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9 min read.

What Is GPS Fleet Tracking?

Dec 12, 2023 3:12:41 PM

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If you manage a fleet of vehicles, then it's crucial to understand technology that can improve business operations. One important tool that businesses can use is GPS tracking systems for fleet management purposes. GPS management systems have transformed the way businesses manage their fleets by allowing fleet managers to see where their drivers are located, reduce fuel consumption, and enhance operational efficiency. By using GPS fleet tracking, managers can gain insights into vehicle performance and driver behavior, making it a useful tool for running a business that relies on transportation. In this blog, we will explain what is GPS fleet tracking, its advantages, how it works, and the different challenges and trends associated with fleet monitoring systems.

How does GPS fleet tracking work?

GPS fleet tracking is a tool to monitor and manage the vehicles within a company's fleet. This system tracks the real-time location, speed, and direction of each vehicle, allowing fleet managers to monitor their assets and maintain efficient operations. Whether you manage a small team of drivers or a large fleet of trucks, the use of GPS fleet tracking systems can lead to significant improvements in fleet performance and resource management.

Now that you know what is GPS fleet tracking, you should also know how GPS works. Fleet monitoring occurs through a system of GPS hardware installed in vehicles, a centralized software platform, real-time information, and access to historical data. Each vehicle in the fleet is typically equipped with GPS hardware, which continuously transmits location, speed, and direction data. This real-time information is relayed to a centralized software platform, allowing fleet managers to monitor the current status and movements of their fleet from a single dashboard. This platform not only displays live data but also stores historical data, allowing managers to analyze past performance, routes, and behavior patterns over time. These features can give fleet operators the option to immediately respond to any situation, like route changes or emergencies. Overall, using these systems can help with operational efficiency, safety measures, and strategic decision-making for fleets.

Benefits of GPS Fleet Tracking

A GPS tracker for fleet management offers various benefits to fleets, including efficient operations, better safety, and cost savings. By providing real-time location tracking, GPS tracking systems can help with planning better routes and quickly responding to traffic or emergencies, leading to more efficient dispatch and delivery. It also helps in monitoring driver behavior, helping with safe driving practices, and reducing the risk of accidents. Below is a list of benefits that GPS fleet management systems can bring to your business:

  • Improved Efficiency: GPS tracking systems can easily locate each vehicle in your fleet. By knowing the real-time location of vehicles, businesses can make better scheduling decisions by improving routes and reducing idle time. This can lead to better productivity by shortening delivery times. By providing data on your fleet's fuel usage, time on site, and trip history, you can make changes for better productivity within your fleet.
  • More Fuel Savings: These systems can also provide insight into driver habits such as speeding, frequent gear changes, and harsh acceleration which burn more fuel. By detecting these habits, managers can encourage better driving practices to maximize fuel usage and reduce costs spent on fuel. Some fuel card programs even integrate with GPS systems for greater data management.
  • Increased Safety: GPS fleet tracking can help fleet managers detect unsafe driver behavior like speeding, distracted driving, lane departure, and harsh braking. By knowing the driving habits of a fleet, managers can provide feedback and suggestions to encourage driver safety, reduce accidents, and prevent costs associated with vehicle repairs or damages.
  • Better Service: Whether you transport food for restaurants, provide housing repair services, or deliver certain goods to customers, quick and accurate arrival times will improve customer service. By having a GPS fleet tracking system, businesses can have real-time updates on where their drivers are and give correct estimates on the status of deliveries or arrival times.
  • Reduce Maintenance Costs: Many GPS tracking systems have advanced features like reviewing tire conditions, detecting low battery voltage, and indicating necessary oil changes. By monitoring vehicle diagnostics, businesses can schedule proactive maintenance, reducing breakdowns and unexpected repair costs.
  • Improved Security: GPS tracking can help recover stolen vehicles quickly and help minimize losses. Since they provide real-time location monitoring of vehicles and equipment, fleet operators can quickly respond to unauthorized movements or theft. They can also set up geofence boundaries, alerting managers if a vehicle moves outside designated areas. Some systems even offer remote immobilization features to prevent stolen vehicles from being operated.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Different industries have specific regulations regarding driver hours, safety, and vehicle maintenance. Many GPS fleet tracking systems can help businesses keep up with regulation standards by allowing drivers to record their on-duty and off-duty hours and breaks. By logging their accurate hours and rest times, drivers can easily adhere to regulations and avoid fines for missing data.

Industries That Often Use GPS

Although GPS fleet tracking is commonly used among businesses in the transportation industry, it's useful in other industries, as well. Most business that manages fleets of vehicles can benefit from implementing GPS tracking systems. Some industries that benefit from these systems include:

  • Construction: Construction companies can use fleet tracking to monitor heavy machinery and vehicles, ensuring they are used properly and maintained properly.
  • Public Transportation: Buses, trams, and other commercial vehicles used for public transportation can implement fleet tracking to improve schedules, safety, and passenger satisfaction.
  • Service and Delivery: Companies offering services like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC can benefit from efficient dispatching and route optimization through GPS monitoring.
  • Emergency Services: Police, fire, and medical services can also use GPS systems to respond quickly to emergencies and optimize their response times.
  • Agriculture: In the agriculture sector, GPS fleet tracking systems help manage farm equipment, track crop yields, and improve planting and harvesting processes.
  • Waste Management: Garbage collection services use fleet tracking to optimize routes and reduce costs while maintaining service levels.

