Officials of the Chennai Corporation will soon be able to keep an eye on the movement of garbage trucks in the city without having to move from their seats in the Ripon Building, the civic body’s headquarters.

The Corporation plans to use the global positioning system (GPS) technology to monitor if garbage trucks, fogging machines, ladder-mounted streetlight repair vehicles and parks’ watering tankers are taking the prescribed route and stopping for work at the designated points.

“At present, we only have a system to record the march-out time of our trucks. The monitoring will help us know where exactly the trucks went,” says Chennai Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni. The new technology can also deduce which routes are more fuel-efficient.

Manual detection

One of the benefits the tracking offers is better fuel management. Fuel pilferage from the Chennai Corporation’s vehicles has put a strain on the civic agency’s resources and manual detection of fuel theft has proved difficult.

The GPS device is concealed in the vehicle to be tracked. The monitoring desk records its movement through satellite technology. The GPS information can be fed into a Global Information System, which is used to interpret the data. This process can be done only if Chennai’s geographic information is converted into a digital form that the computer can recognise. Digital mapping of the city is now on.

Pilot project

The Chennai Corporation will begin with a pilot project to track a few vehicles. The service will be expanded once the system is in place, says an official. Bids have been invited from GIS/GPS solution providers.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and the Chennai Police recently started GPS monitoring pilot projects for fault-repair vehicles and patrol jeeps.