How Accurate Are GPS Tracking Devices?

gps tracking devices accuracy

In ancient times, when our ancestors sailed around the world, they looked to the stars at the night to determine their position and the path they needed to travel. However, the accuracy of this method solely depended on the skills of those who studied stars. Thankfully with modern-day GPS technology, we no longer need to wait until nighttime to find our location, nor worry about how accurate the information is. Through GPS-enabled devices and applications, we can now get our exact location, track trailers & assets, and also loved ones for their safety and to avoid accidents and thefts, and more. GPS tracking has also revolutionized several industries by enhancing the efficiency of their operations.  

Talking about accuracy, the devices that are designed to dedicatedly track assets and people are more accurate than the apps available for your smartphone or any other mobile device. This is simply because the apps on your phone are usually used for navigation and sharing location information in case of emergency, and share data and information storage with numerous other applications on your phone. 

You can read more about GPS accuracy from this study on GPS accuracy and reliability.

Currently, GPS tracking devices have very high and near-perfect accuracy. So let’s see how GPS actually works, and what can affect its accuracy. 

How do GPS trackers work?

The GPS technology was developed by the US Defense Department in 1978 but was made public in 1983. However, it became fully operational in 1995, and by 1996 GPS was used in cars and other vehicles. 

A GPS has three fundamental parts – the first is the satellite, the second is the ground receiving station, and the third is the receiver on the tracker. There are around 32 satellites, which help you give the very accurate position of a person, a vehicle, or anything that has a GPS receiver on it.

The working is simple: the GPS tracker receives the signal from the satellites and determines the distance to the satellite through the signal’s travel time. These trackers use a process called ‘Trilateration’ to calculate the location and velocity of a person or an asset and also record the data of their movement. This information is then transmitted to a central server through a satellite modem (fitted in the unit itself).

How accurate are the GPS trackers?

The technology implemented in GPS tracking devices is so unique and advanced that it can provide you with the exact location of up to 10 meters. Some high-end devices can offer better precision and are accurate up to 1 meter.

The signals from the satellite in space are highly accurate, however, what is received by the GPS device depends on several factors such as satellite geometry, signal blockage, atmospheric conditions, and the design of the receiving device.

The device or the tracker can deduce its position when the distance of at least four satellites is affirmed. If the GPS device detects more satellites, the accuracy of the device increases. The technology is simply spectacular!

Factors affecting the accuracy of GPS tracking units

There is a popular myth that weather conditions can affect GPS signals. Extreme conditions like storms can, but definitely not rains or clouds. Placing your GPS tracking device under a clear sky is the best way to get an accurate location. 

The radio waves that help determine the location have to travel from the satellite to your device through various barriers like lush forests, valleys, mountains, huge buildings, and skyscrapers. So if you are standing in an area with huge opacity, it is very likely that your GPS to not give you accurate information. If your GPS is showing inaccurate data, these could be the problem:

  • Satellite signal obstruction because of tall buildings, bridges, trees, etc.
  • Indoor or underground use
  • Signal bounces off several things and surfaces in its path to reach you
  • Radio interference
  • Solar Storms, although rare.
  • The satellite is under maintenance
  • Device design and specification

Quite often, the inaccuracy in location information especially in smartphone apps can arise from incorrect labeling of businesses, stores, street addresses, and more. 

How to improve the GPS signal for better accuracy?

There are two things you need to ensure accurate GPS location information – choosing a GPS device with a superior-quality receiver and keeping it in a place that allows for the signal to have an unobstructed path. Here are a few things you can do as well:  

  • When installing a GPS device on a vehicle, the best position would be under the front window because it will help the GPS to obtain a clear and unobstructed line to the sky.
  • Keep the GPS tracking device’s battery fully charged for better accuracy.
  • Replace the hardware with the latest tech for continual support. 

How accurate GPS tracking help you?

Since GPS technology has been available for civilian personal and commercial use, it has changed our everyday lives. Whether it is to track our online shopping packages or share the location of our favorite bookstore with friends, GPS technology has become an inseparable part of our lives. As much as it has helped various government authorities, and commercial sectors, the utility of GPS in personal tracking has been unparalleled. 

These days, personal tracking refers to more than tracking your loved ones for the purpose of ensuring their safety. GPS tracking devices are also being used to manage drug addiction, help completely dependent elderly family members, train teenage drivers in safe driving practices, as well as to look out for kids with special needs

So when the well-being of your family, loved ones, and invaluable assets is your major concern, you need a highly –competent and accurate GPS tracking solution like Family1st GPS tracking devices

Consider the situation- You are at a nearby park with your kids and have to attend an urgent work call. In this situation, you can give the Family1st device to your kids and let your children enjoy the park with their friends. The satellite signals are very well-received by the GPS antenna, giving you the accurate real-time position of your kids. You can even install it in your vehicle or your child’s bike.

The device is popular among families of all types and sizes, especially parents as it is loaded with beneficial features for their kids. Designed for families, the accurate Family1st GPS device is compact and is available in a wired and wireless configuration. Both devices are easy to install and come with a wide range of features like real-time location tracking, safe zone notification, faster recovery, and instant alerts and notifications.

Family1st GPS devices come with an app that can be installed on any phone, allowing parents to keep track of their kids, senior citizens, and pets. They offer a user-friendly navigation system to assist you immensely. The devices come with a lifetime warranty and are backed by 24/7 tech support. The monthly subscription rates are the industry’s lowest, $21.95 a month.

Final Words

Present-day GPS tracking units are highly accurate and can provide precise location information. Based on your need – personal or commercial – you can choose the Family 1st GPS tracker for continuous and reliable tracking. For more information on Family 1st GPS tracking devices and services, contact us here!

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