance

You must periodically monitor for compliance in order to catch the occasional misconfigured device or scofflaw employee.

Use the Crew GPS Pin Rates Report under Supervisor Home to identify the employees with the lowest rates of GPS pins. The statistic tells how often the employee records a critical waypoint (enroute, on scene, at destination) while providing a live GPS position. This is the employee's GPS pin rate.

You can also see per-employee pin rates under the "Statistics" tab of anyone's Employee File, and employees can see their own pin rates using the Employee Self-Edit page.

An occasional missing GPS pin is normal; such a thing will happen when a device cannot determine is GPS position... so, do not expect your employees to have a perfect 100% GPS pin rate. Nevertheless, you should demand at least 95% compliance. Every missing pin is a potential liability: without a pin, you cannot conclusively prove that your crew was physically located where you say they were.

When a crew member falls below 95% pin rate, ask them about their mobile device, and make sure they understand company policy.


Live Crew Positions

In addition to the GPS pins that record important waypoints, AngelTrack also shows live crew positions on the map, whenever it receives fresh position reports.

Position reports are sent in by all AngelTrack crew pages (those pages with a black background) when they are open in an active web browser. Crew pages will upload a position report once every two minutes, as long as the page is open in the browser and the device is not locked (asleep).

Current crew positions are shown as colored pins on AngelTrack's Live Map. Pin color indicates patch level:

Patch Level Available Fully Loaded Stale GPS Position
Car Car - available Car - busy Car - busy
Wheelchair van WC - available WC - busy WC - busy
Gurney Gurney - available Gurney - busy Gurney - busy
BLS BLS - available BLS - busy BLS - busy
ALS-I ALS-I - available ALS-I - busy ALS-I - busy
ALS+ ALS - available ALS - busy ALS - busy
Other Other - available Other - busy Other - busy
Salesperson Sales - available Sales - busy Sales - busy

When viewing the live map, hover or click any icon to see more information about it.

Fresh versus stale GPS positions

A crew member's GPS position is considered fresh if it is less than ten minutes old. Positions older than ten minutes are considered stale, and are displayed using the question-mark map pins. Positions older than one hour are not shown.

That means that if a crew member locks their mobile device (i.e. puts it to sleep), his or her pin will remain on the map for ten minutes, then appear as stale for 50 minutes, and then disappear if no new position report is received by then. If you would like 24/7 position data from your crews, even when their mobile devices are asleep, install the AngelTrack Beacon app on their devices.

To learn more about AngelTrack's Live Map, and to learn how to perform dispatching inside it, read the Live Map Guide.


24/7 Tracking Using the AngelTrack Beacon App

The AngelTrack Beacon app is a mobile app for Android and iOS devices that provides 24/7 GPS location updates to your cloud server. It runs continuously in the background, providing constant location information. Unlike normal AngelTrack, the Beacon app reports its position even when the web browser is closed, and even when the device is locked.

Once installed in any company-owned or personal device, the app reports its GPS position every few minutes. The position appears on various dispatch maps and grids, giving your dispatchers some assistance in locating the nearest available crews.

Installing the app

The Android version of the Beacon app is available in the Google Play store, as a free download.

The Apple iOS version of the Beacon app is available in the iTunes Store, as a free download.

There is no charge to download and use the Beacon app on as many devices as you wish. It is provided as part of your AngelTrack license.

Issuing tokens

The Beacon app must be configured with a token, which it then uploads to your cloud server in order to identify itself as a particular vehicle or employee.

You can issue a token to a vehicle or to an employee, depending on which one the device is assigned to. Some EMS companies assign their tablets to specific vehicles, regardless of who is onboard; these companies will use vehicle tokens. Other EMS companies issue tablets to specific employees, or allow their employees to use their personal devices; these companies will use employee tokens.

The Employee Edit and Vehicle Edit pages both offer to generate the respective tokens. Employees can also use their Employee Self-Edit page to issue or update their own tokens.

