The Global Positioning System has brought us many things, from mapping and surveying, locating loved ones and, of course, mobile phones. Car security, and in particular car trackers, also rely on this technology and it has helped the industry create increasingly sophisticated systems to help you secure your car, motorbike, motorhome or van.

Most of us will be familiar with the term ‘GPS’ and its uses, but how does it work? How does GPS help trackers to function and secure your vehicle? Let’s take a look.

In order to understand how car trackers work, we also need to talk about the underpinning Global Positioning System on which many of them rely.

Global Positioning System Network:

The Global Positioning System is a network of around 24 satellites orbiting the Earth, albeit within the atmosphere, It was originally started as a project within the US Department of Defence which used it primarily for military operations. It was opened up for civilian use in Reagan era of the late 1980s. 

These satellites orbit the Earth twice a day, each of them in a very particular orbit and each one transmitting its own unique signal. A GPS receiver on Earth, whether that’s your smartphone or car tracking system, receives this information.

Because each satellite signal is unique, the receiver knows which satellite it is. It locks onto the signal so it can calculate the distance from each of the satellites from which it receives a signal. A receiver needs signals from at least 3 satellites to be able to accurately find its location on a 2D plane, and 4 if you need to know your altitude too, but most receivers can usually connect to around 8 at any one time. 

When the receiver has enough signals, by using trilateration, it can then calculate how long it takes to receive the signal from each satellite in range and therefore is able to workout where in the world it is. Not only can you get your location, the system will also be able to understand your speed, bearing and distance to your destination by using those same signals.

Obviously, all these incredible technological processes happen pretty much in the background so usually occur without you having to do anything, other than turn the device on. When it comes to your car tracker, this handshake between the receiver and the satellites in orbit are the same technology that is going to help you get your car back, should the worst happen and it gets stolen.

When your car is fitted with one of our car trackers, its GPS location is monitored 24/7. When you’re happily driving around and all things are good, then you won’t even think about it. GPS will come into its own when things take a more serious turn.

24/7 Control Center:

If your vehicle is stolen, and the alarm is activated, that’s when the GPS signal shows its real power. The 24/7 control centre behind the tracker will be activated and will now be tracking your vehicle in real-time. They will get a physical location of the vehicle, whether it’s stationary or moving. They’ll also be able to know the direction of travel and its speed, and will relay that information to the police so, together, they aim to recover your vehicle and get it back to you quickly and safely.

It’s also worth pointing out that almost all of the systems we sell don’t just rely on the GPS network. GPS isn’t the only global network of satellites out there. Other’s include GLONASS, Galileo, LBS, VHF and MESH. The more access your tracker has to other networks, the more secure, the more accurate and the more reliable it is going to be.

Whichever tracker you choose, you’re going to get one that works perfectly, can be installed wherever you are in the UK and will signal to any car thief that you’re serious about protecting your vehicle.