GPS Tracking Reliability – Understanding What Makes GPS Accurate & Inaccurate
One of the most common questions asked by consumers and businesses interested in purchasing GPS is how accurate are GPS locators. Why do they ask? Because when a parent of a teen driver or company uses a GPS tracker they want to be certain that the data they get is accurate beyond the shadow of a doubt. But how accurate is a GPS car tracker and what are some things that can cause a tracking device to be wrong? In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about GPS tracking reliability!
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How Accurate Are GPS Trackers – The Facts
GPS trackers are incredibly accurate, with most GPS devices providing location data within 2.5 meters of the actual location! In fact, most GPS trackers can provide location data with an accuracy of up to 6 feet when the device is in optimal conditions. This level of accuracy is sufficient for most personal and business applications, including vehicle tracking, asset tracking, and navigation.
According to GPS.gov, a U.S. government-run website that provides information about the Global Positioning System (GPS), civilian GPS receivers are designed to provide location data with an accuracy of 5 meters or less, 95% of the time. This means that GPS trackers are highly reliable and accurate for most applications, including fleet tracking and personal GPS tracking. However, factors such as environmental obstacles and poor device placement can affect GPS accuracy, so it’s essential to ensure that GPS devices are installed correctly and that there are no obstructions in the field of view. But we will go over that in more detail in the next section!
Related Article: Principles Of GPS
Can GPS Tracking Be Wrong – The Conditions That Can Create Inaccurate GPS Data
GPS trackers are accurate to the point the data gathered from a GPS vehicle tracking system can be used in evidence in a court of law. However, there are some factors that can result in GPS tracking being wrong. Can GPS tracking be wrong? Yes! Sure, GPS technology has revolutionized the way businesses track their assets and monitor their fleets. However, GPS tracking device accuracy can be affected by various factors such as urban canyon environments, mountains, and poor location placement. In this section, we will go over these conditions and explain why they can result in your GPS tracking being wrong.
Urban Canyon Environments – How Large Buildings Can Confuse GPS Signals
Urban canyon environments are known to significantly affect a GPS tracking device’s accuracy. How? Let us explain. Urban canyon environments are characterized by tall buildings, skyscrapers, and narrow streets that create a GPS shadow, making it challenging for GPS tracking units to receive radio signals from GPS satellites orbiting the Earth. This can result in inaccurate GPS positions, making it challenging for businesses to track their company vehicles or equipment.
GPS devices operate by receiving signals from at least four satellites orbiting the Earth to triangulate the device’s location accurately. However, in urban canyon environments, GPS signals bounce off buildings and other structures, creating multiple signals or multi-path signals. This can cause tracking units to receive false signals that can be confusing for GPS tracking solutions and affect the device’s location accuracy.
Not to mention, GPS tracking solutions may receive weak signals in urban canyon environments, leading to a low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A low SNR can make it difficult for GPS devices to distinguish between the desired signal and noise, leading to position errors.
To mitigate these issues, GPS manufacturers and GPS tracking solutions providers have developed advanced GPS technologies that use multiple radio signals to provide accurate location data, even in urban canyon environments. These technologies use enhanced radio signals that can bounce off multiple surfaces, penetrate concrete walls, and provide accurate GPS positions in difficult urban areas.
Urban Canyon Environments can cause significant issues with GPS accuracy, leading to inaccurate location data for company vehicles and equipment tracking. However, some advanced GPS tracking solutions and technologies are now available to overcome these challenges and provide accurate GPS tracking data. This makes it easier for business managers to monitor their fleets and track their assets in even the most challenging urban environments.
Mountains – How High Peks Can Cause GPS Signals To Reflect
Mountains can create significant GPS inaccuracies due to their high elevation, which can obstruct the GPS device’s view of the satellites orbiting the Earth. GPS tracking devices rely on signals from at least four satellites to determine the device’s location accurately. When a GPS receiver cannot detect the signal from these satellites, it cannot triangulate the position accurately. This can result in incorrect positioning, making it challenging for businesses to track their assets or monitor their fleets.
The height of mountains and their steep slopes can cause GPS signals to reflect or scatter, creating multi-path signals that confuse the GPS receiver. This can lead to signal interference and position errors, further exacerbating the GPS inaccuracies. Additionally, the GPS signals may have to travel further to reach the GPS receiver in the mountains, which can result in a low signal-to-noise ratio, causing position errors.
To counteract these issues, GPS tracking devices use alternative positioning systems such as GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou, which provide additional satellite signals and reduce the impact of signal obstruction caused by mountains. GPS tracking solutions providers also use advanced algorithms to filter out multi-path signals, interference, and other errors, ensuring accurate GPS tracking data.
