From humble beginnings, Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking has evolved into an integral part of our lives and plays a pivotal role in how we keep our vehicles, and our families, safe. But where did it come from, what does it do and how can it offer you safety and assistance in today’s modern age?

GPS Tracking Explained

How does GPS Tracking work?

According to LifeWire, GPS tracking uses a network of satellites to determine the location of a device that was specifically designed for that purpose. The basic idea is that a GPS tracker uses a process called trilateration to determine its physical location based on its distance from three GPS satellites. This is the exact same technology used by your portable or in-car navigation system.

The difference between a GPS tracker and a car navigation system is that the navigation system provides you with your location and driving directions, while a tracker either keeps a record of your driving habits or broadcasts its location in real time.

When a GPS tracker for a car is capable of broadcasting its location, it typically uses the exact same technology that your cell phone does to make calls or connect to the internet. This is why some GPS car trackers require a monthly subscription fee.

Where did it all begin?

According to NASA, GPS has its origins in the Sputnik era when scientists were able to track the satellite with shifts in its radio signal known as the “Doppler Effect.” The United States Navy conducted satellite navigation experiments in the mid 1960’s to track US submarines carrying nuclear missiles. With six satellites orbiting the poles, submarines were able to observe the satellite changes in Doppler and pinpoint the submarine’s location within a matter of minutes.

In the early 1970’s, the Department of Defence (DOD) wanted to ensure a robust, stable satellite navigation system would be available. Embracing previous ideas from Navy scientists, the DOD decided to use satellites to support their proposed navigation system. DOD then followed through and launched its first Navigation System with Timing and Ranging (NAVSTAR) satellite in 1978. The 24-satellite system became operational in 1993.

How Matrix utilises GPS technology today

While GPS was previously used for military purposes, it is extensively used in mobile applications such as Google Maps, and in tracking devices that are fitted in cars. Gone are the days when, if you were lost, you could ask for help from residents or try to find the name of a suburb or street closest to you.

Fast forward to the present and all you need to do to establish your whereabouts, is use your GPS-enabled device or smartphone.

Matrix utilises a combination of vehicle tracking technologies including GPS Pinpoint Positioning, to offer you unmatched vehicle tracking precision. This technology provides accurate positioning of your vehicle without interference from terrain-based obstacles such as hills and buildings so you can track your vehicle even when it is parked in a basement.

The combination of GPS Pinpoint Positioning with GSM and Radio Frequency technology provides the perfect solution to track your vehicle in real time, anywhere in South Africa. Whether you need vehicle recovery, smartphone tracking or emergency response, Matrix’s GPS tracking solution is always right by your side.