What Is GPS Satellite Tracking?
What the heck is GPS satellite tracking? Really!? We know satellite navigation for turn-by-turn directions while driving and GPS solutions for search and rescue operations are all awesome parts of the Global Positioning System web that have made life easier for all of us. But have you ever wondered just exactly how GPS tracking devices work? If so, this article will explain everything you need to know about satellite GPS tracking. As well as provide awesome facts and the real-world benefits of satellite GPS tech! Now, let’s first dive in with some basics when it comes to GPS operations and the top choice for the best satellite GPS tracker among Amazon buyers!
Related Content: 7 Best Portable GPS Trackers
Best Satellite GPS Tracker On Amazon
- #1 For Person Tracking
- More Reliable Than Amateur Radio or Cell Phone
- Panic SOS Button Real Time Alerts
- Subscription Required
According to Amazon reviews, Spot Trace X is the best overall GPS messenger and navigation device. Spot Trace is a 2-way satellite messenger that utilizes Bluetooth and realtime GPS to help protect you on your outdoor adventures. Perfect for hiking, camping, and asset tracking, Spot Trace X will allow you to communicate with the outside world via SOS protection. This means if you are ever lost or in danger, you can easily communicate with the outside world and get help. With 62% of Amazon verified buyers leaving this Global Positioning System GPS 5-stars on Amazon, Spot Trace X is easily the best GPS satellite tracker by online rating.
Spot Trace uses the Globalstar Satellite Network Coverage
The 3 Basic Principles of GPS
At the heart of the GPS system are satellites, often referred to as satellite vehicles. These satellites continuously orbit the Earth, transmitting essential data. For the GPS system to determine your exact location, it requires signals from at least three to four of these satellites. Their primary purpose is to send information regarding their position and the current time at regular intervals.
- Satellite Vehicles. There are approximately 24 active GPS satellites in orbit at any given time, ensuring global coverage.
- Global Coverage. With satellites spread strategically around Earth’s orbit, they ensure almost every corner of the planet can receive their signals.
- Transmit Data. Each satellite constantly transmits data, allowing GPS devices to determine their exact position.
Ground stations play a crucial role in keeping the satellite system running accurately. These stations monitor and manage GPS satellites, ensuring they operate correctly. When you think of them, imagine the command centers that keep the whole system synchronized. Their primary task is to maintain the satellites’ accuracy and ensure the information they send to GPS receivers is precise.
- Globalstar Satellite Network & Iridium Satellite Network. These are examples of networks that connect with ground stations to keep the system synchronized.
- Fleet Management. Ground stations aid in tracking, ensuring assets and vehicles are precisely located for businesses.
- Emergency Response. In times of crisis, these stations can be pivotal, aiding in search and rescue operations by ensuring accurate location information.
You interact directly with GPS receivers, be it in your phone, vehicle, or a standalone device like the Garmin inReach. These receivers capture signals from the satellites and then use that data to determine your exact location. Once they have this information, they can display it, often as gps coordinates, or use it in various applications, such as navigation or tracking.
- Receive Text & Two-Way Messaging. Devices like the InReach Messenger allow users to receive text messages and communicate using satellite signals.
- GPS Locators & GPS Asset Tracking. These are examples of GPS receivers that help in locating objects or assets.
- Tracking Features & Movement Alerts. Modern GPS receivers can offer a host of features, including tracking movement or sending low battery messages.
In essence, the synergy between GPS satellites, ground stations, and receivers provides a comprehensive system. This collaboration ensures you can find your way, track assets, or stay connected, even in the remotest corners of the planet.
15 Fun Facts GPS Satellite Tracking Devices
Through precision timing and radio navigation, GPS tracking devices provide pinpoint accurate GPS data that is helpful in navigation and tracking. The truth is, that satellite GPS tracking has significantly improved all of our lives. Don’t believe us? Here are 20 awesome facts and benefits of satellite communication!
