How Car Tracking Works

The global positioning system or GPS for car tracking is used for locating the exact position of a car or any object. Since most car tracking systems are portable, the unit may be installed on a car, a cellular phone, or even carried by a person to monitor their location at any given time. How car tracking works is through the network of satellites that orbit the earth twice a day.

On June 26, 1993, the 24th Navstar satellite was launched into space by the U.S. Air Force to complete the network, making the GPS tracking system available online. It is the GPS tracking technology that allows us to pinpoint the exact location of a car, a person, or anything.

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Car Tracking

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How Car Tracking Works

Control and Usage

Members of the U.S. Air Force supervise the daily command control and maintenance of the GPS satellites. They are the ones that make sure the GPS network is functioning at all times to ensure stable and accurate transmission of data. Though the U.S. military personnel are in charge of the overall operation of the GPS, civilians are also given access to it.

Parts of GPS

GPS has three main segments: the space segment, the user segment, and the control segment which are all relevant in how car tracking works.

Space Segment

This part is comprised of the two dozens of satellites that were launched into the space using rockets. There are 6 orbital planes around and each holds 4 satellites. Each of the satellites weighs about 19,000 lbs and has four atomic clocks. The satellites are programmed to align itself in positions that will ensure that their solar panels are facing toward the sun and their antennas are pointed to the earth. The satellite network arrangement also ensures that at least four of them can be “seen” from the earth.

Each of the satellites transmits location information at a regular interval through signals that travel to earth at the speed of light. These data are then received by a GPS device on the ground. The exact location of an object can be measured through trilateration, the calculation of the time it takes for the signals from at least three satellites to reach a GPS receiver.

Tracking System


Control Segment

This part consists of wide-reaching dedicated facilities that oversee the satellites in the space to make sure they are perfectly functioning. These unmanned base stations can monitor transmissions, analyze data, and issue commands to individual satellites. According to the government’s GPS Web site, the control segment includes “a master control station, an alternate master control station, 11 command and control antennas, and 15 monitoring sites.”

User Segment

This part is on the user end. GPS devices are either hard-wired or portable. GPS receivers detect, interpret, and process signals sent by the satellites.

More About Car Tracking and the Importance of GPS

Although GPS tracker technology was originally developed for the military application, it has turned into an invaluable tool that makes our everyday lives easier. Since its inception, the GPS has become an integral part of how car tracking works. It has evolved from being a simple replacement for maps into an incredible tool that can be used in ways we never imagined in the past. GPS technology has a place in almost every business industry, from construction to banking and even farming. One of the most popular uses of GPS is car tracking.

On how car tracking works, it all boils down to GPS technologies. It provides more than just location information. GPS for cars can also show the most efficient route to your destination, alternate routes, and nearest location of interest. Other features of GPS for car tracking devices include geo-fencing, which helps owners secure their cars and SOS button for quick emergency assistance.

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Trevor Wilson