What is Fastloc® GPS?

Fastloc® is a different approach to the processing of GPS signals, resulting in a very small footprint tracking solution for challenging deployment scenarios.

The Fastloc® solution focuses on minimising power consumption so that the combined volume and weight of the electronics and battery package is as small as possible. In addition, Fastloc® is able to successfully operate in dynamic environments where only brief periods of satellite signal are available.

These capabilities derive from Fastloc’s original application of marine animal tracking. Fastloc® technology was originally designed by Wildtrack Telemetry Systems specifically to address the problems faced with traditional GPS receivers in a marine environment.  Wave wash, submersion and poor antenna orientation are all problems that can prevent a traditional GPS receiver from maintaining signal reception and thus provide location information.  To overcome these issues a Fastloc® receiver uses small 'snapshots' of GPS signal (typically 10's of milliseconds) which are processed to the point of obtaining satellite information only.  This low volume satellite information can then be stored on board or forwarded to a server for location processing.

The key features of Fastloc® are as follows:
  • Very Low Power consumption in active mode after any length of time in sleep mode or switched off, enabling the use of small batteries with long time between charges and/or frequent measurements. The RF section is only enabled during a short acquisition window.
  • Fast acquisition every time, even after prolonged sleep periods with no need for aiding information or long continuous tracking for ephemeris decoding.
    Where suitable, aiding can further improve performance. 
  • Validation pre-processing on-board quickly determines if the signal capture was successful and hence allows dynamic scheduling or rescheduling to be performed
  • Low data output per fix, for reduced storage and communications requirements
Alternative Fastloc® receiver configurations are possible that shift the design trade-offs to reduce processing time where this is a key factor.

Fastloc® receivers were probably the first commercially available GPS snapshot processing receivers in the world, with the latest versions offering some of the lowest power GPS receiver solutions available today. At the heart of the technology Fastloc® owes its superior performance and low power consumption to the use of commercially available low power processors and very efficient, low level embedded coding.  Such low power consumption has now opened up terrestrial markets for Fastloc® technology, with unparalleled performance for many applications.

How can Fastloc® receivers be used?

Fastloc® can be employed in different configurations to suit varied application requirements:
  • As a peripheral integrated in a customer platform with other sensors and actuators. Current designs operate with a range of antennas, peripherals and interfaces
  • As an archival location logger system that is retrieved at the end of its deployment
  • As a wireless enabled logger that regularly transmits data back to base, either via UHF radio to our local UHF base station or to a remote server via Argos, Iridium or GSM
  • In all configurations the device coordinates are calculated off-board by a local processing PC or remote server. On-board checking ensures the quality of the captured data during real-time operation