Let’s say you’re in the market for GPS tracking solutions. You might need it for something on the larger side of things, like keeping track of your fleet and optimizing their performance. Maybe your needs are a little more personal, such as ensuring the safety of a child or elder parent with dementia. You know why you need it, so now you can just pick a company at random, hand over your credit card and you’re good to go, right?

Well, not exactly. Like any other product, not all GPS companies are created equal. You’ll definitely want to do your homework and make sure to partner up with a company that’s reputable, and that offers quality products and services. More importantly, there are a number of different kinds of GPS systems, and you want to make sure that you pick the one that’s right for your specific needs. Read on for a few questions to ask when searching for the right GPS system.

  • First, what exactly are you trying to keep track of? For vehicles and equipment, GPS systems can get a little bigger, more powerful, and include more industry specific features. Some companies, like Sky Patrol, mostly focus on tracking solutions for businesses. However, if you’re looking after a person, you’ll want a GPS system that’s lightweight and convenient, and a company that has more of a focus on individual location.
  • Next, let’s talk about how your GPS is powered. Some professional GPS systems are powered by the vehicle itself. It can be installed under the dashboard of your vehicle, which puts it out of sight and out of the way. Others can be plugged into the diagnostic port of your vehicle, which is usually found on the driver’s side compartment. These GPS systems are usually referred to as hardwired systems. One of the largest benefits is that, once they are installed, they hardly require any maintenance. They just work automatically, and it’s one less thing for you to think about.
  • On the other hand, there are other GPS models that are battery powered. Part of the appeal of these units is that they can be deployed very quickly. You can put it in your child’s backpack, in your elder parent’s purse, and it’s all set and ready to go. While that’s great, remember that this GPS system operates just like your smartphone. The battery inside needs to be charged on a regular basis and, if it isn’t, it becomes a non-functional circuit filled device that is being carried around.
  • What’s the primary appeal of GPS systems? It’s the fact that it can provide real-time location information to you. In order to do that, though, many devices have a SIM card built in. This component is responsible for transmitting location information and other data back to a central server. As a result, there can be a monthly fee associated with the GPS to take care of the costs for the server, support, and wireless airtime. Before you commit to a GPS system, make sure you’re aware of any recurring monthly fees and what they are for.