Tractive pet tracker offers a low cost alternative to sim based GSM locators Tractive is a new subscription based GSM locator that, while designed for the pet tracking market, offers a low cost solution to balloon payload location. The locators have been designed to give pet owners an online or smart phone based solution to pet tracking. Weighing only 35g grams and costing £4.49 a month, they are ideal for inclusion in HAB payloads to aid recovery. They also have the added advantage, over conventional text reactive based locators, in providing limited tracking through a conventional map interface in the initial and final phase of payload flights.
We put Tractive to the test this month in a HAB flight, launching from Shrewsbury and landing near Leominster in Herefordshire. More details can be found here. The tracker was placed at the bottom of the payload box next to a Zlog GPS data logger, and adjacent to a SPOT satellite messenger and GO PRO Hero camera. Tractive provided tracking for the first 3 minutes of flight when there was a good 3G signal.
Tractive also displayed the final 4 minutes of flight, correctly identifying the final landing site of the payload. In the latter case, there was a moderate strength 2G signal.
There were a number of features we found particularly useful on the Tractive:
A charge clamp which gave a very good contact on the tracker. An audible tone to indicate power off and power on.
A live track mode which constantly updates the tracker location on the map interface.
The option to choice between monthly or annual subscription payments. This is especially useful if you have a short flying season.
While proving to be a handy locator, we do think that the Tractive interface could be improved by showing the time of the last location report on the map interface. This gives the user some reassurance as to the age of the last location report; an important factor when dealing with a moving asset.