How Accurate is GPS Vehicle Tracking? Reliability in Motion

In today’s world of the 21st century, life is extremely fast-paced, and technology is everywhere. One such technology is the Global Positioning System (GPS), which has been heavily rising for the past few years. Various industries use GPS vehicle tracking technology in their daily routine. 

From personal navigation to fleet management, GPS has had its effects worldwide, revolutionizing the monitoring and tracking of vehicles in a way no one could have thought even a few years back. 

Still, there are questions regarding how accurate GPS vehicle tracking is and whether it is reliable in some cases, especially when vehicles are moving. This blog will answer such questions and discuss GPS technology advancements.

What is GPS vehicle tracking?

GPS uses a group of satellites that hover around the Earth. Now, the satellites send signals, and the GPS receivers, which are on the ground, receive the signal. When the signals are received, the GPS tracker can figure out exactly where the location of a particular object with the tracker is, thus giving the precise location latitude and longitude. 

GPS vehicle tracking systems are the trackers or devices used to track the location of vehicles or any object with the GPS tracker. The GPS receivers first receive the signal and then transmit it back to a central server, generally or sometimes directly to the user interface, where a person can now view the exact location of the moving object. The tracking system helps monitor the precise location, routes taken, speed, and other things regarding the moving vehicle.

Accuracy of GPS vehicle tracking

GPS systems, in general, are precise and have helped the world’s people navigate better. GPS vehicle trackers are generally accurate within 10 feet, while the standard civilian GPS trackers are accurate within a few meters. Several factors can affect the accuracy, and they are discussed below:

  • GPS trackers’ accuracy relies heavily on positioning the satellites in view from which the signal gets transmitted. The trackers need multiple calls from different satellites without obstructions to get the best results. So, when sometimes a tree or building comes in the way of the signals, there is a slight chance of inaccuracy. This problem can also be seen in regions of dense forests or canyons.
  • When GPS signals bounce off when in contact with buildings or trees before reaching the receiver, there is a chance of multipath error. Although considering today’s developed technologies, which mitigate the chances of multipath error, there lies a case of an error, especially in urban areas full of sky-high buildings. The high building also causes reflection error, resulting in the receiver tracking the reflected signal instead of the direct error.
  • GPS signals can also be affected by atmospheric occurrences such as solar storms and can also be affected due to some kind of electronic interference. Such things mess up the GPS signals temporarily.
  • The speed of vehicles is also an essential factor, as the GPS signals need to be updated now and then. Although the process is fast, vehicles, due to their speed, can cause lagging of the signals, thus impacting the real-time accuracy of the receiver. 
  • GPS signals generally fail to track moving vehicles in underground areas like tunnels. They cannot be tracked accurately on such sites. Although different systems use different technologies like Wi-Fi networks, they are generally hardly used as they have many restrictions. 
  • Signal blockage is also one common thing regarding GPS systems due to natural things like mountains, the signal gets blocked easily, giving inaccurate positioning. Signal delays are often seen in natural calamities like heavy rainfalls or storms.

Therefore, the pointers mentioned above are the reasons behind the question of how accurate is GPS vehicle tracking.

Enhancements in GPS technology

Technology is booming, and GPS is no exception. Constant experimentation and developments are being made in this field to increase the accuracy and mitigate even the slightest of errors no matter what comes in between the signals. Below mentioned are some technologies that have helped the GPS develop its accuracy over time:

  • Differential GPS or DGPS is a method or service that uses the stations on the grounds as marks to increase the overall accuracy of the GPS systems. These reference stations compare the actual GPS location with the location calculated by the GPS device. After this, they send the location signals to the nearby receivers.
  • Some GPS systems use augmentation from other technologies like GLONASS (GLObalnaya NAvigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema), the Galileo satellite positioning system of Europe, or China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system. These systems are known as augmented GPS systems.
  • Some GPS systems use Dead reckoning, a technology that helps to locate a vehicle when it has stopped receiving GPS signals, like inside a tunnel. This feature uses the last known location, car speed, and direction to arrive at a rough estimate of the place.
  • Assisted GPS (AGPS) is another technology used in GPS devices such as smartphones to get signals from satellites quickly and accurately by using information from cellular networks.

Final Overview

To conclude, GPS tracking systems in vehicles are highly accurate and precise, resulting in the best results all the time. But it is also important to remember that particular places or situations of difficulty can give rise to errors in the GPS systems. People should be aware of such technologies, and if they need incredibly accurate information, they can always go for technologies like DGPS or AGPS. 

GPS vehicle tracking is an essential technology in various businesses and organizations that want to monitor and keep control of their resources. Although there are a few drawbacks, with technological advancements, the question of how accurate GPS vehicle tracking is will be perfectly answered in the upcoming years.


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