When you’re shopping around for a car tracker, it’s easy to be bamboozled by the various options available to you. This is also true when it comes to the feature sets of many of the incredible trackers, especially those in our store.

One of the most misunderstood facets of car trackers is related to the technology that comes built into these amazing devices that helps you locate a stolen vehicle.

We’ve previously done a post on GPS tracking and what that is, but this time we wanted to look at another term you might see when browsing, GLONASS. It’s not a term many of us in the English-speaking world might be familiar with, but we think it’s important to know what it is and how it works.


GLONASS is a portmanteau of the words GLObal NAvigation Satellite System and consists of 24 satellites operating in Earth’s orbit.

The system was first developed by Russia as far back as 1976 but the first satellite wasn’t launched until 1982. The system became fully operational over a decade later in 1995.

At its core, GLONASS is basically another type of GPS (Global Positioning System) used to track the position of compatible receivers around the world. This could be via your mobile phone or, in our case, in a car tracking system.

GLONASS is a Russian satellite-based system that works as an alternative to the more western-based GPS, but the two systems can also work together to help make the data they provide more accurate. In some cases, this collaborative approach results in a 20% improvement than using just GPS alone.


Whilst people often refer to GLONASS as a singular entity, there are actually five versions of it. As we mentioned, the first one launched in the 1980s and was only initially used for military and official Governmental projects, primarily for weather and positioning needs.

3d illustration of satellite orbiting the earth

When GLONASS-M launched in 2003, this update was the first time it offered civilian uses. This was further enhanced in 2011 when a third civilian frequency was added, known as GLONASS-K.

The latest working version, known as GLONASS-K2 was originally planned to launch in 2021 but was postponed until 2022. Here in 2023, we’re still waiting for it to be launched and come online.

The fifth version of the system is currently being researched and is expected to launch towards the end of this decade.


Like any global positioning system, GLONASS works via a network of satellites orbiting the earth in three orbital planes. GLONASS has 8 satellites per plane. This constellation geometry then repeats once every 8 days.

To receive a location, you will need a minimum of 4 of them for a receiver to calculate its position in 3D space. This also helps the receiver, or tracker in our case, understand your position, velocity and acceleration information.

Top view of black car driving along forest highway

If you’re wanting to make sure your next vehicle tracker comes equipped with GLONASS (as well as many other technologies), then check out our systems that come with it built in. They include:

 ScorpionTrack S7 ALS

⚬ MetaTrak S5 VTS

⚬ ScorpionTrack S5 VTS

⚬ SmarTrack S5 D-iD

No matter what tracker you want to buy, regardless of whether it’s a GLONASS-compatible system or not, our team is available from 9 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday on 0330 043 3993 to talk you through the process. Мы рады услышать от вас в ближайшее время.

Whilst we’re always going to advocate for the installation of a vehicle tracker to safeguard your beloved car, motorbike, caravan or truck, it is our bread and butter after all, it’s not something that you can just forget about once it’s installed.

Having one of our car trackers fitted is only part of the journey and that alone isn’t always enough to comply with your insurance requirements. Once it’s installed, it also has to be activated to work correctly.


Whilst it might seem obvious, you’d be amazed how many times customers forget to pay their subscription. On top of that, there has been a rise in the number of insurance companies that have simply refused to pay out for stolen vehicles because their customer’s insurance policy is deemed to be void as the tracker has no subscription.

Let’s be honest, insurance companies don’t need much of an excuse not to pay out, so it’s vital your system is fully activated and the subscription is paid, once our team of engineers has installed it.

3D illustration. Car key with, metal car key holder.


Activating a tracker isn’t just a requirement of your insurance policy, especially if it’s stipulated part of your agreement to have one, it’s also integral to how it works.

Without it being activated, the tracker can’t communicate with the manufacturer’s system, so their control centre won’t be able to see its location or recover the vehicle in a theft situation. Without activation, it’s just a box of circuits and wires attached to your car.

If you’ve worked hard and have a luxury car to drive around in, then chances are the fitting of a vehicle tracker will be a prerequisite of any insurance policy, based purely on the price you paid and / or the current market value of the vehicle.

If your car comes with a tracker factory-fitted then chances are it may be activated when you buy it (but always check). If it’s something you have fitted on the after-market, then you will often need to get it fitted BEFORE you get insurance, or at least let the insurance company know that you’re getting it installed at a later date.

They may well insist it’s fitted before the policy can be started and you might also have to send confirmation to them to validate your policy. But again, fitting it is just half the story.


Selective focus on Emergency Alarm Panic Button at car park complex for security alert and crime control

Given how many people don’t, or forget, to activate their tracker, you might be thinking that’s because it’s overly complicated or difficult to do. It’s actually very, very simple.

Once you’ve chosen the tracker you want from our store, paid for the device and any subscriptions that might come with it, the next step is to arrange with our team to have it installed.

This can be done at your home, office, place of work or anywhere in the mainland UK. It’s at that point, once the installation is complete, the manufacturer will usually reach out to you via email or phone to get your subscription set up.

Whether it’s SmarTrack, ScorpionTrack, or whomever else made the device, just choose your subscription length then give them your payment details and it’s done. Simple as that.

It’s worth noting that some of our trackers, for example from Meta Trak and Vodafone Automotive come pre-activated with a subscription plan. Just be sure to make a note of when it expires and ensure you renew it when the time comes. This is often another thing that gets overlooked but is also just as simple to fix.

Don’t get caught out by not activating your tracker or setting up the subscription.

If you have any questions about it, please don’t hesitate to contact us or the manufacturer.

⚬ Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out the consequences of not activating your device or renewing your subscription.

Our team fully understands that it can be a daunting process but are available to help and answer any questions you might have between 9 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday on 0330 043 3993. Our customer service doesn’t end when you buy from us, that’s only the beginning.

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