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Could GPS Keep Tabs On Your Pets? 218

Posted by samzenpus
from the lassie-tracking dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google Latitude has already made headlines for allowing phone users to locate their friends, and there are countless other iPhone and Android phone apps already designed to transmit your location — but could pets be the next big thing in GPS tracking? A number of device manufacturers are marketing GPS technology as a futuristic tool for tracking your cat or dog, and even discovering exactly where they've been. These devices are sold under a number of names and brands, including Sportdog, LoCATor, RoamEO, Petcell, Zoombak and Pettrack."

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Could GPS Keep Tabs On Your Pets?

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  • that accurate? I mean, I know my animals rarely move over a long distance...often within the error range of GPS...
  • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:45AM (#29974550) Journal

    My first thought was "Cool, pets don't have privacy issues so tracking them shouldn't be a problem. Would be great if they're lost". Then I thought about celebrities and their pets - how for some celebrities who think their pet is an accessory tracking their pet isn't that different to tracking them. Unfortunately its not limited to celebrities either.

    Perhaps what you need is a GPS system that only switches on if the owner activates it remotely (or fails to respond to an alarm that requires you to tell it not to activate).

    • 1) limit the data to one person's account. If someone wants the data out there they could export it themselves.
      2) presumably someone would only have this if they really wanted to track their pets and putting something like this on someone else's pet without permission would most likely be illegal as it is.

  • Get a leash! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:51AM (#29974584) Journal

    If you love your dog or cat, keep it on a leash outdoors. Being able to track it down when it's road kill, or frozen to death and chewed up by a snowblower, isn't being a good owner.

    Just off the top of my head, my dogs and I have come across:

    • a small dog that was frozen to death against a fence; 2 days after, the kids who owned it asked me if I had seen it - I had to lie to them and say I hadn't;
    • lots of cats frozen to death in snowbanks, where they crawl to try to get out of the wind;
    • cats with their guts all over the place because passing cars ran over them;
    • stray dogs that are hungry and scared;
    • cats with their backs broken;
    • lots of "have you seen this cat" posters (there are 2 different ones up right now on a single street);

    GPS doesn't "fix" any of this. Letting your pets wander around is no more "humane" than letting a toddler run around. Putting a cat on a leash is no less practical than putting a dog on a leash; the only difference is that, if both a cat and a dog are picked up by the pound, the cat is a lot more likely to be put down (here, half of all dogs put up for adoption find homes compared to only 10% of all cats).

    Also, your neighbours aren't exactly thrilled with your cats running around, killing birds, digging up gardens and flowers, and howling at all hours of the night. Or your dogs running around chasing people.

    Put a leash on it. It's cheaper than a GPS, and it can save your pets' life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bemymonkey (1244086)

      I'm not a pet owner, but I thought cats were _supposed_ to be let out on their own (at least that's what cat owners tell me), because otherwise they go crazy and tear up furniture or start eating the children...

      Maybe it'd just be easier not to have pets in densely populated areas...

      • Re:Get a leash! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:47AM (#29974926) Journal

        I'm not a pet owner, but I thought cats were _supposed_ to be let out on their own (at least that's what cat owners tell me), because otherwise they go crazy and tear up furniture or start eating the children..

        So instead of tearing up the furniture, they go out and kill birds and squirrels, dig up gardens and shit on your tomatoes, spray cars and motorcycles and front porches (cat spray really stinks, and once they mark a place, they and other cats will keep coming back), spend their nights howling at each other and fighting, and getting pregnant and having more cats that nobody wants.

        Both cats and dogs can be handled with a leash. Too many cat owners are too lazy. They get a cat because, compared to a dog, a cat is a lot less work. You don't have to walk it several times a day. You don't have to poop-and-scoop, just get a litter box. You can ignore it for weeks on end, as long as you put down food and water.

        Pets are a responsibility, and they take work. The GPS is a panacea for people who want to be able to say "I care for my pet" without actually putting out the leg work.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by icebraining (1313345)

          I disagree. I am a cat owner and taking them out on a leach is much worse for them.

