Gps Tracking Mysteries: What Is A Chipset?

in Gps
You'd have to be living under a very big rock in a very deep hole these days not to know what GPS is and how it works.

However, not too many people are aware of exactly what goes on 'under the hood'.

Global Positioning System, operated by US Air Force, comprise of 24 satellites which orbit the earth.

Each of the 24 satellites transmits its own unique signal. The GPS unit has stored in it those 24 separate "signatures" and therefore knows the position of each satellite.

By measuring the distance to at least four satellites, each in its distinct orbit, location of the GPS receiver can be pinpointed down to as little as 3 meters.

Distance to each satellite is measured simply by the time it takes for a radio wave to reach the GPS unit.To be able to lock onto four signals, a GPS unit needs to have at least four channels.

Most units have 12 channels. Calculations were made for the orbits necessary for each of the 24 satellites so that at least five are "visible" to any one point on the earth at one time.

To interpret signals from satellite and to see what satellite is being tracked at any moment in time a GPS chipset is used.

Chipsets are basically the heardt of any GPS device. It directly connects to GPS antenna and runs the algorithm that search, locate , track satellites and communicates with host.Some of the famous GPS chipset are

1.SiRFStar I, II, IIe, IIe/LP, IIt, III
7.Sony Solution
8.u-Nav + iTrax 3rd Gen
9.Atmel Antaris 4l
13.HP6515 AGPS
14.Skytraq Venus 5
15.Skytraq Venus 6

GPS chipsets define the number of channel GPS has for receiving, how many are reserved for locating/searching new satellites on the horizon.

The number of channels is a important characteristic of any GPS device and by looking at number of channel a GPS has, you can have a fair idea of what chipset is being used.

A GPS chipset runs the core software for satellite acquisition and also the software that interacts with user, one of the problems that a receiver can encounter with a chipset is that it doesnt not acquire any of the satellite from the signal that receiver provides. Many companies often release fix to their software to decrease start up or initializing time and to enhance the capability of a GPS to dig out satellite even when the signals are weak.

While selecting a GPS device the choice of chipset must be kept in consideration as GPS performance directly links with its chipset.
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This article was published on 2010/10/04