A simple safety system developed by a Borders sheep farmer could help save the lives of farmers and farm workers who work on their own.
After frequently finding he was working in remote locations with no mobile signal, Archie Stewart from Cliftonhill, Kelso decided to come up with a system to help his family check he was OK.
With the help of GPS expert Gert Riemersma, Mr Stewart developed a web-based system that uses a handheld GPS device to monitor the exact location of people who are working alone.
Called Trackplot, the innovative system uses a GPS signal that bounces off low-orbiting satellites, making it much more reliable that a mobile phone.
In fact, Mr Stewart claims it covers 85% of the world’s surface and all of the remotest parts of the UK. So even if you’re working at the back of beyond, your family or employer will be able to check you are still in one piece.
Once a GPS device has been hooked up to the web tool, people at home can log in and monitor the location of the person carrying it. It works with multiple devices, too, so you can keep tabs on your entire workforce.
There is also a simple electronic check-in function for workers to confirm they are OK and the frequency or method of checking in can be altered to suit the job in hand.
For example, if the worker has a mobile phone signal he/she can check into a call centre or send a text. But if there isn’t, they can do it through their GPS device. There is also a function that will automatically alert the emergency services if they don’t check in at the required times.
Unlike some other systems Trackplot uses ultra-accurate Ordinance Survey maps to pinpoint the person’s exact location relevant to streams, rivers and other landmarks.
Getting a person set up on the system will cost £410+VAT, which includes a suitable GPS receiver and a year’s subscription to the web portal.