GPS tracking devices are helping to find illegal loggers in the Brazil rainforest.
Illegal logging is a major problem in many rainforests around the world, including Brazil. The greatest rainforest to many is, of course, in the Amazon, and regardless of the deforestation laws, illegal loggers are still managing to cut down trees there — and get away from local law enforcement.
However, technology is now helping to track these logging thieves down, in hopes that more of the rainforest can be saved from illegal logging practices.
The tracking of illegal loggers is being carried out by rainforest activists. The rainforest activists went to Para, regardless of the tricky and dangerous areas, undercover, in order to place GPS tracking devices on trucks.
By going undercover, they found out who was suspicious and might be logging illegally in the rainforest. Once the GPS tracking devices were on the suspected illegal logging trucks, the investigators were able to examine the route they took in the rainforest.
The data collected from these tracking devices revealed that the trucks were going very deep into the rainforest; approximately 200 miles in total. They went to protected areas to get logs and return to Santarem, where they went to sawmills in the middle of the night so they were well hidden. This is where timber is exported from other areas, including China, Japan, the U.S., and Europe.
Not only were the illegal loggers’ routes and navigation tracked, but there was also data including aerial and satellite images of their operation.
In the past, Greenpeace has attempted to expose illegal logging practices, but it was often too risky and even violent. This time, however, they decided letting the GPS trackers do the monitoring for them, they could find out what was going on without putting themselves in too much danger. The leader asked to remain anonymous, but told Brazilian officials:
“Everyone is afraid of something sometimes. But, even with fear, we wanted to expose that official papers are worth nothing in proving the legality of Amazon timber. We were convinced the operation would bring strong evidence of this silent crisis affecting the Amazon and its people.”
During this GPS tracking assignment, there were a total of 8 activists that went undercover in Brazil. They used GPS trackers that were magnetized and easy to attach to a vehicle. They began having lunch with truckers and appeared to simply be traveling. They attached 9 GPS trackers, though a few of them fell off the trucks. However, they still got enough data to find some illegal logging that was happening.
The activists found that the logs were of mahogany, such as macaranduba, ipe, jatoba, and garapa. They also found that the sawmills were operating illegally, with laundering and permits from other areas. They found that most of the operation was illegal, from the loggers, to the sawmills and then the buyers.
We’re in the midst of the busy holiday travel season, so it’s a good time to talk about suitcases.
Technology and travel combine with the new travel suitcases that are built with everything from GPS tracking to smartphone technology.
Suitcases have been becoming more technologically advanced for a few years now, and the newest ones are no exception. They won’t just keep your belongings in one place, allowing you to travel by plane or car safely, but they also provide extra benefits via your smartphone and GPS tracking technology.
A new high-tech “smart luggage” suitcase in the works is called Bluesmart, and can work with an iOS smartphone, like an iPhone, or an Android phone. It is specifically designed for traveling by plane as there is a feature that lets you connect the main suitcase with your carry-on luggage. While it is still just a prototype, the creators of Bluesmart soon hope to make a working model.
There are almost an endless amount of tools and features in just one suitcase. It begins before you leave for your trip, with the built-in scale. This helps you avoid packing a “too heavy” suitcase, as many airlines charge fees now for bags over a certain weight. You simple pull on the handle and it checks the weight.
There is also a built-in battery that can be charge your phone right in the suitcase. The lock on the suitcase is a high-security lock that is digitally-controlled and requires using your smartphone to open it. If you become separated from your suitcase, you are the only one who will be able to get inside. There is also a special key to open it if your battery dies or you have misplaced your phone. On the plus side, the TSA can use this lock, just so you don’t run into security concerns with the airline.
There is a Bluetooth sensor inside the suitcase that can send you an alert if your suitcase has wandered off past a certain distance. There is a map you can use to track down the suitcase if it does get lost or stolen, thanks to the GPS tracking device. You can also set a distance on the map for when you should get these alerts. Also, this helps if it is lost in the airline or gets on the wrong plane.
There is adequate storage on the front of the suitcase, including places to put your cell phone, laptop and other electronic devices. This helps you get through TSA and pull the electronics out, without having to open the suitcase entirely to remove the items. All your trip data is automatically collected with the Bluesmart app that will be connected to your phone. You will know where you went, how long you were there, and even the number of miles you traveled.
Features of the suitcase itself include a waterproof zipper, 24-liter capacity, and four spinner wheels.
If it gets through the fundraising stage, the suitcase will cost about $265. So, far Bluesmart has far exceeded its fundraising goal of $50,000 with over ¾ of million dollars raised.
We’ve told you about the states with the most vehicles stolen, colors of vehicles most likely to be stolen, where motorcycles and watercraft are likely to be targets for thieves. Now, a new report by the NICB reveals the most stolen sport utility vehicles and crossover utility vehicles in the United States, looking at the makes and models, and what states they were stolen from.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found that 21,711 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) were stolen between January 2010 and December 2013. They not only looked at the three years as a whole, but vehicles stolen in each year, what types of vehicles within these broader categories, their classifications, and the states that had the most thefts.
Classifications for SUVs included compact, midsize, large, premium and pickup SUVs, while CUV classifications included compact, midsize, large, and premium.
The NICB is a not-for-profit organization in the United States, and is headquarters in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a leading organization in detecting and preventing insurance fraud, as well as vehicle theft. They provide various statistics and analytics, training, and public awareness.
Commonly Stolen CUVs and SUVs
Just about every make and model of sports utility vehicle and crossover utility vehicle were stolen at least once in the last three years, but there were five makes and models that were much more common.
Ford took up three of the five spots, followed by Jeep and Kia. As far as classifications go, the compact CUVs had the most thefts in the U.S. with a total of 6,981. The next classification with the most thefts were large CUVs at 3,206, then midsize CUVs with 3,204 thefts. Large SUVs experienced 2,902 total thefts and premium CUVs had 2,394 thefts.
The five makes and models that experienced the most thefts between 2010 and 2013 were:
Ford Escape – 1,421 thefts
Ford Edge – 1,140 thefts
Ford Explorer – 958 thefts
Jeep Grand Cherokee – 912 thefts
Kia Sorento – 725 thefts
States Where Most Thefts Occurred
When comparing thefts, the larger states, such as California, Florida and Texas are almost always at the top of the list. This is for a number of different reasons, from more vehicle opportunities, to being located in areas that make them easier to steal. The top five states with the most thefts of CUVs and SUVs were:
California – 3,531 thefts
Florida – 1,897 thefts
Michigan 1,834 thefts
Texas – 1,686 thefts
New York – 1,577 thefts
The NICB also looked at statistical areas within the United States, which included basic areas for these five states. They found that the most threats were in the New York/Northern New Jersey/Long Island area with 2,530 thefts. Next, it was the Detroit/Warren/Livonia areas of Michigan with 1,701 thefts, followed by the Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana area of California at 1,300 thefts.
The NICB recommends reporting any vehicle theft or insurance fraud to their company right away. If you are concerned about driving an SUV or CUV and the thefts involved, installing a GPS tracking device can be a great way to recover your stolen vehicle.