GPS tracking devices are simple: you attach them to your vehicle, power them on, and instantly you’ll know where it’s located.
But, like any piece of technology, the technicalities of how they work is anything but simple. Today, we are here to simplify the processes and components that make GPS tracking possible and demonstrate how Black Knight works.
You’ve most likely heard of GPS before. But are you aware of how it works? At the time of writing, there are 31 satellites in orbit, 20,000 kilometres above the earth, which make up the GPS constellation. Anywhere around the world, at least 4 of these satellites are “visible”. GPS works through a process called trilateration. Your tracker’s signal is picked up by at least 3 satellites.
These satellites calculate the location of a tracker through a process called trilateration. Looking at the diagram above, if tracker is located somewhere on the blue circle, satellite 1 calculates the distance of the tracker and itself. Then, satellites 2 and 3 do the same – each one calculating the distance between the tracker and satellite. Where the three circles intercept are the coordinates of the tracker. A GPS tracking device is essentially just a node that the satellites can get a fix on.
This network makes cell phone communication possible. Black Knight tracking devices need cellular network reception to transmit the coordinates calculated by the satellites. This is why in many remote areas, where there is poor cellular reception, tracking devices often won’t work.
Unlike the GPS, which is free to use for the public, a payment plan is required to use the cellular network. So, much like your mobile phone or internet service, GPS tracking devices will require an ongoing subscription to stay connected.
Black Knight Server
The information gathered by the tracker, sent over the cellular network, is then sent to the Black Knight server. Once received, the data is then translated into map data and displayed on either the website or app. The ping rate of our trackers is 15 seconds, meaning that this whole process happens once every 15 seconds.
Black Knight GPS tracking devices function through a combination of these three components. The coordinates of the GPS tracker are calculated by the satellites, which is then transmitted over the cellular network to the Black Knight server. These translate the coordinates into map data, which then displays it on the website or app.