A GPS Tracker Explained for Beginners

So, you’ve heard that these GPS Tracker things are useful for knowing where someone or something is, but how do they work? What extra costs are there? How exactly would you use a GPS tracker?

GPS Trackers use overhead GPS satellites to find their location. There are satellites in the sky which the GPS Tracker interacts with, and then is able to triangulate its exact location on the earth using latitude and longitude coordinates. These give incredible accuracy.

A GPS Tracker is like a mobile phone, in that it requires a SIM card, and is able to send and receive texts and calls (some have onboard microphones and speakers for this purpose). The GPS Tracker then has its own phone number – depending on the SIM card you put inside. Texting the GPS tracker costs whatever it would normally cost you to send a text. When the GPS tracker automatically replies with its location, the cost of that text will also depend on the SIM inside the GPS tracker. For example, if you use our SIM cards, the tracker is able to send 300 texts a month for £5. More than enough!

There are a number of specific texts you can send to the GPS tracker to make it do various things – set up the geo-fencing, request the location, or call you back with remote listening enabled. All of these commands are detailed in the manual that you receive with the GPS tracker.

So now, I’ll walk you through exactly what you would do if you bought a GPS tracker watch from us, to track someone who is prone to wandering and becoming lost (purely for the purpose of this example).

Setting up the GPS tracker

You receive your nice GPS tracker package in the mail, within a few days of ordering (sometimes even next day). You need to put a SIM card in the GPS tracker, so either you have your own, or you can request a free one from us when ordering. SIM cards are what you put in mobile phones – the GPS tracker needs one because they send and receive text messages, and can make and receive calls. So you’ll need to decide whether you want a “pay as you go” SIM, or a “contract” SIM with inclusive minutes and call time. Our favourite deal (available with the SIM cards we provide) is only £5pm, with one hour of call time, 300 texts, and only 20p per day of internet use (which you will need if you want to track the GPS tracker online). This is the only extra cost – the cost of the texts or calls that are made on the GPS tracker – which you pay directly to the SIM provider.

OK, so you have installed a SIM card into the GPS tracker, and followed the user-friendly manual to insert the battery.

The first thing you can do, is program the GPS tracker with your mobile phone number to be its main “notification” number. This is where the alerts will be texted if there are any (e.g. the SOS button gets pressed, or the batteries run low). The actual text you would send to the GPS tracker to set up your phone number is like this:

#710#(then your phone number here)#0000##

So you would send that to the phone number for the SIM card inside the GPS tracker. The GPS tracker will then automatically respond with a text saying “Config OK!” to keep you happy that everything is going according to plan. Having done that, the GPS tracker is ready to be used.

Using the GPS tracker

Let’s assume then that the GPS tracker is charged, and you have strapped it to the wrist of the person you want to track.

There are now a few things you can do, depending on how you want to track whether the person wanders.

Option 1) You get immediate location coordinates, when you need them. You text 9880000 to the GPS tracker, and it then sends you back a text with the location coordinates (bear in mind though that it may not get a GPS signal if indoors). If you have a smart phone (e.g. iphone, android, blackberry) then you can click on a link in the text to go straight to Google Maps on your phone, and see the location. Otherwise, you have to put the coordinates into Google Maps, to see the location, like this (click here).

Option 2) You program the GPS tracker to tell you if it strays from a set point. You do this by sending a specific text to the GPS tracker. Then, if the person moves too far away, the GPS tracker will send an alert text to the phone number you set up in the tracker earlier.

Option 3) You set up the GPS tracker to track online. You can then log into a website (at work, at home, wherever) to see if the GPS tracker has moved much during the day. You can then see a zig-zaggy line on a map, and can see at what time the GPS tracker was at which point.

So that’s the tracking side of things covered – if anything didn’t make sense, or you have any questions, use the form to the left!

Other useful things you can do with the GPS tracker

Some of our GPS trackers also work like mini-mobile phones – they can make and receive calls. Some elderly people don’t want to mess around with such things – but the functionality is there if you need it. You can call the GPS tracker, and it will ring and can be answered. Two phone numbers can be programmed to correspond to the two buttons on the side of the GPS watch tracker.

You can also call the tracker and make use of the onboard microphone – for example if you want to listen in to the surroundings to try and ascertain where they are. If the GPS signal isn’t available, you might want to know if they are at home watching the TV, or in a local pub for example.

The GPS tracker will also have an SOS button – so if the carrier gets lost or in trouble, they can press the button. Again, the function is there if you need it.

Any questions about using a GPS Tracker? Read our FAQ or Just Ask!

Click here to see our range of GPS Trackers.

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