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How accurate is a GPS van tracker?

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

GPS van tracking is renowned for its precise accuracy. In fact, GPS van trackers are typically accurate to within around three metres (10 feet). This high degree of precision is one of the factors that has made GPS



Table of Contents

  1. How do GPS tracking devices work?
  2. What information do GPS trackers provide?
  3. What different types of van tracking is there?
  4. What are the main benefits of GPS van tracking for businesses?


Q: How do GPS tracking devices work?

A: As the name implies, the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracks and monitors the location of particular assets. GPS van tracking systems work by providing real-time updates on the location of a fleet asset equipped with a vehicle tracking device. This device emits signals which are picked up by the GPS satellite network. This in turn relays the signals via a cellular network to the cloud server, and from there the information is displayed on a computer program or mobile app used by fleet managers.

There is the potential for GPS van tracking devices to pass location and other data points over the satellite communication network, which offers a more robust mechanism to transfer data. Businesses that have resources working in remote locations, or in areas with poor cellular coverage can opt for this type of data transfer in order to ensure reliable continuation of resource visibility.


Q: What information do GPS trackers provide?

A: As we have noted, GPS trackers provide precise real-time data on vehicle location. This has made them indispensable to fleet managers, and have allowed for major improvements in efficiency, reliability and overall standards of customer service. For instance, managers are now able to redeploy fleet assets to where they are needed as and when the necessity occurs. So, if one vehicle breaks down, is involved in an accident or simply finds itself caught in traffic, another vehicle can be sent out to handle the job in question.

Telematics systems supported by GPS tracking, however, offer the benefits of a van tracker as well as a wide range of other functions. These include detailed data on driver behaviour and vehicle performance. This opens up the possibility of making significant efficiency savings (for example, by allowing for improvements in fuel economy) as well as potentially lowering insurance premiums through improved driver behaviour and lower accident rates.


Q: What different types of van tracking is there?

A: Believe it or not, van tracker systems don’t all do the same job or do it to the same effect; some excel in monitoring fuel usage, some in route planning, some on monitoring driver behaviour, or customisable reporting, and some do all them well.

There are also two different types of van fleet management solutions: RFID and GPS, which power either an ‘active’ or a ‘passive’ system.

An ‘active’ system means that these devices do not need you to manually download and access the data. Instead, they make use of cellular networks or satellites to send the data straight to your computer. This means you no longer have to wait until the vehicle is back at the site to manually remove the tracking device and access the data – it is all sent over wireless networks.

This is also the reason why active tracking systems are able to provide you with real-time location data and vehicle information. You can know where your vehicle is anytime you want or need to know. You can see the locations on a map and even see how your vehicle is moving.

Passive tracking systems however, gather all the data you want to track and store it in its memory. When the vehicle returns to site, you can then remove the device and connect it to your computer to view all the data it has gathered, both for the most recent trip and for past trips as well. Because of its manual process, passive tracking systems would only be suitable for businesses that do not require real-time tracking data for their vehicles. Or for those businesses that would only want to track their mileage and other information.

Based on this: RFID works well for vans that visit logistic centres or warehouses as the RFID tags placed on the vehicles are triggered when they pass a sensor, and they are tracked from that point on using GPS, making them suitable for both ‘passive’ and ‘active’ van tracking systems. As we’ve mentioned already, GPS systems provide that always-on approach to van tracking and the ability to download data in real-time, so are therefore more suited to powering ‘active’ systems.

For businesses operating multiple vehicles all at the same time, hardwired van trackers are the most suitable option and can be wired into a vehicle’s electrical system in a matter of minutes. With van theft on the rise a hardwired tracker will ensure you have a greater chance of recovering the vehicle as it will either be harder to spot or harder to rip out for the thief. For those with a smaller number of vehicles that get used alternatively, a portable van tracker is a great option, equally quick to install but of course easier to remove for those in the know.


Q: What are the main benefits of GPS van tracking for businesses?

A: Running a fleet of vehicles is a complex business, and one that can often be prone to unforeseen complications. GPS van tracking offers fleets a wide range of benefits. Key benefits of GPS van tracking to businesses include:

  • Optimised deployment of fleet assets, leading to reduced downtime, improved reliability and superior customer service
  • Improved vehicle security in case of unauthorised use or theft, potentially reducing insurance premiums
  • Greater efficiency and improved safety through more precise route planning
  • Reduced paperwork and reporting back, as much of the communication between the base and its fleet assets is automated
  • Monitor driver behaviour and promote safe driving via instant alerts and driver scorecards

This is on top of all the other benefits provided by telematics systems, which provide finely-detailed insights into the way both vehicles and drivers are performing, and therefore allow fleets to make even more substantial efficiency savings while driving up standards of driver safety and customer service.