The Global Positioning System (GPS) has become indispensable in today’s life. With its multitudinous uses, the GPS has routed in all aspects of human life with or without you knowing it. So what is GPS tracking? By now, you would know GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The system functions on a network of satellites, thus helping you to determine a person’s or object’s location. Throughout history, GPS technology was made available to general people in 1983. Ever since then, you know how advantageous the GPS tracker has been. You can install the device in a vehicle or anything you want to track. It also comes as a wearable device used by people.
Take a look at the list of the frequently asked questions about GPS trackers
With the wide usage of GPS trackers, it is only natural for people to have questions about them. If you are someone who has recently heard about GPS, don’t worry, any of your doubts will be clarified when you read ahead.
Q. Who invented GPS and when?
Three people who mainly contributed to the invention of GPS are Roger L Easton, Ivan A Getting, and Bradford Parkinson. A doctor named Gladys West also contributed to the work computationally to the technology. Roger L Easton was a creator and scientist at the US Naval Space Surveillance System that helped during the development of the GPS. Bradford Parkinson was conferred as the first manager of the NAVSTAR GPS program.
Since he was an air force colonel, he could combine existing discoveries and technologies to create a new system. Now let’s see when the system was designed. GPS technology was developed in the 1960s by American Defense Department. At first, the GPS was available only for selective people. However, it became available for everyone by the year 2000.
Q. How does GPS work?
The main system behind GPS is trilateration which uses the distance between three or more satellites. The Federal Aviation Administration tells you that, GPS signal receivers can tell their location by the difference between the period a signal is sent and the time it is received. Receivers here mean smartphones and navigation hardware that use this data to know the satellite’s location.
Q. What is the system behind the GPS tracker?
The GPS tracker comes with receivers and data loggers. You can see the tracker’s location with the help of data loggers. The transmitter helps in hunting the real-time location and several movements of a tracker. One of the best examples of the tracker using a data logger is a camera. It not only shows you the picture but also geo-tags the location.
Q. What are the types of GPS trackers?
GPS trackers can be categorized into several types based on usage and features. Based on how they are installed, GPS trackers can be portable, hardwired, or plug-in. They can be waterproof, weatherproof, tamperproof, and so on. On usage, they can be divided as an asset, vehicles, fleets, and personal GPS trackers.
Q. How accurate are GPS trackers?
Most modern-day trackers are very accurate, given that they are under the clear sky. Any interference, such as cloudy weather, dense foliage, huge buildings, underground tunnels, or parking can tweak GPS location reading.
Q. How are GPS trackers powered?
Portable and OBD-II plug-in tracker have their own rechargeable battery, while hardwired trackers get their power from the vehicle’s engine.
Q. How do I manage my GPS tracker alerts and notifications?
GPS trackers come with a companion app, downloadable on any android and iOS device. Once you activate the tracker and get the app, you can easily set your preferences and monitor activity from any corner of the world.
Q. Are GPS trackers expensive?
The cost of a tracking solution depends on your usage and the services you need. If your requirement is simple tracking, you can opt for the same at a very affordable price. For one-time usage, you can choose a portable tracker, which is versatile. GPS solution cost usually includes the price of hardware and the subscription.
Vendors offer monthly and yearly packages. Some also need you to sign a contract of usage for a minimum of three years, while others offer a ‘cancel anytime without extra fee’ solution.
If you are looking for such devices, then take a look at the list of 7 GPS trackers with no monthly fees.
Q. Can I use the tracker in another country?
There are some GPS solution providers like Family1st that offer coverage in countries like the US, Canada, and Mexico. In any other case, you can get an international data sim and operate the tracker. However, please check with your vendor first.
Q. What can I track with a portable GPS tracker?
Portable GPS devices can track everything – assets, vehicles, people, and pets. You can use the tracker to keep your luggage safe during travel or outdoor adventure. You can track your car, bike, ATV, boat, RV, etc. You can also use it to monitor vulnerable family members like babies, kids, senior citizens, and pets.
Q. Is it legal to use a GPS tracker?
If you own it, you can track it! If you want to track your family members, it is always a good idea to discuss the benefits of these devices and get their consent.
Q. Can a GPS tracker save my bike from theft?
No, and yes. If you opt for motion alerts, you will get immediate notification of any unauthorized use. However, a tracker can help you recover your bike or any other asset if it is stolen.
Q. What is the minimum battery life of a GPS tracker?
The hardwired tracker runs on engine power, so it can work as long as you want. Portable trackers have fairly good battery life. They can track non-stop for 2 weeks on a single charge and regular use. On save mode, they can survive up to 6 months.
We have curated a list of 6 mini GPS trackers with long battery life. It’s based on their features, as well as relevant functionality.
Q. What are some of the safety features of GPS trackers?
GPS trackers have a wide range of safety features, which include real-time location tracking, aggressive tracking, geofencing, immediate alerts and notifications, unsafe driving alerts, motion and tamper alerts, etc. Some features like SOS and 911-escalation are available only in portable trackers.
Q. How is a GPS tracker different from my cellphone’s GPS?
The main difference between GPS and cell phones is that the tracker device transmits radio signals via satellites while the phone uses radio towers. In a system known as enhanced GPS, both these technologies are joined to quickly help in tracing the user’s location. You can thus see how far a phone is from the nearest cell tower. Today you will see many phones having GPS and data that will help in the transmission of maps and GPS data.
Q. Can I use a GPS tracker without cellular data?
You can use GPS trackers without having cellular data. On the contrary, you can use GPS technology in remotest areas where there is no or less cellular data. Thus, the system doesn’t use latitude, longitude, or altitude for the average user. If you want to take benefit of the GPS without using data, you need to download the application or the map you require before the time. In the indicated way, you can translate GPS signals into the information you need.
Q. Can one use GPS without having wi-fi?
Yes, you can use GPS without having a wi-fi connection. However, there is one thing that you need to keep in mind. You will find specific GPS devices such as navigation systems, trackers, and smartwatches that have an inbuilt technology overlaying a user’s GPS location on the map. Without using these maps, some people would have trouble getting maximum use of the GPS. Hence, to be on the safer side, you must always have an offline version of the application.
Q. Is the 5G network related to GPS?
In various circumstances, the 5G network could interfere with the GPS. If you see the approved application’s transmission power of the 5G may exceed the threshold limit. The company wants to deploy a low-power 5G network that is adjacent to the GPS bands. A notable reason is that the traffic on the 5G network may overpower or even drown the GPS signals causing the technology to fail.
Q. How to know if there is a power failure in the car GPS tracker?
There are ways you can detect a power failure in your GPS tracker. In the case of the electric car, after the power is fortified and the main power is unplugged, the device sends you a power-off alarm message to you as the owner. In your regular car, the anti-theft device will send you a power-off alarm when the main power is unplugged. However, in an abnormal situation, the device will send you power-off messages to indicate an insufficient or low battery level.
To sum it up, you can already tell the usage of GPS is immense and will help you in every nook of your life. The article aims to clarify your queries about the GPS tracker or its uses. The questions usually arise when you are a first-time user of the tracker. From the invention of the GPS tracker to its compatibility with your phone, the above article is here to clear all your doubts.
Carson Rogers is a technology writer and reviewer. With over 5 years of experience in the industry, he has established himself as an expert in the technology niche. His passion for all things tech and his keen eye for detail enable him to provide thorough and insightful product reviews that help readers make informed decisions. Carson enjoys hiking in his free time when he's not busy reviewing the latest gadgets. His love for the outdoors also inspires him to write about tech gadgets that are useful and make life convenient.