It wasn't long ago that we relied on creative navigational solutions like cane maps and astrolabes to get us from point A to point B. Today's GPS systems are capable of much more than simply providing directions – they're also a powerful tool for businesses hoping to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve customer service.
GPS tracking may seem complicated, but it's actually quite simple.
In the final instalment of the Ultimate Guide to GPS Tracking for Business, we're taking a closer look at how GPS tracking works. Keep reading to learn about what equipment GPS tracking systems use, how modern GPS relies on your cellular network, and how you can use the information collected by your GPS tracking devices to improve your fleet's operations.
GPS tracking as we know it wasn't possible until recent advancements in mobile phone networks and satellite technology made GPS available for personal and commercial use.
Modern GPS navigation requires two types of equipment:
1. A network of GPS satellites: These satellites carry stable, precise atomic clocks, and send information about their location to GPS receivers at a precise time. Your GPS receiver then compares the time the message was sent against the time it was received and uses this information to calculate how far it is from each satellite. A mathematical formula then calculates the exact location of your GPS receiver.
2. A GPS receiver: The network of satellites communicates with GPS receivers via radio signals that allow the satellites to calculate the exact location of the tracking device. In the case of fleet tracking, the GPS receiver would be the device installed in each vehicle or on each asset a business wants to track. (File name: devices.png)
Today's GPS devices use a tracking algorithm that allows them to better estimate speed and direction of movement. This is how GPS trackers are able to report current locations and even driving activity like speeding and harsh braking.
For example, a GPS tracking device installed in any vehicle will automatically send notifications about its location, speed, and other driving behaviors to a designated server at certain intervals, ready to be called upon by fleet managers whenever they need it.
With this information, you can easily oversee driver behavior on your desktop computer, and even on your smartphone.
Different software developers and GPS fleet tracking providers include different functions in their fleet management software, depending on various external and internal information sources. External information includes a variety of data such as traffic conditions, while internal sources provide and manage information from an individual company's human resources and finance departments.
Fleet managers can also monitor driver behavior on their mobile device using specially designed apps.
Joey, the service manager at Harris Integrated Solutions in West Columbia, SC, uses the mobile fleet tracking app to improve their response times and deliver better communication.
"The customer can be better informed about when the service technician will get there. The mobile app makes it easy to check on the fleet quickly."
Patrick, the owner of Tri-County Power Sweeping in Atlanta, GA uses the GPS tracking app “more than anything.” “I usually don't have time to sit in front of a computer,” he says, so he uses his mobile app while he's in the field to “pop in and see if employees are on site working, not just parked there.”
GPS tracking software is able to generate a number of reports businesses can use to gain valuable insights into how their drivers behave in the field.
Fleet managers can create reports on:
Modern GPS makes it quick and easy to locate and track individual vehicles, assets, and entire fleets with just the click of a mouse. And with the powerful insights provided by a real-time GPS tracker, any businesses – no matter how large or small your fleet is – can benefit from GPS tracking.
Part 7: How does GPS Tracking Work?