Benefits Of GPS Trackers
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Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by Gabriel Goddy
GPS trackers have come a long way. And they have proven their importance in our society today. If you are patient enough to read this guide, you’d see the benefits of owning a GPS tracker.
What is a GPS Tracker?
Global Positioning System or “GPS” was originally developed by the US Air Force to assist them with military operations. GPS has made a significant impact on all positioning, navigation, and monitoring applications in the world and over the course of the decades, it has evolved to a point where it is used in almost every aspect of our lives. The journey of GPS started with Sputnik in 1957 when Soviet scientists launched the very first satellite into space.
The scientists at MIT discovered that the frequency of the radio signals emanating from the Russian satellite changed based on its location. The event also known as the Doppler Effect gave the scientists the idea that the location of satellites in orbit can be tracked from the ground by measuring the changes in the frequency of the radio signals.
What seemed like a monumental loss in the technology race turned into a massive advantage in the hands of the accomplished scientists at MIT.
They immediately started working on a new satellite system that would allow the US army to keep track of strategic locations and targets on the ground. TRANSIT was the first satellite navigation system built by the US Navy to locate US submarines carrying nuclear missiles in 1959.
With the help of private tech companies like Aerospace Corporation, the military started working on another system; a series of satellites in orbit that send signals to receivers on the ground continuously. After 11 years of research and development, the US Air Force launched the first satellite of the 24-satellite navigation system called NAVSTAR.
Global Positioning System entails a network of 24 satellites in orbit and devices on the ground that can establish a person or object’s location on Earth with astonishing precision. GPS Tracking tracks three separate data sets: positioning, navigation, and timing.
You may not realize it but this technology has been around for a long time. In 1983, GPS became available for public use, and the technology has only grown from there. Today, it’s used for everything from precision military maneuvers in foreign lands to kids playing mobile phone games in your neighborhood.
How Does GPS Tracking Work?
GPS requires the use of many satellites orbiting the Earth. These satellites continually broadcast their locations and status above us. This is continually monitored by the GPS Master Control Station and other tracking and monitoring stations here on the ground to ensure accuracy and proper function. The Master Control Station is also responsible for maintenance and correction, should anything go wrong.
A GPS device on Earth receives these signals, interpreting each one’s unique data. Mapping the locations of four or more satellites concerning the tracking device can triangulate its exact position in three-dimensional space. More satellites are often used to validate data and provide a more accurate location reading.
A GPS tracking system can work in various ways. From a commercial perspective, GPS devices are generally used to record the position of vehicles as they make their journeys. Some systems will store the data within the GPS tracking system itself (known as passive tracking) and some send the information to a centralized database or system via a modem within the GPS unit regularly (known as active tracking) or 2-Way GPS.
A passive GPS tracking system will monitor the location and will store its data on journeys based on certain types of events. So, for example, this kind of GPS may log data such as where the device has traveled in the past 12 hours.
The data stored on this kind of GPS tracking system is usually stored in internal memory or on a memory card, which can then be downloaded to a computer at a later date for analysis. In some cases, the data can be sent automatically for wireless download at predetermined points/times or can be requested at specific points during the journey.
What is GPS Tracking Used For?
You’re probably familiar with some of the most common uses for GPS technology, but there are others you may have never considered. GPS is an important part of all sorts of operations, from the military to our first responders, to commercial and personal use.
- Search and Rescue
GPS Tracking plays an important role in search and rescue operations, allowing rescue personnel to keep track of the locations they’ve covered, look at the big picture in a search operation, or even pull GPS data directly from a lost individual’s GPS device or phone.
When a search and rescue operation is looking for survivors from a major disaster or trying to locate a missing person in an undeveloped area, they use a grid system. This ensures that each area is searched thoroughly, and no area is searched twice at the expense of other locations. Years ago, search and rescue operations were conducted with a pencil and paper.
This method could at times be inaccurate and confusing for volunteers. Today search and rescue teams often are equipped with GPS trackers to ensure a more accurate search pattern.
