How Does GPS Vehicle Tracking Work?

  • Tracking Systems – FAQs
  • Upgrading Your Tracking System
  • How Does GPS Vehicle Tracking Work
  • Vehicle Tracking Software
  • Commercial Vehicle Tracking
  • Mobile Worker Applications
  • Vehicle Tracking Devices

  • Global Positioning System – more commonly known as GPS – vehicle tracking works through the use of complex satellite technology, the culmination of which is an accurate calculation of the exact position of a vehicle anywhere in the world. When it comes to tracking vehicles, GPS is the most accurate technology available and will usually be effective at tracking a vehicle’s location to within 10 metres of its position.

    How Does It Work?

    GPS vehicle tracking is able to be so effective thanks to two different components – a satellite located outside of the earth’s atmosphere and a highly advanced device installed into every vehicle on the system. The satellite transmits a time and location signal, which is then received by the tracking device in the vehicle. The tracking device then uses this information – as well as information from at least three other satellites – to calculate its exact position on the earth. After this has been determined, the relatively simple process of sending this information through a mobile phone network allows the device to tell the tracking system its exact location.

    GPS Technology

    As briefly touched upon in the last section, the GPS unit needs to receive a signal from an absolute minimum of four different satellites – although most GPS tracking systems use more than this. This is made possible due to the fact that there are always at least 24 different GPS satellites orbiting the earth at any one time, which ensures that at least four will have a line of sight to the antenna on the vehicle in question. In fact, as of March 2009, there are 32 different satellites in orbit, therefore meaning that GPS devices nearly always receive more than four signals, which ensures that the tracking systems are even more accurate.

    One problem that used to blight the GPS industry was the interference that the satellite signals received when travelling through places like built up cities and areas of heavy forest. This was a constant source of frustration to many companies, as they regularly lost the position of parts of their fleet and therefore lost the ability to direct them properly. Luckily though the industry has moved on from this and satellite signals are now perfectly capable of being received by improved antennas attached to the vehicles.

    GPS Restrictions

    There are situations when GPS vehicle tracking doesn’t work as it should, although this is often due to it being incorrectly installed or when it has entered a particularly unreceptive environment. Although the problems with trees and cities have been resolved, it is still the case that when entering locations like tunnels and underground car parks, the GPS signal might be obstructed. This is generally not a problem though, as the location will be reported as soon as the obstruction has been passed. In addition to this, the tracking program will usually show the vehicle’s last location before the signal was lost, so anyone viewing the information will be able to work out that the vehicle is currently in an area whereby the signal is being obstructed.

    To prevent any unexpected GPS tracking failures, it is absolutely essential that everyone gets the antenna installed by a professional, as they will have all of the relevant knowledge needed to ensure that the system works to its full potential. They will consider the best place on the vehicle to place the antenna to avoid obstruction and will also be able to avoid other common mistakes, such as placing the antenna near metallic objects that distort the signal.

    GPS vehicle tracking is the most widely used and effective type of vehicle tracking in the world today. With the facts that it can both accurately and speedily plot the exact location of any vehicle, it is clear to see why more and more people are choosing to use this service. GPS is offered for free and there is never any subscription to pay to the provider.

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