Tracking 101: FAQs About GPS Asset Tracking Accuracy   - Geoforce

Tracking 101: FAQs About GPS Asset Tracking Accuracy  

Common FAQs about GPS asset tracking.

It can feel like information about asset tracking is endless and hard to grasp if you’re beginning to consider what you need, especially regarding accuracy. You need a reliable GPS solution that ultimately makes your life (and the lives of your employees) easier. Knowing if asset tracking is dependable gives you peace of mind knowing it will do those things.    

We’ve compiled a list of our most asked questions regarding asset tracking accuracy to help you navigate whether GPS asset tracking might be right for you.   

Q: Is asset tracking accurate?  

A: There is more to this question than a simple yes or no because everyone has a different perception of the word accurate. If we were to take that question as “Is GPS asset tracking consistently reliable?” The answer is simple: Yes. Due to many technological advancements and how GPS tracking generally works, this type of asset tracking is reliable for several reasons. By only getting mildly nerdy, GPS asset tracking uses something called the Triangulation Principle. This means the GPS relies on a network of satellites orbiting the Earth, with a GPS receiver calculating its position by measuring the distance between itself and multiple satellites. Using this concept, GPS can accurately pinpoint location in three-dimensional space. Between triangulation, and nearly global coverage, this technology allows for consistent, reliable information.   

Typically, when we receive this question, many want to know the precision of asset tracking. For example, if your asset is within a warehouse, you might want to know if your asset tracker can tell you where your asset is down to the row. We’ll cover that answer in the next question.   

Q: Does your device report indoors? If so, to what extent?   

A: Our cellular devices – AT1, AT3, GT2c, and GT2h – can report indoors but are limited to a loose area in the building. So, to answer the exact question from the last question, you’ll know your asset is in a warehouse but not the specific row of the warehouse. This is beneficial in keeping tabs on when shipments come in or leave, where necessary equipment is, and where you can retrieve it and other applications. While GPS asset tracking can improve many areas of your company’s operations, it does not replace inventory management.    

Q: What is Geoforce’s ‘drift’ for satellite devices?  

A: In GPS satellite tracking, “drift” refers to the change in the orbit of a satellite over time. Each GPS satellite orbits the Earth precisely, ensuring its positions are accurately known. However, a satellite’s orbit can experience minor deviations from its intended path due to various factors. These deviations can lead to inaccuracies, but while drift can introduce errors in GPS calculations, the GPS’s overall accuracy is still relatively high for most civilian applications.   

Due to drift, our satellite devices can tell you where your assets are within a 15-30 ft range. So, if you have a vehicle you’re tracking, our devices can detect which area of a parking lot your vehicle is in down to about 4-6 spaces. Not perfect, but very close. 

Q: What is the ‘drift’ for cellular devices?  

A: Cellular devices can have better accuracy because cell towers are on the ground instead of moving in space. Using the analogy from before, on average, our drift for our cellular equipment is 1-3 parking spaces. You can visit our blog that covers the comparisons between cellular and satellite connectivity.

Q: How often does it report location or asset movement?  

A: Our devices can ping as often as every 15 minutes or as infrequently as once every three days; that range depends on how often you want to be notified. It is important to note that the more often the device pings, the more battery it takes. Fewer pings mean longer battery life. When you deploy a tracking solution you can control how often you’re notified about your assets.   

Q: Does the device need a clear view of the sky?  

A: Our satellite device must have an exposure to the sky because that is how it can be read by the satellite. Cellular devices do not need a clear view of the sky but still need to be placed on the exterior of your asset so it can ping the cellular towers.   

Q: How far can I hide the device while still getting consistent location reports?  

A: If you are utilizing a satellite device, then the device must lay flat and provides the best view of the sun and the sky. However, depending on the application and solar availability, you might need to find an alternate mounting orientation. Cellular devices can be placed in more inconspicuous locations on the exterior of the asset.   

Q: Does the device have an antenna?  

A: Our devices do not have an antenna, and our smallest device is the size of a hockey puck, while our largest device is the size of a small brick. 

About Geoforce   

Geoforce was founded in 2007 with the simple belief that the chaos and pain of field operations could be alleviated with technology. Since 2007, our mission has been to build the largest global network of connected field assets to provide operational intelligence to companies involved in field operations worldwide.   

Combining a cloud-based software platform with rugged GPS tracking devices on both global satellite and cellular networks, Geoforce’s solutions provide:  

  • Efficient asset location and retrieval.  
  • Rental invoice auditing.  
  • Service delivery verification.  
  • Inspection compliance.  
  • Equipment maintenance alerts.  

Our core values unite our team at Geoforce, help us deliver exceptional products and services to our customers, and keep our company rooted in growth and innovation.  Ready to get started? Start your quote and connect with one of our team members.