          Cat like exploring and socializing, stuff that is totally inavailable for a cat on a leash. If they kill a bird or squirrel, so what? They're animals, it's what they do.
          As for the territorial and sexual aspects, both can be greatly or completely reduced by taking your cat to the vet and neuter them. It's a painless procedure and it prevents the territorial marking, the howling and getting pregnant.

          Of course, they can be kille

          • by Dan541 (1032000)

            Do you live in a built up area? If so perhaps your neighbours don't want your animals trespassing on their land.

          • I'm going to disagree on the painless part. Anyone who has observed a post-neutered animal would be hard pressed to admit that there was no pain involved. It is however, temporary (the pain, that is), and they can give them medication to reduce the ill effects.

          • Nonsense. If your cat wants to explore and socialize, he can do it on a leash. It just requires you to be willing to explore and socialize with him.

            We had two cats until recently (one had to be put down). Both indoors cats. One of them (the one we still have) used to love to go outside on a leash. He didn't complain at all about the harness and leash, and would explore our yard and the neighbors yards with us in tow. The other cat didn't mind the leash but didn't like to go out - the big room was too scary

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          So instead of tearing up the furniture, they go out and kill birds and squirrels,

          We have too many birds and squirrels where I live. I can not fucking believe you would defend squirrels, which are a nuisance anywhere but a forest. That's like these idiots who rescue deer that can't survive on their own. I'll rescue them, right into my fucking freezer. People are going hungry and people want to spend money to save the deer, I just can't fathom it.

          dig up gardens and shit on your tomatoes,

          Our cat has never disturbed the tomatoes, but she did shit on a yellow rose bush on the side of the house which put on a big flower set for the

          • Re:Get a leash! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:59AM (#29976748) Journal

            Kill off all the squirrels and birds, and you end up with more mice and grubs and other pests. There's a natural balance. Feral cats upset it.

            Neighbours' cat used t spray my motorcycle all the time. It eventually ended up dead (not my doing) when a car ran over it. It would have lived longer and been less of a nuisance if the owners had kept it indoors or on a leash.

            Putting an animal on a leash is not wrong. A leash is more than just a physical restraint - it's also a line of communication between the pet and its' master. My dogs get very excited when I go for the leash. It also helps keep them under control when someone else's dog acts stupid and tries to attack. They instinctively understand, when I pull them back, that they are not to fight - and if the other person doesn't quickly get their dog under control by PUTTING IT ON A FUCKING LEASH, I then give them some slack and let them fight back for a few seconds, before pulling them back a second time. The other dog always gets the message, and so does the owner.

            This happens once or twice a decade. Last month, stupid guy thought it was funny to show off how scary his Doberman was to his friends by letting it off its' leash to go after my dogs while I was walking them. Stupid retard. When he was too slow to put the leash back on, I let the dogs have some slack again. He got the message - keep your Doberman under control and properly leashed, or next time I'll let mine defend themselves, and you'll have a dead dog, a nice bill from my vet, probably a big chunk of your own ass missing, AND some explaining to do to the police (all dogs are required to be leashed here, an the owners of unleashed dogs that attack are prosecuted). He's a bully, and like all bullies, when you stand up to them, they turn out to be cowards. He said he was going to put a bullet in my head, but he's made sure he and his dog are now really scarce, so everyone else can walk their dogs in peace again.

            The first time I had to do this sort of thing was almost 20 years ago, when the owners of a Great Dane were literally terrorizing all the other dog owners in the neighborhood. Their dog would lunge after everyone's dogs and try to bite them. First time it went after mine, I pulled him back and told them to keep their dog under control. Second time, a week later, I let him have his slack. Great Danes might be big, but they're not much of a match for a Newfie. After about 15 seconds, I pulled him back again, and told them that if it EVER happened again, I would slip his chain completely off. After that, they took to walking their dog elsewhere, and everyone else was happy.