Issues to Consider

Along with the benefits of GPS fleet management, you should also review potential issues. Depending on your business needs and priorities, you should consider these factors when selecting a GPS tracking fleet management system:

  • Initial Costs: Implementing GPS management systems can be costly to install which might be a barrier for small businesses with limited financial resources.
  • Data Privacy: Monitoring employee behavior and location could raise privacy concerns. Employers must establish clear policies and might need to obtain employee consent depending on the situation.
  • Training and Adoption: Proper training and communication are needed when implementing GPS for your team. Employees must know how to correctly use the GPS tracking system for the right purposes.
  • Integration: Integrating GPS software with existing systems, such as inventory management or dispatch software, can be complex and challenging. You might want to consider hiring a technician to help you get started with implementation.
  • Data Overload: With the amount of data generated by fleet tracking systems, fleet operators should be prepared to organize this data so that it can be used for business changes.

Types of GPS Devices

Each type of GPS fleet tracking device serves a unique purpose with different features. Businesses should choose the best one that fits their operational needs and objectives. These devices vary in complexity and capabilities, ranging from basic models that provide simple location tracking to advanced systems that offer different telematics features. The type of GPS fleet tracking system you should install depends on the specific needs of the fleet. Factors like the amount of data you need to record, vehicle health, and operational needs should be taken into account when shopping for a GPS tracking system. Here's an overview of the different types of GPS fleet tracking devices:

  • Basic GPS Trackers: These devices offer fundamental tracking capabilities, showing the real-time location of a vehicle. They are ideal for small fleets or businesses that require simple tracking and location updates.
  • Advanced GPS Trackers: These trackers provide comprehensive data, including vehicle speed, direction, idle time, and more. They often integrate with onboard diagnostics to offer insights into vehicle health and driver behavior.
  • OBD-II GPS Trackers: Plugged directly into the vehicle’s OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics) port, these trackers provide detailed data on vehicle performance, including fuel consumption, engine health, and emission levels.
  • Hardwired GPS Trackers: Installed directly into the vehicle’s electrical system, these devices offer robust tracking capabilities and are less prone to tampering. They are often used in larger vehicles and can provide detailed diagnostic information.
  • Asset Trackers: Designed for tracking non-vehicle assets like equipment or containers, these trackers usually have long battery lives and can operate for extended periods without maintenance.
  • Trailer Trackers: Specifically designed for tracking trailers, these devices help in monitoring the location and movement of trailers, which are often detached from their cabs.
  • Solar-Powered GPS Trackers: Ideal for assets without a power source, these trackers use solar energy to maintain a charge, making them suitable for long-term deployment on equipment like shipping containers or heavy equipment.

GPS Fleet Management Systems and Apps

GPS fleet management apps are another tool that drivers and fleet managers can use for added functionality. GPS fleet tracking apps offer a range of functionalities to encourage efficiency, safety, and vehicle security. These apps vary in their features and capabilities, catering to different needs such as real-time vehicle tracking, route optimization, driver behavior monitoring, and maintenance alerts. Below is a list of some GPS fleet tracking apps that are popular:

  • Samsara: This option is known for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive tracking capabilities, including real-time GPS tracking, route optimization, and fuel usage tracking.
  • Verizon Connect: Offers a range of fleet management features such as vehicle diagnostics, driver behavior monitoring, and enhanced GPS tracking.
  • Geotab: Provides advanced telematics and fleet tracking functionalities, including custom reporting, safety management, and engine data analysis.
  • Fleet Complete: Fleet Complete is a versatile app offering real-time tracking, asset management, and operational insights for different fleet sizes.
  • GPS Insight: Tailored for both small and large fleets, offering vehicle tracking, fuel management, and customizable reporting.
  • Omnitracs: Offers different fleet management solutions including GPS tracking, compliance management, and driver performance monitoring.
  • Teletrac Navman: This app is a great option for its detailed tracking and reporting features, focusing on driver safety, compliance, and fleet efficiency.
  • KeepTruckin: Specifically designed for the trucking industry, providing GPS tracking, vehicle inspection reports, and fuel tax reporting.

Trends in GPS Fleet Tracking

As technology continues to evolve, GPS fleet tracking software is also advancing. New safety features like collision detection and driver fatigue monitoring are becoming more common with GPS tracking software. Other features like telematics and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that provide detailed insights into vehicle and asset performance are becoming increasingly popular. If your fleet prioritizes environmentally friendly solutions, then some GPS software encourages eco-friendly driving habits to reduce your carbon footprint. And lastly, as artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent in technology, AI-powered tools are starting to help fleets detect safety concerns with sophisticated algorithms and advanced data.


Using GPS for fleet management software is an integral tool for businesses managing their fleets. Through real-time tracking, route optimization, driver monitoring, and data analytics, this technology offers a comprehensive solution for improving efficiency, ensuring safety, and reducing operational costs. GPS fleet tracking for small businesses or large corporations can lead to significant improvements in fleet performance and resource management. By understanding the important benefits of GPS fleet trackers, organizations can make informed decisions about implementing this technology to maximize the success of their business operations.

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Kira Odlozil

Written by Kira Odlozil

Based in San Diego, CA, Kira Odlozil is the Digital Content Coordinator at P-Fleet. She writes about fuel management, the trucking industry and business-related topics. When Kira isn’t writing, she’s cooking up new recipes, doing yoga, traveling or all of the above.