Bad Placement – Why Where Your GPS Tracker Matters
Urban canyons are mountains are two scenarios you have no control over. But did you know that the most common reason for inaccurate GPS tracking data is bad placement? Yup! Bad placement of a GPS car tracker can result in inaccurate GPS data, affecting the efficiency of GPS tracking for businesses. Accurate GPS tracking relies on the GPS device’s ability to receive signals from satellites orbiting the Earth. That means the GPS device must be positioned correctly to receive these signals accurately. In fact, a poorly placed GPS 5G or 4G GPS tracker may not be able to receive signals correctly, leading to incorrect GPS tracking data. This is the reason why you should never place a vehicle tracker in the trunk of a car if you want to secretly track someone’s car without them knowing.
GPS trackers are available in different forms, including portable GPS trackers, OBD GPS trackers, and vehicle GPS tracking devices. These devices need to be installed correctly to receive GPS signals accurately. Poor installation may result in the device’s inability to receive signals, leading to inaccurate GPS tracking data.
Another factor affecting the placement of a GPS device is the type of vehicle. Different vehicles have unique structures that can affect GPS tracking accuracy. For instance, installing a GPS tracker in a car with a metallic roof may result in signal loss or distortion. Business managers should ensure that GPS devices are installed correctly, taking into account the type of vehicle and any other factors that may affect GPS tracking accuracy.
The truth is, the bad placement of a GPS vehicle tracker can result in inaccurate GPS data, making GPS tracking for businesses inefficient. Accurate GPS tracking relies on proper GPS device placement, taking into account the type of vehicle and other factors that may affect GPS tracking accuracy. Business managers should ensure that GPS devices are installed correctly to avoid claims disputes and future issues that may arise from inaccurate GPS tracking data.
GPS Accuracy – 10 Quick Facts
- Weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, and thunderstorms, can affect GPS accuracy.
- Inside tunnels and buildings can obstruct GPS signals, causing inaccurate tracking.
- Remote locations with few or no GPS satellites can affect GPS accuracy.
- GPS asset tracking accuracy can be affected by obstructions in the field of view.
- Poor placement of GPS tracking devices can affect GPS accuracy.
- Most GPS car trackers on Amazon use A-GPS which calls upon both cellular and satellite technology.
- The accuracy of GPS tracking depends on the navigation system and the number of GPS satellites available.
- The availability of GPS signals depends on the cellular network in the area with most consumer-grade real-time GPS devices such as SpaceHawk, Tracki, and Vyncs,
- The accuracy of GPS tracking depends on the type and quality of the GPS receiver in use.
- Some personal GPS trackers, like those used for hiking, come with panic SOS buttons for emergency assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Factors Affect GPS Accuracy?
The above are a few of the factors that can cause a GPS tracking system to provide potentially inaccurate data, but it is important to note that those circumstances are very unique. And even in those unique circumstances, a GPS tracking system can still provide highly accurate data. In fact, in moderate to ideal placement, a GPS tracker can locate a vehicle to the exact parking spot it is in!
Do GPS Trackers Really Work?
There are some very unique circumstances that can cause inaccuracies, but the real question is do GPS trackers really work? How accurate is a GPS car tracker? GPS tracking systems are accurate up to 2.5 meters (6 feet) when the devices have a direct line of sight to the sky, and there are no obstructions or situations that could potentially cause inaccuracies. The technology really works, works well, and is highly accurate. This is the reason so many businesses and consumers call upon the technology and the detailed reporting options and features provided by GPS tracking.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Increase GPS Accuracy?
Yes, there are several things people can do to increase GPS accuracy. First, ensure that your GPS receiver is in an unobstructed location, with a clear view of the sky. Second, update your GPS device with the latest software to ensure it’s working correctly. Third, turn on WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) or EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) if available, as this can improve GPS accuracy by providing additional signals. Finally, use a GPS device with a higher sensitivity receiver, as this can improve the device’s ability to receive signals in challenging environments. By taking these steps, you can increase GPS accuracy for personal and business applications.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.
- GPS Tracking Reliability – Understanding What Makes GPS Accurate & Inaccurate
- How Accurate Are GPS Trackers – The Facts
- Can GPS Tracking Be Wrong – The Conditions That Can Create Inaccurate GPS Data
- Urban Canyon Environments – How Large Buildings Can Confuse GPS Signals
- Mountains – How High Peks Can Cause GPS Signals To Reflect
- Bad Placement – Why Where Your GPS Tracker Matters
- GPS Accuracy – 10 Quick Facts