GPS tracker have become an essential part of our lives and they can help you track almost everything. We use GPS enabled devices in our daily lives to track and locate many unknown places, but did you ever wonder how GPS trackers work? Well, let's find out.
In this article we will walk you through all the in-depth details about GPS tracker.
We are going to cover the following:
- What is a GPS Tracker?
- Difference between GPS & Navigation
- History of GPS
- GPS tracker system in vehicle
- Vehicle GPS trackers: Features &Benefits
- Type of GPS tracker
- OBD Trackers
- GPS tracker for consumer and commercial use
What is a GPS Tracking device?
A GPS tracker is a device that makes use of a cluster of satellites in order to locate your position on the face of this earth. GPS trackers often provide latitude, longitude, altitude, and heading data for a given location. These days GPS trackers are widely used for many applications ranging from fleet monitoring to pet tracking.
GPS Tracking vs GPS Navigation
GPS tracking and GPS navigation are somewhat different. If you thought navigation GPS and GPS tracking are two different terms with same meaning then this should clear your concept about both.
GPS navigation finds your location and helps you with the directions, while GPS tracking documents your GPS location so you can see where you have been. While the former tells you where to go, the latter tells you where you’ve already been. With a GPS tracking device, you can keep a trip log and this can perhaps help you with fuel costs and vehicle maintenance in the long run.
History of GPS(Global Positioning System)
The GPS or Global Positioning System was initially created by the United States government in 1973 for the Department of Defence to serve military purposes.
It was in the 1980s when the technology was made available to the civilians by President Ronald Reagan. The quality of GPS was curtailed by the government in the 1990s so that to make it selectively available for the security and privacy reasons.
By 1995, the Global Positioning System was functioning sound, but by 2000, the GPS system was made globally accessible by President Bill Clinton. This improved the GPS globally for the civilians and commercial users, as they had access to the full capabilities of the GPS.
The Global Positioning System continued to advance and improve, with newer and better satellites being implemented and used for more accurate location tracking.
As the GPS is run by the United States government, there is still a possibility of GPS service being degraded again, or even denied. For this reason, other countries are developing their own location/navigational systems and working on improving accuracy. While Russia has Glonass, in China there's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, Galileo in EU, QZSS in Japan, IRNSS in India and so on.
Scientists and engineers from different countries are also working on improving GPS accuracy. One of the upgrades that are being worked on is using L5 frequency in GPS devices. With L5 frequencies, devices will have a significantly higher level of accuracy than before, with location precision within 30 centimeters, or less than a foot.
This update was aimed for public release in the year 2018, but at this point, it is still pre-operational and thus not widely used.
GPS Tracker System in Vehicles
Vehicle GPS trackers: Features &Benefits
You’ll find GPS trackers commonly in most of the mobile devices nowadays, and this is one of the prime reasons why GPS tracking system has become quite popular. Few of the features & benefits that you get with your GPS-enabled electronic device is as follows.
Access trip history easily - GPS trackers collect and store your location data so that you can go back and look at the trips you made. In addition to collecting information about location, some GPS trackers also have the capability of measuring speed. GPS trackers which are data analytic-driven can provide additional information about your trips.
Easy Real - time tracking - Many GPS trackers provide real-time tracking, which means that the location is updated live. This allows you to use your tracker whenever you need.
Access to data on the server remotely - Not all the GPS trackers allow you to access the data remotely on a server, as some trackers store it in the internal memory of the device.
Although, most modern GPS trackers will have the data accessible from a server so it can be accessed remotely from anywhere and at any time, which means you can access your vehicle or anything even when you are not present in your base location.
Geofencing & creating zone alerts - The term- ‘’Geofencing’’ is used widely nowadays. With this capability , you can create a virtual “fence" around a certain area and you wold receive arrival/departure notifications whenever the tracker enters/exits that particular zone.
