Passive GPS Tracking vs. Active GPS Tracking

Passive GPS vs Active

A goods tracking system is integral to the sound functioning of every distribution company that hopes to remain market competitive, maintain an efficient workforce, reduce cost per delivery, sustain a healthy manager-employee relationship for its mobile workforce, and insure a goods delivery quality assurance to its clients and customers.

Track with GPS

A GPS tracking system is a globally recognized method of tracking deliveries and keeping records of daily employee activity for measuring KPIs, and analysing data for strategic delivery routing and scheduling for reduced financial and time costs per delivery.

Though GPS tracking systems are widely used to track deliverable goods, distribution companies face a dilemma while purchasing the GPS equipment to meet their business needs – a GPS tracking system is available in two types, active and passive GPS tracking. Let’s see how they fare.

Passive vs. Active GPS

The primary difference between a passive and active GPS is how they process and transmit data about their location over time.

An active GPS system processes and delivers data in real time. This means that the location of your employee is transmitted in real-time as the GPS device finds out where it is located (longitudes and latitudes). As a result, you can keep a hawk’s eye on every movement of the delivery. The data is continuously mapped on area maps and can be recorded for future reference.

A passive GPS system processes data with equal speed but instead of transmitting it to any dedicated computer, stores it in a data logger. This data is then later retrieved either to a dedicated computer or to an online cloud based network. The result is that the stored data can be used at once for processing and mapping the delivery pattern over a period of time.

Crudely speaking it can be said that passive GPS systems record movement in real time while active GPS systems transmit the same movement in real time.

Installation and Running Cost

There are dramatic differences in installation and running costs between active and passive GPS tracking systems. This is due to the equipment necessary for proper working of the setup.

The initial installation cost of both setups is comparable as it requires only the purchase of the tracking devices (although many systems require purchasing local infrastructure such as servers and network equipment). The primary difference is in the cost of running and maintaining the systems.

An active tracking system requires continuous transmission and hence needs a dedicated service provider to store and process the continuous flow of data into legible delivery tracks. This means the running cost involves monthly service charges.

A passive GPS system does not require any monthly packages as the data is stored directly onto a data logger which is manually transferred to a system and uploaded on a cloud network. This reduces the monthly costs of using the system to track your goods.

The GPS system for Distribution Companies

As a distribution company you require a tracking system that can track the deliverables with accuracy and allow managers to easily map that data on scheduled routes  which can easily be shared with their clients. You, however, do not need a system that sends a continuous stream of data. The most economical option is a passive GPS system.

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