So you are interested in GPS tracking devices? Let’s start by getting down to the facts of GPS trackers, what they can and can’t do, including a brief history of GPS, the different types of trackers available on the market, and why this ubiquitous technology might benefit you.
The Global Positioning System or GPS offers incredible benefits to individuals, families, and businesses. Much of the technology in our daily lives (mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, fitness trackers, etc.) has unequivocally demonstrated the value GPS delivers in finding our way around the world, discovering new things, and connecting with friends and family. Using this same geo-positioning technology, GPS trackers typically serve more specific and dedicated purposes. For example, you may want to monitor personal valuables, closely follow your teenager’s driving habits, or track company assets, such as a whole fleet of vehicles or expensive equipment.
GPS tracking was first developed for military and intelligence applications in the 1960s. Finding more applications and wanting more accuracy, additional satellites were launched in the decades that followed. By the mid-1990s, the full constellation of satellites (24) were in orbit around the earth, and public interest in its use was increasing. Now, the benefits of GPS in personal navigation and dedicated tracking are firmly part of our daily walk with technology.
Dozens of GPS satellites circle the globe in medium-earth orbit, each transmitting a unique signal that GPS devices receive and decode. Multiple satellite connections are required to triangulate a GPS device’s precise location and altitude. Essentially, the GPS device calculates the distance to each satellite by measuring the time it takes to receive back a transmitted signal. For a GPS tracker to share its location in real-time, it must be connected to a cellular network, which (like your mobile phone) requires a monthly subscription to send and receive data.
Let’s face it: Movies have often set our technology expectations at unrealistic levels, especially around GPS trackers. While GPS trackers are small (the circuitry component is about the size of your fingernail), they do require additional components to work properly. This includes an antenna to communicate with orbiting satellites, a power source or battery, and typically some cellular or mobile communication components to share location data. With all those components, GPS trackers are typically about the size of a deck of cards depending on the application and requirements. The myth that a pill, a fake tooth, or a capsule injected in a person’s arm or neck could provide long-lasting or reliable tracking is Hollywood at its imaginative best.
GPS trackers are designed to match the needs of your particular use case or desired application. Factors such as size, power source availability, and live or interval reporting all come into play as you consider your needs or environmental constraints—but, even with all that, they can do more than you may realize.
GPS trackers can be used to keep track of the most important things in your life. This can include family (people and pets!) and valuable possessions such as vehicles or expensive equipment. GPS trackers allow you to monitor these assets through mobile apps or a web browser. They also offer the ability to record location history, speed or distance traveled, specific events or locations, etc., for historical safekeeping or data analysis.
GPS trackers can also be customized to alert you to specific events. For example, with a particular device, a user can create an alert and receive an instant email or text notification when that object moves or if it moves beyond a specific area or user-defined perimeter. This means you can be quickly notified if Fido leaves your yard or if anyone takes a valuable piece of equipment.
As a newer technology—especially one with distinct undercover agent vibes—it’s only natural that there can be hesitation around using GPS trackers. Here are some questions we have heard from new customers.
Physical proximity or exposure to GPS tracker transmission signals are no different than the mobile phone you carry around (in much closer proximity) in your purse or pocket.
While you want to educate yourself and understand privacy laws regarding the use of tracking devices, in most places, it is your right to use GPS trackers to monitor your own property.
Not likely. Each device would have a unique serial number or other unique identifiers that only the manufacturer could potentially associate with the owner. If you suspect you are being unlawfully tracked, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement agency.
GPS trackers offer terrific benefits with little to no additional work or maintenance. All you need to do is install the device and let it go to work protecting and monitoring what matters most to you. Check out which GPS trackers meet your needs and experience what this amazing technology can bring to your life.