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GPS Tracking Devices: How It Started Vs How It’s Going

GPS is a satellite-based system that offers navigation, positing and timing services. From aviation to emergency response and navigation to fleet tracking, GPS can be helpful with all of the functions. GPS has been around for some time and is now available to everyone, however, there was a time when it was only reserved for military use. GPS has widespread use and is very well incorporated into an array of endeavour. People have become very comfortable with GPS technology and are employing it for various purposes such as to navigate traffic or to get more precise search results on the web. Let’s have a look at the history of GPS tracking devices and how it is at present available to the common individuals:

GPS Tracking Devices: A Timeline of History

GPS satellites were launched as a way of studying the Earth from space which eventually turned into a universal technology. GPS came into existence during the Cold War when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik I satellite in 1957. Dr Richard B. Kershner and his team of scientists discovered the Doppler Effect while monitoring Sputnik’s radio transmission. They found how the signal frequency transmitted by Sputnik kept changing when the satellite approached or moved away.

Transit is the first satellite-based navigation system that was used by the US Navy back then after completing its testing successfully. The US Navy created the Timation satellite in 1967 that had the power to place the precise clock in space. Later, the omega Navigation system was developed in the 1970s and it was the first-ever radio navigation system. The first GPS based satellite was launched in 1978 and was initially manufactured by Rockwell International.

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When it comes to commercial GPS technology, the first portable GPS device was developed by Magellan, an electronic navigation company in the year 1988. The first GPS device was named NAV 1000 and it weighed 1.5 pounds. The device could be used for a few hours solely on battery power and was priced at $3,000. With such hefty pricing, the device could only be used by the military or some other selective companies at that time. With the innovations and advancement in GPS technology, the accuracy of the device improved and caught the attention of organizations from different business verticals.

As mentioned earlier, GPS technology was primarily used by the Military and there was not much curiosity among the common people about it. It was then in 1996 when President Bill Clinton realised that the GPS can be very useful to the public as well. The changes in policies were done and GPS was made available to individuals and organizations. These included fleet managers who could take advantage of GPS technology to keep track of their vehicles. Additional modifications were done so that people have easier access to the technology and finally in the year 2006, the GPS satellites were launched to orbit the Earth.

GPS Vehicle and Fleet Tracking: The Present Scenario

At the time when the concept of fleet tracking had just started off, the fleet companies had to invest in expensive GPS tracking systems for every vehicle. They need to pay hefty fees to make use of satellites for GPS tracking. The early GPS systems were not easy to implement and were expensive to use for fleet management businesses. Hence, only the big companies could take advantage of GPS technology.

The concept of fleet tracking has not changed much since then however, today GPS tracking is much more affordable now. Even today, GPS tracking devices work based on the Global Navigation Satellite System to share information about routes, speed, time, fuel and location. With the evolution of technology, GPS accuracy has improved and portable GPS tracking can now accommodate fleets of all sizes and types.

The devices are very lightweight just like mobile phones and have an array of features in comparison to the first-ever GPS device. Today, GPS tracking devices can deliver efficient data and real-time updates. It can keep track of your objects and all you need is a smartphone or computer to check the updates. GPS devices have become a viable technology for both small fleet business and large companies.

Modern Day GPS Tracking Systems

Talking of how a modern-day GPS tracking device works, it sends all the crucial information to the fleet managers so that they can run their operations in a better way and can make more informed decisions. For instance, fleet managers can check the reports about the behaviour of the driver, the optimal route, fuel consumption, vehicle’s location and the overall fleet performance. The GPS tracking system offers abundant information to the fleet companies about their drivers as well as the vehicles.

These days, fleet owners can select and customize the GPS tracking solutions that they want to use. For instance, they can choose between mobile tracking and satellite tracking. Mobile tracking offers the information in real-time through your smartphone by tapping into the growing cellular network whereas satellite tracking utilizes conventional GPS satellites and is an ideal choice for a vehicle that has to travel outside the cellular coverage area.

What the Future Holds

Technologies keep expanding and GPS technology is no different. For example, asking someone for directions is a thing of the past now. In the future, a new navigation system shall come into play and they would power businesses across the globe. The Global Navigation Satellite System is already working with many companies to come up with new GPS navigation solutions. The US government is also looking forward to launching new GPS satellites, the GPS III models in the near future which are expected to be operational soon.

Quick Read: Active and Passive Vehicle Tracking: A Guide To Choosing The Right Technology

Quick Read: The Impact of Location Data on Transportation and Logistics

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