GPS Monitoring Device
BLUtag is the original one-piece GPS monitoring device. Government agencies have used the FCC-certified device longer than any other one-piece GPS monitoring device. This small, lightweight device attaches around the participant’s ankle and is not removed for any reason – not to charge the battery or transmit monitoring data. Not removing the device from around the participant’s ankle provides a significant advantage to both the Agency and participants. First, the opportunity for damaged or lost equipment is greatly reduced. Second, BLUtag is completely covered by a pants leg, which lessens the opportunity for a participant’s family members, friends and/or peers to taunt the participant about his/her monitoring device. All of which may lead to increased compliance with the terms of supervision.
Since BLUtag’s first deployment in early 2005, STOP has upgraded the device and expanded its functionality. Currently in its seventh generation, BLUtag reports monitoring data to VeriTracks, our secure web-based monitoring application, using nationwide 3G cellular service on the CDMA (e.g., Verizon) and GSM (e.g., AT&T) networks.
BLUtag Functionality Highlights
- One battery charge powers the device for 48+ hours
- Detects and reports four types of tampering: strap, case, GPS signal jamming and shielding
- Enhanced Secondary Location Technology engages when not receiving GPS signals: uses data from cellular phone towers, including the signal strength, to provide enhanced location confirmation
- Battery permanently sealed in hypoallergenic, industrial-grade plastic case eliminating:
- incorrect installation of a new battery
- liquids seeping into the case (not closing the case securely)
- lost or outdated replacement batteries
- Monitors enrollees in active, passive or hybrid modes without changing equipment
- Receives one GPS location point every minute regardless of violation status
- Supervising agents can immediately locate any enrollee through Location Requests
- Built-in memory stores up to 10 days of monitoring data
- All zone information is stored in the built-in memory
- Communicates, or reports into, VeriTracks using nationwide cellular phone service
- Lifetime warranty and no questions-asked return policy
- Works with BLUhome and BLUbox to expand its monitoring capability
- Also works with Stalker Alert and VeriTracks
GPS Jamming and Shielding
BLUtag detects and reports when enrollees jam or shield the GPS signal. GPS jamming occurs when an external source disrupts GPS signals, which can come from a variety of sources. Recent technological advances have made illegal and low-cost equipment available for purchase on the Internet to “jam” GPS signals. Our proprietary algorithm continuously checks for specific conditions indicating GPS jamming over a designated period. If these conditions exist, BLUtag records and reports a GPS jamming event.
GPS shielding occurs when enrollees use an object to block BLUtag’s receipt of GPS signals. Our proprietary technology continuously checks for specific conditions to indicate shielding. If the conditions exist, BLUtag immediately reports the shielding event to VeriTracks.
Other vendors claim to have this functionality, but their GPS monitoring device can only report what it is not receiving, which is GPS signals. With BLUtag, supervising agents have court-admissible evidence of actions the enrollee takes to tamper with the functioning of the device.
One GPS Location Point Per Minute
BLUtag receives one GPS location point per minute, regardless of violation status. This industry standard helps increase the level of public safety and enrollee accountability because it does not create gaps of time where the enrollee’s location is unknown.
For example, if an enrollee travels in a car at 30 mph and the GPS monitoring device receives one location point every five minutes. The enrollee would travel 2.5 miles between location points, which provides plenty of opportunity to enter and leave a prohibited area. The same enrollee monitored with BLUtag would travel only 0.5 miles between location points, creating a higher level of enrollee accountability.
Enhanced Secondary Location Technology
When BLUtag does not receive GPS signals for a pre-determined length of time, the Enhanced Secondary Location Technology technology allows the device to more accurately record and report the enrollee’s location. ESLT uses data from cellular phone towers, including the signal’s strength, determine the enrollee’s location.
Three Monitoring Modes
BLUtag operates in one of three monitoring modes without changing equipment. The device functions the same way regardless of monitoring mode. The difference between each mode is how quickly the device transmits violation notifications to VeriTracks.
In any mode, BLUtag can also be paired with BLUhome [link to BLUhome page] for landline data transmissions to VeriTracks using the phone service in the enrollee’s home. This pairing usually happens when the enrollee lives in an area with sketchy cellular phone service.
When a violation occurs in active GPS monitoring mode, BLUtag immediately transmits a notification to VeriTracks using nationwide cellular phone service. When enrollees are compliant with their supervision conditions, BLUtag transmits monitoring data to VeriTracks at least once every 15 minutes using nationwide cellular phone service.
When monitoring the locations and movements of enrollees in passive mode, BLUtag stores all data in its built-in memory until a pre-determined time. BLUtag transmits the data to VeriTracks using nationwide cellular phone service.
This mode is a combination of active and passive monitoring. Some violations report immediately and others are stored in BLUtag’s built-in memory until a pre-determined time. Inclusion zone violations and equipment tampers report immediately. All other violations and events are stored in BLUtag’s built-in memory until a pre-determined time, the enrollee charges BLUtag’s battery or the supervising agent initiates a Location Request.