Understanding GPS Tracking in Smartphones

Before GPS apps became mainstream, the technology was only available to government agencies. Currently, the technology is accessible to anyone with a smartphone. GPS trackers work in a few different ways. Here is an overview of how the technology works with Android phones and the iPhone.

What is GPS Tracking?

The United States GPS navigation system uses a network of 24 satellites to provide location data to GPS receivers in the USA and in other places on Earth. The satellites were originally intended for military applications, and they are still managed by the Department of Defense. Today, GPS technology can be used in all weather conditions, and the software does not require a subscription fee.

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How Accurate is GPS Tracking?

GPS receivers are very accurate. Some atmospheric conditions can influence the accuracy of the location data. If there is an interference in the tracking data, the location can be off by as much as 50 feet. The small inaccuracies are usually not a problem. The tracking technology is based on measuring signal strength at base stations. Smartphones always communicate with the closest base station. When the smartphone sends a signal to the base station, the GPS program is able to detect how close the phone is to the particular base station.

Smartphones and GPS Tracking

If you enable GPS tracking on your phone, Google will use your wireless network information to triangulate your position. Third party tracking software can also track your position, but you should read the privacy policy before downloading GPS tracking apps. The iPhone also uses Wi-Fi and cell phone towers to track your position. Along with mapping software, the iPhone has an integrated digital compass. The tracking data is stored on Apple and Android phones, and wireless carriers can use the information in emergencies.

Advances in technology have made GPS tracking commonplace, and many people use GPS apps to keep track of friends and family members. Business owners use the technology to make sure employees are being honest about their whereabouts. Innovations in technology will continue to improve the accuracy of GPS tracking technology.