GPS tracking : how it works
There was a time when the concept of GPS tracking existed only in the wildest dreams of eccentric professors. Today the technology is a striking reality and GPS tracking systems are able to pinpoint exact location to within a few meters anywhere around the globe.
GPS tracking devices are currently being fitted into systems on boats, planes, trucks and cars. Specialized GPS tracking chips have been developed for cellular phones and watches and it is even envisaged that in the near future luggage tags will be replaced by luggage chips, eliminating the possibility of luggage being lost during transit.
The effects of the coming-of-age of GPS tracking technology are enormous. Parents will soon be able to determine the whereabouts of their children around the clock using GPS tracking technology. Tracking technology is currently being used in medical circles to monitor the movement of patients suffering from memory disorders. GPS chips fitted into cellular phones permit emergency service operators to pinpoint the exact location of an emergency call. Similarly, emergency service vehicle tracking permits control personnel to determine which response vehicle is closest to the scene of an emergency.
Single vehicle tracking allows for the swift recovery of stolen vehicles, while fleets of delivery vehicles can be tracked so as to provide controllers and consumers with information on the whereabouts of specific packages at any given moment. GPS chips have recently found their way into the realm of public safety where they are being used to track the whereabouts of prisoners and dangerous individuals. Finally, the combination of the Internet and GPS tracking has ensured that high profile expeditions like the 2003 Transatlantic Arctic Expedition can be viewed and tracked online by anyone and everyone.
The technology behind GPS tracking is not as complicated as it might initially seem. Global Positioning System satellites currently orbit the earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These satellites are constantly emitting navigational information about their exact location. GPS receivers manufactured by companies such as Trimble , Lowrance, Magellan and Garmin are incorporated into objects like cars, planes, boats, cellular phones and watches. These systems are designed specifically to receive and interpret the information relayed by satellites. The data emitted by three or more satellites is then manipulated using distance and time calculations and used to determine the precise location of the receiver. Finally, these coordinates are transmitted to a central location from where the movement of the object in question can be observed.