            The point is, I shouldn't HAVE to do stupid shit like that. I want my dogs as PETS. I want them to be good around other animals, and around people. I shouldn't have to let them defend themselves against other people's out-of-control animals. People should keep their animals under control, for everyone's benefit. If you can't control it, you shouldn't have it. If it's not socialized to be safe around people, then don't bring it where people go. If you don't want it pick up after it (dog or cat), then give it to someone who will, and stop creating a nuisance. If your ego is so weak that you have to have a "tough fighting dog", go get a prescription for Viagra.

            Obviously I don't hate animals. I *do* hate that people can't control theirs, or act irresponsibly with respect to them, creating either a nuisance or a danger for others.

            • Kill off all the squirrels and birds, and you end up with more mice and grubs and other pests. There's a natural balance. Feral cats upset it.

              (5 paragraph irrelevant rant about dogs removed)

              Maybe if we (ok, our grandparents, whatever) hadn't already killed off all the natural predators (wolves, bobcats, foxes, etc.) this might be true. As it stands however, my guess would be that rodents and birds are living in way larger populations than natural, and our cats knocking off a few isn't a big deal. I can't even glance out my window without seeing half a dozen squirrels. They're not exactly on the verge of extinction.

          • You don't have to poop-and-scoop, just get a litter box.

            Evil is an individual and can handle her own shit. She never comes inside, though, because I am allergic to cats.

            You hit it on the head. I also wouldn't be opposed to putting a GPS tracker on my cat, Mischief. He's been living outdoors at my Dad's house for almost 10 years now. I wouldn't put it on him to track him down, I'd put it on him because I'm curious where he goes in our neighborhood. Does he go past our block? Does he cross the busy road nearby? Does he go into the park near my house? Or does he just hang out on our property sunning and looking for attention from the neighborhood? Probably the attention part.

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        I keep my cat inside all the time. Those cat owners are just lazy and can't be bothered keep control of their animals.

      • by bware (148533)

        I'd like to find the owner of the cat that did a couple thousand dollars worth of damage to the paint job on my car and have them tell me how they have to let their cat out otherwise it would destroy their furniture.

    • Re:Get a leash! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:42AM (#29974894)

      If you love your dog or cat, keep it on a leash outdoors. Being able to track it down when it's road kill, or frozen to death and chewed up by a snowblower, isn't being a good owner.

      Just because bad things can and do happen, doesn't mean we should keep animals on a leash. I have had plenty of cats, I did get them shots and neutered/spade, but besides not declawing them (for defense purposes), I let them have free run outdoors. Yes, I was on the main road and some got run over, but the vast majority were okay. I never had one freeze to death, but I did provide a small, waterproof dog house for them to stay in if the weather got bad and no one was there to let them in. They weren't stupid creatures although they often did stupid things. I figured the few losses were worth their freedom - they weren't bored animals tethered against their will to a small radius. (And yes, I had to shoot one with my .22 because of injuries sustained against a bigger animal it fought -- something the leash doesn't prevent -- but consider it a similiar to having to do that because it was hit by a car and not killed. Wasn't happy about it, but it had a decent life otherwise).

      Although I would refuse to adopt cats from other places, the insiders always got into trouble and did stupid things.

      Putting a cat on a leash is no less practical than putting a dog on a leash;

      The cats I have had would first fight against the leash and try to pull it off any which way, then try to choke themselves going around corners or through underbrush getting it off, or run in circles entangling themselves and the leash. They'd be thouroughly neurotic within a week, and if ever let loose, probably choose to adopt a different household to cohabit.

      But then I had only outdoor cats (housebroken, would sleep the cold nights inside, but the rest of the time outside).

      • Re:Get a leash! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:53AM (#29974944) Journal

        I let them have free run outdoors. Yes, I was on the main road and some got run over

        I had to shoot one with my .22 because of injuries sustained against a bigger animal it fought

        I think you're proving my point.

        • Re:Get a leash! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ish' in gap]> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @04:38AM (#29975248)

          It seems like a subjective judgment. Which is better: keeping cats indoors their whole lives, except for periodic walks outdoors on leashes, and therefore keeping them safer but quite constrained; or allowing them to wander about outdoors as they wish, but with significantly more risk to their safety? Even in humans, the tradeoff between safety and quality of life is subjective, and people do plenty of things that are quite dangerous, like riding motorcycles, skiing, and surfing.

