What is a GPS tracker and where is it used?


GPS (Global Positioning System) technology is an innovative invention widely used by pet owners worldwide to ensure the safety of their pets. However, many people lack a clear understanding of how GPS trackers actually work and the various applications they support.

Let's explore the functioning of GPS tracking devices and highlight some key benefits of this technology.


What are GPS Tracking Devices?

GPS tracking devices are portable devices that enable users to monitor and track their location. While most of us are familiar with using GPS for navigation, such as following Siri's directions to reach a hotel, GPS trackers have gained popularity for monitoring family members, pets, vehicles, and belongings.


The Essence of GPS Signal Data

At the core of a GPS signal is time - specifically, the precise time the signal departs from the satellite. The receiver logs the exact time it receives the signal, and by calculating the time difference, it determines the distance traveled by the signal. To estimate its location with 95% accuracy, the receiver measures its distance to at least four satellites.


How do GPS Trackers Work?

GPS satellites orbit the Earth twice a day, continuously transmitting information via radio waves. These transmissions include the time the message was transmitted, the ephemeris (orbit information), and the almanac (satellite health and rough orbits). GPS receivers utilize these signals by calculating the time at which the signals were transmitted by the satellites and the time at which they were received on Earth. By knowing the position of at least four satellites and the transmission time of each (known as time to first fix), the receiver can lock onto its own location using a method called trilateration.


The time required to acquire a GPS signal varies from a few seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on factors such as location and interference. Interference can be caused by terrain, buildings, foliage, atmospheric inconsistencies, and other elements, leading to signal reflections and multiple paths.


Global GPS Equivalents

Initially developed for military purposes during the Cold War, GPS primarily refers to the 31 satellites operated by the US. However, other countries and entities have also established their own Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), collectively known as GPS equivalents. These include Russia's GLONASS, China's BeiDou, the European Union's Galileo, India's NavIC, and Japan's QZSS. GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo offer global coverage, similar to GPS, ensuring worldwide functionality of GPS-enabled devices.


Assisted GPS (A-GPS)

A-GPS technology comes into play when there is no direct line of sight between the device and satellites positioned 12,500 miles away. A-GPS devices supplement satellite signals with signals from cell towers and Wi-Fi networks to triangulate the user's location. By averaging data from all three sources, A-GPS provides a more accurate location analysis.


Advantages of A-GPS

  • GPS proves particularly useful in situations where satellite signals are obstructed, reducing their accuracy. By leveraging existing servers connected to mobile network cellsites, A-GPS devices retrieve information from satellites promptly. These servers, being closer to mobile devices and continuously exchanging data, provide real-time knowledge of satellite orbits and locations. This leads to faster time to first fix compared to standard GPS. Additionally, the servers possess robust computational capabilities to analyze signals from the GPS receiver and satellites, enabling error correction and precise location determination.



A-GPS & GPS comparison chart




Stands for

Assisted Global Positioning System

Global Positioning System

Source of triangulation information

Radio signals from satellites and assistance servers e.g. mobile network cell sites

Radio signals from GPS satellites


A-GPS devices determine location coordinates faster because they have better connectivity with cell sites than directly with satellites.

GPS devices may take several minutes to determine their location because it takes longer to establish connectivity with 4 satellites.


Location determined via A-GPS are slightly less accurate than GPS

GPS devices can determine location coordinates to within 1 meter accuracy


It costs money to use A-GPS devices on an ongoing basis because they use mobile network resources.

GPS devices communicate directly with satellites for free. There is no cost of operation once the device is paid for.


Mobile phones

Cars, planes, ships/boats


However, relying solely on Wi-Fi or cellular signals has limitations, especially in areas with inadequate infrastructure lacking cell towers or Wi-Fi networks. In such cases, A-GPS positioning is ineffective.


How about Aorkuler Tracker?

The Aorkuler dog tracker is specifically designed for scenarios where cellular signals are absent or unstable. It directly connects to GPS satellites using its built-in GPS chip and transmits GPS location information through a radio module. Unlike GPS trackers relying on cellular signals for assisted GPS positioning, the Aorkuler tracker establishes a direct connection to GPS satellites, which may take a few seconds to a few minutes to establish (subject to weather and environmental influences that can affect initial positioning time).


The advantage of the Aorkuler dog tracker lies in its ability to operate normally even in areas without cellular signal or with unstable signal. This feature makes it the ideal choice for dog owners who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and other adventures.



  • Posted on by Abdel Fudadin
    This is exactly the issue I encountered with the Aorkuler tracker recently. Due to the unstable cellular signal in my area, I couldn’t opt for a GPS tracker that relied on cellular networks. After conducting a thorough comparison, I decided to go with the Aorkuler dog tracker. However, I did notice that the initial positioning time was longer compared to the GPS device I previously used. I initially thought it was a device problem and reached out to your after-sales service for assistance. Fortunately, the issue has been resolved now. Apart from the longer initial positioning time, the subsequent GPS connection has been reliable, allowing me to have peace of mind while my dog roams freely off the leash.
  • Posted on by Abdel Fudadin

    Yes, GPS trackers based on radio frequency transmission, like Garmin, may have a longer initial GPS location acquisition time compared to cellular-based trackers. This is because they do not have access to A-GPS assisted positioning through cellular or Wi-Fi signals. However, once the initial location is acquired, they can provide reliable tracking even in areas with unstable or no cellular signal. It’s important to consider your specific needs and the usage scenario when choosing a GPS tracker for your dog.

  • Posted on by Terence Hall
    If I take my dog to an area without cellular signal, GPS trackers relying on cellular or A-GPS signals won’t be functional. In such cases, my only option is a radio-based GPS tracker.

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