GPS Tracking system explained

What are the fundamental features of a GPS Tracking system and how do they fit together

How a GPS Tracking system works

The Basics

GPS Tracking Systems use a series of satellite networks orbiting around the Earth. Each satellite consists of an atomic clock and a transmitter. Each satellite transmits it’s exact time and location at regular intervals which are picked up by GPS Receivers (GPS Trackers and GPS Loggers).

Signals sent by each satellites travel at the speed of light and will reach the GPS Tracker at different times. By calculating the time taken for each signal to reach the Tracker, the tracker accurately calculates the distance to each satellite and returns a point in space that is generally accurate to about 5 meters.

As the tracker moves, the distance to each satellite will change and the position has to be recalculated. This is done about once every second.

Image of GPS Tracking Systems in use

Types of GPS Tracking Systems

The most widely used Satellite positioning systems in use today are the US owned GPS System and the Russian owned GLONASS System.

Both Systems use a series of satellites that both compliment and provide an alternative to each other.

The accuracy of positioning between using a single system and both systems can be the difference between locating a device with accuracy or a house compared to the room within the house.

New mobile devices such as the iPhone4s and iPhone5 use both, the GPS and the GLONASS Systems in conjunction.

Accuracy of Global Positioning Systems

Generally, it has been calculated that the worst case scenario for the common GPS systems is a position accuracy of 7.6 meters or 3 nanoseconds (0.000000003 seconds) This is due, mainly to environmental conditions such as “tropospheric delay“.

Tropospheric delay is the delay caused by gasses and their refractive properties, this varies according to temperature, pressure and humidity.

Ionization of gas particles caused by solar radiation also creates delays in satellite signals which effect the accuracy of positioning systems.

The clock timing between satellites is also allows to drift slightly, however, these deviations don’t have as noticeable effect as the environmental variables.

Accuracy of Positioning Systems can be significantly improved by using a combination of multiple satellite systems.

How trackOmeter works

The trackOmeter system collects, stores and reports on the locations of GPS devices worldwide.

trackoMeter Locations are currently being used in over 150 countries.

The trackOmeter system infrastructure spans many geographically redundant locations for response and reliability.

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