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What is a GPS tracker and how does it work?

A GPS tracker is a small device with integrated GPS (global position system) capability and a radio for communication. With GPS, the device is constantly bouncing signals off orbiting satellites and as a its location can be determined with extreme accuracy. Use of GPS also means the device’s speed and direction of travel can also be calculated.

The radio (usually cellular) is an important part of the GPS tracker because it is used to “push” that locational information to you. Most GPS trackers will require a subscription service of some type in order to cover access to the broadcast data.

Despite the impressive capabilities, a GPS tracker is self-contained and surprisingly small. Most are able to fit in the palm of your hand, and some are even smaller.

What can I use a GPS tracker for?

There are many applications for a GPS tracker, many of them safety related. Just think of all the situations where you worry about where someone might be.

A GPS tracker for kids can be zipped into their backpack or a coat pocket. Then you won’t have to worry about whether they made it home after school, or if they’re taking that shortcut you told them wasn’t safe. You can receive alerts on your smartphone when they leave the house in the morning and when they get home after class. GPS people tracking devices are also a great option for elderly parents or relatives who may be forgetful or prone to wandering. Equip them with a GPS tracker and you can receive an alert if they leave the house, and instantly find them if they wander away.

Pet tracker GPS units are also very popular. A GPS tracker for dogs can be easily attached to their collar. If they accidentally get out of the back yard, you’ll know almost instantly. With the GPS tracker broadcasting their location you’ll know exactly where they are. No frantically running through the calling their name, and no posters, just call up their location on your smartphone and go bring them home.

Can I track a car with GPS?

When you think of GPS systems and your car, the first thing that comes to mind is probably navigation. But GPS technology is also an important security feature for any vehicle.

With a GPS car tracker (which is separate from your in-vehicle navigation system), you can locate your car or truck anywhere it goes, in real time. Geofencing will alert you if your vehicle leaves a specific area—a valuable tool for situations like teens who are learning to drive and forbidden to take your car into high traffic areas. A tracking device in can also alert you if your vehicle is moving after you parked it, providing an immediate warning of theft.

GPS vehicle tracking is accomplished by attaching a small module to the car or truck. It can be hard-wired or battery powered, and GPS car trackers can be discretely attached out of sight using magnets and other easy to install systems. Some car GPS tracker systems can even connect to the OBD port, giving you real-time access to the vehicle’s computer data.