Types of GPS tracking devices
We can broadly divide GPS tracking devices into three categories based on their primary functions -
- Data loggers
- Data pushers
- Data pullers
Data loggers record location in routine intervals and save the information in the device’s internal memory. Some cameras use data logging to display the location like where the photo was taken at, and data loggers can be used to track vehicles as well.
Data pushers are the most common GPS tracking units & are commonly known as “GPS beacons." Rather than saving the location data on internal memory as data loggers do, data pushers send and store the information on the server. This means the storage space of the information is not as limited as for the data loggers.
Data pushers can also collect information about speed or altitude, and store all of the information to the predetermined server at routine intervals.
Data pushers are used for personal purposes as well as commercial purposes. The GPS tracker in your phone is a data pusher, and so are many vehicle tracking devices. Data pushers are also the type of GPS that is used on store items to prevent theft.
Data pullers are the last type of GPS trackers, and they are also called GPS transponders. The data puller GPS does not send location updates at routine intervals, but instead, you have to request the data from it. This type of GPS is sometimes found in computers or for items where the location does not need to be known constantly.
OBD GPS trackers
OBD GPS trackers plug into the onboard diagnostic (OBD) port of a light or medium duty vehicle. Usually, an OBD GPS tracker device draws power from the OBD port itself and contains a built-in antenna along with a GPS module in order to receive the GPS signal.
In addition, OBD trackers communicate with the different vehicle subsystems for receiving vehicle diagnostic and fuel consumption related data. A cellular OBD GPS tracker directly communicates with the cell tower in order to send the location and other vehicle performance data to the server over the cellular wireless network.
Users can view the information using standalone software or web browser from a desktop/laptop computer or using smartphone apps. A comparative discussion on OBD GPS trackers and generic GPS trackers can be found at here
There is a huge growth in the OBD tracker’s user base and vehicle owners now prefer OBD GPS trackers over ordinary GPS tracking devices as the former one can keep a check on the vehicle’s health along with tracking the vehicle's location.
Read more on how OBD tracker is better than other trackers.
A few facts on advanced GPS Tracking Devices
Advanced GPS trackers do much more than just tracking – they provide you with engine health diagnosis and other onboard diagnostics that sums up to provide you with vehicle performance information.
The best thing is about the advanced GPS trackers are that they are predicted to hold the largest market share in the whole GPS tracking market which would make it the future of GPS tracking technology.
According to the statistics, there is a huge growth in the GPS tracking and onboard diagnosis market.
The Asian-Pacific (APAC) region is expected to experience large growth in the GPS tracking market. Currently, GPS tracking device usage is relatively low in the area, which means that there Is a lot of room for growth.
One of the biggest examples of technologically advanced GPS trackers is Vyncs, that provides you with real-time tracking, vehicle health status, trip logs, trip time reports, fuel cost tracking and much more.
The GPS tracking market is growing fast and mentioned below are some statistics based on the advanced GPS tracking market that are quite interesting enough-
- The personal use of GPS trackers is estimated to grow 40% or more every year.
- The GPS tracker market is estimated to be worth US$3.4823 billion in the coming years.
GPS tracker for consumer and commercial uses
There are many GPS trackers that exist for cars and other vehicles, as well as commercial vehicle fleets. Most of them are battery operated. These GPS trackers can be placed in the car, and the tracking data can be accessed remotely from a server. These are a type of data pushers.
A data logger GPS isn't of much use for the vehicles particularly if you are interested in real-time tracking, because it cannot be used for remote tracking in real-time.
Other types of trackers can be plugged into the OBD-II port of the car and are mostly used by mechanics to collect more data and provide more analytical information.
GPS trackers for fleets have advanced features compared to the Car GPS trackers. They use the same GPS technology, but the analytics portion is more complex because there are more vehicles to keep track and the user needs data for each and every fleet distinctively.
Fleet trackers use telematics technology and can be placed under the category of data pushers.
