PlanetLink Communications, a provider of satellite-based products and services, has launched the field-testing phase for its PlanetTRAKS GPS product.

Twelve PlanetTRAKS units will be installed on personal vehicles owned by people affiliated with PlanetLink and Karta Technologies, its technology development partner. Six will be in the Atlanta area, with another six in San Antonio, where Karta is based.

PlanetLink says the testing phase, expected to last 2-4 weeks, is designed to allow the developers to fine tune the software using live, real-time data in real-world situations. Karta has had two PlanetTRAKS units in operation for the past 60 days as part of the development process.

“We are moving rapidly toward a market-ready product. This development process has taken us from concept to an operating product in just a few months thanks to our simple design and innovative technology,” said PlanetLink President Dewey Bain. “We continue to focus on our objective of a commercial launch of PlanetTRAKS early this year.”

In the next week or so, Bain says PlanetLink expects to be able to demonstrate the web interface with a live interactive site that will track the movement of one of the users in its test group using actual maps and live data.

PlanetLink is developing a family of GPS-enabled Mobile Locator Units under the PlanetTRAKS name, designed to communicate real-time location data and other information over the General Packet Radio System to a secure Internet server. Customers may then access that information via a password-protected web site in order to track vehicles and other assets.