- GPS Vehicle Tracking
GPS tracking has several commercial uses, but perhaps one of the most powerful is the deployment of GPS devices to track commercial fleets. By having a GPS on every vehicle, companies with fleets can keep track of exact driver location and status, glean powerful insights about fleet efficiency, and be able provide roadside assistance immediately if necessary.
GPS is a vital part of modern fleet tracking systems to keep track of vehicle activity and location, improving safety and efficiency. While some were concerned that this technology would function like “big brother” and cause labor disputes with fleet drivers, it has proven to be a worthy inclusion in any fleet’s operations.
In addition to making dispatch and routing easier and more accurate, GPS systems in vehicles have been shown to reduce accidents by 38% for small businesses. This means safer roads for everyone and a better reputation for your brand’s fleet.
- GPS Recreational Use
Beyond the vital safety and life-saving applications for this technology, you’ve probably experienced some of the recreational uses for GPS. It has become a common tool for outdoor enthusiasts. Some activities, such as geocaching, rely on GPS tracking entirely to be possible. Others, such as mountain biking, distance running, or hiking, are enhanced by the addition of GPS tracking, which can provide input on speed, distance traveled, and exact location in the wilderness.
Benefits of GPS Tracker
Perhaps the most common use for GPS is in navigation systems. Combined with map technology, it becomes a powerful tool for road vehicles and boats. GPS can pinpoint a device’s location with accuracy and by comparing coordinates, the statistics can be used to calculate a device’s direction of movement and speed. This information can be used to provide step-by-step directions from Point A to Point B in real-time.
- Low Cost
The satellites behind GPS are paid for, maintained, and upgraded by the US Department of Defense. That means that the system is essentially free, although you may have to pay for a device and software to utilize it. Smartphone apps, such as Google Maps, that use GPS are also typically free.
- Crime and Security
GPS can be used as a valuable tool by law enforcement to track criminals or terrorists, using devices they attach to vehicles, or through tracking the perpetrator’s smartphone. GPS tracking devices can also be used to deter theft by employers or ordinary people.
- Easy to Use
Navigation using GPS is generally very easy and requires minimal skill or effort, certainly when compared to traditional methods and technologies, such as map-reading. In most cases, the user just has to input the destination and the device will do the rest. GPS is also an easier and more efficient technology to use for tasks like surveying and the study of the movement of tectonic plates
- Employer Monitoring
Employers can use GPS tracking to make sure that their drivers are behaving responsibly, such as following the quickest route, not wasting time or fuel by going off track and following speed restrictions. Businesses can also provide better customer service if they know where delivery or service vehicles are at any one time. A fleet of vehicles can be used more efficiently using GPS.
GPS tracking can be used by parents to keep tabs on their children and make sure that they’re safe. Spouses can also use similar technology to keep track of their partners. As well as GPS tracking is useful for keeping staff members and others safe in certain jobs, it can also be used to monitor the whereabouts of key workers in case they’re urgently required to deal with an emergency.
- Neighborhood Search
As well as navigation, GPS can also be used to provide information on the local area. For instance, finding out where the nearest hotel or gas station is, or discovering nearby restaurants that are open for business. This is convenient when you are on a long road trip and need to find a place to stop for food, gas, sleep, and so on.
- Flexible Route Options
GPS gives you route choices in live time, enabling flexibility. You can choose a route according to your particular needs or desires. If you take a wrong turn, a new route can be calculated using GPS. If your route becomes blocked by an incident, GPS can be used to calculate a new pathway.
Land surveying takes place before construction or development. Over time, GPS has gradually replaced traditional land surveying techniques, mainly because it is cheaper, quicker, and usually more accurate. It often takes hours with GPS, rather than days.
- Military Usage
As well as being useful for navigation and other general uses, the military employs GPS when setting targets for guided missiles. GPS improves accuracy by giving the missile a specific set of coordinates and reduces collateral damage by lowering the chances of the missile going astray.
The importance of having GPS trackers can not be over-emphasized. Do make sure you get one for your use.