Geolocation arrives to Venezuela in the field of communications with the purpose of making the country s land transportation more efficient and safe. Tools like GoogleMaps, Venrut maps and companies like Tracker GPS provide users numerous advantages at the time of establishing the location of an address or monitoring a vehicle, thereby facilitating the daily routine of drivers in our local roads, and naturally, throughout the world
Finding an address without getting lost, knowing which services are close to the workplace, knowing where your children are at, or recover a stolen automobile are just a few of the many benefits of geolocation. This concept reached Venezuela with the promise of improving the quality of life of its citizens.
The geolocation term was born in the decade of the 70's and implemented in 2009. This term is defined as the possibility to locate an object in space with the help of technology.
This process may be carried out through a Global Positioning System (GPS) that operates capturing a satellite signal, or through mobile devices as the popular intelligent phones that work locating the IP address of the unit on a map.
Over 500 million people access units that allow geographical location throughout the world. This trend is rising, since full advantage of this new technology has not been yet taken in many underdeveloped countries.
In fact, projections are that the GPS business alone will invoice 30 billion dollars a year.
In the United States and Europe geolocation is being applied not only to identify and address or know where a stolen vehicle is. Family members of patients with Alzheimer are also using geolocation devices to find their loved ones when they get lost. Additionally, safety entities can monitor traffic so they can arrive to the site of the incident quicker.
A few first steps on that direction are now being taken in Venezuela, most of them aimed at facilitating land transportation.
In a society with a total vehicle fleet of over five million units, few thoroughfares, and security problems, the introduction of tools that facilitate location is synonym with savings in travelling time and a policy to prevent criminal acts.
Alfredo Bertorelli, General Manager of Tracker GPS, explains that geolocation has two main uses in the Venezuelan market: navigation assistance -the most well-known in the country- and remote location, which is the one offered by his company and has logistic and security purposes.
The number of people who use mobile devices to find an address increases as the time goes by, but it has yet to become popular.
An example of this is the Venrut maps. It was created by a group of Venezuelan pioneers, can be unloaded for free, and the country's roads can be seen to the smallest detail. The Venrut maps also include services available in a certain location, distance between places, and other details on the roads.
These maps are updated monthly with the help of contributors from the entire national territory and can be downloaded on the website www.gpsyv.net.
GoogleMaps is also starting to become popular. This service allows you to access pages with geographical information. You can also determine your location, and know the conditions of the roads and what services are available.
"Nobody gets lost now," said Eric Schmidt, president of Google, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and even though that is not a final assertion, said systems take us closer to achieving that objective.
Geolocation also offers Venezuelans a tool against lack of security.
Bertorelli estimates 300,00 vehicles in the country have a GPS device.
The geolocation businessman provides his clients with the possibility of monitoring a stolen vehicle, constantly locating and following-up of a company's vehicle fleet, or creating fences that notify users through their cell phone when their family members leave a specific area or reach their destination.
"This is not only a reactive tool, but also a preventive tool," explains Bertorelli. He adds that one of the objectives of the system is to "decrease the stress caused by lack of security and increase the quality of live."
This manner of simplifying the daily routine has lead to the growth of this type of tools and opened a whole range of proposals, from commercial promotions to social relations.
In Venezuela we have only seen the tip of the iceberg regarding what such new technologies offer, but the doors are opened for their arrival. In the meantime, driving should not be problem anymore.
Translated by Mercedes Liscano
María Fernanda Astudillo is a store analyst for Alimentos Polar working at the company's facilities in La Yaguara. At only 23 years of age, she has made a career in that company where she has worked for the last six years. Now, besides her responsibilities, which include overseeing shipping/receiving and warehousing of goods, she is taking part in the roundtable discussions among the other companies operating in the La Yaguara industrial park, the Government and the workers exploring possible ways of coping with the order to expropriate the land.