Monday, 4 April 2011

Where's My Shopping?

Mike Brearley is Lead IT Developer at's Central Delivery Service team. Authoring this article, Mike reveals how tracking our delivery vans is adding value to the service we provide customers.

Currently we have thousands of Tesco delivery vans delivering to our customers across the UK and Ireland.  Each van is fitted out with GPS tracking so we can see their location on an almost real-time basis.

Using this information we’re able to better plan journey times calculate how many deliveries we can fit into a slot, and ultimately be better at being on time.

Sometimes unavoidable things happen, traffic, mechanical breakdown and all number of emergencies can all delay a delivery but using this information we can let our customers know in advance to give them a heads up about what’s going on.  Reassurance that the order is definitely on the way and exactly where the van is can really help in those situations.

I’m working on how we can make sense of this information and present it to colleagues and maybe even customers in a useful way - It’s a huge amount of data we’re collecting; millions of data points are generated in just couple of days

As a taster of what this data looks like I’ve plugged a snapshot of these points into Google maps.  A picture definitely gives a better idea than words in this case!

These screenshots were taken at 10.32am on 31st March 2011 - click the images below for a larger view of where all our delivery vans were located at this precise time.


  1. A classic GIS problem - first tip, stay away from Google Maps! I am studying just this kind of problem at the moment at University, it is an enormously interesting challenge. Sounds like Tesco are as ever leading the curve on using geo to improve their business.

  2. As a Dotcom manager I find it really interesting being able to identify my own vans on that map as part of the bigger picture.


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