The Global Positioning System, or GPS as it’s commonly referred to, was invented as a collaborative effort by the United States’ Department of Defense and Dr. Ivan Getting as a means to create a satellite course-plotting system, primarily used for navigation purposes.
At the time, the GPS project cost taxpayers approximately $12 billion for the design and launch of 18 satellites, six in each of the orbital planes spaced 120 degrees apart, and their ground stations. GPS uses these satellites as reference points to determine and essentially pinpoint geographical positions.
The idea for a global positioning system was initially intended for military and intelligence organizational use during the Cold War, with the initiation of the project stemming from the Soviet-launched spacecraft Sputnik. Since its inception in the 1960s, GPS has evolved into a larger, more advanced satellite network constellation that orbits Earth at fixed points in space to send signals to anyone with a GPS receiver. The signals carry a time code and geographic data point that displays a device’s exact position and time anywhere on the planet.
GPS has enabled people to locate ships, measure mountains, make maps and, eventually, help people in daily life. Today, the technology is commonly used in cars, vans, trucks and other fleet-based vehicles.
The Evolution of GPS Fleet Tracking
While route finding for drivers is the most commonly used feature of GPS software, there have been many advances as well. The automatic vehicle location provided through a GPS device has become a powerful tool for managing fleets of vehicles. And beyond simply tracking where a particular vehicle is located, the tracking technology provides a simple way to manage a large staff of drivers. Service-based companies can use this information to evaluate the locations of their vehicles in service and determine which employee is able to arrive at the destination the quickest.
GPS used as vehicle location technology also allows a company to better manage its entire fleet in a bigger picture sense. The data lets fleet companies run business operations much smoother and makes its customer service more efficient. Moreover, GPS vehicle location provides information that can be used to confirm that drivers are following internal and legal requirements such as taking rest breaks, staying within designated zones, and complying with speed limits.