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Basics of vehicle GPS tracking


Here we try to explain the basics of how GPS tracking system works for a vehicle. The system has a few components. 

The gadget & GPS chip

Many of us know about a small gadget that is fixed to a vehicle and the vehicle is tracked. Is it so? There are more to it. This small gadget has two chips, one each for GPS and GSM. It also has a SIM. The GPS chip search for four satellites in the sky. Based on satellites it uses triangulation method to find latitude and longitude of the place of chip’s current location. On theory three satellites are minimum required but in practice four improves accuracy.  This is called positioning.

GSM chip and SIM

After location is identified GSM chip starts its work. The GSM chip activates the SIM and transfer the data using GPRS, 3G or 4G network to a server. The SIM is like our mobile phone SIM. But the data amount is so small that slow GPRS network is enough for this purpose.

Server & application

Real work happens in the server after receiving the data. Server has two software. A database and the other for running the application. Data received from the gadget is stored in database. Positioning and data upload happens at short intervals typically of 10 seconds. Application software pulls out the data from database and visually present on a map background against local timeline.

We access the user interface of the application software and see the moving positions of the vehicle on screen. Application software calculate the speed, show the route, alert in case speed exceeds set limit, keep track of the local time, alerts if deviated from set route and such other user specific functions.