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NAVIGATING TODAY: WHAT IS GNSS & GPS FLEET TRACKING?

#gnss, #gps, #ntrip, #tracking

September 13, 2023

When the topic of location or fleet tracking arises, most of us immediately associate it with GPS. This navigational system identifies and pinpoints the coordinates of an object located anywhere in the world, so you’d be correct to draw a connection between the two. However, the entirety of this location-tracking technology extends beyond the confines of GPS network and more toward GNSS.

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No, there are no GNSS vs. GPS battles to be had. Because in reality, GPS is one of several navigational systems grouped under the term Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). So, when figuring out the technology behind things like location or fleet tracking, we must first investigate the overarching concept: GNSS.

WHAT IS GNSS & HOW DOES IT WORK?

GNSS is the mother of it all. It’s a collection of many different satellites, including the GPS, Galileo, and BeiDou, that collect positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) information of certain objects and transmit it to GNSS receivers. These receivers analyze collected data and generate precise location, velocity, and time information. 

The question arises: how do GNSS receivers process such data

GNSS receivers collect signals from multiple satellites, with each broadcasting information about its precise position and timing. The receivers then measure the exact time it took for each signal to reach the receiver and calculate the distance between receiver and satellites.

Once this information is retrieved, GNSS receivers consider things like potential atmospheric delays or clock errors. These considerations find their place within the receiver's software algorithms, which undertake intricate calculations that serve to enhance the accuracy of the position data by compensating for errors and inconsistencies.


Ultimately, the GNSS receivers present this calculated and refined data through a display interface, map application, or other predetermined mediums.

GPS & THE BENEFITS OF FLEET TRACKING 

As clarified before, GPS is among the systems encompassed within the scope of GNSS, though it has to be said that GPS is the most prevalent one out there. GPS is the U.S. satellite navigation system, which can assist in multiple scenarios requiring virtual monitoring and tracking of fleets, assets, or any mobile objects. 

One of the many cases where GPS shines is keeping tabs on vehicle locations. Our friends at Teltonika Telematics have showcased a number of such examples, including a large fleet security enhanced by eye beacons.

Imagine this: you own a car-sharing company that lets registered users access a fleet of your cars on an as-needed basis. Since none of these cars have designated owners but are accessible through a mobile app, they become a delicious-looking treat for robbers to steal.


In case that happens, GPS fleet tracking is here to save the day. As soon as the car-sharing company receives a theft alert, it can quickly start tracking the stolen vehicle’s exact location in real-time using a satellite navigation system. 


A fleet GPS service consistently transmits location data to the relevant servers and allows the company to keep an eye on the vehicle’s movement, even when its location is constantly changing, thus enabling effective tracking. Once a stolen vehicle from a car-sharing service is successfully tracked and recovered with the help of GPS, the data GPS collected becomes a huge helping hand that serves as evidence in legal proceedings.

GNSS & GPS FLEET TRACKING VALUE IN IoT 

Projected to grow from $175.19 billion in 2021 to $320.73 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 9.02%, the GNSS-empowered market continues to flourish across multiple industries, like transportation, agriculture, security, and the marine sector. It’s easy to understand why this is the case: many tasks within these industries are heavily-reliant on the precise location information that only GNSS can provide.

Many Teltonika Networks devices have a GNSS feature and support GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, and QZSS navigation systems. And when combined with GNSS antennas, the function works like a charm. GNSS enhances our networking devices’ suitability for solutions that demand robust network connectivity support and precise real-time tracking functionality.


If you’re wondering what kind of use case scenarios would require both network connectivity and GNSS to function in simultaneous synergy – there are tons of examples to consider. 

TRANSPORTATION SECTOR CALLS FOR GNSS 

As previously illustrated through the hypothetical car-sharing example, the transportation sector can greatly benefit from GNSS. We’ve shared the Connectivity for Mobile Agricultural Machines use case involving Agrifac, a Dutch manufacturer specializing in innovative agricultural solutions. In this use case, we presented Agrifac’s self-propelled crop sprayers that required both robust network connectivity and GNSS capabilities to successfully realize their project. 

Another great example would be the Uninterrupted Connection to the Unwired Edge Cloud use case done with Unwired Networks, an Austrian networking solutions provider. This use case focuses on Postbus, a bus company in need of both a dependable bus tracking system and robust network connectivity, especially in rural areas. 

THE SMART CITY SECTOR IS CALLING TOO 

In collaboration with PROBOTEK, one of the IoD (Internet of Drones) innovators, we established the Connectivity for Drone Field Deployment use case. High demands of IoD have presented quite a challenge, as the entire solution had to be closely monitored to prevent possible malfunction while deployed. To achieve this, GNSS and top-tier network connectivity support were indispensable. 

The final use case that illustrates the perfect way of utilizing the synergy of GNSS and network connectivity is Unlocking the Automation of Center-pivot Irrigation Systems. Here we present how the GNSS feature and great connectivity support can help monitor and locate specific crop fields located in rural areas. This eliminates the need for farmers to visit each center-pivot irrigation system, saving them considerable labor costs and time.

ENHANCED GNSS PRECISION WITH NTRIP 

Starting from version 7.03 of RutOS, six devices from Teltonika Networks (with a 7th one coming very soon!) support the NTRIP protocol. This protocol is meant to stream differential GPS or Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) data over the Internet, which significantly enhances the positional accuracy of GNSS data to within a few centimeters. 

The incorporation of NTRIP protocol support within Teltonika Networks devices makes them ideal for industries needing high-precision location data, such as agriculture. As agriculture rapidly advances toward automation, the location accuracy provided by NTRIP enables more precise farming techniques. This enhances both efficiency and cost-effectiveness, paving the way for more sustainable and profitable agricultural operations.

Fleet tracking with the help of GNSS technology can serve as a critical element in enhancing performance and providing comprehensive location data analysis, particularly when dealing with mobile assets, objects, or vehicles. After all, having precise knowledge of the whereabouts of your solution is far better than operating in the dark and hoping for the best. 

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