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What is locat? | Getting started | Costs | Who would use locat? | We're different... | Does locat support XYZ? | How does GPS tracking work?

What is locat?

Many electronic devices nowadays are capable of connecting to the internet. Apart from those very familiar gadgets - such as computers, laptops and mobile phones - many lesser-known devices also have this capability. These devices fall into two broad catagories; sensors (those which collect data about its environment), and controllers (which are used to remotely switch and control). Another distinguishing feature is whether or not the device can itself be controlled, in other words, receive commands via the network. An 'advanced' device is both sensor and controller, and is network-programmable.

LOCAT aims to provide a consolidated interface to a variety of such devices on a single platform.

LOCAT is essentially a cluster of web-based services - with the focus on simplicity and affordability - which provide customers with a convenient, one-stop interface to their Internet-capable electronic devices, such as GPS trackers, remote sensors, switches, controllers, and so on. Using this web service, users are able to access the data generated by these devices, and (if the device supports it) configure and control the devices. In short:

A more detailed description of the various services is available on the services page.

LOCAT is an independent (read: no parent companies or controlling shareholders) South African owned and operated business, and the original developer of much of the software comprising this service.

Our service offerings are subject to these Terms and Conditions.

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How does one get started?

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What are the costs?

Well, at this stage, zero. During the free4now promotion, currently running, we're offering users the opportunity of tracking one (or more, depending on how we feel) GPS tracker at no cost. Once we are satisfied that our systems are stable and reliable, the payment system will kick in and all registered users will be notified and given the option of continuing with the (paid) service.

LOCAT will offer its services on a monthly pre-paid basis to subscribers. The actual monthly costs depend entirely on the requirements that the user may have and the services selected by the user, but in all cases we endeavour to keep the costs as low as possible. The following illustrates a few scenarios but is by no means an exhaustive list:

Terms and Conditions apply. Please take note that the quoted prices are correct right now, they may change in future, in which case those prices will appear here, in stead of these.

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Who would use locat?

A few examples of who would typically make use of LOCAT for GPS tracking:

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How is locat different from other tracking services?

GPS tracking isn't all we do. Although the most popular use for locat is surely going to be as a GPS tracking service, that's certainly not all locat is useful for. As the different types of devices and protocols we support increase, so does the usefulness of the service. We have developed an open-ended system, and there may be applications for locat in the future that might surprize even us.

We do not manufacture, import, distribute, sell or install any electronic devices. Unlike other services, you do not need to use "our" equipment on our service, nor do are you obliged to use our service if you buy "our" equipment - we simply don't have equipment. That said, we are enthusiastic in our promotion and support of those who do in fact sell the right kind of equipment and gadgets, and list of vendors is available on the shop page.

We do not provide any asset recovery, security or fleet management services. These things are left to the experts. Naturally, that means that we have a much less complicated and costly infrastructure to maintain, which translates into us being able to offer our services at very affordable rates. Nevertheless, since the GPS history can be downloaded in a number of formats (compatible with fleet management and accounting software), there's nothing standing in the way of using locat in conjunction with existing systems.

We use our own software. Many (if not most) of the companies offering similar services make use of 3rd-party software that they are either leasing, or have bought - often limited to a specific manufacturer's equipment. Our software, developed by the same people who run the company, is at our fingertips and ready to be adjusted, re-shaped, fine-tuned or extended - rapidly and effectively - to accommodate changes in the market.

It's community-driven to a significant extent. Users are able to share their data with others. In the future, users will be able to offer data for sale on an open data market. The system has been developed to rapidly incorporate new protocols, new devices and new ideas about the integration of communications.

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Does locat support device/protocol XYZ?

If it's a GPS tracker then "yes, probably", if not then "no, probably not yet". When we notice a foreign device, or if you let us know about a device you'd like to link, we use the tools we've developed previously to add support as quickly as we can. When the interface to you device is ready, you will be notified, and once you are satisfied that you can use your device on locat, the interface to that device will then become available to anyone else with a similar device.

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How does it work, technically?

A GPS tracker has two main parts; the GPS part and the Network part. The GPS establishes the position, which is then passed over the network (the SIM card in the device is used to gain access to the cellular network) to LOCAT's servers. The incoming data is processed, sorted and stored by LOCAT. The user requests a "view" on the data by opening the LOCAT web page and selecting a device, in which case the data is retrieved and prepared for presentation as (in the case of GPS trackers) a javascript-generated "dot on a map" in a web browser.

Many highly advanced technologies each play their part in a finely-tuned orchestration to make something like LOCAT a reality.

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Help

Browser compatibility | Device compatibility | Purpose of this site | How to... | Troubleshooting tips | Raw data download (.lrd format) | Restrictions/Limits | When all else fails top...

Browser compatibility:

Please ensure that both Javascript and Cookies are enabled. Earlier versions of Internet Explorer (7 and under) may not be able to render the site correctly. The following lists a number of recommendations for various platforms:

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Device compatibility:

An ever-growing number of devices (GPS trackers, remote sensors, etc.) are already supported, and are ready to use right away. If your device's 'language' (protocol) is unrecognized, we will notify you when the protocol has been added.

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The purpose of this site:

locat (this website) provides users with an easy-to-use web-based interface to network-capable GPS trackers, remote controllers and sensors. More details about the various services are available here.

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How to use this service:

  1. Buy a device This page has a list of vendors who supply devices such as GPS trackers and remote controllers.

  2. Buy a SIM card and airtime Normally, these devices require a SIM card to be inserted for it to connect to the network. The SIM should be registered on the network, activated, and must have enough funds allocated to its account to facilitate data communications. (Note: R30/month pre-paid with data bundle should be sufficient. - Ed.)

  3. Create a locat account You can register here.

  4. Add a device to you account According to the instructions in your device's user manual, configure your device with the details contained in the email which you will receive from us. Simplified device configuration details can be found here.

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Troubleshooting tips:

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Raw data file format (.lrd extension)

The Locat Raw Data (.lrd) file contains the data exactly as it was transmitted by your device. It is not compatible with any publicly available software, and to view and understand the contents, you need to be technically proficient. Having programming experience would be very helpful. To view the contents of the file, hex editor would be a good choice.

The file has no header nor footer, and is written in the following way:

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Restrictions and limitations:

This web service is undergoing constant development and improvement during the "free4now promotion" phase, and as such may be interrupted from time-to-time.

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When all else fails:

If you believe that the device should be working correctly (see above), but it doesn't, please contact us for personal assistance.

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