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How does a GPS tracker work?

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PS technology has rapidly become a part of our daily lives. We use them for navigation, tracking assets and even to keep track of children and loved ones. If you are looking to increase the security of your business assets or looking for peace of mind at home, a GPS tracker may be the right solution for you.
The Tech
The most basic function of a GPS is to listen for GPS satellite signals and report their locations back over the cellular network. Every GPS tracker is equipped with a tiny satellite antenna and radio to listen for location data. The job of the tracker is to report this data back over the cellular network. When this location information gets reported back, your mobile phone or computer displays the most recent position. The entire transaction of gathering location data, connecting to a cellular tower and reporting it out our server takes just an instant.
We do not yet have the technology to efficiently create GPS trackers the size of darts or quarters. The battery requirements still keep our GPS trackers at about the size of a deck of cards. Although there are smaller devices, like the Reachfar, the trade-off is a smaller battery and shorter battery life. The battery life depends on a few factors as well, such as the interval between the device reporting, how much time it spends on call while you use the audio feature, and how often it moves. Some devices can go into a sleep mode to prolong the battery life. This means that while they are asleep, they will not be reporting on their location or status unless they are woken up manually or on a predetermined schedule. For example, while in standby mode the Asset Tracker 4 has a battery life of 5 years.
Signal is another important factor of the GPS functionality. The tracker needs to be able to communicate with the GPS satellites and the cell towers that create the network. Different types of interference can affect this. For example, being surrounded by metal, mountainous terrain, heavy vegetation, buildings, or being underground. A GPS uses multiple signals to multiple satellites to calculate its coordinates, and then software and apps take care of translating those coordinates into addresses. The more satellites a GPS is able to talk to, the more accurate the GPS tracker will be in reporting its position. All of these factors a reason why GPS trackers can sometimes be a little off when reporting their location. However, these devices still perform phenomenally within a small margin of error. The bottom line is that GPS trackers are usually accurate within about 3 meters, given that they have signal to the satellites and the cell towers.
The Uses
In our day to day, it is not uncommon to use GPS technology for navigation, and sometimes even entertainment. There are however, a number of things that GPS is used for in terms of business and personal application. GPS can be used to track assets such as vehicles, trailers, hardware, machinery, packages and more thus adding an extra layer of security from being lost or theft stolen. They can also be use to coordinate fleets of vehicles, keeping track of their route and where they have been.
Another common use is tracking children, loved ones, or yourself, to bring peace of mind when you are away from home. They are often used to track children and elderly, and some devices like the Reachfar have two way calling that has the device call a predetermined number just by pressing a button, in case of emergencies. Overall, GPS trackers have a number of important applications and we are likely to be seeing them used more and more as the technology advances.