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As technology continues to advance, people and organizations around the world are better understanding how to utilize the power of geography. Geographic Information Systems, also known as GIS, can be applied to anything that is understood and represented spatially. Today on GIS Day, we take the time to reflect on how ALK Technologies incorporates GIS into its software and how it is used within the transportation industry.
The roots of GIS can be traced back to the creation of the first maps in ancient Greece around 2300 BC. Since then, they have brought together information and displayed it in a way that can be interpreted spatially. The world has continued to build its databases by exploring new territories and have recorded that data to be shared. The development of computers and the ability to store information digitally has changed the way we analyze and display geographic information. This shift from traditional cartography and paper maps to digital information, software, and new data collection services has allowed GIS to grow at an exponential rate.
GIS is essential to ALK because without it, we would not be able to create, maintain, and enhance the many transportation road network databases that we do. Our main goal is to assist professional truck drivers with the safest, most optimal truck specific routes that have the lowest cost, as well as being attentive to special restrictions, such as bridge heights and clearances, weight limits, and hazmat. GIS supports spatially related operations and is used to build our GPS navigation. The transportation industry has embraced GIS as an important tool in managing, planning, evaluating, and maintaining transportation systems.
All of the departments at ALK work together to create and distribute the most accurate spatial data information to enhance navigation with innovative trucking solutions using ALK’s mapping platform. We manage our data in QGIS, which is an open-source desktop GIS application. This software gives us the capability to view, edit, and analyze our data in real-time. Our dedicated Princeton GIS team is currently made up of 16 people who work on updating data around the world. We are a bright and dynamic group with a genuine interest in the GIS/GPS mapping industry. We also have newly expanded our GIS team to Chennai.
GIS surrounds us every day. So next time you find yourself making decisions, remember that most of the situations can be geographically referenced, such as looking at a map to plan where to gas up, researching cost of living in various states, or even listening to directions on your smartphone.
Written by: Michael Farrell, GIS Technician; Kamille Preto, GIS Technician; and Alyssa Wentz, GIS Technician
November 11th is a day of commemoration around the world to the men and women who have fought bravely throughout history. This day of gratitude is known by different names depending on country, for example, it is known as Armistice Day in parts of Europe and Remembrance Day in Canada. Remembrance Sunday is also celebrated each year in the United Kingdom on the second Sunday of November.
Join us in thanking and saluting those men and women, both domestically and internationally, who have courageously fought for their countries.
ALK Technologies stands and salutes the millions of American veterans who have so bravely fought for our country. We thank our veterans for all they have done and continue to do in order for us to live freely.
Veterans are all around us – you just may not recognize them without their uniforms. They’re among us as construction workers, engineers, and very commonly, truck drivers! In fact, 32% of veterans between the ages of 45-54, as well as 31% between the ages of 55-64, are employed in the transportation industry. Just as they moved America forward during their time in the service, they continue to do so on roads and highways across the country, safely delivering essential goods for our daily lives.
Hiring our Heroes is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation that helps veterans and transitioning service men and women find employment. Join us in donating to this meaningful foundation and help make a difference in the life of a veteran and their family.
Recently, we’ve been hearing more and more about the stresses that truck drivers have to face while on the road. Situations like getting lost, being late to a delivery, or driving in unsafe weather conditions, can have a huge impact on a driver’s attitude and stress level. Can you imagine the pressure of getting thousands of dollars worth of goods delivered safely and on time to keep customers satisfied?
Stress is the result when one has to deal with change and can create substantial effects on the body, such as:
- Upset stomach
- Elevated blood pressure
- Loss of sleep
Fact: Approximately 1/4th of U.S. commercial truck drivers on America’s roads report experiencing sleep apnea.
Alleviating some of the day-to-day stress can lead to increased job satisfaction and better retention overall. Let technology help! Here’s a few situations where using technology can lead to less stress.
Use in-cab navigation: it’s an instant relief to drivers! Using truck-specific, voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions decreases the likelihood of a driver missing a turn or taking a non-truck legal road. Navigation provides more accurate ETAs and can even go as far as to communicate with the back office for real time updates, eliminating manual calls. Drivers want to drive, not plan!
Pre-plan HOS breaks: With the increased Hours of Service (HOS) mandates the trucking industry has recently seen, there is a heightened focus on when and for how long drivers can schedule breaks. Without proper calculations and insight, some drivers are forced to make these decisions themselves, leading them to choose the wrong location or break for an incorrect amount of time, ultimately impacting their scheduled delivery times. Fleet Managers or dispatchers can utilize pre-planning systems that factor break times directly into the drivers’ planned routes. This eliminates any pressure the drivers feel on making impactful decisions.
