The technology behind GPS tracking

Did you ever wonder what makes GPS tracking so precise and fast? Did you think what is the mechanism through which GPS tracking works? These are indeed interesting questions and worth answering. Power of GPS (Global Positioning System) can be determined by the following sentence that it can track any device including phones, gadgets, wristwatches, robots, and PCs from any location on the whole planet earth with a precision of less than 5m even if this device is moving or stationary. Of course, GPS has been one of the most reliable and most robust positioning systems ever made. It is world’s only super fast, most productive and most expensive system that is open for public use.

Though in the beginning GPS was made to overcome the limitations and errors that old positioning systems used to make. Moreover, it’s purpose was to assist US intelligence through a high-quality and lightning-fast system that is secure as well. It is a tragedy behind how GPS became available to civilians, GPS went publicly available when a Korean Airline plane entered into the Soviet space boundaries due to a navigation error. Soviet authorities shot the airplane that caused the death of 269 passengers. Now, GPS is extensively used in a lot of business services and devices.

Global Positioning System is a network of total 33 satellites from which 31 satellites remain in the orbit 24/7.GPS satellites are 12500 miles above the earth’s surface and circle the Earth two times in every 24 hours at roughly 11000 km/h. These satellites are positioned by the ground antennas that are spread all around the world. These antennas also synchronize the clock speed of satellites in GPS network because in space the clock speed of satellite does not remain same as that of on the Earth. Each satellite in the GPS network transmits a special signal that includes the orbital parameters which are used by a GPS decoder or a device that is being tracked. GPS device or GPS decoder can be a mobile phone, a wrist watch, a robot, a PC or any other device. The signal uses the line of sight and passes through clouds, glass, rubber, plastic objects to reach the GPS receiver. The GPS decoder performs calculations on received parameters in order to know the exact location of the device. GPS receiver can also measure the distance between the satellite and a device by calculating the amount of time it takes to receive a signal from the satellite. By receiving the signals from few more satellites, GPS decoder measures the distance from these satellites and confirms the precision of its location.

For 2-D positioning and movement tracking the GPS navigator must be locked to 3 satellites. 3-D positioning is performed by 4 or more satellites but usually, it depends on the location of the device on the Earth. GPS can perform a lot more functions other than just location tracking. It can calculate information such as Speed, Track, Trip Distance, Sunrise timings, Sunset timings and History of a device’s path. Such high level of accuracy and ease of use has made GPS more productive and useful system on this planet.

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