Cheap GPS Tracking

by Joe Mueller on August 10, 2009

Cheap GPS tracking is fairly easy to come by these days and it can be spelled in two words: cell phones.  While this isn’t the only form of cheap GPS tracking devices it is by far the cheapest and easiest way to track something.  There are a lot of options when it comes to how you want to turn your cell phone into a GPS tracking device, but there are only a few that are going to get you the most bang for your buck.

They can be used as cheap GPS vehicle tracking – the cheapest in fact.  For just a fraction of the cost of a professional grade tracking device you can get a lot of the same features that you would want when tracking a vehicle.  While you won’t get some of the features with a cheap cell phone solution, you will still get tracking information that can meet your needs.

The way it would work is like this:

  • You buy a cell phone that is compatible with one of the many free GPS tracking programs available – these cell phones can sometimes be very expensive, so make sure that you get one of the cheaper, inexpensive ones.
  • Go to the website of the application that you are going to be using and find out the specific instructions for the software that you want to use – this will be device specific.
  • Once you have downloaded and installed the software you are ready to set up the cell phone in the vehicle that you want to track.  If you are able, use a cell phone charger specifically designed for your mobile phone.  This will make your phone track whenever the car is in operation without the need to have to remove the phone.
  • When you want the vehicle to be tracked just turn on the cell phone and start up the software and you will have all the GPS tracking data that you need.

This set up is great as a way to provide cheap GPS tracking for cars.  You can use it to do all sorts of real time tracking, including:

  • Monitoring a teen driver who is just starting out and who needs a helping hand to drive safely.
  • To track a spouse who you might expect of cheating.
  • Assist a business effectively route their vehicles.
  • To help a spouse know when someone is going to come home from a long trip

I’m sure there are a lot of other reasons that a person might want to use a cheap GPS tracking system, but those are the ones that I can think of.

Now this system is certainly cheap, but it is not free.  There are several costs that you are going to have to consider before you take the plunge.  The first is the cost of the cell phone itself.  While some of the phones compatible with free tracking are pretty expensive, you can also get cheap mobile phones on a pay-as-you-go plan.  If this is your preference, this will just cost you around $40.

After the cost of the phone itself you are going to need a data plan that will support your data usage.  Real time GPS tracking can only occur when a device is hooked up to a network that will support the data transfer.  This could be a web enabled phone or one with GPRS.  Either way, you are going to want have a pretty robust data plan.  Depending on the cell phone provider you use this could run anywhere from $30-$50 a month.

In the final analysis though, buying this cheap GPS tracking device will probably only work at about 60% the functionality of a device purchased and run by a tracking company.  It will be enough for some uses, but will lack the functionality that some people are looking for and need.

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