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While the reindeer pulling Santa Claus’s sled know the way to the homes of good little boys and girls, trucking companies depend on more than someone with a red nose to deliver holiday gifts this season. With today’s GPS (global positioning system) and GIS (geographic information system), logistics planning and tracking is much different than it was even just ten holiday seasons ago.

While GPS is familiar, not everyone knows much about GIS. GIS is a software program that manipulates and stores the millions of pieces of data coming from GPS, a satellite-based navigation network. Together the technologies can be used in not only transportation applications, but also urban planning, disaster management, agriculture and even researching wildlife migration. Through the GIS mapping capabilities, logistics companies can access data to track trucks, improve shipping times, keep up with weather systems on the move, and other information that has revolutionized route planning.

This holiday season has certainly been a busy one. The Interactive Media in Retail Group predicted that the retail industry was expected to send out 20% more packages in the last three months of 2016 compared to the last three months in 2015. The supply chain gets tested as manufacturers hope that no unexpected disruptions stop the flow of their products to stores and online vendors.

With constant GPS location tracking and attention to traffic conditions, trucking companies can assure that freight is making its delivery deadlines – and avoiding late delivery penalties. With enough information about location, through GIS software or other means, a dispatcher can have advance knowledge of problems in time to renegotiate a more realistic delivery window.

Of course, while fleet managers, freight brokers, and dispatchers are glued to their computer screens this week, trying to find the most efficient routes possible, children around the world will be tracking a different delivery mode in real time on December 24. You can bet that millions of kids will be checking where Santa Claus is on NASA’s famous Santa tracker!

The holiday season needs all trucks on the road to keep up with demand. Look for your next load on, the world’s largest free load board.

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