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Tracking Technology

How do GPS trackers work?

Before we get into available tracking technologies, let's first discuss the myth on Hollywood driven Microchip GPS implants that don't exist in real life.  There is no such thing as a real time tracking GPS implant and there won't be for a very long time. The components required to make a real time GPS Tracker cannot be made into a tiny rice sized implant, if we could we would have by now! Below we explain why.

There are 3 types of common transmission technologies currently used in tracking from short to long range.

  • Microchip implants (RFID Chips) - Very short range (1-5m)
  • Radio frequency tracking - Medium tracking range (500m to 3000m)
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) & GSM (Unlimited / Mobile network)

LiveTrek uses (GPS) & GSM 
Livetrek GPS trackers requires both GPS and mobile reception to work much like today's smartphones. So think of a GPS tracker as a smartphone, where if a smartphone works, so will the tracker. This also means each tracker requires it's own SIM card like a phone which is provided with every LiveTrek unit. 

Real time GPS Trackers also require 5 major components and parts to work:

  • GPS Antenna - For getting coordinates from the satellite
  • GSM Antenna - For connecting with the local telecommunication towers
  • SIM card - For sending the location data via the telecommunication towers
  • Processing board - For processing and managing the data
  • Battery - To power up the above components

As you can probably tell by now, a GPS tracker is like your smartphone, without a screen and is programmed to simply send location data when possible. While just like a smartphone, you cannot get an update if there is no cellphone coverage nor would you be able to get a accurate location when indoors where GPS signal is blocked. Which leads us to conclude that a implant cannot be created unless you want all the components above to be part of an rather large implant!

In 2011, we were able to start developing trackers at 1/5th the size of an average GPS tracker and use smartphones instead of PC's for tracking locations. So the first Petrek and LiveTrek GPS units were born, at first it was a simple text or call function to get Google Map coordinates for a location. In 2012 we started developing app based trackers with the help of a talented boy from Saint Kentigerns College in New Zealand. We successfully launched our current Petrek GPS model and later the LiveTrek series. This was the first app based tracking product to be sold by retailers and vet stores.

GPS trackers however, has it’s flaws too, they use power, and requires frequent charging if used regularly and require both GSM and GPS signal to work. Weak GPS signal can also mean a location up to 200 metres off it's mark, no GSM signal will also mean no updates. But the good news is majority of populated areas will always have reception and charging time is minimal and no different to charging a phone. 

Conclusion - All the technologies currently available in our range have different ways of finding and preventing your items from getting lost. So it is vital to choose the most suitable solution for your asset. Whether it be a self powered, hardwired, or a bolt-on product. 

For more in-depth answers please visit our commonly asked questions page. There is no perfect tracker, you simply choose whats best suited for the item you are wanting to keep track of. Lintek can never guarantee the safety of your pets or  items but we do try our best to make solutions that help you reduce the risk of losing them for good. 

If there are still unanswered questions in your mind, head to our common questions page for more in-depth explanations!