Be aware of impending weather: Driving a vehicle in an area affected by severe weather conditions is stressful for any driver. Using a visualization tool in the back office where weather overlays are displayed directly on a map along with current or future route plans allows fleet managers to accurately assess potential delivery or safety impacts. Recently, Transport America implemented such an alert system, setting up automated emails to be sent directly to Fleet Leaders whose trucks are affected by weather systems and when and if conditions change. This allowed managers to notify drivers ahead of the impact or safely re-route them if necessary, alleviating driver anxiety. (Read Transport America’s Case Study)
In the unpredictable industry of trucking, ALK Technologies strives to create solutions that help drivers navigate, manage their hours of service, and avoid unsafe weather conditions. In decreasing overall driver stress and anxiety, the ultimate payoff is safer roads for all travelers.
This past Wednesday, October 28th, we hosted our first-ever, off-site Interactive Training Program in Harrisburg, PA. The half-day program was targeted towards current customers and prospective users, focusing on the features and functionality of our products as well as how to most effectively utilize them. The sessions were led by those who know the products best, our Product Managers!
Jeff Sibio, Director of Implementation | Jaspreet Singh, Senior Project Manager | Kara Jo O’Neil, Senior Product Manager
Some of the session topics included:
- Customizing PC*MILER to Improve Your Efficiency and Productivity
- CoPilot Truck & RouteSync in Depth
- Solving Compliance Challenges with PC*MILER’s HOS Manager
- Web-Based Application Options for Specialized Integrations
We’re looking to expand!
ALK is the process of adding additional Interactive Training Programs to various locations around the country for 2016. If you’re interested in learning more about how your company can benefit from from attending and/or using our products, contact Dana Petrone, Senior Marketing Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Do you have any ideas on training topics that would be beneficial? We always want to hear our customer’s feedback. Tell us what you think!
SAVE THE DATE!
Increasing efficiency and safety are always at the top of the list for companies operating in the patch. As highlighted in the recent Trimble news release announcing their new Oil and Gas Services Suite, there’s very powerful technology available today for managing the transportation of fleets and equipment servicing well sites in the oil and gas industry.
Why is it critical to have industry-specific in-cab navigation, routing & mileage data?
- Precise mileage and distance using actual oil and gas roads for accurate billing
- Improves driver productivity and efficiency with the most comprehensive off-road mapping
- Provides turn-by-turn, voiced-guided truck-legal navigation for safety and accuracy
- Detailed energy network coverage to include remote sites
- Mileage precision and accurate ETA calculations from well to well or public to private lease roads
- Reduce out-of route mileage costs when routing both on and off the grid
At ALK we’ve worked closely with our partners to develop and bring together market solutions that have you covered once you leave the highway.
Improves truck routing profiles and incorporates back office remote management to enhance driver safety and enable compliance
Philadelphia, PA – October 19, 2015 – ALK Technologies, a Trimble Company and global leader in GeoLogistics® solutions and navigation software, today announced the latest release of its CoPilot Truck in-cab navigation solution. With improvements to the truck-specific routing profile feature, the update makes it easier for fleets to create and follow optimized routes based on vehicle size and load, to enable safety and compliance on the road. It also provides fleet managers with remote configuration capabilities for tighter control over the routes drivers follow and eliminates the need for associated driver interaction.
“We see the connection between the back office and the cab as a key factor in a fleet’s successful deployment of in-cab navigation, and this CoPilot Truck release further supports our objective to align the two in a meaningful way for fleets,” said Dan Titus, vice president, business development –enterprise solutions, ALK Technologies. “With CoPilot Truck’s Web-based back office tool, CoPilot FleetPortal, we’re providing fleet managers with greater management of the routes executed in-cab so that drivers can stay focused on the road and avoid the risk of costly fines or collisions, which would otherwise negatively impact their CSA scores. We’ve also come a long way to address the operational requirements of fleets that support multiple vehicle sizes and loads.”
With this update, CoPilot Truck introduces a new set of default vehicle types that better fit the routing needs of Light Duty, Medium Duty, or Heavy Duty trucks. If multiple profiles are created and saved, CoPilot Truck will alert a driver to select the correct profile for that particular trip, ensuring safety and compliance with regulations. CoPilot Truck will now also alert drivers if they enter a custom vehicle dimension that may require a permit to help avoid errors and ensure compliance when creating routing profiles. The software update also debuts a new darker in-cab user interface on the display to further reduce driver distraction and minimize ambient screen glare during the day or night.
