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GPS tracking unit

A GPS tracking unit is a device, normally carried by a moving vehicle or person, that uses the Global Positioning System to determine and track its precise location, and hence that of its carrier, at intervals. The recorded location data can be stored within the tracking unit, or it may be transmitted to a central location database, or Internet-connected computer, using a cellular (GPRS or SMS), radio, or satellite modem embedded in the unit. This allows the asset's location to be displayed against a map backdrop either in real time or when analysing the track later, using GPS tracking software. Data tracking software is available for smartphones with GPS capability.

A GPS tracker essentially contains a GPS module to receive the GPS signal and calculate the coordinates. For data loggers it contains large memory to store the coordinates, data pushers additionally contains the GSM/GPRS modem to transmit this information to a central computer either via SMS or via GPRS in form of IP packets.

Usually, a GPS tracker will fall into one of these three categories, though most GPS-equipped phones can work in any of these modes according to mobile applications installed:

A GPS logger simply logs the position of the device at regular intervals in its internal memory. Modern GPS loggers have either a memory card slot, or internal flash memory card and a USB port. Some act as a USB flash drive. This allows downloading of the track log data for further analysis in a computer. The track list or point of interest list may be in GPX, KML, NMEA or other format.



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