Tokens are simply ID numbers, which look like this: Vxxxxxxxx for a vehicle (for example V12345678), Exxxxxxxx for an employee (for example E01234567).

The difference between vehicle tokens and employee tokens

In AngelTrack, only employees have GPS positions. When a location ping is received from a vehicle token, it is used to plot the positions of all employees assigned to (i.e. on shift in) that vehicle.

You can mix employee tokens and vehicle tokens as you see fit. Perhaps you issue tablets to vehicles, but also have employees who use a personal device in the line of duty. All of them can run the Beacon app at the same time, using both vehicle tokens and employee tokens. AngelTrack will do its best to make sense of all the arriving position reports.

Testing a token

Once you've issued a token for a device, and input the token into the Beacon app on that device, give it a test. You should see a pin appear for the employee/vehicle on the Live Map, which is accessible by dispatchers and supervisors.

After verifying that Beacon is configured and working correctly, leave the app running in the background. It offers no other user interaction and will not display any popups or other disturbances.

Checking the status of all of your beacons

Under Supervisor Home you can access the Beacon Status Report which displays status information for all Beacon tokens -- both employees and vehicles. The report can help you identify which mobile devices have misconfigured or malfunctioning Beacon apps.

Troubleshooting

For the iOS version of Beacon, verify each of the following items:

  1. Is the token typed correctly?
  2. If the token is a vehicle token, is the relevant vehicle on shift? Vehicle tokens are processed only for vehicles that are on duty.
  3. Is there another device accidentally configured with the same token?
  4. Is the device upgraded to the latest iOS? Beacon requires at least iOS version 9.
  5. Under the Settings | General | Background App Refresh menu, is Background App Refresh enabled systemwide?
  6. Under the Settings | General | Background App Refresh menu, is Background App Refresh enabled specifically for Beacon?
  7. Under the Settings | Privacy | Location Services menu, is Location Services enabled systemwide?
  8. Under the Settings | Privacy | Location Services menu, is Beacon set to "Always"?
  9. Under the Settings | Cellular Data menu, is Cellular Data enabled systemwide?
  10. Under the Settings | Cellular Data menu, in the App list, is Cellular Data enabled specifically for the Beacon app?
  11. Is the employee intentionally turning the Beacon off from time to time? Are you sure?

If you verify all of those items but still have problems, then please send in a diagnostic log from the affected device. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Retrieve the affected device, and bring the Beacon app to the foreground.
  2. Double-tap somewhere on the Beacon's app screen. The "Send Email" dialog will open.
  3. The email will already be addressed to AngelTrack Support. Compose a SUBJECT line with your contact information and a few words about the problem.
  4. Send the email, and verify it was transmitted. The diagnostic log may be large, so it may take a few minutes for the transmission to complete.

Beacon is not needed for other AngelTrack functionality

Beacon will report constant GPS positions for the device, but it doesn't do anything else. The use of Beacon is entirely optional.

All other AngelTrack features and functions are accessed through the web browser in the usual way.

Security implications

The Beacon app does not require a username or password; only the token is required.

A hostile party cannot guess your vehicles' and employees' tokens because your AngelTrack cloud server does not provide a way to check whether a token is valid. Anyone can upload a position report using any token they wish... but only valid tokens will appear on your dispatchers' maps. Position reports sent in from invalid tokens are simply ignored.

If an employee resigns or if a token is otherwise compromised, simply issue a new one for that vehicle or employee. The old token becomes invalid, and therefore your AngelTrack cloud server will ignore any position reports made using the old token.

In this manner you are spared the hassle of configuring usernames and passwords when installing the Beacon app.

Unfortunately, this security feature means that the Beacon app on the mobile device cannot know whether its token is valid or invalid. If somebody mistypes it, the Beacon app will not display an error message; it will simply phone it home as usual. If you do not subsequently see a pin appear on the map, then check whether the token was mistyped.



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