          • by tomhudson (43916)
            Pets don't have the instincts to cope with an urban environment. Cars certainly aren't a part of their natural environment. Neither are snow blowers.

            WRT your arguments about cats : "Which is better: keeping cats indoors their whole lives, except for periodic walks outdoors on leashes, and therefore keeping them safer but quite constrained; or allowing them to wander about outdoors as they wish, but with significantly more risk to their safety?" - try it with dogs, and it fails. Dogs' lives aren't const

            • by dave420 (699308)
              Apart from the fact that cats are intrinsically different animals to dogs, and have different requirements, and enjoy different pursuits. Apart from that, yeah - they're identical.
        • It's what they do! Cats and dogs fight! Is a life of imprisonment, completely against their natural behaviors, better? I don't agree.

          • by Talisman (39902)

            If you can't provide the correct environment for a pet, _DON'T_GET_ONE_.

            Growing up, we had several dogs, but we also had a 1 acre fenced lot for them to run around and be dogs on. People who keep animals, especially large ones, cooped up in a house are being rather cruel. This doesn't mean if you live in an apartment, you should buy a Great Dane and periodically let it run free in the streets. It doesn't balance out.

            So if your option is to let them run loose in your only available environment, which will

      • by DarthVain (724186)

        I would agree with all of what you said.

        I tried it. Leash + cat = bad idea. Under supervision is not bad, so your cat doesn't choke. Mostly they will just get tangled up in the line anyway and go nuts.

        Also something you didn't mention, if a Cat or Dog get into a fight, and the outlook doesn't look so good, they always have to option of running away. If I am away at work, and kitty is on a leash and a dog gets into the back yard, then that is one dead cat. It can't run away, or run up a tree or whatever.

        Seco

    • by initialE (758110)

      No cat in the world can be kept on a leash. You don't keep them, they keep you.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        No cat in the world can be kept on a leash. You don't keep them, they keep you.

        Are you nuts? I've done it. So have plenty of other people. It's not that hard with cats that are kept indoors, provided they're already used to wearing a collar.

        Or are you going to claim that you can't control an animal that's a small fraction of your weight and strength, and that you can't outsmart an animal that's got a small fraction of your brains? Look at how much bigger than us a horse is ... and we still do it ... a

    • Re:Get a leash! (Score:4, Informative)

      by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @04:35AM (#29975216)

      My cat is miserable if I won't let him outside. You know all those annoying things cats are known for? Well, he's pretty good about that... unless I haven't let him outside for 2 days. On day 3, he's pissing on things, breaking lamps, scratching everything in site, meowing at me constantly, "accidentally" using his claws with me, getting on the countertops, letting the dog into the basement* and generally terrorizing the place.

      He's 15 years old and as healthy as a horse. I've let him outside nearly every day of his life since the day I adopted him from a farm where he learned to hunt. My neighbors started complaining about these red squirrels that moved into the area, but they haven't come near my place (and neither has any other rodent pest). He rarely hunts birds, but my neighbor seemed to think he was a nuisance killing birds. Apparently there is a law in my area that cats cannot be let outside (Wtf?) I received a police citation and kept him inside for two whole weeks (Uggghh). Finally, I found an exception to the law, filled out the forms and started letting him outside again. He was the happiest I've ever seen him.

      Pets are animals. Letting them outside can get them killed. But humans go outside all the time where we are frequently killed. Humans go outside and are run over by cars. Humans go outside and freeze to death. Humans go outside and starve to death.

      There ARE two sides of the argument, and quite frankly pets are animals. Its humans that despair when their pets die, and its humans that are responsible for keeping their pets safe. But it's also humans that are responsible for keeping their pets happy. Don't tell ME how I should care for my pet. One cat wanders outside every day, the other cat lolls indoors all day. Don't lecture me on what's humane.

