Can You Locate a Car by Its GPS System?

by Steven Miller

Locating stolen or lost automobiles can be relatively easy with the use of a Global Positioning Systems (GPS) device. You can use GPS devices to locate a vehicle in two ways.

Active Devices

Active GPS units track a car's movement by recording data from various positions and then transmitting the information back to a computer through the use of a cellular network.

Passive Devices

Locating vehicles with passive devices is a bit harder to accomplish because the device must be removed from the vehicle and information must be downloaded to a computer in order to determine a vehicle's past positions. Locating vehicles with a passive device is great for determining a vehicle's travel history but not its current location.

Tracking Function

GPS receivers on the ground use timing transmissions from three or four satellites to calculate a vehicle's position. Once the receiver determines this position the information is either stored in the receiver or sent to a computer.

Security System

An automobile that has GPS capabilities installed as a part of its security system can notify the owner or law enforcement of its location by phone or email when the alarm is triggered.

Telematic Systems

Telematic in automobiles means automation. GPS navigation falls under telematic systems within a vehicle. This technology allows GPS to send a signal to emergency services in the event a driver is in an accident so responders can locate and assist him.

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