Tracking, Burst Mode, Tracking Context and Activity Sense

A description of the most common tracking settings and features are outlined below.

Tracking Status

This option allows you to turn the automatic position reporting on or off. When turned on, the Device will automatically obtain a GPS fix and transmit it at a set frequency (see below).

Report Frequency

You are able to select how often your device transmits a GPS fix - this is called the Report Frequency.
The slowest Report Frequency is once per 24 hours, while the fastest is every 15 seconds.

Burst Mode

Burst mode allows the device to collect many GPS reports, in order to get more accurate tracking information but to send them as a batch in order to keep airtime costs down. For example, the device can collect a GPS fix every 5 seconds, and then transmit those positions once per minute.

To set burst mode, in the Report Frequency you need to choose Burst. Then, in the Burst Settings menu you can choose how often you wish to take a fix (Burst fix) and how often you wish to transmit (Burst transmit).
Note: This mode will use power more quickly than other tracking modes, since GPS is kept on all of the time.


Why use Burst Mode?

You may want to transmit positions back as quickly as possible, but there might be practical issues preventing you to do so (ex. cloud/tree cover, signal loss, etc.). Additionally, there's a certain latency involved with first acquiring a GPS fix, then acquiring a satellite signal and then transmitting successfully - this process may take 10 seconds but it can also take 40 seconds, depending on conditions (i.e. cloud cover).

The end result may be a backlog of transmissions - and if your current position is the most important, you'll also be paying to transmit previous positions first. With Burst Mode, you can collect up to three 15 second position reports, transmit every minute and still use up just one credit (as opposed to three).

Tracking Context

Devices can send tracking information at different rates depending on their connectivity or Alert status.

Context NameAvailable toDescription
Satellite ContextAll ModelsUsed when the tracker does not have cellular coverage, and/or the cellular mode is set to 'Never'.
Cellular ContextRockAIR as standard
RockFLEET as option
Used when the tracker has cellular coverage, and the cellular mode is set to 'GPRS Preferred' or 'GPRS Always'.
Distress ContextAll ModelsUsed when an alert has been sent and the tracker is in 'alert mode'.

Activity Sense

When Activity Sense is active, and activity is detected, the device will switch to using Burst Mode settings. When no activity is detected, the normal Report Frequency is used. Activity Sense can be particularly useful if you want to transmit more often whilst moving, for instance when tracking vehicles or aircraft.


Activity Sense may use up significant amount of credits!

Only turn Activity Sense on if you know what you are doing!

Activity Sense Configuration

Activity Sense OptionBurst Mode activeNormal Mode active
PowerWhen external power is appliedWhen operating on battery power
BumpWhen accelerometer detects movement above bump thresholdWhen accelerometer no longer detects movement above bump threshold
SOG (Speed Over Ground)When tracker's SOG is greater than 4 knotsWhen tracker's SOG is less than 4 knots
Bump & SOGWhen accelerometer detects movement above bump thresholdWhen the tracker's SOG is less than 10 knots
Away From Home
Not available on RockSTAR
When device detects that it has left a user-defined Home LocationWhen device detects it has returned to a user-defined Home Locatation

Activity Sense Threshold

There are various Activity Sense Thresholds to choose from. There is no ideal global setting - rather, you'll need to tweak thresholds depending on your exact mission and circumstances. Setting the Activity Sense Threshold to 24 is a good start, and works for most situations


Activity Sense: SOG

This mode should only be used when the tracker is permanently powered as continuous GPS monitoring (GPS Hot) will deplete the battery life quickly.


Activity Sense: Bump+SOG

Bump+SOG gives optimum power usage for aircraft. They are initially slow and 'bumpy' on tarmac, thus activating Burst Mode. When cruising smoothly in the air, Burst Mode is activated by the high SOG.

Advanced Tracking Configurations

Away From Home

Away From Home combines Activity Sense and Geofence Alerts features to increase tracking frequency when a unit leaves its 'home', and slow back down again when it returns.

Ensure your Tracking > Satellite Context and Tracking > Cellular Context settings are correct. Away From Home will use the Burst Mode options when the tracker leaves a predefined area.


Example Tracking Configuration:

Tracking > Satellite Context > Transmit Rate: 1 hour
Tracking > Satellite Context > Burst Fix Rate: 5 min
Tracking > Satellite Context > Burst Transmit Rate: 15 min
Tracking > Cellular Context > Transmit Rate: 5 min
Tracking > Cellular Context > Burst Fix Rate: 15 sec
Tracking > Cellular Context > Burst Transmit Rate: 1 min

At Home: the tracker will transmit once an hour over Iridium, or once every 5 minutes when GPRS is available.
Away From Home: the tracker will transmit a burst of three 5 minute positions every 15 minutes over Iridium, or a burst of four 15 second positions every 1 minute when GPRS is available.

To activate Away From Home and begin departure monitoring set the following options:

  • Tracking > ActivitySense > Enabled: Away From Home
  • Alerts > Geofence > Enabled: Simple
  • Alerts > Geofence > Distance: 25 m, 50 m, 100 m, 250 m, 1 km, 2 km, 3 km
  • Alerts > Geofence > Check Rate: 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 5 min, 10 min, 15 min, 30 min

To set the device's current location as the 'Home Location':

  • Alerts > Geofence > Set Centre


Leaving / Arriving Home Alerts

An alert will be transmitted each time a tracker crosses the AFH geofence