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Active GPS tracking vs Passive GPS tracking | Difference between Active GPS tracking and Passive GPS tracking

This page compares Active GPS tracking vs Passive GPS tracking and mentions difference between Active GPS tracking and Passive GPS tracking.

Based on the method of informing collected GPS data to the users, there are different types of GPS tracking viz. active, passive and hybrid.

Active GPS Tracking

In this tracking type, collected GPS data is transmitted to the user's phone with the help of cellular wireless connectivity. It allows realtime update of the location of GPS device using mobile app or web app developed for the purpose. Mobile app allows configuration of various settings in the mobile/web app such as timing, etc.

With Active GPS tracking, location data is available immediately and in near realtime on "app". This helps users to track their loved ones and things when they moved out of marked geofence boundary. The figure depicts active GPS tracking system, refer application note which describes gps tracking system architecture.

Example use cases : Joggers and mountaineers use it to calculate distance, parents use it to know driving habits of their teenagers, Fleet managers keep check on driving habits of their employees etc.

GPS tracking system

Passive GPS Tracking

In this tracking type, GPS device collects GPS data continuously but it is not conveyed to the user in realtime. The data is stored on the device memory which can be viewed or analyzed later. Hence it is known as data logger. Once the GPS device is connected with computer, the data can be downloaded and can be viewed with the help of software. It is considered as "Delayed Location-Based Tracking" type.

With passive GPS traking, location data is stored on the device. This data is not immediately available for viewing in real time. The collected GPS data is downloaded to the system and can be viewed or analyzed using software as and when needed.

Example use cases : Elders are tracked by their caretaker, parents can track their missing childrens, Parents can get distress signals on their teenagers driving behaviours, Pet owners get location of their pets, drone enthusiasts can have location of their expensive drones, Fleet managers can get information in real time to maximize productivity and profit etc.

Hybrid GPS Tracking

In this tracking type, data is tracked usually on less regular basis compare to active GPS. In the event of emergency situations when device goes out of geofencing, the GPS device switches to active mode automatically to provide realtime location updates.

Difference between Active GPS tracking and Passive GPS tracking

Following table mentions difference between active GPS tracking and passive GPS tracking based on various factors.

Parameters Active GPS Tracking Passive GPS Tracking
• Realtime location information Available Not available
• Memory size to store location data Less capacity More capacity
• Cost Expensive Cheaper
• Software Mobile app or web app has been developed and available along with GPS Tracker App is not required due to tracker's usage scenario, data are analyzed on system using vendor software provided
• Cloud server connectivity Required to provide realtime statistics Not required
• Accuracy More accurate Less accurate
• Response time Immediate in near real tme Not immediate, stored tracking data can be downloaded to PC and can be viewed/analyzed using software.
Security and convenience of usage Active GPS tracking offers more security as it gives instant location information and easy to use due to app availability Less secure as there is more waiting time. Data need to be downloaded to the computer and should be processed using some vendor software before crucial location details are available.

GPS Related links

GPS Basics Tutorial  What is GPS ?  GPS SoC Vendors  GPS Frame Structure  GPS vs AGPS   GPS vs GPRS  GPS vs GLONASS  GPS Antenna  GPS Receiver Module  GPS Satellite  GPS Tracking System  What is GPS Spoofing 

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