Q & A

Any Questions? Frequently Asked Questions about Marco Polo (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about how Marco Polo works or why it is the easiest to use, least costly, most accurate pet tracking system available, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the questions we’re most often asked. Browse the list – your question is most likely here. If not, you feel free to contact us with your question and we’ll get right back to you.

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How Does Marco Polo Compare to the RoamEO Pet Monitor System?

The RoamEO Pet Monitor System is a point-to-point GPS system. This means there is a GPS receiver on the dog and a GPS receiver in the handheld device that the dog owner carries. There is also a radio link between the dog’s collar and the handheld device so that the GPS coordinates of the dog can be sent back to the handheld device. In this way the handheld device can compare the dog’s coordinates with the searcher’s coordinates and display a distance and direction to the dog. The Marco Polo tracker has two significant advantages over the RoamEO system. These are:

  1. The GPS receiver in the RoamEo Pet Monitor consumes a great deal of power and the battery life is about one day. This makes it impossible to use the system for continuous monitoring. It also makes it less convenient for the pet owner who must constantly exchange and recharge the batteries in the collar. And, of course, if the dog was lost for an extended  period of time, perhaps only a few hours if it was near the end of the day, the collar may stop responding when needed most.
  2. The RoamEo Pet Monitor uses a custom collar with the electronics permanently attached. The weight of the RoamEo collar is about 3 times that of the Marco Polo collar tag. This makes the RoamEo system less suitable for smaller dogs. The Marco Polo can be clipped onto the collar your pet already wears and works with harnesses as well.
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How Does Marco Polo Compare to the Loc8tor Pet System?

The Loc8tor Pet is a point-to-point radio frequency locating system similar to Marco Polo. It is primarily useful as a “key finder” type of device, but can be used on pets provided they don’t wander very far. The advantages of Marco Polo over Loc8tor Pet System are:

  1. The Locator Pet system uses a vey low signal level and a very high radio frequency. This combination provides a very limited range of operation – 400 feet maximum when used on a pet. Compare this to the 2 miles (>10,000 feet) or more in similar, ideal circumstances for Marco Polo. If the pet is lying on the Loc8tor Pet tag the range will be even less, probably less than 100 feet. This limited range makes it impractical to monitor your pet’s whereabouts, as Marco Polo does, because their normal movements would constantly cause false alarms. It also makes it much more difficult to find a lost pet because you must get very close to them to pick up the signal from the Loca8tor Pet’s tag.
  2. The Loc8tor Pet uses manual direction finding system – Marco Polo’s is automatic direction finding. With Lo8tor you must sweep the handheld unit in a circle and remember the signal strength indication for each direction. In practice, you must do this often to ensure you are following he true path to the lost pet and not a false or reflected signal. If you are in a location with Loc8tor Pet where there is no clear signal path to the pet’s tag you must decide the correct direction by analyzing the signals yourself. In contrast, Marco Polo uses automatic direction finding to display the direction to your pet. Marco Polo effectively analyses the signals from all directions over 1000 times per second and displays the direction to the pet automatically. Marco Polo also also analyzes the data and informs when and accurate direction to your pet cannot be determined from your current location and instructs you to change location. 
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How does Marco Polo Compare to the Garmin Astro 320?

The Garmin Astro 320 is a point-to-point GPS system, similar to the RoamEo Pet Monitor. The Garmin Astro is designed for day use on hunting dogs. As such, the collar electronics are very rugged but large and heavy compared to systems that are designed for pets. The collar unit also has a long whip antenna that sticks up from the back of the dog’s neck, which could be a hazard if the dog was wearing it around children. The primary differences between the Marco Polo system and the Garmin Astro 320 are:

  1. Due to the ruggedized design, high-power transmitter, dual GPS receivers and graphical user display, the Garmin Astro 320 is a costly product; the retail price is typically over twice that of a Marco Polo system.
  2. The collar unit is large and heavy, weighing over half a pound, 5 times the weight of a Marco Polo collar tag. The Garmin Astro is made to be worn by hunting dogs and is not suitable for smaller pets.
  3. Because of the high power consumption of the GPS receiver and transmitter, the battery life of the Garmin Astro 320 collar unit is only 17 hours. Due to the short battery life, it is not possible to use the Garmin Astro 320 for 24 x 7 monitoring of a pet as is done with the Marco Polo system.
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How Does Marco Polo Compare to the SportDOG TEK Series 1.0 GPS Tracking Collar?

The SportDOG TEK Series 1.0 GPS Tracking Collar is very similar to, and a direct competitor of, the Garmin Astro 320. Like the Garmin Astro 320, the SportDOG is made for day use on hunting dogs. The SportDOG TEK Series 1.0 GPS Tracking Collar is also a ruggedized point-to-point GPS system with GPS receivers in both the collar unit and the handheld and a high power radio transmitter in the collar unit to send information back to the handheld. The primary differences between the Marco Polo system and the SportDOG TEK Series 1.0 GPS Tracking Collar are:

  1. Due to the ruggedized design, high-power transmitter, dual GPS receivers and graphical user display, the SportDOG TEK Series 1.0 GPS Tracking Collar is a costly product; the retail price is typically about twice that of a Marco Polo system.
  2. The collar unit is large and heavy, weighing half a pound, over 4 times the weight of a Marco Polo collar tag. The SportDOG TEK Series 1.0 GPS Tracking Collar is made to be worn by hunting dogs and is not suitable for smaller pets.
  3. Because of the high power consumption of the GPS receiver and transmitter, the battery life of the SportDOG TEK Series 1.0 GPS Tracking Collar unit is only 20 hours. Due to the short battery life, it is not possible to use the SportDOG product for 24 x 7 monitoring of a pet as is done with the Marco Polo system. 
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What If Someone Steals My Pet and Removes The Collar?

If the pet is removed from its safe zone the owner will receive an alarm within 80 seconds. This prompt notification is the best defense against pet theft. Unfortunately, it is not practical to make the collar impossible to remove and still be safe for the pet and convenient for the owner.
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Could A Pet Thief Use This To Track And Steal A Pet?

No. There is no way for a thief to learn the unique 24-bit ID code of a pet. That is only transmitted once in the “pairing” mode,  at a very low power level, and never again in normal operation. Without that unique code it is impossible to track someone else’s pet.
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Can The System Be Used In A Car?

Yes. There is a hands free searching mode that signals the driver through audible tones when they are within range of the pet and when they are getting closer or further away. Once the driver is signaled that the pet is very close they can stop the car and proceed on foot to the exact location of the pet.
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Can More Than One Person Search For A Pet?

Yes. Using the “Rescue Group Searching” feature a missing pet’s tag ID can be transferred to any number of other locators and they may all search for the missing pet at one time. Whichever locator comes into range of the pet’s tag first will enter tracking mode and guide that searcher to the pet.
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How Do I Add or Replace Tags?

There is a “pairing” function that allows you to easily assign a new or replacement tag to one of the three “Pet” buttons on the locator.
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How Accurate Are The “Safe Zone” Boundaries?

We provide four preset boundary levels which correspond to radiuses of about 50ft, 100ft, 300 ft. and the maximum range of the system.
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