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gps tracking

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GPS tracking refers to the use of a global navigation satellite system, located in Earth’s orbit, that communicates with an electronic device, in order to track the location of a person or object on Earth’s surface. This type of satellite system provides a consistent means of tracking, irrespective of weather conditions, as long as there is an unobstructed line of sight between the satellites and the object they are tracking. The process involves the use of at least four satellites to calculate the position of the device. They are set in medium orbit around Earth and can determine location with a fair degree of accuracy.

GPS systems are usually used for vehicle tracking, which can be crucial in the event of an emergency. The location data may be recorded and transmitted to a database via the Internet. In every day life, however, GPS systems mounted on vehicles are used to coordinate drivers across area maps, by delivering a live feed on their position, coupled with directions for possibles routes to a destination.

GPS tracking units can fit into three categories: data loggers, data pushers and data pullers. Data loggers are GPS devices that simply record the position of the device, at regular intervals. The data is stored on a memory card and can later be downloaded into a computer for in-depth analysis.

Data pushers are the most widespread type of GPS device, and they can be used to track individuals and assets, or as vehicle tracking systems. They work by essentially “pushing” the location data (together with other relevant information, such as altitude and speed) to a server that can store and analyze it.

In recent years, GPS devices are starting to be integrated into high-end mobile phones, and tracking applications may be purchased or acquired for free, as open source software. Data pushers have numerous uses – in law enforcement, to track offenders who are on bail; in sports, as a means to monitor races; in surveillance and espionage; and to aid with the care of the elderly. GPS trackers may also be used to monitor wild animals and study many of their activities, such as migration and breeding patterns.

Data pullers are the exact opposite of data pushers, and are used to literally “pull” data regarding location. They are a less common type of GPS device and are sometimes used to track freights or containers, which do not require a regular data feed.

You’ll find bloggers talking about GPS tracking at sites like cyberlaw.stanford.edu and jurist.law.pitt.edu.

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