    • The animal pound usually do not pick up cat with a tatoo in the ear, or when they do they contact the person to which it is registered. Lately they even have programs with those chips, but I prefer a visible tatoo. What you have at the pound are most probably either stray cat, or abandoned animals, and that happen all too often with cats and dogs (neat and nice while small, and once they reach 1 year old or the next summer holiday, left over the side of the road, I wish I could have a few word with people d
      • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:48AM (#29976318) Journal

        All the municipalities here have contracts with vrious animal shelters. It doesn't matter whether the dog or cat is chipped, tattooed, or has a tag - they're picked up when someone complains, and the owner is fined $300 plus costs.

        If you decide to take the animal to the city instead of having the pound pick it up, the owner can pick it up from the city holding area if it's not more than a few hours, but they still have to pay a fine.

        Responsible pet ownership includes not letting pets run free in an urban environment.

        Most people which have cat I know of, try to get their cat to come back home in the evening

        ... and how do they accomplish this magic trick? Did they give the cat a cell phone so they can consult their GPS? :-) It's hard enough getting kids to come home on time.

        What you have at the pound are most probably either stray cat, or abandoned animals, and that happen all too often with cats and dogs (neat and nice while small, and once they reach 1 year old or the next summer holiday, left over the side of the road, I wish I could have a few word with people doing that type of shit).

        Animals end up at the pound for all sorts of reasons. My St. Bernard and my original Newfie were both pound dogs. My current Newfie is a rescue dog. My wolf's also "sort of rescued dog". Only the last of those was dumped on me as a "pup." A lot of adult dogs get abandoned because people's lives get f*ed up. Divorce, financial setbacks, having to move to a new location that doesn't allow pets, allergies, kids, ...

        Then, as you say, there are the assholes, like the people who chained 2 St. Bernards in a rising river and left them to drown. It was only luck that someone saw them. Or the asshats who breed dogs for a quick buck, and the ones that they can't sell off, they leave outside in unheated barns in 30 below weather with minimal food - if they survive ... but many don't.

        Kennel Clubs are a big part of the problem, creating artificial demand for "pure-breds" of dubious quality that then end up getting dumped. And people who buy these dogs as "status animals."

        The average lifespan of a domestic dog, all things considered, is only 3 years. A *lot* of them never see their second birthday because they've become "inconvenient" before then. Most people could learn a lesson or two about loyalty from their pets.

        • There is no such a things as animal pound being different from the city or private. There is only the regional animal pound, and they never come to you if you complain about an animal. You have to talk to the police which might decide to directly call the pound, and THEN you get fined. But privately owned animal shelters or orgs cannot take an animal even if there is a complaint. That has to go to formal ways to the local PD.

          "Responsible pet ownership includes not letting pets run free in an urban enviro
          • by tomhudson (43916)

            There is no such a things as animal pound being different from the city or private. There is only the regional animal pound, and they never come to you if you complain about an animal. You have to talk to the police which might decide to directly call the pound, and THEN you get fined. But privately owned animal shelters or orgs cannot take an animal even if there is a complaint. That has to go to formal ways to the local PD.

            Nope - here each municipality has a contract with one of several pounds, as well

            • It wasn't a belief but only a statement on how it works here. This is why my post was called "different country different use" but my english isn't very good.
    • If I were to keep my cat tied down I wouldn't see the point in keeping one. It's a stark contradiction to their nature. Sure they can get killed just like any animal or human. That's life.

      BTW, if you have your cat or dog chiped you can be contacted when a pound picks them up. No problem there.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        BTW, if you have your cat or dog chiped (sic) you can be contacted when a pound picks them up. No problem there.

        You'll still get fined $300 from the city, plus $20/day, for letting your animal wander around loose. A leash is just so much better - there's no "OMG where IS it?"

        Cats do fine on leashes - do a search, and you'll see that cats come to expect their daily walk just as much as a dog does.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      This is some kind of troll, right? Put a leash on my cat? She won't be very effective at killing rodents... or dodging foxes and coyotes.

      Letting your pets wander around is no more "humane" than letting a toddler run around.

      That's a bunch of bullshit. "My" cat is an adult that can make her own decisions. I doubt that if I were in her place I would still be alive. I expect more from my pets than you apparently do. (Not my parrot, who could not survive outside... but I keep her inside, so it's a non-issue. I know where she is.)

