In this post, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the geofencing functionality by focusing on how you can use Btracking’s industry-leading technology to create and configure your own geofences to help you in increasing your fleet’s efficiency.
Keeping Tabs on Geofencing
Click on the Geofence tab and you’re instantly in a view that looks very similar to the tracking tab that we have discussed earlier. This is by no accident – you’re going to use the map view to draw and view geofences, and the pane on the left is where you choose which of your geofences to view, and to which vehicles or other assets you would like to assign a particular geofence.
To separate and organize these tasks, the Geofence tab is itself divided into three tabs: View, Assign Geofence, and Create Geofence. The default is the View tab, and that is where you will first land after clicking on the main Geofence tab. As advertised, this View tab is very much like the main Tracking tab – the primary difference being that instead of being able to check off various assets to view, you can instead check off various geofences to view. Isn’t that easy?
Just put a checkbox next to every geofence you’d like to view, and click the “Draw” button – and there they are. Have a lot of geofences displaying and want to clear the map button? No problem – the “Clear” button will remove all geofences from the map view at once.
Handing Out Assignments
The next sub-tab, just to the right of the View tab, is the Assign Geofence tab. It will probably come as no surprise to you that this is how you assign specific geofences to specific assets. When you first open this tab, you will see blank fields for Group and Name.
These actually refer to your assets and not geofences – so if you have relatively few assets, you can simply leave the fields blank and hit the Search button to see all of your assets listed. If you have too many assets to comfortably work with you can either filter by choosing the desired group in the Group dropdown menu, or else search by typing the name of the desired asset into the name field and pressing the search button.
Once you have a list of assets displaying, you can click on the View/Edit link text next to a particular asset’s name to open the Assign and Schedule Geofence window for that asset. Just as the name implies, this window is where the actual assignment of a geofence to the asset is done.
The top half of the window shows you which geofences are currently assigned to the asset, and the bottom half lists geofences that are available to be assigned to the asset. To assign a geofence, click the checkbox next to its name and then click on the Assign Schedules button. This will let you assign a variety of parameters for the asset’s interaction with the geofence on which to be alerted, including such things as days of the week, starting and ending times, speed, and others.
When you are all done, click the “Save Assignments” button and you will be taken back to the main Assign and Schedule window, at which point you can continue assigning geofences or editing existing assignments. When you are done, click on the “Close” button to be returned to the Assign Geofence tab.
Creating Your Own Geofences
And now, create your own geofences! To the right of the Assign Geofence tab, you will find the Create Geofence tab waiting for you to click it. Doing so reveals the controls available to you while you’re creating a geofence, along with tools for easily positioning the map pane.
Let’s look at those positioning tools first, even though they are placed under the drawing tools in the left-hand pane. In the first box you will see tools that let you center the map on either an address that you type in or a position given by latitude and longitude.
You can also go to the next box below and search for a landmark that you have created, or leave the box blank and hit the Search button to see a list of all landmarks that you have created in the system. Either way, providing an address or a landmark will re-draw the map centered on your selection, and you are then free to draw all the geofences you need.
All of which brings us to the most exciting part: The actual creation of the geofences. At the top of the Create Geofence tab, you will notice three choices: Circle, Polygon and Route. Select the appropriate choice for the shape of the fenced area you wish to draw, and off we go!
To use the circle tool, click and hold your mouse button at the point on the map that you want to be the center of the circle. Without letting go of the button, drag the mouse in any direction and watch the geofence circle expand. When it is at your desired size, let go of the button and stop dragging.
Saving the Geofences
One note before we go any further: Until you save a geofence, any subsequent drawing on the map will clear the current drawing and replace it with your new drawing. To save a geofence, click on the “Save” button at the top left. This will bring up a dialog allowing you to give your geofence a name and a description, and assign it both a fill color and a border color – extremely handy when you have multiple and/or overlapping geofences on one display!
Speaking of overlapping geofences, here’s a tip if you want to be a real power user. Because the Btracking platform does allow you to draw overlapping geofences (by the way, this is a feature that is not very common on other platforms), drawing a series of concentric, circular geofences will allow you to generate sequential alerts as a vehicle or other asset approaches a given point – easily letting you know when they are 10 miles, 5 miles, and one mile away from a destination, for example.
The next geofence shape that you can draw is polygonal – meaning you can pretty much draw it in whatever irregular shape you want. Unlike the circle geofence tool, your first click will not be the center of your geofenced area; instead, it will become the first corner of the polygon. With that in mind, click for your first corner and then move your mouse to where you’d like the next corner to be and then click again.
You’ll be able to watch the polygon take shape in real time as you continue to move and click the mouse. With this interface, very complex polygons can be drawn – and not to worry, because if you make a mistake you there is “Undo” built in! When your geofence has achieved the shape you need, double click the mouse and then save.
The final shape that you can draw is a Route. As you might imagine, instead of a geofenced circle or polygon the route geofence is linear, and is used to trace a path along roads or other travel ways – thus defining routes that you want drivers to either use or avoid.
Simply click once to mark the starting point of the route, and then drag and click to define subsequent routes. Just like both the circular and polygonal geofences, the Route fence allows you to select its display color – and also allows you to set a width buffer, so you can use it on a narrow dirt road or a twelve-lane superhighway! Save when you are finished, and you’re set – your route, like the other geofence shapes, is ready for assignment.
Think now you’ve seen it all? There’s one more geofencing feature that puts Btracking far ahead of its competitors: Scope. Btracking is the only platform where you can assign over 100,000 geofences to a vehicle, individual, or other assets. At first glance, that incredibly high number might seem like overkill to some of you – but it is just one more way that the Btracking platform provides you the tools and the capabilities to truly do everything that you want and need it to do!