Vyncs and Vyncs Fleet GPS trackers
Vehicle GPS trackers: When it comes to GPS tracking for Vyncs and Vyncs Fleet, one must go for the one that provides best of features and is the most cost-effective. As per the survey reports, Vyncs is currently the best-selling car GPS tracker available in the market.
It plugs into the OBD-II port of the car, so it doesn’t use batteries, and uses a minimal amount of energy from the car. This means you don’t have to worry about replacing them, just plug in and use for an entire year without paying anything.
As mentioned before, Vyncs is a data pusher, and it provides standard location updates every 3 minutes. Upgrades are available for 60/30/15 second updates as well, as ‘’Live Map Auto Refresh’’ feature. Apart from GPS tracking, Vyncs provides a variety of analytics such as driving safety and fuel tips.
As it is plugged into the OBD-II port, you get a detailed health report of your vehicle. Vyncs Fleet is made for commercial fleets and provides GPS tracking for an unlimited number of vehicles.
Managing your vehicle fleet is much easier with the advanced features such as automatic tracking and analytics, which are accessible through the web server and mobile application. You can keep a track of your vehicles, the productivity of your workers, the costs, and much more.
Know why Vyncs.
How to improve the accuracy of GPS data?
In layman's language, if there's any obstruction between the satellite and the device that results in weakening of signals, it may give inaccurate GPS map reports.
If you are not getting accurate location data about your car then here are some possible reasons:
- Landscape's characteristics (enclosed spaced reduce the signals).
- Satellite position (the number of satellites in view (under optimal conditions) naturally fluctuates)
- Hidden device (hindering the path between the satellite and the receiver).
You may face an accuracy problem when you are driving within the steep valleys, in urban areas or on the slopes of the mountain, as the sky area is not much visible in these places.
These areas have less number of satellites in the direct line of receiving site and that primarily causes accuracy problems. If your device is kept hidden in the vehicle, make sure that there’s no hindrance or obstruction in the path of the satellite & the receiver (the device).
Prominent Features of Vyncs GPS tracker
Reliable Real -Time GPS Tracking - Get data from the Vyncs device in your account through the cloud-based technology over a 3G/2G wireless network in real-time. It comes with all the bell and whistles that you would expect from a great GPS tracking product. Trips, zone arrival/departure notifications, start/stop street addresses, live maps, geo-fences are few of the examples.
Trip logging - With Vyncs GPS tracking, you can access the log all your car trips automatically.
Car theft prevention - It helps you in car theft prevention as you will know where your car is at all times. You will know if someone tries to steal your car. If you want you can even hardwire it and hide the Vyncs device using a Y-OBD-II extension cable so that the thieves have a hard time finding it.
Monitoring teen driving - The Vyncs GPS will allow you to know where your teen is driving at all times, and you can monitor additional habits such as driving speed, sharp turns, rapid acceleration, and harsh braking. You can also add advanced features like curfew hours alert and speeding policy violations reported on the map.
Reliable Real-Time GPS Tracking - Get data from the Vyncs device in your account through the cloud-based technology over a 3G/2G wireless network in real-time. It comes with all the bell and whistles that you would expect from a great GPS tracking product. Trips, zone arrival/departure notifications, start/stop street addresses, live maps are few of the examples.
No Monthly Fee - In general GPS tracker prices are hefty but Vyncs offers you all the valuable information at an unbeatable price. The best part is that it does not change any monthly fee.
Web based & Android/iOS GPS app: The vehicle tracking data can be seen through a web or mobile-based app. The user has to download the app, log in with the credentials and set up the vehicle/driver details. Each and every driver listed in the app can be tracked with the device.
To conclude, GPS tracking is an incredibly important technology and it is quite useful in today’s society. Understanding how GPS technology works and the specific benefits of car GPS trackers will make your car as safe as your home. So, get a car tracking unit for your car and make sure you get Vyncs.
Add Vyncs to your car. Sync it with your life!