Jargon in GPS Technology – Learn to read a GPS Hardware Specification Sheet

Global Positioning System(GPS)

GPS is used to find the location of an object on the ground.There are a total of 24 satellite in space. This 24 satellites together provides the location information of an object. The GPS system includes 24 satellites deployed in space about 12,000 miles (19,300 kilometers) above the earth's surface. They orbit the earth once every 12 hours at an extremely fast pace of roughly 7,000 miles per hour (11,200 kilometers per hour). The satellites are evenly spread out so that four satellites are accessible via direct line-of-sight from anywhere on the globe. Each GPS satellite broadcasts a message that includes the satellite's current position, orbit, and exact time. A GPS receiver combines the broadcasts from multiple satellites to calculate its exact position using a process called triangulation. Three satellites are required in order to determine a receiver's location, though a connection to four satellites is ideal since it provides greater accuracy.

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a packet oriented mobile data standard on the 2G and 3G cellular communication network's global system for mobile communications (GSM). GPRS was established by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in response to the earlier CDPD and i-mode packet-switched cellular technologies. It is now maintained by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).


Transfer Control Protocol/Internet ProtocolTCP/IP, or the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, is a suite of communication protocols used to interconnect network devices on the internet. TCP/IP can also be used as a communications protocol in a private network (an intranet or an extranet).

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A port is an ID on a server which on which data of a particular application is reveived from a external sources such a tracking device,or a mobile, etc.

Time to First Fix(TFF)

Time To First Fix (TTFF) is a measure of the time required for a GPS navigation device to acquire satellite signals and navigation data, and calculate a position solution (called a fix).

Cold Or Factory

The receiver is missing, or has inaccurate estimates of, its position, velocity, the time, or the visibility of any of the GPS satellites. As such, the receiver must systematically search for all possible satellites. After acquiring a satellite signal, the receiver can begin to obtainapproximate information on all the other satellites, called the almanac. This almanac is transmitted repeatedly over 12.5 minutes. Almanac datacan be received from any of the GPS satellites and is considered valid for up to 180 days. Manufacturers typically claim the factory TTFF to be 15 minutes.

Warm Or Normal

The receiver has estimates of the current time within 20 seconds, the current position within 100 kilometers, and its velocity within 25 m/s,and it has valid almanac data. It must acquire each satellite signal and obtain that satellite's detailed orbital information,called ephemeris data.Each satellite broadcasts its ephemeris data every 30 seconds, and is valid for up to four hours.

Hot Or Standby

The receiver has valid time, position, almanac, and ephemeris data, enabling a rapid acquisition of satellite signals. The time required of a receiver in this state to calculate a position fix may also be termed Time to Subsequent fix (TTSF).

National Marine Electronics Association(NMEA)

The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) has developed a specification that defines the interface between various pieces of marineelectronic equipment. The standard permits marine electronics to send information to computers and to other marine equipment. GPS receiver communication is defined within this specification.Most computer programs that provide real time position information understand and expect data to be in NMEA format.This data includes the complete PVT (position, velocity, time) solution computed by the GPS receiver.The idea of NMEA is to send a line of data called a sentence that is totally self-contained and independent from other sentences.

Digital Input

This is a terminal on the device which accepts input voltage – High (12 V) or Low (0 V) from an external source. This input is used to trigger another action. For instance, the Ignition of the vehicle (the cable on the vehicle which is high (12 V) whenvehicle is switched on and low (0 V) when vehicle is switched off. When we connect the ignition of the vehicle to the Digital Input of the tracking device, we will be able ot monitor when the vehicle is switched on and off.

Digital Output

Digital Output is an output voltage supplied from a device. For instance, if we need a light to be switched on every time the vehicle ignition is on,then we use digital output connected to the light.

Sleep Mode

Sleep mode is a mode which is activated when the vehicle is not switched on for a long duration. In this mode, the power consumption of the tracking device reduces thus ensuring that the vehicle battery is not drained.

Geo Fence

Geo Fence is an area marked on the map and assigned a name. Whenever a vehicle enters this area, the street name or the name of the place is replaced by the customized name entered. For instance, if our office is located in ABC Road, LMN Area, XYZ Country, and we name that area as “My Office” in the tracking application then next time our vehicle enters the area, the tracking application will show the area as My Office instead of ABC Road, LMN Area, XYZ Country.

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Jargon in GPS Technology – Learn to read a GPS Hardware Specification Sheet

GPS – Global Positioning System
GPRS – Global Packet Radio

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