How Accurate is GPS Tracking?

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When it comes to tracking the location and movements of a vehicle, asset, or person, GPS devices provide the most accurate information, but users often wonder how accurate the location data is. To understand GPS tracking accuracy, it’s important to learn how a GPS tracker works.

Basic Principles of GPS Tracking

Real-time vehicle tracking devices use GPS (or Global Positioning System) technology, communicating with one of the many GPS satellites in orbit around the earth. Your GPS device can communicate with at least four different satellites at any given time, using this communication to transmit time and location information back to you, the user.

Have questions about how this technology functions? Learn more about how GPS tracking works.

Conditions That Affect GPS Tracking Accuracy

Conditions That Affect GPS Tracking Accuracy

GPS uses the frequency of radio signals to determine the location of a device. The GPS device makes these calculations by measuring the time it takes for radio signals to be received from several satellites orbiting the earth. These satellites transmit signals to each other and the GPS device can measure these transmissions to calculate the precise location of the device.

GPS is not dependent on weather conditions, but accuracy may be slightly altered in areas where there isn’t a clear line of sight to the sky, such as in big cities, underneath bridges, inside tunnels, or even deep in wooded areas. Some common locations that notoriously experience GPS location inaccuracies are:

  • below high buildings
  • under tree cover
  • near land formations like valleys and mountains
  • inside tunnels
  • inside parking garages

Ultimately, most GPS tracking devices are accurate to within three meters, allowing users to have fairly accurate location information. While operating in low-accuracy areas can negatively affect your results, GPS tracking technology has evolved to ensure stronger signals and greater accuracy.

How GPS Tracking Works in Vehicles

Vehicle tracking systems function by using GPS signals emitted from the device and received by the GPS satellite network. Once the satellites determine the device’s position, the information is sent via a cellular network to the cloud server which updates the device location on a map displayed on a computer, tablet, or smartphone so the owner can monitor it.

GPS tracking has improved in accuracy in recent years because of advanced technology, increased GPS satellites, and better cellular networks.

GPS Tracking for Business

With the increased accuracy of GPS vehicle tracking, this technology has many uses in business, helping to increase efficiency and peace-of-mind.

Asset Management

Asset Management

Businesses can use GPS trackers to monitor the whereabouts and movement of assets like expensive equipment that belongs to the company. It allows users to keep tabs on equipment in vulnerable positions, such as on a construction site. Users can also set up notifications if the equipment is in motion or relocated, ensuring that the movement can be monitored if authorized, or new locations can be identified if the equipment is stolen.

Fleet Coordination

Fleet Coordination

GPS tracking technology helps business managers manage the locations of their fleet of vehicles at all times with fleet trackingTracking company vehicles and knowing how fast they travel, which routes they take, how long they remain idle, etc., provides incredibly valuable data to business managers who are looking to improve fleet efficiency and customer service. For example, companies that offer driver and delivery services are able to use this information to dispatch drivers in the area to handle jobs nearest to them, thereby decreasing wait times and improving customer service. Some technology even allows customers themselves to see the location of their service provider.

Claims Disputes

Claims Disputes

GPS tracking can offer an added layer of security for businesses as it can provide the needed evidence for claims disputes. For example, if a company vehicle is involved in an altercation, is accused of unauthorized activity, or receives a review from a customer that disagrees with the driver’s claim, GPS tracking data can effectively settle the dispute and provide accurate information for the company, customer, and, in extreme cases, the courts. Having location, speed, and route information provide managers with the evidence they need.

The Future of Vehicle Tracking

As technology continues to develop, users are increasingly able to track devices with accuracy. The technology will continue to improve, providing users with even more peace of mind than ever before.

To learn more about GPS tracking accuracy, we encourage you to check out our bank of GPS tracking learning articles. You can also contact our team directly to ask your questions. We’re always here to help!

Updated March 21, 2024