How a GPS Tracking System Works

How GPS Tracker Works

Ever found yourself driving in circles around a long and confusing highway? Or maybe you were out on a vacation and saw that the pathway isn’t the same as the maps say. It can be mind-boggling and time-consuming, right?

Fortunately, you have your GPS device to turn to. GPS, or global positioning system, is no doubt one of the most convenient inventions of the twenty-first century. It makes use of 24 to 32 solar-powered satellites and their ground stations to transmit information to GPS-enabled devices like your vehicle or smartphone. Initially, the government limited the use of GPS to military purposes. But over time, it has bridged its way to different private and public sectors.

The main idea of GPS systems is to determine the location of a certain object or person in real time. Your GPS device could be installed on your vehicle or embedded in your cell phone. There are also dedicated GPS devices that could be used to monitor the movement of venerated assets.

GPS tracking systems utilize the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) network. Each of these satellites in orbit sends microwave signals to a receiver. The receiver then uses these signals to calculate your precise location from at least four of the GPS satellites. Finally, your location is determined once the system triangulates your exact position on the planet to the nearest meters based on these distances.

The process follows a simple mathematical principle called trilateration. To complete the mathematical calculation, GPS receivers must know the device’s location by at least three satellites and it must be able to calculate the distance between the area and the satellites.

A GPS tracking system can benefit anyone. For business owners, it can be deployed to track the position of their fleet. GPS systems are also helpful for small-time users as well. For example, families have used GPS devices to keep track of elderly loved ones or small children. Travelers have also attached GPS devices to their luggage to prevent it from getting lost or stolen.

When selecting a GPS tracker, consumers will have to decide if they want an active or passive tracker. Although they collect data the same way, there are core differences between the two. Passive trackers do not allow users to follow every move that a tracked person or object makes. The information must be obtained and then downloaded onto a computer. Passive trackers are normally used by sports enthusiasts who wish to track their progress. For some companies, passive trackers are used to monitor driver behavior and activity. These types of trackers are usually more affordable, as they don’t require a monthly fee.

Active trackers, on the other hand, process and deliver data in real time. Dispatchers receive real-time information anywhere GSM signals are available, allowing them to closely monitor their assets. That said, monthly fees may apply.

Deciding between an active or passive GPS device all narrows down to personal choice and usage. Either way, a GPS system is always well worth the venture.