What’s the Difference Between Geofences and Landmarks?
Fleet managers need to be aware of the difference between geofences and landmarks when using GPS tracking software. Geofences are virtual boundaries that are set up around a specific area, while landmarks are physical locations that are marked on a map.
Geofences can be used to track vehicles as they move in or out of a boundary, whether it’s a small construction site or a complex industrial facility. Landmarks are commonly used to track assets or vehicles at specific locations. They can be used to mark specific buildings, parking lots, entrances, and exits, or even the location of a delivery stop.
Why create a geofence?
The use for geofences is to create a virtual boundary around a specific area. For example, you might want to create a geofence around your company’s headquarters so you can track the departure and arrival of vehicles or other assets. You could also create a geofence around a construction site to get notified if an asset like a generator leaves that area.
Geofences can also be used to monitor drivers’ behavior. For example, you could set up a geofence that limits drivers to a certain speed limit. If drivers exceed the speed limit, they will be alerted and their location will be tracked.
Geofence alerts have many use-cases, including to alert fleet managers of the following:
- Entering or Exiting Job Sites – Have you ever called a job site to check in with an employee only to find out that they didn’t show up when they were scheduled to arrive? Setting up a geofence around customer job sites can help you avoid this and other sticky situations. Geofence alerts increase your fleet tracking efficiency.
- Arriving or leaving work – You’re not always in the office when your employees arrive and depart, so you can’t verify timesheets unless you have another method of tracking their activity. Setting up a geofence around the area where company vehicles are kept will help you keep an eye on attendance and you will always know which vehicles are in the field and which ones are not.
- Managing territories – If you use your GPS tracking system to monitor a sales force with designated territories, geofences with triggered alerts can help you better manage your team and prevent intentional or unintentional encroachment.
- Keeping employees out of certain areas – If you don’t want your employees or your vehicles to be in a certain area, set up a triggered alert to let you know when they enter a geofence. This can help you protect your assets and improve driver accountability.
Geofences are created using GPS tracking software. The software allows you to draw virtual boundaries around any area on a map. You can also set up alerts that will be triggered when a vehicle enters or leaves the designated area.
Why use landmarks?
Landmarks offer a couple of advantages over geofences.
First off, landmarks are easier to create and edit than geofences. With GPS tracking software, you simply mark the location of the landmark on the map and save it. There is no need to enter any specific boundaries like there is with geofences.
Further, landmarks can be more accurate than geofences. Because landmarks are physical objects that are marked on a map, they are less likely to result in false alerts.
Savannah Brewer at GPS TrackIt elaborates on another use-case: “Using the landmarks to essentially ‘rope off’ places can be interesting as well. I’ve seen them placed around employee homes, liquor stores, competitors’ property, etc. The landmark won’t stop the vehicle from showing up there but it’ll now be a lot easier for the admins to find out about it.”
Brewer notes that fleet managers could even place a landmark at a supply house to better analyze if those trips can be consolidated. These benefits make landmarks a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes.
How are landmarks created?
Landmarks are created using GPS tracking software. The software allows you to mark the location of a physical object on the map. You can also save the landmark’s coordinates so you can refer to them later.
Examples of Geofencing in the Real World
Geofences play a role in a Swedish program that is trying to maintain low-noise levels and reduce traffic and emissions by deploying hybrid Scania trucks to make deliveries to McDonald’s restaurants there overnight. As reported in Work Truck Online, smart hybrid trucks are being used to deliver to McDonald’s locations. These trucks are equipped with geofencing technology, helping them “determine which power mode and speeds the trucks can travel in as they approach the city center.” The benefits include reducing noise and emissions.
Geofencing can also create more efficient delivery routes. By setting up specific boundaries around each of the target locations, the drivers know exactly where they need to go and are less likely to make unnecessary deliveries. This also helps to reduce emissions from the vehicles since they are only driving in areas where they need to be.
In another article by Work Truck Online, the author Tariq Kamal pointed out that fleets are finding operational advantages by setting geofence boundary-crossing alerts. Kamal writes that this “means not having to rely solely on what drivers remember to write down. Now you can see exactly what’s killing your employees’ time and your fuel mileage.” Simply put, geofencing boosts operational efficiency.
Examples of Landmarks in the Real World
Like geofencing, landmarks have many real-world use-cases.
For example, as reported in FreightWaves, it’s important to understand trailer utilization levels at any given site, such as “across various landmarks,” in order to reduce the total cost of ownership.
To give another example, suppose you needed to make the best decisions about where to place new distribution centers. It would be important for shippers to understand how their trailers are being used and what the average dwell time is at each landmark. This would help them optimize their network for faster trailer turns.
Even simple landmarks like an office or warehouse can be used to help fleets keep track of their drivers and vehicles. Simply marking the location of these buildings on a map can help managers verify that employees are where they are supposed to be and see if any unauthorized activity is happening.
GPSTrackIt offers GPS tracking system solutions with geofences and a broad range of other helpful features to help you take control of your fleet. View our customer success stories to see how other businesses use fleet GPS to improve operations and save money.
If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.
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