How Do GPS Trackers Work

GPS Trackers

Trackers use GPS signalling to identify the device’s location in much the same way as satellite navigation systems have for many years.

GPS trackers seek the signals transmitted by satellites in the sky, generally locking onto a minimum of three satellites to identify a device. GPS trackers are available to be fitted to any vehicle or machinery and equipment and devices that are small and discreet for personal use.

GPS vehicle and personal trackers are the most popular choice as they allow almost pinpoint accuracy to the target. With many offering real-time location information, the GPS tracker is updated every few seconds to monitor its location as it moves. Trackershop is one such company offering supply, delivery and installation. Choosing a company that only uses fully qualified Thatcham approved fitters working throughout the UK, you can be sure the service you receive will be first-class no matter where you live. 

What types of trackers are there?

When choosing a GPS tracking device, it is important to understand the difference between passive and active reporting devices. A passive device, sometimes known as a GPS data logger, stores information acting only as a receiver, with no ability to transmit its whereabouts as it goes. A passive device’s data on locations, speed, driving time, and sudden changes in driving habits can only be accessed by removing it from the vehicle and downloading the stored data. It will only provide a historical record. Those only wishing to track mileage for work or fleet business safety and efficiency monitoring or for those wishing to keep tabs on a person’s movements will often choose to install a passive GPS tracker. They are cheaper to purchase than those with operational reporting.

The most popular GPS tracking devices can transmit vehicle telematics and locations actively with updates as regularly as every few seconds to enable real-time data delivery to more closely monitor the device whereabouts and driving habits. Should a vehicle be stolen, these devices offer the additional protection of real-time location monitoring, which is known to help in getting stolen vehicles and property returned to their owner. Active tracking systems also have SOS capability. Should there be an emergency on pushing a simple alert button, the device will contact a designated individual for assistance.

Use wherever you are

Many GPS trackers work in many countries worldwide. However, checking with your GPS tracker supplier is essential as some exclusions and differences between European and worldwide systems may hinder you. Firstly, a device must be unlocked and compatible with the 2G/3G/850/900 bands used within the areas you require your device to operate. You will need a SIM offering coverage in all areas you travel through. One exception is likely to be Japan, as Japan’s cellular network differs from other countries.

Pay as you go

To enable an active GPS tracking device to report real-time vehicle locations and telematics, the device requires an active SIM, with monthly subscriptions to keep the service active or choose a provider that offers SIM credits instead. SIM credits are purchased in advance and used on a pay-as-you-go basis, making them an economical option. They only become active and begin reporting when the vehicle or person is in motion.


If you are looking for the peace of mind and protection of knowing where your car, lorry, motorcycle or expensive farm and heavy plant machinery, or even your child or elderly relative is at all times, then installing an active GPS tracker is the answer. If your vehicle is stolen or your loved one is prone to wandering, a GPS tracker will help you locate them and bring them home quickly. A thief is also far less likely to target a vehicle that has a tracking device fitted, so they act as a deterrent too. They may also reduce your insurance premium or be a condition of insurance acceptance, which is now frequently the case for high-value vehicles.

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