Ever since the invention of a GPS or Global Positioning System, maps have become a thing of the past. GPS technology uses the signals from the satellites in outer space to tell you someone’s exact location on the planet. It’s not even half a century since we have been using GPS technology, but living without it seems unimaginable today. From tracking your pizza to tracking your teenagers, GPS is everywhere. The purpose of a GPS tracker is to track down someone’s exact location or track their movement.

A GPS tracking device comes in handy when you need to monitor your loved ones for their safety, whether it’s the children or the elderly members of the family. If you run a transport business of any kind, you need to have access to the current location of your employees all the time. 

Thanks to the GPS, it is possible today. You always know what direction you need to turn and how far are you from your destination, even while driving yourself.

But how does a GPS tracker do what it does? Learn more about working of gps tracking devices here

What are the different components of a GPS tracking device?

Most GPS tracking devices have the following key components –

A GPS receiver 

It is a small chip embedded in your GPS tracking device to store the tracking data coming from the GPS satellites. There are 27 GPS satellites in outer space, out of which 24 are functional while the other 3 stand by. The GPS receiver needs to receive signals from three GPS satellites above that location to collect the data about its current location. How sensitive the receiver is, is one of the defining factors in the quality of a GPS tracking device.

A Data Transmission mechanism 

Now, just receiving the data is not enough. For a GPS tracker to be effective, it must also send that data to a server or a control location. For sending any data, the device needs a data transmission mechanism. 

For example, when you share your current location with your friend through your smartphone, the cellular network acts as a data transmission mechanism.

An Antenna System 

GPS tracking devices have an antenna system for smoothly receiving and transmitting the data. Usually, there are two antennas in a tracker, one to receive the data and the other to transmit that data to the user.

A microcontroller host system 

They encode the data received by a tracker according to the NMEA 0183 standard. The microcontroller host system’s job is to process the data and convert it into a form that people can understand before it is sent over.

A Power supply system 

Like any other device, a GPS tracking device also needs the power to run, for which usually a tiny battery is there at the back of the device.

So, now we know about the different components of a GPS device. But how does it work and let you track things?

We know the basics: 

  • the GPS device sends signals 
  • the GPS satellites in outer space receive the signal
  • It then computes the exact location of the device.

If the device is in motion, the time and velocity of its movement get computed as well. 

The Global Positioning System comprises three segments – space segment, control segment, and user segment.

The Space Segment 

At any given time, 27 GPS satellites orbit the Earth, of which 24 are operational. The other three satellites are for backup. Each of these satellites contains four atomic clocks, which help send the exact time to GPS receivers. Each satellite orbits around the Earth in 12 hours. This network of satellites provides 5- 8 satellite views from all over the Earth, so 5-8 satellites can view any place on Earth. A GPS tracking device needs to receive signals from at least three satellites. If it can communicate with four satellites, the device can also provide altitude information along with location, time, and velocity.

The Control segment 

There are several control stations around the globe to keep the GPS efficient. There is one master control station in Colorado, USA.

The control stations measure the navigation details of the overhead satellites and send the updated locations and distances to the master control station every 1.5 seconds. It also comes under the function of control stations to synchronize the atomic clocks and keep in check the performances and positions of the GPS satellites.

The User Segment

The user segment comprises all the GPS receivers on Earth, including your GPS tracking device, smartphone, the GPS in your car, etc.

The receivers gain the GPS signals and communicate with the satellites overhead to provide information about the device’s location, velocity, and time.

Benefits of personal/portable GPS tracking devices for personal use

GPS is a boon to society. Portable GPS tracking devices enable you to keep track of your kids, your pets, your vehicle, your belongings, and pretty much anything or anyone you want to keep a track of. It helps in taking care of the elderly and people with special needs.

It’s a great personal safety device. With a personal GPS tracking device, you can always know where your teenager is or if you are a teenager yourself. Now you can feel safe knowing that your guardians always have access to your exact location in case of any mishaps.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, GPS has become an integral part of our daily life. Sending and receiving each other’s location is something we all do now. In the era where technology solves almost all of our problems, it’s not a surprise that we always know where we are and how to reach our destination more efficiently along with the easiest route. GPS technology has contributed a lot to a more functional and efficient society. Whether it’s business, family, Services, or our personal lives, GPS has made things a lot easier and more effective. Soon, we might see much better uses of GPS technology in our ever-growing society.

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By SARAH