How Do GPS Tracking Devices Work?

GPS tracking

The use of GPS tracking devices has risen sharply in the last few decades. Previously used by secret services and government organisations, GPS trackers have now become a household device. People are using it across nations to ensure the security of their valuables.

Whether it be the GPS on your car telling you directions to reach that renowned restaurant in a new city or the tracker installed around the collar of your pet to ensure its safety, you might have encountered a GPS tracking device in one way or the other. There are few who havent come across GPS technology yet.

But have you ever wondered how a GPS tracking device works? You need not look any further for we have all the answers for you. In this article we will tell you about the working of a GPS tracker, its numerous uses and how you can optimise the technology to draw the best out of it. You need to know about GPS tracking if you are thinking about buying a gps tracker.

What is GPS tracking

GPS tracking, i.e., the Global Positioning System uses satellites to guide you to your desired location. It relies on a network of 24 satellites orbiting in space to pinpoint your exact location anywhere on Earth. Quite impressive if you give it some thought!

Launched in 1970, GPS remained confined to military organisations and secret services for a long time. But as the accuracy and availability of the technology grew, its applicability to various fields also widened.

The first use of GPS technology for public use can be dated back to sometime in 1983 and No longer barred to a certain section of people, GPS tracking devices became a common tool among the civilians. Today the use of GPS can be seen in everything from military manoeuvres in foreign lands to automobile navigation systems.

How does GPS tracking work?

As we mentioned before, GPS relies on the satellites orbiting the Earth to broadcast their locations and status. The GPS Master Control Station along with other tracking and monitoring stations monitor it continually so that the system gives accurate results. If the coordinates vary or there is some other technological issue, the responsibility to get the system function again properly lies with the Master Control Station.

The satellites send signals to a GPS device on ground which then interprets the unique data of each GPS device spread across the globe. The GPS signals map the locations of four or more satellites in relation to the tracking device, and then triangulate its exact position in three-dimensional space. The more satellites it uses, the more accurate the data and you get the exact coordinates of the GPS device.

Uses of GPS tracking

Military Use

The first use of GPS was for military purposes and its use has only risen in the military over the last 50 years. No longer confined to tracking troop movements and aircrafts, GPS tracking devices are employed nowadays for navigation at sea and on ground.

The most recent use of GPS tracking in technology is the military has been tracking and operating drones. It can be used for spying without deploying troops. Many military forces around the world use drones for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

Security purposes

Whether it be high-valued assets such as jewellery, luggage, electronics or your purse, GPS trackers can be used to track whichever item you attach value to. This way you can prevent your asset from being stolen.

You can attach a device in plain sight or can conceal it within your asset. Various shaped and sized GPS trackers make it very easy. Even in the beginning, prior to technological advancement, GPS technology was used for search and rescue operations. With the increased availability of the device, it has now become easy to use it to track your stolen assets.

When a thief takes your asset with the GPS tracker attached, he activates an alarm as soon the asset exits the geofence you created for it. The alarm alerts the owner who can know the exact coordinates of the device and also share it with local responders.

Personal tracker

The youth of today does not like remaining confined to their quarters. Rather they are taking up trekking and solo trips. If you are one of the adventure-lovers, then in such cases, personal trackers can be your best companion.

Many times, people hesitate before taking on a solo trip, for the sole reason of their safety. You can dispel all those fears if you have a personal GPS tracker on you. The wireless device can tell you where youve been and where you are headed. Click of one button and you can inform the local responders about your location.

Vehicle tracking

The most common use of GPS today is to track your vehicle. This is useful from both the point of an individual or a vehicle company. You can use it for hidden GPS tracking as well. You can easily hide the GPS tracker under your vehicle and get complete reports based on total miles driven, total miles driven at or above 80 Mph, hard acceleration activity, etc.

Safety of kids and elderly

More and more families are using GPS tracking devices to keep a watchful eye over their kids and parents. Once you place the device on the person, you can track their every movement and the routes they take. You can strap it to your kids bag, or in the keyring of your old parents.

Many devices are fully compliant with school regulations. That means your child can wear it to almost every crowded place you can think of. Waterproof features also play a prominent role in such cases.


We hope you now understand how a GPS tracking device works. The monitoring system may falter sometime but quick measures are taken to maintain proper contact with the satellites.

The signal may jam due to many reasons, unclear skies, metal containers, signal jammers, etc. But as long as the tracking device can transmit signals directly from the satellite, you will be receiving the accurate location.