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Can GPS Tracking Be Wrong

Can GPS Be Wrong – Factors That Affect GPS Reliability

Are you wondering if your GPS tracker is always accurate? GPS technology is everywhere today, from portable GPS trackers to vehicle tracking systems. It works by using signals from GPS satellites to determine your position on the earth. But can GPS tracking be wrong? Yes, there are factors that can affect GPS accuracy, such as tall buildings, signal blockage, and atmospheric conditions. In this article, how GPS can be wrong and ways to improve GPS accuracy. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about GPS tracking. Questions such as how to ensure your device regularly receives tracking data, how to calculate latitude and longitude, and how to deal with multi-path error. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the accuracy of GPS tracking and how to use it effectively for your navigation system or tracking application. Let’s dive in!

Can GPS Tracking Be Wrong

Can GPS Be Wrong – TLDR

Yes, GPS tracking can be wrong due to various factors, including satellite positioning, atmospheric conditions, and receiver quality. Signals from GPS satellites travel through space to your GPS receiver, where they are used to determine your location. However, obstacles like tall buildings and weather can cause interference, affecting accuracy. Using multiple satellite systems, checking for updates, and using external antennas can help improve accuracy. It’s also essential to consider the design features and quality of your GPS device. While GPS trackers are generally accurate, it’s crucial to understand their limitations and ensure your device is properly calibrated for the best results.

11 Examples Of What Can Cause GPS Accuracy To Be Wrong



Signal Blockage

Obstructions like buildings, forests, or mountains can block signals, causing interference and inaccuracy.

Satellite Geometry

Poor arrangement of GPS satellites can distort signals and reduce accuracy.

Atmospheric Interference

Conditions like ionosphere interference can distort signals, leading to inaccuracies.

Receiver Design Features

Quality and design of the receiver affect accuracy; cheaper receivers may be less accurate.

Multipath Error

Signals bouncing off surfaces like buildings or trees can cause inaccuracies.

Cold Start

After being off or in a new location, devices may take time to update, causing inaccuracy.

Software/Firmware Issues

Outdated or faulty software/firmware can affect accuracy; regular updates and calibration are essential.

Signal Reflection

Reflection off surfaces like buildings can distort signals, causing inaccuracies.

Time of Signal

Timing discrepancies in signal reception can affect accuracy.

Weather Conditions

Poor weather like rain, snow, or fog can cause atmospheric interference, leading to inaccuracies.

GPS Application

Different applications have varying accuracy levels; some may prioritize battery life over accuracy.

Learn more about how GPS tracking works here:

3 Elements Of GPS

Ways To Improve GPS Accuracy – Reduce Wrong GPS Data

Try a cold start to reset your device’s satellite information: Over time, your GPS device may accumulate outdated or incorrect satellite information, which can cause inaccuracies in tracking. A cold start will reset the satellite information and allow your device to acquire new information, improving accuracy.

Check for firmware updates and software calibration to correct errors: GPS devices are designed to receive and interpret signals from GPS satellites. Over time, software and firmware updates may become available to improve the accuracy of the device. By keeping your device up-to-date, you can improve its accuracy.

Use an external antenna or signal amplifier to increase signal strength: In areas with limited visibility, such as valleys, dense forests or urban canyons, GPS signals can be weak or obstructed. An external antenna or signal amplifier can help increase the signal strength and reduce interference, resulting in improved accuracy.

Consider using multiple satellite systems, such as GPS and GLONASS, for improved accuracy in areas with limited visibility: GPS signals may not always be available, especially in areas with limited visibility. In such cases, using multiple satellite systems can improve accuracy. GPS is the most commonly used system, but other satellite systems such as GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo can provide additional positioning data, improving the accuracy of the location data provided by your device.

GPS Triangulation

Frequently Asked Questions

Can GPS Be Wrong Because Of Weather Conditions?

Yes, GPS signals can be affected by weather conditions, particularly by atmospheric interference. In general, clear weather conditions with a high visibility are optimal for accurate GPS tracking. However, poor weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or fog, can affect the accuracy of GPS signals.

Can Tall Buildings Cause GPS Tracking To Be Wrong?

Yes, tall buildings and other obstacles can affect GPS accuracy by obstructing or reflecting GPS signals, causing interference. In fact, there is a term called “urban canyons” that describes this phenomenon. When using GPS in urban areas, it’s best to be in an open space and avoid areas with tall buildings or dense trees.

How Can I Ensure That My GPS Systems Receive Accurate Location Data?

To ensure that your GPS systems receive accurate location data, make sure your device is updated with the latest firmware and software, and use multiple satellite systems for improved accuracy. Additionally, avoid using GPS in areas with limited satellite visibility, and use an external antenna or signal amplifier to increase signal strength.

Are All GPS Tracking Devices Equally Accurate?

No, GPS tracking devices can differ in accuracy depending on the quality of their receiver and the design features of the device. Higher quality GPS receivers tend to provide more accurate results.

How Accurate Are GPS Trackers In Determining Latitude And Longitude?

GPS trackers are generally very accurate in determining latitude and longitude, with an accuracy range of up to 10 meters. However, factors such as atmospheric interference and satellite geometry can affect accuracy. For more precise results, use multiple satellite systems and check for firmware and software updates regularly.

Ryan Horban
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