GPS Tracking Jumping Around

GPS Tracking Jumping Around

Understanding GPS Tracking Anomalies or Fuzzy Data

In the realm of GPS tracking, accuracy is paramount. However, certain conditions can lead to anomalies in tracking data.

Our systems use various signals to determine the start and end of a journey. We constantly balance between filtering poor GPS data and capturing legitimate journeys. In some case, signals are strong enough to trigger a false journey record when combined with other events.

The common issue is the incorrect detection of the "engine on" status. If the engine is detected as being on when it isn't, this can pose a problem to accurate data being captured and also keeps the tracker from entering it's sleep mode when not truly in use. This then causes the tracker believe the vehicle is journeying so it "spams" GPS data points.

When this issue is combined with a poor GPS signal, especially in covered or underground areas,  the results can look worse leading to erratic tracking on maps such as below:

Engine-On Triggers:

GPS trackers use different methods to determine if a vehicle's engine is on, including:
  1. Voltage Detection: Changes in voltage can indicate the engine's status
  2. Ignition Sense Wire: In hardwired setups, the ignition sense wire is used for detecting the engine's status. 
  3. Motion Detection: The tracker can sense motion and this feature can also be used to determine "engine on".
  4. A combination of the above: You are able to set the tracker to use a combination of the above methods for detection.
To set these settings and see how please see the following article: Setting Up Engine On Detection

Issues Leading to False Engine-On Detection and Alerts

False engine-on detections can result from:
  1. Higher-than-Standard Float Voltage: Some vehicles have a float voltage that is naturally higher, which can be misinterpreted as the engine running.
  2. Trickle Chargers: Can mistakenly indicate that the engine is running.
  3. Incorrect Wiring: Miswiring can lead to the tracker misinterpreting the engine status.
  4. Accessories Power Connection: Mistakenly connecting to accessories power instead of the ignition wire.

Additional Contributing Factors:

Our GPS trackers will sense motion whether or not this feature is being use as the "engine on" detection. When a tracker detects motion, it remains active rather than entering sleep mode. This is a high-priority event designed to capture and transmit location data immediately, akin to scenarios where a vehicle might be towed. This can also result in the exact same issue of erratic data if the motion sensor is being constantly triggered such as being parked at an airport or near a construction site. 

Due to the combination of motion detection and poor GPS signal, our system incorrectly logs these situations as a journey. 

Resolution and Future Measures:

In instances of incorrect engine-on detection please see *place holder again*. For instances where standard motion detection was the issue (such as parked at an airport or near a construction site, we are equipped to remove any incorrect entries (false journeys) from the vehicle’s log and adjust the odometer accordingly. Our team continually refines our filtering algorithms to minimize the likelihood of such occurrences. It's important to remember that while GPS technology is highly accurate, it can still be subject to environmental influences.


Understanding the nuances of GPS tracking can assist in accurately interpreting data. Should you encounter a similar issue, our dedicated team is ready to investigate and provide a resolution. We're committed to ensuring the highest level of accuracy in our tracking services.

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