How Do GPS Fleet Tracking Devices Work?

There is a better than even chance that you are already familiar with the myriad of potential benefits that that GPS fleet tracking devices have to offer. After all, there are fleet managers all over the globe extolling the the virtues of this technology on their social media channels and in various meeting rooms.

You have also probably heard how GPS tracking devices can help an organisation cut fuel consumption, improve record keeping, provide customers with up to the minute parcel tracking information and even improve the driving habits of fleet vehicle drivers. All of these things can prove to be immensely useful to any organisation, but what you probably haven’t heard is how this technology actually works.

GPS fleet tracking in a nutshell

To begin with, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. This system is made up of 27 global positioning satellites. These satellites orbit the planet in very precise patterns, which means that each of the 6 orbital planes used by GPS satellites are always covered by 4 active satellites. These active satellites work together to pinpoint the direction, speed and of course the location of vehicles equipped with trackers.

This is done using a mathematical process known as trilateration. Receivers placed in your vehicles are used in this way to determine faster or more efficient routes, record data related to the journey the vehicle is on, work out travel time and also to estimate fuel usage based on speed, terrain and other factors such as idling at traffic lights.

gps fleet tracking systems

GPS tracking

The short explanation of GPS fleet tracking technology is that it uses complicated mathematical equations. That being said, there are different types of tracking solutions available;

● Data loggers
● Data pullers
● Data pushers

Loggers operate by ‘logging’ the position of the vehicle at regular intervals. This data is stored locally, and retrieval is made possible by way of a USB connection.
Pullers are not in common use for the purposes of fleet tracking but they can be very useful for tracking delivery items that may have been taken unlawfully from one of your fleet vehicles.


Pushers are the most useful for fleet tracking. These receivers are able to transmit data from the vehicle / tracker on to a central location where an operator, or fleet manager, is able to locate vehicles or deliverables in real time, instantly, from just about anywhere in the world.

Fleet managers that make use of GPS tracking devices are able to take advantage of many profitable benefits that the technology has to offer. Knowing just how you intend to use the information gleaned by a GPS technology (navigation, record keeping, loss prevention, lowering fuel consumption, driver monitoring etc.) is going to help you decide which GPS tracking solution is going to be the better investment for you and your company.

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