How GPS Works
We sell GPS technology on ElectroFlip and one of the most common questions we hear is not how to configure a particular device, but just the plain simple fact about GPS works. Most people have a pretty rudimentary idea that GPS has something to do with satellite technology, but beyond that, they’re not really sure. Here’s a quick GPS primer.
First, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. A GPS device is a receiver of data from a satellite signal, but cannot send information – much like a radio receives radio waves but cannot broadcast. In addition to radio or TV antennas, GPS systems need an unobstructed view of the sky, as trees or buildings can block a signal.
Generally, GPS receivers are getting much more sensitive, but the amount the signal can be accessed is an important consideration when buying a GPS tracker. The reason that GPS trackers are so useful for the car is because most of the time a car is on open road where there are no obstructions.
Space around the earth is filled with satellites. At any given time, there are 24 GPS satellites that will communicate with each other to pinpoint your location on the ground. The GPS will determine location by determining the distance between the receiver and the collection of satellites. Accuracy of positioning is determined by the quality of the receiver. Some GPS units are accurate within 15 feet (on ElectroFlip), while some are only accurate within 50 yards. Differential GPS (DGPS) is a more accurate form of GPS signature by combining two GPS receivers together, in addition to the cadre of orbiting satellites.