What Is GPS Tracking?

The science of GPS tracking technology is solely based upon the network of satellites circling the Earth everyday. Known as the Global Positioning System, these 27 Department of Defense satellites send out low level radio signals that are acquired by a live GPS tracker or GPS data logger where altitude, speed, location and other information is calculated instantly. Common users of GPS tracking include businesses, families, and anyone interested in discovering the precise position of people, vehicles, or any other tangible objects here on Earth. GPS tracking technology is frequently utilized to enhance automobile security, vehicle fleet management, and personal safety. 

History of GPS Tracking

GPS Tracking Market Has Come Of Age

Once President Ronald Reagan issued the directive making GPS freely available for civilian use in 1980′s, the evolutionary wheels began to turn. The early years of commercial use, up to and including the 1990′s, were limited due to several factors. This included a limited number of GPS chip manufacturers, antiquated and costly microprocessor technology, and an intentional degraded signal called Selective Availability. The highest quality signals were reserved for the U.S. military while the civilian market was left with a significant variation. The net results were high cost devices, limited capability, and bulky equipment. At that time, these devices were limited to law enforcement agencies and those willing to sacrifice performance at a high price. The new millennium ushered in an incredible transformation in the GPS tracking industry. President Bill Clinton ordered Selective Availability turned off at midnight May, 1, 2000. This allowed developers to provide ultra sensitive and accurate GPS tracking data we see in today’s market.

There are three key technologies that come together and compliment GPS-enabled devices. All three have gone through incredible development growth phases that coincidentally have come together nicely. The microprocessor industry has produced devices that are smaller, faster, and more powerful. Microprocessors provide the platform for system integrators and manufacturers. Since GPS satellites transmit unidirectional signals, customers such as fleet tracking that need to locate assets remotely depend on telecommunications and/or communication satellites. Cellular data communications or General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is the most common method of viewing remote GPS devices. This is because the cost of cellular data is much more cost effective than satellite communications. As experienced in the GPS and microprocessor industries, cellular communications have become a reliable and preferred method in mobility.

Fast-forwarding to today, GPS tracking technology has become a staple of daily living. The most popular use of course is in-vehicle navigation with many portable versions retailing under $ 100. Many current uses of GPS tracking are transparent to many of us. GPS tracking technology can be found in our cell phones, electric meters attached to our homes, etc. The cost to add GPS receivers in today’s electronics is minimal and provides manufacturer’s a competitive edge. Because of this, more and more devices are equipped as a beneficial product feature. Although millions of people benefit from GPS tracking technology, law enforcement agencies have become dependent on it. GPS tracking devices help lower their operational costs and provide an incredible evidence tool that did not exist before. Although considered controversial by some as pre-placement warrant requirements are being fought in the courts, nobody can dispute the effectiveness of the technology.

Over the past 30 years, the United States dominated space segment for global positioning. This will no longer be the case as the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) introduced to civilians in 2007. The Chinese and European Union are also working on their own systems further demonstrating the value GPS technology brings to all of us. Whether you own multiple vehicles needing a fleet tracking solution or an individual with limited means, GPS tracking technology is an affordable luxury and is here to stay.

GPS Tracking

 

How GPS Tracking Works In Car

A GPS tracker is used to gather low level radio signals from the network of satellites orbiting the Earth and use those signals to determine a wealth of data related to location and position. After recording the meticulous data directly to a on-board GPS receiver or transmitting the information to an off-site computer server all of the information can then instantly be accessed by a computer, mobile device, or tablet with Internet capabilities. The GPS tracking data can be transmitted via cellular data module embedded in the GPS tracker or alternative source such as a radio. GPS tracking data gathered and stored onto the car GPS tracking device can include information such as speed, altitude, longitude positions, latitude positions, times en route, times departed and more.

When placed in an area with ideal reception, a quality GPS tracker can be accurate up to 2.5 meters, or approximately 6 feet. 

Hidden GPS Tracking Device

Most businesses or consumers that invest in GPS tracking products typically seek a hidden GPS tracker for car. The reason is because when parents want to monitor teen drivers or businesses are seeking to check on company drivers the application needs to be covert. Therefore, some to the top-selling GPS car tracking devices are small, portable, and manufactured with strong magnetic mounts that make it easy to hide a GPS tracker anywhere inside or even outside of an automobile. 

GPS Data Loggers

No Monthly Fee GPS Tracking

GPS tracking devices that store information to internal memory via flash memory or memory card are classified as passive monitoring systems or GPS data loggers. Think of these types of no monthly fee GPS trackers as recorders, acquiring then storing GPS tracking data that can be reviewed at a later time. Recorded data can be accessed with the use of a download cable, or direct connect between system and computer via USB port. For example, data from the popular no monthly fee GPS device Driving Activity Reporter is accessed by connecting the tracking system to USB port of computer. 

What makes GPS data loggers special is that they can record data continuously every single second, are much more affordable than GPS devices that push real time GPS data, and demand no monthly service or activation charges/fees. 

What is the best car tracking device with no monthly fee?

