7 Common GPS Tracking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

GPS tracking mistakes

Car ownership is extremely common in the US. Yet, around 59 percent of households have two more cars available.

Of course, not all of those vehicles see use on a daily basis. A second or third vehicle is simply a convenience for many homes.

Yet, cars are expensive. Even used cars average a sale price of more than $33,000. Let’s say that you don’t use a car regularly. You may want a GPS tracker on it to protect your investment.

If you want to get the most out of your GPS tracking, keep reading for seven GPS tracking mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Poor Accuracy

One of the more common problems that people face with the GPS tracking is that the location data offers poor accuracy. The tracking tells you that, for example, your other vehicle is at X location. Yet, you know for a fact that the vehicle isn’t there.

This is one of the problems that typically arise from the way that you go about installing GPS trackers. Unless the antenna on the device has a clear view of the sky, it can’t send a clear signal to the appropriate satellite. The satellite, in turn, provides poor accuracy in the user dashboard when you try to check the location.

The easiest way you can avoid this problem is by ensuring that the antenna can point at the sky with minimal obstructions. In most cases, this clears up any accuracy problems. 

2. Poor Visibility

A related problem that some GPS owners face is poor visibility. In this case, the problem isn’t with the GPS device itself. Rather, the problem is that there is some kind of obstruction between the satellite itself and the device.

That obstruction prevents the device from getting data from the satellite, rather than preventing the satellite from getting data from the device.

A number of things can create poor visibility problems. For example, if the satellite is beyond a certain range, you’ll see visibility problems.

Other obstructions can include:

  • Buildings
  • Mountains
  • Heavy forests

You may also find that there is poor visibility if the tracker goes through tunnels. There are a limited number of ways you can avoid this problem other than moving the vehicle to a different location. Moving the vehicle can, in some cases, get the tracker out from the influence of the obstruction.

3. Download Errors

Of course, not everyone uses GPS trackers for the same reasons. A small business owner, for example, might want GPS trackers on their vehicles for the purpose of collecting GPS data to improve delivery routes.

Of course, there is always the potential for download errors. Assuming your computer keeps behaving properly, download errors are generally a problem on the provider’s end of things. For example, a server gets misconfigured and interferes with data downloads.

You can’t do anything yourself to fix or avoid these problems. What you can do is report the problem as soon as you spot them. That lets the service provider fix the issue.

4. Overestimating GPS

For all that GPS can do, it is still just a combination of hardware and software. It will generally do what it’s designed to do, but you shouldn’t overestimate it. For example, a GPS tracker only really tells you where it is, not where your vehicle is at any given moment.

You should also undertake some common sense precautions like visually checking on the vehicle periodically. That manual check helps ensure that you don’t rely entirely on the GPS for confirmation of vehicle location.

5. Not Understanding the Power Requirements

Vehicle GPS trackers are powerful tools, but they are still just a piece of technology. They come with power requirements to which you should pay attention.

Some trackers, for example, can roll along just fine for as long as a decade on a few AAA batteries. With other trackers, you must wire them to a reliable power source or they’ll stop functioning.

If you want to fully exploit the benefits of GPS trackers, you must evaluate your own tracking needs in advance. This includes weighing how often you’ll move or use a vehicle.

If you don’t drive a vehicle on a regular basis, that wired GPS tracker will leech power from the vehicle battery until it runs dry. In cases like that, you might want a tracker that requires less power. Minimally, you’ll want a version that lets you install GPS tracker batteries as a backup power source.

6. Not Understanding the Update Frequency

Not all GPS trackers update at the same rate. For example, trackers designed for minimal power consumption might only send an update signal once or twice a day. While that’s fine for a car you keep in storage, it won’t help much for a vehicle that your teenager took on a camping trip.

On the other hand, other trackers might update as often as every few seconds or, if you’re more conservative, every few minutes. It’s important that you understand how often a tracker updates before you buy and install it. That ensures that the update frequency matches up with your actual needs.

7. Dashboard Unfamiliarity

Getting what you want from GPS tracking depends in part on understanding the dashboard or app that you use. If you go into the app or dashboard and can’t navigate through its options, you’ll struggle to get the information you want.

Make sure that you spend some time learning about the dashboard so that, if you need to, you can find what you’re looking for quickly.

GPS Tracking Mistakes and You

While the GPS tracking mistakes listed above aren’t the only ones, they’re some of the most common ones that people run across. Some of them, you can do something about.

For example, you can install the GPS so the antenna gets a clear look at the sky. You can move vehicles to avoid obstructions. You can pick trackers that balance update frequency and power consumption based on your needs.

With problems like download errors, you must typically rely on your service provider to resolve them.

LoneStar Tracking offers vehicle tracking hardware and services. For more information, contact LoneStar Tracking today.

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