OK. Close your eyes for a minute and think back to your school days; in particular trigonometry and geometry. Remember your teacher telling you how triangulation worked, or were you too busy passing notes between your buddies?
For many, triangulation (or trilateration - the basic principle behind GPS Tracking Systems) remains as easy to understand as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. However, it’s really not that difficult once you get your head around the basics…
GPS - The Basics
The GPS (Global Positioning System) is network of 24 space satellites, owned by the US government, that provide real-time information on location and time by transmitting signals to GPS receivers at the speed of light. As each satellite is situated in a different location, signals are received at fractionally different times. In order for the system to work there has to be a clear line of sight to four or more satellites.
The process works by calculating the time each signal was received, the satellite position corresponding to the times sent and the distance between these.
GPS Tracking Systems
Tracking systems usually fall into one of the following three categories:
Data Loggers - As the name suggests, this device will simply log the position of the device at regular intervals
Data Pushers - The most common type of tracking system. Information about the device such as speed, altitude and location can be pushed to a server at regular intervals, which will analyse the data.
Data Pullers – These devices are always ‘on’ and the information can be pulled from them at any time.
Using a GPS Tracking System
GPS Tracking systems are generally no bigger than a mobile phone and can be fitted to, or concealed in almost anything: from vehicles and trailers to motorbikes. The precise location of anything fitted with a tracker can be recorded at regular intervals using a modem embedded into the tracking device. This is great news for anyone worried about car crime as recent reports have shown that since GPS tracking became available, American police forces in some states have reported a massive 78% reduction in reported car thefts.
This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, an experienced technology blogger who has covered topics ranging from the latest in mobile technology to GPS tracking devices and laptops.
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