My tracker is displaying an inaccurate position.

Inaccurate GPS data refers to any circumstance in which the location data sent from the tracker to the app does not represent the actual position of your dog or cat. Read on to learn about the nature of GPS technology, to understand why inaccurate position reports occur from time to time.

The Tractive GPS tracker is generally as accurate as current GPS technology. No GPS system is 100% precise, and GPS signals generally provide an accuracy of approximately 7.8 meters in perfect conditions.

Especially indoors, or near tall buildings or forest, GPS interference can occur, which may decrease the accuracy of the Tractive GPS. 


Tips and tricks to avoid GPS inaccuracies:

  • If you are testing your device, go outside as the GPS position of your pet will likely not be accurate indoors.
  • Turn the device off while indoors or not in use.
  • Activate the LIVE Tracking mode to get more frequent location updates.
  • Make sure that the GPS tracker is correctly positioned on your pet's collar. It is best when located on the back so that it's not covered by body parts.
  • Restart or reset your GPS tracker from time to time.

Don't fear: your device is working hard to locate itself and will still be able to help you find your cat or dog if he or she goes missing. In most cases, the issue is usually temporary and will resolve itself automatically with the availability of the GPS signal.   

GPS Interference: the cause of inaccurate GPS data

GPS interference occurs when something in the environment obstructs the GPS signal from the device. This occurs most often when the device is indoors, in a car, in a heavily forested area, or in an area with a high concentration of tall buildings. Weather and windows can also reflect GPS signals.

GPS signals can also be influenced by more subtle environmental factors.

The following picture shows different sources of interference that can compromise GPS accuracy or even block the signal entirely:


I = Interference from particles in the ionosphere, 70 - 400 km above sea level. Due to the high concentration of ions and free elections in this area, GPS signals can be significantly altered.

II = Interference from water vapor in the troposphere. Especially on cloudy or rainy days, GPS accuracy can be reduced.

III = Interference due to reflections on buildings or hilly terrain. High-rise buildings or hills and mountains in the vicinity can block or alter GPS signals. Large water or glass surfaces can cause reflections that might throw off the tracker.

The interplay of these various types of interference can result in a discrepancy between the location shown in the GPS app and the actual location of the tracker.


"Jumping" GPS Data

While the device is indoors, the GPS accuracy will decrease and in addition, if no GPS signal can be located, the device will revert to cellular triangulation to locate itself. This method of location is less accurate than GPS, resulting in an inaccurate position report. However as soon GPS becomes available again, the accuracy will return to normal. Simply activate LIVE Tracking to be sent the most recent accurate position report.


Accuracy of Smartphones and Navigation Systems vs. GPS Trackers

Moderns smartphones use a combination of GPS, cell networks, Bluetooth as well as large databases of WLAN networks to determine location. To get these databases Google and Apple collect a huge amount of user data. Tractive GPS doesn't collect any such user data and only makes use of GPS- and cell network signals to locate your pet.

Automotive navigation systems are optimized for street navigation. Imprecise positions away from roads are corrected automatically to match up with the street map. This leads to more accurate route recordings. Since pets frequently travel away from roads, a similar route optimization isn't possible for pet trackers.

Smartphones and navigation systems show the GPS positions directly on the built-in display. Pet trackers need to transmit the GPS data to the smartphone of the pet owner, before it can be displayed. Because this requires a lot of energy, it can only be done in certain time intervals.

Individual position updates are then connected by straight lines in the location history, which can result in routes that don't quite match up with the actual path taken. To get more accurate GPS recordings, you can activate LIVE-Tracking anytime.

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