- Sputnik 1 was the first satellite launched into space by Russia in 1957
- Selective Availability was turned off by Bill Clinton in 2000
- With Selective Availability, GPS applications exploded in the consumer and business sectors
- GPS devices are now commonly used for equipment tracking on construction sites
- Spouses suspecting infidelity use GPS vehicle tracking to catch cheating partners
- The navigation device app on your cell phone utilizes GPS data
- GPS satellites travel approximately 20,000 kilometers above ground stations
- Navstar was the original name for GPS and the first Navstar satellite was launched in 1978
- Today, most people use their mobile phones for GPS navigation
- Our GPS world was created for military applications and is still owned by the Department of Defense
- Real time GPS is the #1 way you can recover a car and truck from theft
- GPS asset trackers are used for everything from vehicle tracking to monitoring political signs
- Satellite positions make a full orbit approximately every 100 minutes
- Military GPS receivers use two frequencies, making them far more accurate than civilian GPS devices
- Data from a car tracker was used as key evidence in a murder trial
Related Article: Best Magnet GPS Tracking For Vehicles
Photo Credit: NASA Space Place
How GPS Satellite Tracking Works
GPS satellite tracking combines the use of global positioning satellite systems, GPS receivers, cellular data modules, wireless/cellular networks, personal computers, and the end-user to monitor position and location-based data. Satellite tracking can be either passive or active, meaning data is either recorded upon the GPS-enabled device’s internal memory or transmitted where the users can access it live in real-time.
Satellite GPS Frequently Asked Questions
Do Other Countries Use GPS?
GPS satellite tracking combines the network of Department of Defense satellites orbiting the Earth every day and a GPS-enabled device to calculate the position and other location-based information. This information includes speed, stops made, time en route/departed, altitude, exact position, and more. After the Selective Availability Act increased the precision and accuracy of GPS receivers available to civilians, businesses and consumers began utilizing GPS technology for everything from fleet management to teen tracking for safe driving.
However, GPS is only one set of satellites within the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Here is 5 satellite navigation systems part of the GNSS you might not have heard of before that are used in countries outside of the United States:
- Galileo Satellite Network – European Union
- BeiDou Positioning System – China
- Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) – Russia
- Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) – Japan, Asia-Oceania
- Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) – India
What Special Licenses Or Permits Are Required?
After the United States government removed restrictions on the civilian use of GPS devices, GPS satellite tracking systems became accessible and available to everyone. The fading restrictions sparked a boom in the GPS navigation and tracking industry, creating a multi-billion dollar market. Therefore, anyone wanting to take advantage of the highly sophisticated technology does not need to acquire a permit or special license of any sort to use satellite-tracking technology!
GPS Satellite Trackers: How Accurate & Reliable Are They?
Both navigation and tracking devices are accurate up to 1-2 meters (6 feet). However, military-grade 2way satellite GPS systems are significantly more accurate. GPS navigation systems are usually installed in the vehicle and placed near the front windshield to acquire satellite signals. Since navigation units will always be placed in a location with a direct line of sight to the sky, they are purposely not engineered with a focus on antenna reception. However, GPS fleet tracking manufacturers place heavy emphasis on antenna design because of the covert nature of vehicle tracking applications. The end result is that GPS vehicle tracker systems are accurate and reliable in covert placement locations such as under the front/driver seat, glove box, and even underneath an automobile!
Can Satellite Trackers Be Difficult To Operate?
Realtime tracking devices are designed with the user experience (UI) in mind, making GPS messenger technology accessible to anyone. That includes parents wanting a realtime GPS for monitoring their teen driver to business partners wanting GPS units on company vehicles for auto theft security. GPS manufacturers such as BrickHouse Security, Global-Star Satellites, and our company, GPS Tracker Shop, have developed GPS devices with the end user in mind. This means creating portable GPS 2-way satellite messenger units and subscription-required asset trackers that can help you protect what matters most to you. How is this done? With web-based and software interfaces that are informative, intuitive, and engineered with a clean and simple display. Regardless, of whether you are using a GPS tracking app or a desktop application. More importantly, it offers free technical support for the life of every product so you can secretly track a vehicle or asset!
How Many Satellites Does GPS Need To Work?
To work, your personal GPS tracker will need four satellites in order to determine your exact location. Three satellites are used for trilateration and the fourth is required to provide a fourth measurement that can correct any errors in the other three measurements. This also helps to improve the overall accuracy of the location. Pretty cool right?
Our GPS system currently consists of a network of 31 satellites in orbit, with plans to add more in the future to improve coverage and performance. You can learn more about GPS satellites by clicking here.
- What Is GPS Satellite Tracking?
- Best Satellite GPS Tracker On Amazon
- The 3 Basic Principles of GPS
- 15 Fun Facts GPS Satellite Tracking Devices
- How GPS Satellite Tracking Works