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Map My Tracks blog

New to GPS tracking?

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The idea of GPS tracking is new to most people and can leave some not knowing how to get started. In reality, GPS or Global Positioning System, to be precise, has been around since the '80s and it provides a way for a compatible device to accurately determine it location. With the use of an external GPS receiver or a mobile phone with internal GPS it becomes possible to pin point the location of the device anywhere in the world.

So how do you get started? GPS tracking is all about showing where you have been when you are out and about whether it is simply going for a walk or a more energetic bike ride.

Basically, there are two approaches to GPS tracking; real-time tracking or recorded tracking.

Real-time GPS tracking

This is the camp that Map My Tracks falls into. Real-time GPS tracking is provided by our little application that is installed on your mobile phone. The tracking software determines your exact location in the world and then seamlessly updates this website to both display your current location and also store your track for future reference. One of the benefits of real-time GPS tracking is that it removes the need to download GPS data after your activity but more importantly it provides a way to illustrate where you are in the world right now!

Recorded GPS tracking

Recorded GPS tracking is all about storing the location data on a GPS device and then downloading the data to be viewed on a PC after the event. This type of GPS tracking won’t show your real-time position. Typically this is done with a small hand-held GPS device that will record a series of waypoints during your activity. Many of these devices will come with software to install on a computer to provide some analytical data. The obvious downside to this approach is the extra work needed to see the tracks and the fact that it won’t show where you are right now.

Which one is best?

Clearly, we have a preference for real-time GPS tracking. Not because that this is how Map My Tracks works but because real-time GPS tracking provides a way to show where people are right now and removes the technical hurdle of downloading location data.