GPS Tracking Devices

In the very simplest of definitions, if navigation is the process of getting something from one location to another, then tracking is the process of monitoring it as it moves along the way.

Thousands of companies scattered throughout the United States rely on fleets of vehicles to deliver their goods and services to their valued customers. Whether it is in a crowded city or out on the interstate highway, the ability to pinpoint for a customer has greatly improved customer approval ratings. Getting an ambulance to an accident scene or a fire truck to a fire, are applications where GPS tracking can save lives.

GPS Tracking Receivers

Generally GPS receivers are made up of an antenna tuned to the frequencies transmitted by satellites, receiver-processors, and a highly-stable clock that is most times a crystal oscillator. They frequently include a display that provides information to the user regarding not only location but speed as well. Often times a receiver is described by its number of channels. Originally limited to four or five, this number has increased very rapidly over the past few years, so that today's have between 15 and 20 channels.

Many GPS receivers can relay position data to a personal computer or other device using the NMEA 0183 protocol. References to NMEA protocols have been compiled from public records, allowing open source tools like GPS to read the protocol without violating intellectual property laws.

Military Use of GPS Tracking

Just like in those James Bond movies, using GPS vehicle tracking has long been a key part of the military's ability to follow the enemy and discover locations that may not appear on any major mapping devices. Now they are able to zero in on basic coordinates of a structure or vehicle, and thereby determine the exact location within seconds.

The FBI and Secret Service have long been known to use GPS tracking to keep tabs on left-wingers and suspects.

Anti-Theft Device

A lot of the new cars and trucks come with GPS tracking units installed in the dash. If your vehicle is stolen, many of these systems come with a vehicle lockdown switch that lets the owner shut the engine off, no matter where it is located. Being able to have a signal transmitted to unlock your vehicle after you have locked the keys in it is a big relief for a lot of forgetful people.

Tracking Your Teenager

Even Hulk Hogan used a GPS tracking device to keep tabs on his teenage daughter. Some insurance companies give discounts to parents who track their teenagers. Making sure the family car is going to where it should be is a great relief for a loving and caring parent. Some may call this spying, but the criticisms usually come from people that are not parents.