How Accurate are GPS Vehicle Tracking Systems?

GPS technology is used all around the world by individuals and companies to track the whereabouts of people, buildings and vehicles. GPS technology is one which is relied upon by so many businesses, especially those with vehicle fleets. Through the use of GPS tracking we can find the fastest routes, we can share our location and we can increase both the security and the efficiency of our business.

In truth GPS is fascinating software and we do often take it for granted, given how simple it is to use. Something which many are not too aware of is the accuracy of GPS, something which we are going to take a look into today.

The Basic Principles of GPS

GPS stands for Global Positioning System and it essentially utilises a number of satellites which are orbiting the Earth. There are a number of GPS systems which operate, the most commonly used being that which was set up by the United States. This features 31 constantly moving satellites and when you connect to your GPS it will require 3 of those satellites to tell you where you are or where the place is that you are looking for. These 4 satellites are required to communicate with each other to determine longitude, latitude and time. The key to the functionality of these satellites is the atomic clocks which they have, that enable them to compute distance.

Measuring GPS Accuracy

The basic GPS tracker is able to provide users with approximately 7.8 meter accuracy. This accuracy takes place 95% of the time, and it can be applied to anywhere on the surface of the planet. This is delivered thanks to the communication between those 31 satellites which shares locations and then moves to ensure that they are able to deliver the fastest information.

Whilst almost 8 meters may not sound too accurate, we have to consider all of the fascinating calculations which are carried out in order to deliver such accuracy. Furthermore, it should be noted that most GPS systems deliver accuracy of around 3 meters.

Impacts on the Accuracy of GPS

There are many conditions which will affect the accuracy that a GPS is able to give, and this is because the technology uses radio signals sent from Earth, which are easily blocked. Most people have problems with the accuracy of a GPS tracking device if they are underneath a bridge or a tunnel, under thick tree cover or if they are near large formations of land such as mountains and valleys.

GPS will still work under these conditions but the accuracy will not be the same as it would be for someone in a wide open space. We have seen increased accuracy in recent years thanks to improvement in the technology and thanks to the addition of more satellites, which increases the speed of the communication.

Given the heavy dependence on GPS tracking devices from the business world, we can certainly anticipate that the technology continues to improve and thus the accuracy will increase too.

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