Tracking and Global Positioning
GPS tracking systems use satellites orbiting the Earth to establish a position anywhere on the globe. A GPS tracking system connects with the satellite by a small antenna embedded in the unit. This unit receives the satellite signal to establish a position on the globe. This position is calculated by the Global Positioning System, which is where the acronym GPS comes from.
Receiving one signal is not enough to establish position. The GPS tracking device actually uses three or more satellites to determine its position. These three satellites use a triangulation method to determine the position of the device on the Global Positioning System. Each satellite reads different variables, which include the speed of the signal being transmitted to the receiver. Using this information, the satellite can determine its distance. When each satellite has a distance calculated, a triangulation formula is applied by the central Global Positioning System database to establish the coordinates of the device. The location is always derived using the Global Positioning System's data, not the satellites.
Transmitting and Display
A GPS tracking device shows the location to the user through an interface. Most tracking devices use a software program to interpret the GPS information and display it on a map. The map is read on a computer screen or a hand-held device. The software must be able to receive information from the GPS system in order to do this. Some software tracking programs are therefore run on a computer, connected to a network that has access to the information received from the tracking satellites. This information is part of the GPS tracking network, a land-based system. The software accesses this system through the Internet and then interprets the data to show a location on a computer-generated map.
Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.