GPS trackers – Know where you are, and where others are.

What are GPS trackers

GPS trackers are devices that use satellite-based technology to track the precise location and movement of someone or something. If combined with apps and programs, they can be very useful in a whole lot of different areas.

GPS modules are put in every sort of electronic device, and there they are practical in finding the best route or actually finding out the position of yourself. They can also be fundamental in ensuring the safety and security of people, pets, and property.

Standalone GPS trackers on the other hand can provide two-way communication, and in case of emergencies, they can automatically give authorities or someone you chose your exact location. In some situations they can actually be lifesavers by helping people avoid getting lost, finding help when needed, monitoring health conditions, and preventing accidents or crimes.

Different types of GPS trackers

The different types of GPS trackers can be defined in various ways. The first way depends on who is using the technology:

Personal GPS, Commercial GPS, and Military GPS.

  • Personal GPS tracking is used by people for various purposes. It can be about safety, fitness, navigation, and recreation. Personal GPS devices include smartphones, watches, trackers, and other navigation systems.
  • Commercial GPS tracking is used by businesses and organizations. That includes fleet management, asset tracking, logistics, and compliance.
  • Military GPS is used extensively by the armed forces. For soldiers, the GPS system is mainly used for targeting enemy units. After all, the global positioning system was originally created for just that. But the military use GPS for many other scopes as well, many of which are the same as for civilian use.

The second way to define GPS trackers has to do with what you want it to do… What are we using the GPS trackers for:

Navigation Locating Surveying and Cartography

  • Navigation is the use of GPS devices to guide users from one place to another: In cars, boats, planes, by foot, etc. I want to know where I am and where I should go.
  • Location is the use of GPS devices to monitor the position and status of people, cars, or things. I want to know where someone or something else is, to be able to find it and call it if it’s a person. Or to send the police to it if it’s a stolen item.
  • Surveying and cartography is the use of GPS devices to measure and map the physical features of the Earth. I want to know more about what’s around me.

But don’t I have a GPS device already on my phone?

gps trackers

Yes, you do. And therefore we are not going to spend time talking about the Navigation-type devices. Normally the GPS module is already incorporated in your phone, your car, or in some other smart device. A few years back navigation, finding the best way, or a specific restaurant, those were difficult tasks. But those days are gone.

What we are interested in here are separate tracking devices that can track someone away from you, be it a child, a dog, or, on more dubious grounds, a wife or a husband.

Where is the GPS tracker located?

A GPS tracker can be located anywhere, depending on the purpose and type. Some GPS trackers are small and can be attached to people or pets. In the case of dog trackers, they are usually attached to the dog’s collar., or, in some cases, they are the collar.

When tracking people, the device is usually a small and light plastic piece. The idea is to put it in the kid’s backpack, or his pocket. The same is applicable to a family member suffering from dementia.

Why do I need a sim card for my GPS tracker?

The GPS module doesn’t need any wifi-, or cellular connection. It works just fine without it. Instead, the satellites orbiting the globe provide geolocation and time information to the GPS receiver on the device. So, the tracker knows exactly where it is, but it needs the cellular network to communicate with you and tell you its location. And that’s what it needs the sim card for.

There are basically two different ways to get access to the mobile network:

  1. You can buy a device with a sim card, a subscription, and a monthly fee. This is by far the most common solution.
  2. You can buy the device, and hook it up yourself with the mobile company of your choice.

Track yourself, or track someone else.

In most cases, a tracking device is used to track someone else. As stated before, normally your own route-planning and navigation is made by some other smart device, or simply by your phone. A separate GPS tracker is located on somebody else, and is commonly used in two distinct situations:

Dog trackers

A good GPS tracker for dogs should have the following requisites:

  • Accurate and reliable location tracking.
  • Long battery life and low power consumption.
  • Durable and waterproof design that can withstand outdoor conditions and rough handling.
  • Comfortable fit that doesn’t interfere with your dog’s movement.
  • Easy to use app or web interface.
  • Affordable and flexible subscription plans that suit your needs and budget.

Trackers for children and people suffering from dementia

The idea is much the same for a child as for an elderly person with orientation problems due to dementia. You need a small device to put somewhere on the person, on their clothes, or in a bag.

The requirements are much the same as for the dog.

One big difference is the SOS- or panic button. A child or elderly alike can suddenly find themselves in a situation of emergency. Either because they really are unsafe, or because they suddenly don’t recognize the environment. For a person with dementia, this situation is common and can result in real danger. Therefore, having an SOS button is a must.

Individuals’ protection from unreasonable searches and seizures

Privacy and surveillance have become important topics due to the use of GPS features on phones and other devices. While GPS can be beneficial for finding locations and nearby restaurants, there are concerns about who can access that data. Many privacy advocates worry that apps and companies might use GPS data for targeted advertising, potentially sharing it in unintended ways.

Potentially even more serious are concerns about governments and police using GPS to monitor citizens. While GPS is undeniably useful, it has also introduced new surveillance capabilities and raised privacy concerns.

How precise are GPS trackers?

The GPS signals are pretty precise. The inaccuracy doesn’t depend on the GPS system but rather on how it is received. A normal phone is typically accurate to within a 4.9 m (16 ft.) radius under the open sky. But that worsens a great deal indoors, close to buildings, etc. On the other hand, some precision devices with dual-frequency receivers and augmentation systems can measure at the millimeter level.

GPS trackers detectors

Lastly, we would like to mention the possibility that someone else puts a tracker on you without you giving your consent. GPS trackers are small, and they can be attached to your car or your bag without you knowing it. This is an issue that likely will increase in the coming years. Stay alert.