The Insight Source Blog
Your preferred Telematics information resource
Author: Lance Holt
Content Marketing Specialist
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How Does GPS Tracking Work?
The main functionality of a GPS tracking system comes from the use of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network. This network of satellites emits microwave signals which are sent through to a variety of GPS devices. These devices can be found in vehicles or smartphones themselves for example. The information that is broadcast from the vehicle are things like location, vehicle speed, direction, etc.
In regards to vehicle GPS tracking, or vehicle communication technology, these are the four components that make it possible:
In this article, we’ll look at what each of these four components does, how they work together, and ultimately the data GPS tracking provides. Once you know and understand the GPS tracking process, then you can begin to think about ways in which to take advantage of a GPS tracking system to enhance your fleet operations.
The GPS Tracking Process
The GPS tracking device is installed into a vehicle (or piece of equipment or asset) to gather all sorts of information including speed, idle time, diagnostics, etc. It uses Global Positioning Systems (GPS satellites) to know the vehicle or equipment’s location at all times. The information that is gathered from the vehicle is then stored on the GPS tracking device inside.
The data is then transmitted by using a wireless, or cellular network through providers like AT&T and Verizon. It travels over one of these cellular networks back to a server. The server acts as the “cloud” that allows you to access the information no matter where you are on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
The most basic information that is reported from the vehicle is real-time location tracking of your vehicles and equipment. The location data is displayed on a map in near real-time. GPS tracking providers then offer a myriad of ways in which data can be accessed such as breadcrumb trails of where the vehicle has traveled, how fast it traveled on the way to a location, and more. All the complexity of gathering the data is done in the background, so all you need to worry about is logging in to set up automated reports and alerts of the information that is important and relevant to you.
What Can GPS Tracking…Track?
There is a slew of information that GPS Tracking data can show you to help overcome your unique business challenges. The most obvious and common challenge is providing visibility into your fleet’s current and historical locations.
The next step would be looking at data such as speeding, idling, unauthorized usage, job verification or actual hours worked vs. hours claimed, as well as providing an accurate way to keep up with maintenance. The possibilities are endless with GPS tracking, which is why it’s important to understand what your challenges are so you know what to look for in a GPS tracking provider.
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