GPS tracking system
Precise tracking of assets such as railcars, shipping or cargo containers, trucks, truck trailers, automobiles, etc. can facilitate their being efficiently allocated and positioned, and can provide for immediate, accurate localization of lost, delayed or damaged assets. The use of satellites for asset tracking is well known. The global positioning system (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system that continuously transmits timing, frequency and satellite position information to potential users. Each GPS satellite transmits data that allows a user to precisely measure the distance from selected ones of the GPS satellites to his antenna and to thereafter compute position, velocity, and time parameters to a high degree of accuracy, using known triangulation techniques. The signals provided by the GPS can be received both globally and continuously. The space-based global positioning system constitutes a convenient instrumentality for determining geographical position in real time. GPS is intended to be used in a wide variety of applications, including space, air, sea, and land object navigation, precise positioning, time transfer, attitude reference, surveying, etc. In the GPS tracking system, transmitters are positioned on orbiting satellites. GPS uses a suedo-random data stream encoded on each satellite carrier frequency. Each asset tracking unit includes a GPS receiver that is capable of receiving GPS signals from a plurality of GPS satellites and determining the unit's location based on the GPS signals. A GPS receiver comprises a number of subsystems, including an antenna assembly, an RF assembly, and a GPS processor assembly. The antenna assembly receives the L-band GPS signal and amplifies it prior to insertion into the RF assembly. The receiver is synchronized with the data stream by matching an identical suedo-random data stream albeit with a time offset. The time offset between the receiver's data stream and the data stream received from the satellite give the distance to that satellite via the speed of light that the radio signal traveled. The receiver then triangulates its position using three or more satellites and by knowing where the satellites are via their ephemeris data. GPS systems have been developed to be very accurate in locating and tracking a receiver on the surface of the earth.
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