How does a GPS tracker work?
It's easy to figure out how a GPS tracker works: most of these types of devices function according to a single scheme. Using such devices is also simple: manufacturers usually equip them with a clear and user-friendly interface.
Still, in order to organize an effective navigation or monitoring system, you need to understand exactly how GPS trackers work. And for this you need to understand how such devices are arranged and how they interact with satellites of the global positioning system.
Why do we need GPS trackers?
Cars and other objects, the movement of which needs to be monitored on distance, today are equipped with various devices designed for satellite monitoring. Such devices can be conditionally divided into two groups - beacons and trackers:
A GPS beacon is a fairly simple and compact product, which is almost always equipped with an autonomous power source. Lighthouses are usually used where you need to provide a one-time determination of coordinates - for example, when searching for a stolen car. The beacon does not constantly communicate with the satellite: data is exchanged periodically, at a set interval (in standby mode - less often, after activating the beacon - more often).
A car GPS tracker, unlike a beacon, can provide constant data transmission from satellite to a computer, tablet or smartphone. This allows you to track the movement of an object in real time with minimal latency. Alas, the extended functionality does not allow making the device autonomous: they usually work from the on-board network.
Commercial vehicles are usually equipped with GPS trackers. This allows you to solve a number of tasks:
- Organize a vehicle monitoring system.
- Operatively track the movement of all equipment involved in the transportation of goods or performance of work.
- Collect information about the movement of equipment to optimize logistics and minimize transportation costs.
- Reduce fuel consumption.
Speedup response not any emergency situations - accidents, thefts, etc.
- Communication with the satellite system for determining and coordinates at the current moment.
- Transmission of vehicle position data to the user.
For this, the kit includes the following elements:
- GPS / GLONASS satellite receiver. Responsible for communicating with the global positioning system to determine coordinates. Modern models usually use both satellite networks - GLONASS and GPS: this reduces the error.
- GSM-module. Usually works with a SIM-card of one of the mobile operators (installation of two SIM-cards is possible). Used to transfer information via the GPRS network or by SMS.
- Memory unit. Used to store data received from the satellite, as well as from other car sensors (speedometer, fuel gauge, etc.).
- Antennas. Typically, the terminal is designed with a built-in antenna. But for more reliable reception and transmission of GPS signals, the tracker for the car can also be connected to external antennas:
- one for communication with satellites, and the second for working with a mobile network.
Despite the fact that such systems usually operate from the on-board network, almost all of them are equipped with autonomous batteries. The presence of a backup battery allows the device to transmit data even in the absence of the main power supply.
Now let's analyze how a car GPS tracker works? The scheme is very simple:
- The terminal is mounted in a car and connected to the on-board network and antennas. Most models allow you to connect other devices to provide telemetry: speedometers, accident sensors, fuel level sensors, etc.
- When activated, the tracker communicates with a satellite (GPS, GLONASS or both at once), after which the satellite module calculates the coordinates of the vehicle - about the same as in a conventional car navigator.
- Using the GSM module, the data is sent to the server of the navigation or monitoring system. The mobile network is used to transfer data.
- The data is processed on the server, after which it is transferred to the user. You can track the movement of the car either using a computer program or using a mobile application for iOS / Android.
- In places with poor mobile network coverage, satellite data is recorded in the device's memory. As soon as it becomes possible to transfer, the data packet is sent to the server: there, using a special algorithm, the route is restored and superimposed on the map to form a complete picture.
In addition to the main function - determining the location of the vehicle - trackers can be used for other purposes. The list of additional features of such devices includes:
- Voice communication. If the terminal is equipped with a microphone and speaker (or external modules are connected to it), then it is fashionable to use it as an intercom. The presence of a microphone also makes it possible to remotely control the situation in the car.
- Telemetry. Connecting sensors from the functional systems of the car to the terminal allows you to remotely monitor the main parameters of the vehicle - speed, fuel consumption, etc. Such control increases the level of driving safety and allows you to fight abuse.
- Geofences. Continuous control of vehicle movement will be more effective if you programmatically set “corridors” along which the vehicle can move. In this case, for any deviation from the approved route, a service command will be triggered, and a notification will be sent to the server.
Having figured out how the GPS tracker works and what modules it consists of, you can choose a model with the required functionality for you. At the same time, the efficiency of the navigation and monitoring system directly depends on the correct installation and configuration of the equipment. So you need to entrust the performance of these works to qualified specialists.