Auto Parts

How and Why to Use a GPS Tracker on a Vehicle

Every wondered why you might want to purchase a GPS tracker? Top reasons include:

  • To be able to monitor where your child is.
  • To be able to see where your car is at, either for your personal vehicle or as part of your company fleet.
  • To be able to have a log of destinations, useful for salespeople.

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There are numerous different trackers on the market, however, which means you do have to make sure you get the one that is right for you. This really starts by asking yourself whether the location information you want to see is in real time, or whether you’re happy with some delay. This is an important question to answer, because GPS trackers come in one of two types:

  1. Historical or passive loggers. These are needed if you only need to have regular updates or daily reports.
  2. Real time or active loggers. These are needed if you have to know where the tracker is at any given moment.

What Is an Active or Real Time GPS Tracker?

Active trackers:

  • Provide new updates on locations every 10 seconds to five minutes, with the most advanced models being the quickest.
  • Come with a map interface, usually linked to Google Maps or another such service.
  • Cost a little bit more than passive trackers, although they are becoming more and more affordable.
  • Have monthly fees associated with them, with the fee varying depending on who you sign up with.
  • Provide detailed history reports that can be saved and/or printed.
  • Come with live speed alerts, giving you the ability to set a maximum speed.
  • Come with safe zone and geofending alerts, which means that you receive an alert as soon as the tracker enters an area that you have set as out of bounds.
  • Are available with rechargeable batteries, or they can be hardwired into a vehicle.

What Is a Passive or Historical GPS Tracker?

Historical trackers:

  • Do not provide you with location updates. Rather, you need to plug your tracker in to see where it has been.
  • Come with a map interface, usually linked to Google Maps or another such service.
  • Are not as expensive as active trackers, but cost does vary depending on manufacturer.
  • Do not require you to sign up to a contract. Rather, you purchase the device and you don’t have to pay anything else.
  • Come with detailed history reports, which you can print and/or save.
  • Do not offer the opportunity to receive alerts when certain speeds are exceeded, or when they enter into a zone that you have marked as unsafe.
  • Are powered with rechargeable batteries.

As you can see, there are some differences between the two options. Clearly, overall, the active logger provides you with the most accurate and detailed information and it enables you to access this whenever and wherever you want. The downside is, however, that these trackers are also very expensive, particularly when you consider that you usually have to sign up to some sort of monthly plan.

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