How Does the GPS Vehicle Tracking System Operates

Friday March 3, 2017


What Is GPS?

The Global Positioning System, shortly known as GPS consists of 27 Satellites orbiting the earth to find accurate position of the trans-receiver unit. The data is calculated from 24 satellites (minimum 4) at any given time and analyzed. Although the tracking system was originally intended for military purposes, it was soon extended to public domain.

The Device

A GPS vehicle tracking device uses the Global Navigation Satellite System network to find the accurate location of the vehicle. The data is calculated at regular intervals. It can be stored or transmitted via internet to a remote location. The unit can be affixed onto any vehicle and the position can be found using a range of high frequency signals from the satellites and transmitted via modem.


24 baseline satellites from U.S from six earth centered orbits 20000 kms away from the surface are currently employed in the GPS location identification. Their angle of inclination towards earth’s equator is approximately 55 degrees, which helps in ensuring that at least four satellites are available to locate the unit. The data transmitted by each of these satellites carry a pseudo random code and the satellite market or vector data to identify the source of origin.

GPRS/GSM based Units to Receive Data

The location identified by the GPS transreceiver unit is transferred to computers, smart phones or radio systems using a modem for transmission. These devices can compute the vehicle speed, direction and time in addition to the location details using a set of predefined algorithms.

The Working

The GPS vehicle tracking device can be either passive or active. Passive devices store location data within the unit itself allowing further retrieval after closing the journey. The active GPS tracking systems, on the other hand, send the data to a centralized server via a modem associated with the transreceiver unit.

Since Passive GPS vehicle tracking systems store the data, the recording is initiated at certain events like switching on the engine before the journey, automatic locking of the doors etc. The data is stored in the memory of the device. Some units are data pushers/ pullers which allow the retrieval of the data at certain time points or after fixed destinations during the journey. The basic units are data loggers, which simply allow the logging of location of the object at regular intervals on to a flash memory. The data is retrieved later to another external storage device.

Active GPs tracking devices work in real time by sending the data as soon as reception. For Car rental services, such systems offer live tracking and better fleet management options. Employees can be monitored, the distance travelled can be rechecked, the routed can be confirmed, any suspicious deviations en route can be promptly noticed and action taken, thus guaranteeing client safety and better satisfaction.


The GPS units can be live tracked integrating GPRS/ GSM/ Radio technology. Of these, GPS/GSM based units are the most common since they are used on a global scale. It is used mainly in transport services since the vehicle units can be fixed and monitored. It is also used to prevent theft and locate the vehicle in case of any such mishaps.

Systems which can initiate vehicle engine to be switched off after decreasing speed remotely are available now. Such units can be password protected for further ignition. GPS/ GSM systems which use face detection technology or fingerprint sensors are also being developed. There are certain GPS vehicle tracking devices, which can monitor the level of alcohol in the driver, fuel level, speed of the vehicle etc. These are monitored using additional sensors fitted on to the trans-receiver unit which transmits their data along with the GPS data.

Some other GPS tracking systems sense the level of toxic gases within the vehicle, obstacles in front etc. for safety purposes. The data is transferred to initiate safety measures remotely. The GPS along with cloud computing has offered automobile sector inventions such as driver less cars.

Even though technological modifications are costly, the basic units are affordable and are cost effective when it comes to implementation in transportation businesses. You can get expert assistance for installing GPS vehicle tracking device in your fleet of rental cabs or delivery trucks.

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