Communication Breakdown: GPS Tracking vs. Check-in Messages

Knowing When to Operate and When to Automate

office worker using smartphone

monitorWhen it comes to finding a safety monitoring solution, there are many decisions to make. Along with deciding how employees will access a system, you may have to decide what kind of information they leave. One of the major considerations when deciding on a lone worker safety system is whether to opt for check-in based safety or automated reports using GPS.

In this post we’ll break down some of the differences between check-in and GPS-based systems, and determine which solution provides better value.

Current Information vs. Relevant Information

With automated GPS reports, you are able to track the position of your employees at set intervals or locations. Depending on the accuracy of the device that you’re using, these provide a snapshot of where employees are located. You’ll know where someone is, and when they got there, but not a lot else.

Check-in based systems rely on employees to leave messages throughout their workday, providing details that automated GPS reports can’t. While it’s great to know where someone is at any one time, it’s even better to know where they’re going to be. By leaving messages with destinations and expected arrival times, employees are kept safe because others will know where they’re going to be if they miss a check-in.

[bctt tweet=”With #safetycheckin based systems, employees can provide details that #GPS reports can’t.”]

One Device vs. One Account

Automated GPS systems are usually tied to a device that tracks an employee as they work. These trackers are built to handle unique work environments, and they can contain a lot of technology, but as with any device-based system they face certain limitations. Whether it’s getting caught without batteries or being damaged in an accident, a GPS tracking system is only as effective as the device it’s tied to.

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Check-in based safety systems offer a more flexible way for employees to stay monitored throughout the day. By allowing employees to use multiple devices, employees can check-in with whichever device is convenient, and switch devices if they need to.

Precision vs. Accuracy

When it comes to comparing the kind of information available from GPS location reports and check-ins messages, the difference comes down to precision vs. accuracy. Often, the information reported by tracking devices will point to a precise location, when that position isn’t necessarily accurate.

If an employee becomes separated from their tracking device, or if the device itself is reporting inaccurately, the employee may have no way of correcting that information. Check-in messages ensure that the employee can verify the information being reported, and can account for errors introduced by an automated report.


While both methods of communication provide unique strengths, check-in messages provide an overall better value. By not being tied to a single device and by providing overall better information, check-in messages are suited for any working condition and any device.

To find out how SafetyLine can be used to simplify your check-in messaging procedures, call 1-888-WRK-ALNE or contact us by email here.

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Since 2010, we facilitated close to 16 million safety check-ins from lone workers across the country. Additionally, 3 out of 4 workers felt safer on the job just knowing that SafetyLine was in reach.

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