      People are just animals with big brains.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        "My" cat is an adult that can make her own decisions. I doubt that if I were in her place I would still be alive.

        If your cat is so much better than you at making decisions, why not have her post to slashdot instead of you? By your own admission, her decisions are of a higher quality than yours, so her posts should be more interesting.

        BTW - your cat has fewer neurons than a toddler. Far fewer. She's certainly not able to make decisions at the same level as the average adult human, though I'll grant your

    • by bigdavex (155746)

      If you love your dog or cat, keep it on a leash outdoors. Being able to track it down when it's road kill, or frozen to death and chewed up by a snowblower, isn't being a good owner.

      Animals get loose. Things happen. I wouldn't tell someone "Don't get in a wreck!" when he considered buying a seat belt.

      • by tomhudson (43916)
        There's a difference between "animals get loose" and allowing them to habitually roam free. We're not China and our dogs and cats are not like free-range chickens.
    • Letting your pets wander around is no more "humane" than letting a toddler run around.

      I think this is slightly hyperbolic. A 1 year old cat is much better equipped for survival than a 1 year old human. Otherwise you probably wouldn't be seeing many cats outdoors to begin with. If you don't believe me, consider this experiment: Get an angry pissed off dog and unleash him on a 1-year old cat. The cat may get hurt, but his odds of survival (by fleeing) are actually pretty good. Now get an angry dog and unleash him on a 1-year old baby. The baby's chances of surviving aren't going to be a

  • What's next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rnturn (11092) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:01AM (#29974646)

    Tracking our goldfish?

    Getting a little desperate in the Marketing Dept. for ideas on what to use GPS for?

    Personally, I can't see the benefit for our household. The cats are either in the cat box, under a bed sleeping, or eating, or staring out a window at leaves rustle or at birds. If we had outdoor cats (unlikely seeing as how coyotes have moved into the area) it might make some sense if we had extra money laying around and we couldn't think of anything better to use it on. For most people, though, I think this a laughable idea.

    Now if I were a cattle rancher, I could see maybe spending some money in order to track the cattle but I have a feeling it might be cheaper to just have the cowhands track 'em. They'd have to be around anyway to round the critters up in the event they were to go astray.

    I'd guess that this will wind up getting sold in some high-end catalog. I could easily see J. R. Bigbucks buying one of these in order to brag to his friends at the country club that they know where little Fluffy is to within 3 meters.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      You're right - they're desperate. Smartphones are totally killing the consumer stand-alone GPS market.

      For the cattle, this would be a boon for the "get-a-chainsaw-and-cut-em-up" gangs.

      1. Find cattle using the GPS signal;
      2. Have one of the gang take the GPS transmitter and throw it on a passing train, wire it to the spare or an air hose on a a semi-trailer, toss it in someones' pickup truck bed, or just put it in a plastic bag and throw it in the river and letr it float away;
      3. PROFIT: Rest of gang chainsaw
    • I dunno. It doesn't have to be a very expensive solution. It will suffice with a mobile unit, a GPS unit and a SIM card. If you're wondering where your pet (or cow) is, simply use the supplied software. The software then sends an SMS message to the mobile unit, the GPS boots up and gets a lock, and then your software receives a reply containing the coordinates. This is relatively low-tech, and not very expensive. I guess the unit might cost about 100 bucks with a decent battery that will last a few days (fo

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      Actually, if these were cheap, I'd buy one just out of curiosity - I do wonder where my cat gets to when I let him out.

      But it'd have to be down in the $50 range for me to buy a gizmo just to satisfy my curiosity. :)

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:01AM (#29974652)

    Track the squirrels. Those little bastards are up to something.

    • by aws4y (648874)
      I know, there even in AZ now, I mean come on we all know that they have taken over the east coast, there just waiting.... watching
  • The problem with GPS on each pet is that the device is expensive, and needs power. What about RFID tags on the pets, and a single central RFID sensor tracking them? Maybe just tracking whether the tags are within range, if 3D position is beyond the capability of the cheap sensor. Pets travel in packs together, so this "swarm" tech could work on them.

