GPS tracking is the most precise navigation system available today. The global positioning system was developed by the U.S. military during the Cold War in response to the threat of nuclear attack. At the time, the billions of dollars needed to take the existing navigation systems with their incredible limitations to an accurate, dependable navigation system were justified.
The global positioning system provides precise navigation used on munitions, is able to detect nuclear detonation, and is our line of defense from enemy missiles. Thanks to the military, GPS Tracking technology is constantly evolving.
GPS tracking technology is also evolving within the private sector. Civilian use was granted in the mid ‘90s. While anyone with a GPS tracker can access it, the U.S. government still manages the system and takes measures to ensure the technology cannot be used by the enemy for the wrong reasons.
There is a dedicated frequency for civilian use. This frequency is not as precise as the frequency used in the military, but it is still highly accurate.
One of the most common civilian uses for GPS tracking is the GPS-Enabled cell phones. These cell phones are essentially GPS trackers. They enable the user to find their way while also tracking the location and movement of the phone. The latter is most helpful in the case of an emergency. Whether someone uses a cell phone to place a 911 call or a cell phone owner has gone missing, they can be located as long as they have their cell phone on their person.
GPS tracking is also used by the civilian sector for professional purposes. A professional GPS tracker is typically able to store large amounts of data, which can be accessed and analyzed later. These GPS tracking devices are also more precise than those used by the general public. They tend to have extra features based on their application.
Professional GPS tracking devices are used for a variety of applications. Tectonics, the measurement of the movement of the Earth's crust, uses GPS tracking devices to measure an exact location on surface of the Earth. This same point is measured year after year and the data is reviewed to see how far it has moved. This often slight movement can be helpful in determining future earthquakes as they create accurate models of fault lines.
Map surveying also uses GPS tracking devices. While before a reference point in the line-of-sight was needed to make accurate measurements, GPS tracking devices can provide more accurate measurements, without needing a reference point, and they do so more quickly.
Companies across the country, as well as law enforcement agencies and emergency services, rely on GPS tracking devices to effectively employ their assets. For instance, a company with a fleet of vehicles with GPS trackers can respond to a client call more quickly because they know exactly which vehicle to dispatch, based on its location to the call.
In addition to GPS tracking used in coordinating their efforts, companies also use GPS tracking devices to track assets. While GPS tracking technology provides navigation, how to get from here to there, it also can be used for tracking, which monitors the movement of the asset.
Today's GPS tracking devices are small with their own power source. They can be used both indoors and out, as well as within cargo containers. No matter the type of weather, they can provide an accurate location of the asset. These GPS tracking devices are attached to the asset and transmit data in reference to their location. The data is received by a dedicated server that analyzes the data. Powerful software can overlay this location data on maps, providing real-time tracking. The most advanced GPS technology can provide location data even in the absence of a clear satellite signal.
The civilian sector has expanded the GPS technology for recreational use. For instance, geocaching is an outdoor activity that has participants locating containers throughout the world, using coordinates and their GPS tracker to find them. These containers hold a log book that the participants sign. Sometimes the containers hold inexpensive trinkets.
Waymarking is similar to geocaching using a camera and a GPS tracker to tag photos of interesting locations around the world, from covered bridges to churches to places where one could take a factory tour. These locations can be searched based on tags, providing points of interest for people to visit.
Another recreational use of GPS technology is geotours. Geotours work by providing information based on the point of interest near the GPS tracker. From information about paintings in a museum to military tactics on a battlefield, users receive information appropriate to their interests.