New remote configuration settings in CoPilot FleetPortal allow driver managers to specify and send Out-of-Route thresholds by vehicle group, as well as to update custom routing profiles, PC*MILER® Avoids/Favors*, road closures, and custom POI sets used by CoPilot Truck in-cab. Synchronization of this information can be set to occur as frequently as every 30 minutes to once every 24 hours. The option to restrict access to routing profiles is also now available, which gives drivers less to worry about and enables fleets to ensure that the correct routing profiles will be used to generate optimal routes as well as to reduce the risk of driving on truck restricted roads.
The CoPilot Truck update also enables small fleets and owner operators using ALK’s back office PC*MILER routing, mileage and mapping software to send planned routes created in PC*MILER directly to ALK’s CoPilot Truck Smartphone and Tablet app for compliant route execution. The CoPilot Truck app is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows XP and Windows Mobile platforms.
CoPilot Truck, as well as the full suite of ALK Transportation Solutions, will be showcased in Booth #718 at the American Transportation Association Management Conference & Exhibition in Philadelphia.
For more information about ALK’s CoPilot Truck navigation solution, visit: www.copilotruck.com.
*Requires PC*MILER|Streets license
About ALK Technologies
ALK Technologies, a Trimble Company and global leader in GeoLogistics solution and navigation software, is focused on developing innovative solutions for transportation, logistics, mobile workforces and consumers. Product lines include PC*MILER, CoPilot and ALK Maps. PC*MILER is widely recognized as a transportation industry standard for routing, mileage and mapping. CoPilot is a leading source of GPS navigation software for fleets, mobile operators, hardware OEMs, system integrators, professional drivers and consumers. ALK Maps is a development platform designed for the transportation industry and provides commercial routing, geocoding and mapping visualization for enterprise applications.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Help ALK & CoPilot Mobile Navigation raise awareness for early breast cancer detection and “go pink!” with our CoPilot Breast Cancer Awareness theme. This year marks the fourth year that we’ve partnered with the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Each year, we donate 100% of the proceeds from our Breast Cancer Awareness theme to help the NBCC reach their goal of ending breast cancer by the year 2020.
The theme is available for unlimited use for $.99 through an in-app purchase for all Android and iOS users of CoPilot Premium. How to go pink? Please see below:
Go to Settings>Themes>Awareness
Have CoPilot GPS? The theme is also available for you with unlimited use for $.99 through an in-app purchase for all Android and iOS users after an upgrade to unlimited voice-guided navigation.
Go to MyCoPilot>Features & Upgrades
After you have upgraded to unlimited voice-guided navigation, please follow instructions below:
Go to Settings>Themes>Awareness
CoPilot has a blog too – check it out!
We’re excited to announce that ALK’s own Director of Implementation & Support, Jeff Sibio, has a feature chapter in Peter Bakker’s book, Reinventing the Post: Building a Sustainable Future. Jeff’s chapter, Efficiency Provides Many Gains and Multiple Winners, demonstrates his expertise and passion for the industry. He covers topics including the challenges facing the transportation and delivery industry and provides solutions on how to achieve efficiency and sustainability.
Here’s an excerpt from Jeff’s Chapter, Efficiency Provides Many Gains and Multiple Winners:
“Becoming more sustainable can seem like an impossible goal. Especially with managing the expansive demands of today’s delivery environment, labor turnover and customer expectations while also reducing costs, and serving a continuously growing customer base. Similarly with our facilities, which are constantly space-challenged with the changes in mail and parcel flow, our assets and resources are equally strained. Where does sustainability possibly get added on?”
Want to continue reading?
Get your own copy of Reinventing the Post: Building a Sustainable Future here.
Jeff is known for his innovative, customer-first approach and his deep expertise in transportation and logistics. With over 25 years of experience, he is considered a thought-leader in the T&L industry and has spoken and published widely on transportation technology topics. Throughout his career, Jeff has been sought out for his unique ability to bridge the gap between operations and technology.
Provides LoadMaster and PowerBroker customers updated nationwide commercial routing, mileage and mapping
Birmingham, Alabama – October 5, 2015 – ALK Technologies, a Trimble Company and global leader in GeoLogistics® solutions and navigation software, and McLeod Software, a leading provider of transportation management and trucking software solutions, today announced that ALK’s PC*MILER® 29 routing, mileage and mapping software has been successfully tested and approved for use with McLeod’s LoadMaster® and PowerBroker® products.
“This integration provides our customers another helpful tool in managing their fleets and brokerage operations to gain further efficiency and cost savings,” said Robert Brothers, manager of product development at McLeod Software.