What is it and how does it work?
GPS registration of the current location of a vehicle is the foundation of the Control Tower, on which all other logic relies. We do not register this data ourselves, but receive it from a device in the driving vehicle, usually an on-board computer or BoCo, or an app on a phone.
The Control Tower connects to that device via a Fleet Management System (FMS). Next, the Control Tower displays the data points and uses them to, among other things, calculate ETAs and show exceptions.
Analysis in case of GPS-recording problems
The Control Tower contains several options for users to gather more information themselves. In the top right corner of the detail screen of a ride is a checkbox called 'Breadcrumb', when checked you will see the GPS points of the active ride.
You can click on a 'breadcrumb' on the map. The exact time when the vehicle was at that location and the status of the vehicle at that time will then be shown in the bottom left-hand corner, for example (we are still working on translating some of these labels):
Problem: There is no or far too little GPS data visible (anymore) in the Control Tower.
- From the start of the trip; the trip never started according to the CT. This indicates connection problems. Either the driver has switched off his internet connection, is not logged into the onboard device, or there is a technical problem with the device. The connection between GPS device and Simacan may also be at fault. Therefore, first check if the driver is properly logged on and if GPS data is available in his app. These trips will show the following status for their planned duration:
Afterwards this status changes to:
At the bottom of the Vehicle detail tab there is no time for last received GPS point, because nothing was ever received:
- Somewhere during the journey the data is lost: see previous point for possible causes. What also sometimes happens is that a driver only has WiFi active and not their mobile data. Then we see only a few data points for the trip, usually for the hub locations, where there is a strong WiFi network. And nothing for the rest of the route. At the bottom of the Vehicle detail tab you will see the time when the last GPS point was received:
During the trip you may also see this status above the trip details:
- The last stop was registered too early, while the trip was still ongoing, perhaps out-of-order or because of a 'drive-by'. The Control Tower then concludes in that case that the entire trip has been completed and stops processing GPS data. In this case the route will be complete in the app, unlike in the CT. If this happens frequently to your trips, we would like to discuss with you how best to improve the situation.
- There may be a problem with the registration of the vehicle and/or onboard device, especially when driving a new vehicle for the first time. In some cases, this requires additional configuration. Check whether this has been done according to the agreements with your app supplier and Simacan. If this check does not provide the solution, please report the problem to Simacan Support .
- The previous trip of the vehicle is not yet completed, usually because the last stop(s) of the trip are not registered. The solution is to manually 'complete' the previous trip, then all data will be processed retro-actively and the active trip will be 'recovered' (there is a time limit for this kind of recovery, default value for that is 4 hours).
NB: there is one exception for data recovery in de Control Tower: older data points will not be processed if there are also newer ones. The ordering of data that is sent retro-actively depends on the app used. For example: Logi app sends the newest known dots first after a failure. This causes gaps in Simacan but not in Logi app.
Problem: GPS points are not the actual location of the vehicle.
This points to a problem with the on-board computer or the app on it, please submit the problem to your app supplier.
Two extreme examples:
1) a location with lat 0, long 0. This leads to a point on the map somewhere under Africa. In this case, a restart of the onboard device may help.
2) Lat/long reversal. This leads to a point on the map somewhere in the ocean next to Madagascar (assuming a location in The Netherlands). This may indicate a problem in the integration with the Fleet Management System or in rare occasions, a bug in the software; please report the problem to Simacan Support.
Problem: Conflicting points, i.e. the vehicle appears to be in two (or more) places at the same time
In this case, two (or more) different drivers are logged on to the same trip, so at least one of them is looking at the wrong trip.