How does GPS tracking work?

How does GPS tracking work?

  • GPS tracking systems allow us to know where an asset is located, whether it’s moving, how fast, and in what direction.
  • GPS is a tool that companies can use to lower costs and increase efficiency.
  • Any company with vehicles can gain multiple benefits by using a GPS system.

What is GPS tracking?

GPS stands for Global-Positioning Satellite. The system was originally developed by the military. In simple terms, a GPS is a system that tracks the location of a device.

GPS tracking systems are all around us. Most of us have GPS devices on our phones, and many of us have GPS trackers in our cars. Likewise, the use of GPS tracking systems in commercial fleets is on the rise.

The GPS tracking process

While GPS tracking is a relatively new technology, the process it uses to track objects has been around for well over one hundred years. Triangulation is at the heart of what GPS does. Before satellites, we used triangulation to measure distances.

With the invention of radios, we used the same technique of measuring the strength of a signal and direction to triangulate where a signal originated.

It sounds complicated, and a little rocket science is involved, but what GPS tracking means for your company is that you can know where a vehicle is, how fast it’s traveling, and its ETA.

How a GPS tracking device works

The system relies on a transmitter, inside a phone or a navigation device, sending out a signal that is then received by multiple satellites in space (there are currently 24 satellites in the system).

The more satellites that send back a signal, the more data there is with which to make a precise measurement. While hurtling hundreds of miles an hour in space, the satellites bounce a signal back and the time it takes for it to return allows the transmitter to calculate the distance from each satellite.

Do you need GPS tracking?

Any company with vehicles may benefit from GPS tracking. Here’s what a top-rated GPS tracking system can do:

  • Help protect valuable assets in the case of theft
  • Reduce fuel and maintenance costs
  • Improve route efficiency
  • Provide driver training opportunities
  • Reduce insurance costs

The benefits of GPS tracking

Some of the most important benefits of GPS tracking include:

GPS location alerts and reports

A GPS system is most useful if it automatically sends an alert when certain conditions are met, such as when a vehicle leaves or enters a boundary.

Drivers can share their location

With a high-end GPS system, drivers can easily transmit location information without having to make a phone call.

Track your fleet accurately

The most advanced GPS systems collect location points every 30 seconds and also based on changes in speed and bearing.

Here are a few more reasons why a GPS system is a must-have for companies of any size with vehicles on the road:

Route efficiency: The shortest route between two points doesn’t always mean the fastest. Using the history of travel routes collectively, a GPS tracker can calculate the fastest route based on the time of day and traffic congestion or road construction.

Reduce detention times: Find out which pick-up and drop-off queues are taking longer than they should so you can reduce idle time.

Idle time can cost up to $1,200 per driver per year. Decreasing detention also increases safety. One study found drivers drove 3.5 MPH faster after experiencing detention times over two hours long.

Reduce idle time: Idling can increase engine wear, resulting in more maintenance. It also increases the carbon emissions of your business and increases fuel and labor costs.

Geofencing: Know when your vehicles enter or leave a predetermined area. This also works as an excellent anti-theft deterrent.

Tighten your delivery window: Food or other perishable deliveries live or die on fast delivery times. With real-time GPS asset tracking, you will be able to provide a tighter delivery window for your customers. You can also notify clients when the unexpected collision has your delivery locked up in traffic.

Customer service: Clients love a heads up when expecting a delivery. The best GPS software allows you to notify them automatically.

Data insights: Does one vehicle in the fleet refuel more often than the others just like it? It might be due for maintenance.

Improved logistics: If you know when a vehicle is finishing a delivery, you can set up the next one that much faster.

Reduce paperwork: Throw out the old mileage logbook. Yes, the one with the coffee stains all over your driver’s chicken scratch handwriting.

Integrate with your ELD: If your drivers are subject to electronic logging device regulations, a good GPS system will integrate with the ELD and work hand-in-hand with that system to help the driver stay compliant.

GPS tracking can help protect your drivers and cargo

GPS is a pretty amazing tool. This system increases your ability to keep your assets safe, and can also give you insight into driver behavior, ushering in training opportunities that can help you develop a strong, long-term employee.

Your business doesn’t have to be a large fleet to benefit from a high-quality GPS system. Even one commercial vehicle in your fleet is important enough to protect with a GPS tracking system.

A GPS tracking system is so much more than a map. With it, you can lower costs while you raise the level of customer service you’re able to provide.

Learn more about how GPS tracking works, or download our free guide that gives you insight on how to modernize your fleet.

Disclaimer: All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute financial, business, or legal advice. Although KeepTruckin strives to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, business and financial or tax-related decisions.

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Keith Osmun

Keith Osmun is a writer, editor and content strategist with a passion for storytelling. He helps businesses connect with people. He writes newspaper articles, feature articles and corporate blogs, and enjoys reading and writing science fiction. He is married to Andrea, also a writer. They live in Ohio with their two children.

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