GPS Tracking Devices: A Brief History
Development of GPS Tracking Technology
Originally designed for military and intelligence applications at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, with inspiration coming from the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik back in 1957, the global positioning system (GPS) consists of a network of satellites orbiting the earth at fixed points above the planet and beam down signals to anyone on earth with a GPS tracking device. The historical past of vehicle tracking dates to the start of GPS technology in 1978. when the first experimental Block-I GPS satellite was launched into space. Made by Rockwell International, this satellite system was obviously a successful test; and by the end of 1985, 10 more Block-I satellites had been launched to further confirm the idea of GPS.
In the early years, the technology had not been yet functional, because of an insufficient quantity of satellites orbiting our planet. On Jan. 17, 1994, after years of steady growth, the final of the first 24 satellites was launched, and the GPS system was considered completely functional. Today, fleet tracking taps into this exact same technology.
The Public Catches On with GPS Tracking Devices
Early On GPS technology was designed primarily to be used by the military. The uses for the military were obvious in the 1980s and 1990s, but public curiosity about GPS technology was little. In 1996, President Bill Clinton determined that the system could be an asset to citizens and also the military, and issued a policy instruction that will require the development of a public system benefitting the daily user.
This policy adjusts made GPS technology available to the common individual, such as fleet managers, who could see the advantage of using the technology to monitor their cars.
In the 1990s, additional modifications were made to GPS technology and the devices. These included policy and ease of access changes for individual users. In 2006, the final GPS satellite was launched to orbit the earth.
GPS Vehicle and Fleet Tracking
At the beginning of fleet tracking, to be able to correctly track a fleet, every vehicle needed to be enabled with an expensive GPS tracking unit. The company was required to pay a usually high monthly fee to make use of the satellites for the GPS tracking system. While beneficial, these early systems were hard to implement, expensive to use for the daily user and often inconvenient for drivers and fleet management businesses. Thus it required several years for the idea to catch on with the vehicle industry. In the first days, only the biggest and wealthy fleets or companies took benefit of the technology.
The basic concept of fleet tracking hasn’t changed since its creation back in the 1990s. A GPS tracking system utilises the Global Navigation Satellite System and this system incorporates a variety of satellites which use microwave impulses that are transmitted to GPS units to give info on location, vehicle speed, time, angle and route history.
Modern Day GPS Tracking Systems
The modern fleet GPS tracking platforms supply the necessary telematics data to fleet management letting them run their operations more proficiently. Reports on driver behaviour, vehicle overall performance, historical route data and gas use all make it easier for the fleet manager to reduce expenses and increase effectiveness for their business. These systems exceed the simple reporting of each vehicle’s location, providing fleet managers with an abundance of information about their vehicles as well as their drivers.
Today, fleet managers have a selection of GPS tracking technologies they can use, including:
- Mobile Tracking — Mobile tracking taps into the growing cell network to provide GPS data in real time through your smartphone.
- Satellite Tracking— Perfect for fleets that regularly travel outside of cellular coverage. Satellite tracking utilises conventional GPS satellites to monitor vehicles. Real-time satellite tracking is quite possible for an affordable price.
- Passive Tracking— Whether it is satellite or cellular-dependent, passive tracking offers frequent location updates rather than live GPS monitoring information to help with asset management and vehicle tracking.
These three options show the obvious evolution of the technology to the point that it can now accommodate fleets of all types and sizes. In today’s world, GPS tracking devices are more efficient, able to offer data in real-time and can be accessed to keep track of objects on the move through your smartphone, tablet or computer. Fleet management experts gain access to a plethora of GPS and telematics data on-demand, making it a viable option for small fleet businesses as well as large companies.