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How Far Can a GPS Tracker Work?

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How Far Does a Live GPS Tracker work

The short answer? It varies. The longer answer? It depends on your software, your hardware, and your signal. But the rule of thumb is that a live GPS tracking device that is in cellular coverage with perfect line of sight can be accurate up to 6 feet, and work anywhere cell coverage is present.

Remember when we talked about trilateration here? There are lots of factors that contribute to how accurate each of those circles (or spheres, really) might be, each of which affects that intersection point.

Mountainous or otherwise topographically varied terrain, for instance, can interrupt satellite’s line of sight, so to speak, hindering the accuracy of the reading, as can dense forest. Similarly, if you only have three satellites available to you, rather than four, you no longer have the choice of which three to use in your trilateration, which also affects accuracy.

Similarly, some models of GPS trackers are simply better than others. That comes done to the software and hardware used as well as how frequently information is transferred between the device and the satellites on which it is relying for GPS location information.

If, for instance, you are using a free app on your phone, your GPS tracker is likely not going to be as accurate as if you’re paying for a top-notch real time GPS tracking system that utilizes both hardware in your vehicle and software in the form of a phone app.

And all of those factors contribute to the range of your GPS tracker. If you’re using a car GPS tracker that is a real time GPS tracker (or live GPS tracker), you’re likely to get what you pay for. Some systems have coast-to-coast coverage in the United States as long as you have cell coverage. Some systems will even allow you to upgrade to international plans. Other systems, however, may be more restricted in the area they will cover, meaning that if a vehicle is driven outside that service area, you might be out of luck.

So if you are considering paying for a live GPS tracker system, make sure you do your due diligence and understand what range it will cover—and if there are any hidden fees required to get that full coverage, for instance.