How Does Location Tracking Functionality work?

All dynotags are powered by our enterprise grade DCS: Dynotag Cloud Service running 7/24 to provide all the advanced features for your Dynotag Smart ID Tags!  

  • Current users: To learn more about  “View Notification Emails” and  reviewing “Record View Logs” please read this FAQ article.

Dynotag Smart Tags are TSA-Safe, maintenance free (no batteries to keep charged, no electronics to break) and  use passive tracking technologies.  In other words, they use the smartphone  or computer viewing  the tag to supply the location information.  This is not real-time location tracking but tracking of the location the tag was viewed from . Smartphones use multiple mechanisms to get their location information (Wifi, Cell towers and GPS) so they have excellent location information even when indoors – where GPS does not work well.

There are devices on the market that use active GPS based location tracking – which may be appropriate for high value items and applications such as an expedition team, hunting dogs, briefcase full of diamonds. Examples of these are  SPOT Satellite Messenger for personal use – or  Garmin Dog Tracker for tracking pets.  Active GPS trackers which appear attractive at first glance – and may be appropriate for some uses – but have a number of shortcomings:

Active GPS based location tracking has the following issues:
  • Must have a battery to power the electronics – (Almost guaranteed to let you down someday when you need it most).
  • Cannot be attached outside the luggage – must be packed inside!
    TSA does not condone devices with batteries that can break and create sparks in the cargo hold – thus any tracker device has to be inside checked in luggage and cannot provide any recovery info.
  • Must have GPS receiver so it can receive GPS location (works only outdoors)
  • Must connect to a cellular network or satellite service to supply the location information – or as in the case of Garmin – a powerful transmitter is placed in the collar. 
  • Require one or more active, recurring  subscription plans (for the cell network, satellite operator, product company itself)
  • Must have sufficient battery charge to operate the GPS and the radio (batteries usually last a few days at most with continuous use).
  • Must be kept dry and protected against impacts that can hurt the electronics. (Most are water resistant but not waterproof.)
  • They add considerable weight to whatever they are attached to. (Pets don’t even like large small metal tags. How about a cell phone sized device on their collar?)
  • High purchase/ownership cost. (Cost of ownership of a good quality device is $100 or more, plus recurring subscription cost)
  • Require ongoing maintenance (keep fresh batteries in unit, keep charged, keep clean and dry!)
How many things do you need in your life to worry about the batteries of – and pay a recurring subscription for? Most people try to keep such devices to a minimum.
Dynotags, on the other hand:
  • Do not utilize any electronics
  • Do not require a battery
  • The information stored in a dynotag can be viewed by anyone with a computer or smartphone with Internet access.
  • Do not require recurring subscription plans.
  • Are very resilient to abuse, waterproof, weatherproof yet weigh very little.
  • The information content of a dynotag cannot be lost because it resides in the “cloud”, physical tag only contains the dynotag’s unique web address. A replacement tag can be obtained to utilize the same information by using the “Clone Tag” facility.
  • The information content can be updated by the dynotag owner anytime, anywhere on the globe using a web browser. Others can only view the dynotag to see what the owner decides to share.
  • Affordable, one time cost.
  • Lifetime replacement warranty.
    If your tag is lost or damaged, you get a replacement tag which takes the information over from the lost one.

Technical details about dynotag location tracking:

The location tracking functionality works via the application that views the Smart ID Tag. In other words, Dynotag Cloud Service (DCS) works together with the QR scanning application or web browser application that is used to view the tag. This is known as the BYOD application strategy. In simple terms, it means using the incredibly capable, network attached computers everyone carries in their pockets: The Smartphone! This way, there is no need to duplicate the electronics, battery and network access already present in the smartphone.

For real time location tracking, GPS based trackers are expensive, require a subscription, and more importantly, bulky and battery hungry – so they are not practical for most applications and do not deliver the lasting benefits of a Dynotag Smart ID Tag.

Dynotag Smart ID Tags are passive – meaning there are no electronics, batteries or moving parts. This makes them very tough and secure.

All dynotag Smart ID Tags display a unique web address  that is maintained by the DCS. That address is printed on the dynotag, as well as encoded in a QR code that can be read by smartphones – or – and as a web address that can be typed into a web browser.

Smartphones have very good location services as they use multiple ways to pinpoint their location – Cellular network, WiFi hotspots nearby and built-in GPS. Consequently they can return very accurate location, even if they do not have the GPS turned on.

For laptops/desktop computers – the ones connected to a home network (fixed network, such as cable, DSL, even via a private WiFi) can return fairly precise location, within a block or so.

Dynotag information records, in the record dashboard screen, have an “Access Log” section where a list shows the locations where the tag was viewed from,  with access time, location and estimated precision information. This log is visible only to the owner of the dynotag.

When any third party viewer reads the dynotag content by either scanning the QR code or visiting the web address of the tag via a web browser, dynotag server software asks the requesting application to report its location, as precisely as it can.

This results in a “Dynotag wants to learn your location, OK?” prompt from the web browser or QR code scanning application or web browser that is used to view the tag by the third party.

At that point, the viewer of the tag has a choice:

  • If they choose “Yes” then the browser or application will send the best coordinate information they have.
  • If they choose “No” then we do not get the precise coordinate information from that viewer. However, DCS still gets the Internet address of the viewer and try to infer the location from that. Precision is unfortunately lower in that case.

So –  in the case of a mobile viewer, if the viewer of the tag does not want to share the information, DCS will not get the precise coordinates. Even in that case, we fall back to the Internet address of the viewer the request was made from – and use a secondary, less precise mechanism to estimate where that IP address could be on the planet. While this strategy works OK most of the time, the precision can be low as it does not work well with smartphones because of the way wireless carriers handle Internet connections.

No matter who views the dynotag content around the planet, DCS always works to get the location information of the viewer and add that to the view log of the tag’s linked record, as the access takes place. The owner of the record is also sent a view notification email – if the feature is enabled by record owner.

In a related note: On tags attached to your belongings, or with loved ones’ Emergency Info tags, we strongly recommend enabling “receive an e-mail when the tag is viewed” which is enabled by default. That way, you will immediately know when the tag contents are accessed.

Please note that by default all times marked in tag access logs are GMT – meaning  that they are Greenwich Mean Time (London standard). This helps record  the access time correctly no matter where on the planet the dynotag is viewed from.

In some cases, the tags are used to share information in a social network post and accesses can take place from all over the planet within minutes.  In other words, physical scanning of the QR code is not required to read the dynotag contents – all one needs to do is visit the web address of the dynotag as , or visit and click “View Tag”, then enter XXXX-XXXX   – which will perform the same operation.