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I  came across two standouts for portable GPS based tracking.  The, Xact Trax and Insignia Little Buddy, both offer a way to track your kids, car, wife, friends, dogs?, etc with similiar features and pricing.

The basic feature set of these devices allows you to place a GPS device on something mobile (car, kids backpack, etc) and view the location of that device through a website.  Depending on your pricing plan ($15 monthly unlimited or $.99 per use) you can track the device continuously or on an ad-hoc basis (i.e. My kid is late getting home, where is he right now).

If that’s not big brother enough for you, these devices offer geo-fencing (you can be notified when the device leaves a certain pre-defined area…like school grounds) and speed notifications (you can be notified if whatever you’ve attached the device to is speeding).  Notifications may be through e-mail or text.  All my examples have been of parents tracking their kids (which is the obvious one), but there are many less intrusive uses (like GPS tagging a car or motorcycle for theft recovery).

If you are using this to track a kid (or god forbid significant other) you still have no guarantee that the device will stay with that person (not sure how many times I lost my backpack as a kid).  Also remember that these devices are subject to the same limitations as other wireless and GPS devices (i.e. if you’re not in a coverage area or otherwise can’t get a signal the device will not work).

The Insignia product is a super simple GPS device powered by USB.  The Xact device offers things like a panic button and on-device medical history database in case of emergency.

All in all, these products are probably very effective if you need some element of their feature set.  Both pricing models are excellent depending on your needs.  If you do use something like this drop us a comment.  We’re curious what you use it for.



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