Optimizing your fleet's tasks
Install and enable Route Optimisation
- Login to SiteAdmin and go to the Plugins tab.
- Under My Plugins tab, make sure Dispatch plugin is installed and all other plugins are up to date.
- Request a GpsGate Services API key from firstname.lastname@example.org. Please supply the hostname or IP address of the server(s) that will use the API key.
- Under the Settings tab, make sure that you have entered your API key on the "Services Account" page.
- If you are new to the Dispatch plugin, make sure you have read and followed the Getting Started guide.
Creating a Route
If you are not familiar with the Route feature of the Dispatch plugin, make sure that you read up on creating and editing routes with our Grouping tasks into routes guide.
Viewing Route Details
If you have configured Route Optimisation correctly your new and existing routes will now contain an active button labelled "Optimise".
You will also see additional information in the Jobs section header about the estimated distance and journey time of the Route.
The map also contains a track drawn with directional arrows showing you the optimal route to take between each stop.
Optimising Your Route
If you drag the stops around in the Route window to reorder them as described in the Route feature blog post, the track on the map and the Route Details field will update in real time to show the newly calculated route.
This is ideal when you have local knowledge of the area and want to use this specialist knowledge to tune your routes. If you would like GpsGate Server to optimise your route automatically, you can click the "Optimise" button in the upper right hand side of the Jobs section window to begin an automatic optimisation of the route.
You are able to pick from different types of optimisation.
Return to depot will optimise your route assuming that the first job in the route is your depot and will create the best order for returning to the location of the first job when all others are complete.
Pin start will optimise your route starting with the first job in the route but rearranging all others for the shortest possible travel time.
Pin start and end will optimise your route making sure that it will start at the first job in the route and end at the last one, switching all others between to shorten the travel time as much as possible.
As you can see in the screenshot for our example route, GpsGate Server was able to quickly reduce the journey time by 9 minutes by re-ordering the stops in a way that might not be immediately obvious but did shorten the total distance travelled.
In most cases, a mixture of the two approaches will yield the best results.
Try an automatic optimisation of the route to get off to a good start and then experiment with switching some stops around in areas that you know have complex road structures.
Our new route optimisation algorithms can handle routes of up to 200 jobs per route in a matter of seconds.
Some Important Notes about Automatic Route Optimisation
The automatic optimisation of Routes requires solving a notorious and complex problem in computer science called "The Travelling Salesman Problem".
Truly solving the problem and obtaining the guaranteed best route for a set of points on a map is an extremely time and resource consuming problem. It is even more complex on road networks where the distance between two points might be different depending on which direction you drive between them due to one way road systems.
For this reason, the automatic optimisation feature uses an approach which performs an estimate and gets a result that is not necessarily the very best solution but should be a good one and should help give your fleet significant fuel savings over time when used for a workers daily set of jobs.
If your route is optimised by the server it will let you know how much time you saved when it is finished.