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Personal Tech For Women: 5 Things To Know About Tracking Your Stuff

Monday, May 04, 2015


Losing things – whether it’s your keys, wallet, purse or pets – can be stressful. And finding them often takes time. For your convenience, a number of companies have designed tracking devices that use GPS (among other methods) to create a map to finding your personal items. Here are 5 kinds of devices that take the search party out of the equation.

1. Tile

According to this company, Tile, “the average person misplaces upwards of 3,000 items a year, and then spends another 60 hours a year searching for them.” For $25, this square-shaped tiny piece of plastic will look like any other trinket on your key chain. Like most tracking devices, it syncs with an app. And this one has no limit on the number of Tiles it can support. While Tile doesn’t provide the actual GPS real-time location of your lost item, it does help you re-trace your steps by automatically recording the last place your phone saw your Tile. So at least you can begin your search in the right spot. And like a game of hot and cold, your phone tracks the Bluetooth signal strength of your Tile. And as it draws you closer, Tile’s “little ditty” will play until your lost item is found again. 

2. iTraq 

You should take the name literally, but understand it’s geographically misleading. No matter, this credit card-sized device helps you find your keys, your luggage and even your kids. With a funding campaign on Indiegogo, the device is nearing completion and being marketed as the world’s first global location device. Without using GPS or Bluetooth, iTraq determines its location via cellular towers, allowing it to be located anywhere in the world where there’s cellular service. You simply attach it to your bike, purse, backpack or any item your regularly misplace (or deem important enough to track) and then use its mobile app to check its location status. A huge selling point: the battery life can last up to three years.

3. TrackR

This coin-sized tracker boasts that it can locate anything in seconds using your iPhone or Android. With a tap of your phone, TrackR can “ring” your misplaced items. And like Tile, this tracker also provides valuable info about how close you are to your keys or purse, or anything you’ve tagged with the TrackR. It also works the opposite way: if you loose your phone, you simply press the button on the TrackR and your phone rings, even if it’s on silent mode. There’s also a crowd function on this one, so if your lost item comes within 100 feet of one of 10,000 TrackR users’ phones, you’ll receive a GPS update of where your item was last seen

4. Locate your kids and pets

So enough about losing your small items. PocketFinder is all about locating the big stuff:  people, pets and vehicles. In fact, it was specifically designed for that trifecta. PocketFinder actually claims to locate children, teens and seniors – those slippery group ages that tend to wander off. About the size of an Oreo cookie and costing $149, the tracker provides info about the distance, speed and direction of your lost darlings. PocketFinder also comes with an app that overlays maps with the locations of multiple people, and the tracker allows you to set “zones” to receive alerts when your child or pet enters or exits. It’s waterproof, pet-proof and childproof. For something similar, you can try Trax. It conveniently comes in two parts: one clips to your kid and the other to your pet’s collar.

5. Track your adventurous self

Spot Gen3 uses a personal GPS tracking device that’s perfect for the adventurous type. It can track exactly where you are – a mountaintop, a trail, a kayak – and record where you’ve been. You can save your waypoints so you can trace the route you took and review your entire journey. It also allows you check in at specific places to let your family and friends know you’re safe, as well as send them custom, pre-planned messages. With the push of a button, emergency responders can receive an SOS with your GPS location, making the Spot Gen3 an essential part of your gear.  

Melanie Sevcenko is a journalist for radio, print and online. She reports internationally for BBC World Service and Monocle Radio (M24) in the UK, and for Deutsche Welle in Germany. Melanie also reports for the online news source GoLocalPDX, in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been broadcast by CBC in Canada and the Northwest News Network, and published by Al Jazeera English, Global Post, Pacific Standard, the Toronto Star and USA Today, amongst others.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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