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A GPS vehicle tracking device allows the owner or third party to track a vehicle's -- or fleet of vehicles' -- movement, direction, speed and location. Modern vehicle tracking devices typically use GPS (Global Positioning System) technology for locating a vehicle. Once GPS vehicle tracking devices are in place, data can be viewed via electronic maps over the Internet or by using specialized software.

There are two main classifications for a GPS vehicle tracking device. Typically, global positioning system tracking devices are designated as either "active" or "passive". Passive vehicle tracking devices collect information, such as speed, direction and location, and store this information for later retrieval. On the other hand, active devices, such as some real time vehicle tracking devices for parents, collect the same information as a passive device, but transmit the information in real time. Data is transmitted instantaneously though networks, such as cellular and satellite networks. Many modern GPS tracking devices contain some combination of both passive and active tracking capabilities. That is, when a cellular network is readily available, the tracking device will transmit the information in real time. However, if a satellite or cellular network is not available, the information will be stored for later transmission and evaluation.

Some modern GPS tracker devices, including fleet tracking units, have the ability to capture other information besides speed, heading and location. For instance, an advanced GPS vehicle tracking device can obtain such data as opened or closed door, tire pressure, ignition off or on, engine temperature, fuel level, battery charge, altitude, idling, engine RPM, throttle position and so much more. With all of this capability, it's no wonder fleet managers rely heavily on this technology in managing their fleet and employees. Even parents are getting into the GPS tracking game by using vehicle tracking devices.

Further, a more progressive vehicle tracking device can integrate several different security systems. For instance, if a vehicle is moved without prior authorization or an alarm is triggered, a system can send an automatic alert notification to an email address or phone. Because of all of these sophisticated features, this technology is being used in a number of scenarios, some of which are quite creative. Today, we are seeing vehicle tracking devices being used in GPS asset tracking, surveillance, field sales and even the rental car industries. Luxury hotels are even using this technology to ensure timely welcome of VIPs upon arrival.

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