The Tractive GPS mainly uses GPS signals to accurately locate your pet. On average, GPS positions are accurate to around 8 meters when the tracker has a clear line of sight to the sky.
With a clear line of sight to the sky, the tracker receives data from many GPS satellites, increasing accuracy. Obstructions, such as the roof of your home, thick forest or tall buildings in a built-up area, result in less accurate positions because the tracker cannot get clear data from these satellites.
A small discrepancy between the actual position of your pet and the reported GPS position in the app unfortunately cannot be avoided due to the nature of GPS technology, and obstructions can lead to less accurate positions. However, we strive to ensure that the data you see in the app is as accurate and reliable as possible and through several methods:
🔋 A Power Saving Zone reduces the impact of GPS interference when your pet is at home and significantly improves battery life.
📶 Activate Bluetooth on your cell phone so the tracker can update its position in areas with poor cell coverage and GPS availability (e.g. in a garage), when the phone is near your tracker.
🔎 Find Mode also uses Bluetooth to help you pinpoint your pet’s location.
Default & LIVE Tracking
It is also important to note the difference between Default and LIVE Tracking. In Default Tracking mode, your tracker detects a new position every couple of minutes when your pet is on the move, and these positions are then connected via straight lines; in LIVE Tracking mode, the tracker detects a new position every 2-3 seconds. Default Tracking gives you a good overview of your pet’s path, while LIVE Mode enables you to follow their every step!
We therefore recommend taking a short walk around the block with the tracker in your hand and LIVE Tracking active shortly after you receive the tracker so you can test its accuracy for yourself! Simply tap LIVE on the map page in the app to activate LIVE tracking.
The path from Default Tracking is not inaccurate; rather, it shows less detail because the tracker was detecting positions less frequently.
Does my tracker show me how accurate the positions it is reporting are?
Yes! You can activate this option by following the steps below:
- Open the Tractive GPS mobile app or log in to your account in your web browser at my.tractive.com.
- In the Map view, click on the gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner to open the map settings. This icon is in the bottom right corner in the web app.
- You can now enable the option Show Location Accuracy (mobile) or Device accuracy (web app).
- Return to the map view.
Once enabled, the accuracy of the reported position will be displayed on the map via a circle around the reported location.
The estimated accuracy of the reported GPS position (e.g. 10 meters) determines the radius and thus size of the circle displayed. This can be especially helpful when searching for your pet (search the entire area of the circle).
Accuracy of Smartphones and Navigation Systems vs. GPS Trackers
Modern smartphones use a combination of GPS, cell networks, Bluetooth, as well as large databases of WiFi networks to determine location. To get these databases, Google and Apple collect large quantities of user data. Tractive GPS doesn't collect any such user data and only uses GPS signals and connections with your trusted devices (cell phone, WiFi) to show you your pet’s position.
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 have to connect to cell networks to send this data back to your app. This uses up battery life, which is why you only receive position updates every few minutes in Default Tracking mode. As explained above, you can activate LIVE Tracking at any time to get a more accurate path and follow your pet’s every step!