How to Build Your Own GPS Vehicle Tracking System?

Today it is impossible to imagine everyday life without GPS technology. According to the market research report “Global GPS Market: Products (Marine, Aviation, Automotive, Outdoor/fitness & GPS Enabled Smart Phones), Applications (Navigation, Machine Control, & Logistics Tracking) & Geography (2011 - 2016)”, published by MarketsandMarkets, the total GPS market is expected to reach $26.67 billion by 2016 at a CAGR of 23.7% from 2011 to 2016.


The use of satellites for navigation becomes more and more popular among car owners, and those who have big automobile businesses. The statistics shows that the market grows constantly, in the United States the GPS equipment sales in the commercial segment amounted to 1.909 million units in 2005, and in 2010 7.74 million devices were sold.

What are the features of this technology? What benefits it can propose to the transportation industry?


Operating Principles of Vehicle Tracking System


This system works as follows: user (sometimes it is not a driver) places special GPS-receiver in a vehicle. This receiver is connected with a common mobile phone. After installation of both devices all the necessary information about car location and its route is transmitted to a computer (or a company server if we are talking about business) via satellite. This means we can easily run GPS monitoring right from the house or working place. You can find some more information on GPS tracking here.


How To Build a GPS Tracking System

GPS tracking system for vehicles usually consists of the following components:

  • Mobile module. It can consist of two devices (receiver+phone) or a single one GPS tracker;

  • Adapter;

  • Power supply;

  • Box for the module sealing;

  • Software for the data analysis;

  • Сomputer (server);

  • Network connection;

  • For business – operator or assistant (A specialist who knows how to assemble or disassemble GPS system on a truck correctly).


Module (GPS tracker). A mobile module that consists of a satellite receiver and data storage unit. GPS trackers usually have a 5-second recording rate at which they can track the car movement within 180 hours (more than 7 days).


Power supply. GPS is powered by a built-in or removable battery. The ability to use additional (removable) batteries is preferable, because it will help to avoid a lot of problems connected with the built-in battery failure. This is a significant advantage, and preference should be given to such GPS trackers.


But even in the case of external power source, GPS tracker will operate not longer than a few hours. For stable operation without any failures GPS unit need to be connected to the car onboard network via adapter. Therefore, the car adapter is a mandatory item in your GPS system.


All connections to the onboard network need to be protected from accidental or intentional disconnection. To improve the reliability of the connection it must be soldered and have only one connector – inside the sealed box.


To complicate the disconnection, soldered point must be located at a hard-to-reach spot so even the driver wouldn’t know about its location (business case). Connection should be provided via a fuse in that network region where voltage does not depend on the position of the ignition key.


The container for the mobile unit sealing. Sealing box must meet the following requirements:

  • Transparency. For the visual estimation of the GPS status;

  • Rigidity. To ensure the impossibility of pressing GPS control buttons;

  • The ability to provide secure connection of an auto adapter and power chords inside sealed box;

  • Place for power cable which comes from an onboard network;

  • Ability to secure the container in the vehicle cabin;

  • Reliable lock which will prevent inadvertent opening of the container during shaking;

  • Place for seal placement.


The box must be placed inside the vehicle cabin. The location should be selected so that the internal GPS antenna won’t be shielded by metal parts of the body. If such arrangement is impossible try to use external antenna.


Assistant adjusts the GPS identifier, adjusts recording intervals, connects all system it to the onboard network, checks the operation and switches GPS to the recording mode, seals the container and place it into the vehicle.


The main element in the GPS system is a tracker itself. You can even make your own GPS tracker.


Here is a list of main pros and cons of the hand made GPS tracker:



  • Cheapness;

  • Possibility to replace all elements one by one if whole item fails.



  • The short life cycle;

  • Insecurity use;

  • Development complexity;

  • Low quality components;

  • Weak hosting and a limited number of signals;

  • Bulky design;

  • Rapid discharge of the battery.

  • As you can see it is still better to use factory GPS device.


Who May Need Such Vehicle Tracking System?


Usually vehicle GPS tracking system is complemented by the features of anti-theft system. This system analyzes such information as:

  • Vehicle coordinates changing;

  • Starts and stops of the engine;

  • Doors state (open/closed) and so on.


When user receives an alarm, he can remotely send a command to the GPS receiver (built-in auto unit) – to turn off the engine or to turn on the siren. As we see this monitoring system is fully justified.


It looks like there is only one "con", which GPS navigation system has - it uses GSM technology. If there is no connection then for a period of time car control will be lost. But, even when GSM connection is unavailable, all information will be saved on the memory of the GPS electronic unit. As a result, after signal restoration device will operate in a normal mode.


GPS system that is placed on a vehicle must consistently and reliably transmit all the information to carry out GPS monitoring process. Here are some benefits that company can get from using a GPS system:


  • Reducing the repair expenditures;

  • Slowing the depreciation processes;

  • Increasing the cargo volume due to reducing of a fuel consumption costs;

  • Increasing the responsibility of the employees;

  • Rapid response to various abnormal situations;

  • Reducing the cost of communication model “driver–company”.


In addition to it, there are a lot of offers on the market from companies who deals with GPS tracking services, so it is important to pay attention to all the technical characteristics of the system, as well as long-term warranty service support.


Developing a Vehicle Tracking System. Additional Functions

Among the most common additional functions, which navigation system can be equipped with, it is important to note the following:

  • The ability to connect sensors for monitoring of engine temperature and doors openings;

  • The ability to connect tachometer;

  • It is also possible to connect a variety of actuators which will provide organization of communication between ambulance and driver, anti-theft protocols introduction, etc).


As we already see, GPS-monitoring system is a profitable investment that allows to reduce risks and transportation costs, as well as to increase significantly operational efficiency.



Vehicle Tracking Software

There is only two ways you can get it. First one – you can ask a development company create a vehicle tracking system software car tracking app. Second one is you just need to find a ready made solution on a market. Today GPS vehicle tracking software is usually embedded in Fleet Management Systems (FMS), and this year the top 10 solutions rated by are:

  • Verizon Networkfleet

  • Fleetistics

  • NexTraq

  • Rhino Fleet Tracking

  • CalAmp

  • Advanced Tracking Technologies, Inc.

  • Teletrac Navman

  • Brickhouse Security

  • Fleetmatics

  • Telogis

If you are still wrestling with a subject how to make your own GPS tracking server, maybe, it makes sense to look for software developers who can fit your needs and requirements somewhere abroad? Hire professionals from Archer Software. Our company has been dealing with IT services for more than 15 years. Over those years we have accomplished hundreds of projects and have gained dozens of successful cases.


Development of mobile apps and desktop apps, web based projects for business companies and this is only a partial list. We have a lot more types of software development. We offer to our clients only high quality and high value services and products. If you are interested in GPS tracking software development, please contact us and our managers will provide you with free consultation about tech specifications, prices and terms.