What is Real Time GPS Tracking?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Global positioning system (GPS) technology allows people to track objects and determine exactly where they are at any given time. Sometimes, GPS technology delivers tracking information after the fact, meaning it is delayed and not current. When current information is delivered while the tracking is happening, this is referred to as real time GPS tracking. This type of tracking is very popular for use with cell phones and vehicles, and it may have other uses as well. Unfortunately, the technology isn’t always used in a legal manner and is sometimes the subject of controversy.

Originally, GPS technology wasn’t available for use by regular people. Instead, it was used by military operations. Today, however, people can use GPS technology for finding their way around, whether on foot or by car, as well as to track the location and movement of nearly any type of object. The technology used in GPS tracking is satellite based. Satellites track a GPS device that is embedded in an object or placed on or under it.


The information GPS satellites return is very detailed. Real time GPS tracking can be used to determine the longitude, latitude, and altitude of an object at any given time. For example, if a person’s cell phone is set up for real time GPS tracking, he can use the Internet to monitor its exact whereabouts. For example, a person may use the technology to discover where his misplaced phone is or even to track the whereabouts of loved ones. This technology can be used to track objects virtually anywhere in the world.

Real time GPS tracking is often used with vehicles. For example, a person may use a real time tracking device to track the whereabouts of a vehicle he owns, keeping abreast of where it is traveling or learning where it has stopped. For example, a parent may use real time GPS tracking to learn where his teenager is. If his teen says he will be traveling within the neighborhood, but instead takes a ride to the next state, his parent may use real time GPS tracking to discover this while it is happening. Likewise, a company in a freight business may use real time tracking to monitor the movements of its vehicles, even checking their speed if desired.

It’s important to note that real time GPS tracking isn’t always legal. For example, a person may use the technology to track his own phone or car, but many jurisdictions make it illegal to use it to track devices another party owns. For example, if a suspicious boyfriend attaches a tracking device to his girlfriend’s car and it is discovered, he may run afoul of the law.


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