According to online reviews and overall units sold, the Driving Activity Reporter is the best car tracking device with no monthly subscription fees. Features of the popular GPS data logger include surface magnetic mount, second-by-second recording, global coverage, and waterproof housing. Driving Activity Reporter can be purchased for $159. More information on this car tracking device with on monthly fees can be found in the video below:

 

Real-Time GPS Tracker

Real-time tracking systems record data and then transmit that information, making it available for review or analysis instantaneously. Users of real time GPS tracking devices can access the live data by logging onto a secure website where a unique password and username are entered, or through GPS app for iPhone, Android, or other smart phone. The location of the vehicle, person or asset can then be viewed in real-time over the backdrop of a mapping program such as Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth. Although real-time GPS trackers are more expensive than GPS data loggers and require monthly service obligations, the cost of real-time tracking systems has came down in price dramatically as the telematics and cellular communication industry has became more competitive. How much is a real time GPS tracker? People should anticipate investing $99 for a real time GPS tracking device and monthly subscription plan of $24.95 per month. 

What makes these sophisticated monitoring devices special is that they can help keep children safe, increase the safety of teen drivers, provide businesses a way to better manage fleet operations, give car owners a theft recovery solution, help families monitor the travels of elderly members struggling with independence, and law enforcement agencies execute reliable surveillance operations.

Benefits Of GPS Tracking

Regardless if an individual is using a GPS data logger or real-time tracking device, a GPS tracker can be beneficial on many different levels. From the consumer prospective, GPS tracking technology can provide security and safety for children, teens and the elderly. In the business world, vehicle tracking devices can boost fleet management efforts, document tax deductible mileage and create a method of holding employees accountable for tasks while working inside our outside the office. Here are some of the benefits of using a GPS tracking device:

  • Monitor How Fast A Teen Is Driving 
  • Automotive Theft Recovery
  • Determine If A Elderly Driver Is Practicing Safe Driving 
  • Find Out If A Spouse Is Lying 
  • Document Vehicle Mileage 
  • Asset Protection 
  • Manage Company Cars

Top 10 GPS Tracking FAQs

When it comes to GPS tracking technology there are a lot questions that people have, especially as it relates to tracking a vehicle. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding GPS tracking devices along with answers to help demystify GPS technology.

  1. How can I track my car with GPS? Tracking a car is actually quite simple with real time GPS trackers. First, place a car tracking device on the automobile you want to track. Then use a GPS app for iPhone or other smart phone to remotely track the car by accessing the real time GPS tracking data.
  2. Is it against the law to remove a GPS tracking device on car? If you own your vehicle you and there is a GPS tracker on your car then you can absolutely remove the device. However, some car dealerships use GPS vehicle tracking devices for repo if a person fails to make payments and those should not be removed. Businesses who equip company vehicles with GPS trackers also use GPS tracking technology to monitor mobile assets and improve fleet management. Removal of a GPS tracker from a company vehicle most likely will result in employment termination. 
  3. How much does a GPS tracker cost? The best no monthly fee GPS tracker will cost around $199.00, whereas the best real time GPS tracker for car will cost approximately $299.00 not including monthly data plan. 
  4. How long does a GPS tracker battery last? The longest battery life on a real time GPS tracker will provide roughly 80-100 hours of consecutive driving time when operating as a portable device (not connected to car OBDii or 12volt). The GPS data logger with the longest battery life currently provides approximately 60 hours of consecutive driving time. 
  5. Does a GPS tracker need a SIM card? All live GPS tracking devices require a SIM card because they use cell towers to transmit real time location. No monthly fee GPS trackers are popular because they do not require a SIM card because you download data from the tracking device to see everywhere a vehicle has been. 
  6. How much does it cost to install a GPS tracking device? Most GPS tracking devices function as portable systems that can easily be hidden on a car. The next option would be to plug the car GPS tracker to the OBDii port to pull power from the automobile being tracked. Using a GPS tracker this way requires no installation. However, if a person wants to connect a real time GPS tracker to the 12-volt system of a car they would need to contact a local audio alarm business who will charge around $75-$100 to install a GPS tracking device to the automobile. 
  7. Does car GPS require subscription? Real time GPS tracker require a monthly subscription due to the fact they need cell towers to transmit position data. On the other hand, GPS data loggers do not require subscription because they simply store GPS tracking data to internal memory where it can be downloaded later via USB port. 
  8. How can I use GPS tracker on my Android phone? Once a GPS tracker is equipped to the vehicle you want to track simply use the free GPS app to view both historical driving records and real time updates on automobile activity. Those how do not wish to use a GPS tracking app for Android can simply login to the secure website housing the GPS tracking data and view it that way.
  9. How much does it cost to have a tracker fitted to your car? Hidden GPS tracker for car are manufactured with waterproof housing and outside magnet mount. Therefore, they do not require precise fitting on the dashboard like a GPS navigation system. Instead, you place a GPS tracker on your car’s dashboard, hide it inside the glovebox, or attach it underneath the automobile! 
  10. How do you know if you have a tracker on your car? GPS tracking devices can be plugged into the OBDii port, hard-wired to the 12-volt system behind the dashboard, or remotely placed in various locations throughout a car. Since car GPS trackers are designed with highly sensitive internal antennas the devices can be hidden very easily on a vehicle without a driver every knowing. 

Where to hide a GPS tracker

GPS tracking technology is making the world smaller which is allowing people to safely monitor assets, people and vehicles from anywhere in the world.