    The RFIDs don't need power, and they're cheap enough to just replace when a pet loses or damages a collar. If the central RFID sensor is cheap enough, this coul

  • You can certainly record where a pet has been on a small collar attached GPS, but unless it includes a transmitter you are not going to know where it is NOW.

    Transmitters have to be licensed, or limited to very short range. Transmitters need batteries.

    Garmin makes a hunting dog tracker. But its range is 7 miles line of sight. https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=209&ra=true [garmin.com]

    Battery life is 24 hours. Good enough to find your ill-trained dog at the end of the hunt, but not useful for tracking a lost or

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Hobbyists have made "cat trackers" for quite a while. You get an $80 GPS chip and wire it up to a $20 radio transmitter. A couple of km on the radio transmitter is more than adequate most of the time, certainly for a cat and usually for a dog. When you're tired of plotting Fluffy's hunting route in Google Earth you take it apart and do something else with it.

      As a product, I think it will probably enjoy some limited success. I know several people who suffer panic attacks every time their cats go outside.

  • ... a combination of this with transmission of sensory input from the pet and of course a shot to enhance gene-expression (e.g. for better control).

    Now this will be progress.

    CC.
  • On the Internet
    No one knows where your dog is
    Or maybe they do

  • Am I the only person in the world who gets red-vision-throwing-stuff-Balmer-esque frustrated by the sheer number of nincompoops that believe that GPS has some kind of return path? Uninformed privacy nuts drive me up the bloody wall (as opposed to the informed ones, who I'm sure are jolly nice chaps all).

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Wow, you'd think with six companies selling products to do just this, one of them would have figured that out by now.

      • by evilandi (2800)

        Then the privacy concern is "whatever they are using for the return path" (eg. GSM, CDMA, UTMS) and NOT GPS itself.

        • by blueg3 (192743)

          That depends on the return path and what's being done with the GPS data. Sending data via cell phone in an urban area has no privacy concerns unless the government (or the cell company) is after you. Using that link to post GPS data publicly certainly is.

          Now, in that case, the whole system is what is creating the privacy concern, not the GPS receiver. But when people say that GPS creates privacy concerns, you may be the only person who incorrectly interprets that as "the presence of the GPS device by itself

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      GPSr (GPS Receivers) do not have a return path to the GPS satellite, that's true. They have a receive-only radio that reads very accurate timestamps from satellites in orbit and use the differential in those timestamps and some very cool triangulation math to determine position. So you basically know where you are and what time it is.

      Devices that use GPS can, however, have other radios on board that can communicate over other frequencies. For example, you could put a CDMA/EDGE or EVDO radio onboard and u

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Oh, you noticed the "GPS transmitter" description in the article too?

      • by evilandi (2800)

        Quite. Unless your job is in astro-navigation looking after one of 30-odd low Earth orbit satellites racing round the planet twice per day, there is absolutely zero chance that any GPS equipment you ever encounter will be a transmitter.

        GPS receiver, yes. GSM transmitter, yes. UTMS transmitter, yes. CDMA transmitter, yes. Various other return path transmitters, yes.

        GPS transmitter, no.

        Thank god someone else noticed this too. My faith in humanity is restored; thank-you.

  • Darling, I cant find tiddles. Can you do a trace route to her please!

  • My poor arthritic dog can be kept track of with a roomba. Actually she never orbits very far away from the treat jar. So I could just keep the unit taped to the lid and always know where she is.

    Sheldon

  • What a silly novelty. How about some active noise cancellation for dogs?
  • Be Careful! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nmos (25822) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:02PM (#29983056)

    I'm too cheap to buy a dedicated device so when I saw that Verizon had a free demo of their Chaperone app (track your kid's cell phone etc) I was in business. I just taped my cell phone to the cat and let him out. It worked out great and I learned a lot about my cat's habits. Watching him jump when I called him was hilarious! Unfortunately the day came when I had to remove the phone, and more importantly, the tape from the cat. Trust me, you don't EVER want to try to remove duct tape from a long haired cat!

    Just kidding, but I have thought about it a time or two.

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