How to make a GPS tracker

Key Takeaways

  • Vehicle tracking system development involves building a system that provides live updates on vehicle locations, routes, and statuses.
  • Its benefits include controlled driving risks, minimized fuel and operational costs, increased productivity, enhanced customer satisfaction, and quick theft recovery.
  • To build a GPS tracking app, you should define the problem, consider planning and budgeting, develop and deploy the system, and provide maintenance.

Whether you’re running a delivery or truck company, a limo service, or a car rental business, you want to track your assets (read vehicles). Wondering how you can do that? A custom real-time GPS tracking system for commercial transportation management will do the trick for you.

However, you should never make an IoT fleet GPS tracking software just for the sake of it. When developed in a rickety way, it may do more harm than good. Botched systems may derail your assets while leaving your business in the red due to inaccurate vehicle tracking.

In this article, we draw on our first-hand experience to define why you need and how to build a GPS tracking device. Read on to look at the latest vehicle tracking system trends and the game-changing IoT impact. We’ll also dig deep into the must-have features for your solution and the steps of vehicle fleet tracking software development.

6 Trends that Shape Vehicle Tracking

How to create a GPS tracker: trends

The days when a vehicle GPS solution was just a location tracker are gone for good. The global vehicle tracking systems market, valued at $21.16 billion in 2022 and anticipated to grow to $80.17 billion by 2032, has much to offer.

Here are the top logistics technology trends you may be looking for in your vehicle tracking software in the next couple of years:

Driver Safety

Modern GPS solutions integrate advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and collision avoidance technologies. They provide real-time driver coaching, vehicle maintenance alerts, and automatic accident assistance to guarantee driver and vehicle safety. The focus has shifted from monitoring to actively improving driver safety and working conditions, leveraging technologies like ADAS, AI, and computer vision.

Advanced Analytics and Predictive Maintenance

Advanced analytics and predictive maintenance transform fleet management by leveraging AI, GenAI, and machine learning. They analyze vast amounts of data to predict maintenance needs, optimize performance, and prevent breakdowns. With insights about vehicle health and operational efficiency, you will reduce downtime, lower maintenance costs, and improve fleet reliability.

Real-Time Vehicle Tracking

Now that the world goes remote, real-time fleet tracking is here to stay. Although passive navigation systems still reign supreme for the most accurate vehicle location data, things will likely change in the near future. No one needs a tracker that updates coordinates once in a minute or so.

5G Network

If all navigation systems and software made a switch to 5G, latency issues would never interfere with your fleet operations. With more than ten times more energy efficiency per gigabyte of traffic compared to 4G, this technology can help you track more vehicles without additional investments. 5G is a boon for large fleet management, no matter how you slice it.

Sustainable Solutions

In 2022, global passenger car emissions neared three billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (GtCO₂). Fleet managers should take matters into their own hands. One way to lower your carbon footprint is to include vehicle mileage tracking into your system. Along with switching to electric vehicles, this can make your business greener. All these trends have cropped up amid the IoT era. That’s because IoT makes a tracking system more flexible.


Blockchain technology implementation enhances data security, transparency, and immutability. It provides a tamper-proof record of vehicle history, maintenance logs, and transaction data, ensuring the integrity of information. By leveraging blockchain, fleet managers trust the accuracy and reliability of their tracking data, reducing the risk of fraud.

How Can IoT and GPS Tracking Go Hand in Hand?

The Internet of Things has a way of revamping industries, and vehicle tracking is no exception. Today, interconnected devices soak up GPS data like a sponge, communicate with each other, and squeeze insights into notifications.

A typical IoT vehicle tracking system relies on data from multiple sources. GPS sensors and OBD II systems are the major ones. It then juxtaposes this data with the insights from other connected vehicles in the fleet. This way, IoT allows for:

  • Road traffic prediction based on the vehicle flow, weather, and collisions
  • Real-time fleet management, including service reminders and late arrivals
  • Fleet cost reduction thanks to route planning and optimization
  • Fuel consumption control
  • Shipping tracking automation
  • Vehicle maintenance alerts that rest on OBD II data
  • Driving behavior monitoring

All this would be impossible without IoT. Not only that, but a tracking system should make the cut for the IoT features to be feasible. Here’s what this entails:

  • Optimized GPS/GSM module traffic. The more data your tracker collects, the more server-side traffic needs to be broken down. It’s crucial to lighten the traffic load to take the sting out of covering system operating costs.
  • Energy-efficient hardware. Ideally, your tracking system should be self-powered not to drain a vehicle’s battery. It should also use just enough energy to ensure real-time data transfer to the server.
  • Connection-independent operation. You never know how stable a connection might be when your drivers hit the road. So your vehicle tracking system should have internal memory to prevent temporary hiccups from hindering your fleet management process. That’s how it can collect and store trip-related data, making it accessible once a connection is back in all its glory.

The Internet of Things unlocks the most value-driven version of a tracking system, making it feature-rich. This brings us to the next point.

Benefits of Using Vehicle GPS Tracking

Build your own GPS tracker: benefits

What makes transport and logistics companies increasingly turn to real time GPS tracking software? It’s all about its numerous benefits.

Controlled Driving Risks

GPS tracking software solution tracks drivers’ driving behavior, such as speeding or braking hard. When it detects risky behavior, it can easily remind or warn drivers to help them stay safe, saving money by preventing accidents and insurance claims.

Minimized Fuel and Operational Costs

In addition, GPS tracking allows drivers to choose the most efficient routes, avoiding traffic jams and unnecessary detours. Enterprises save on fuel and vehicle maintenance by using less fuel and spending less time on the roae. With better planning, you do more with less, making operations smoother and more cost-effective.

Increased Productivity

With GPS tracking application development, managers can see where their vehicles are, making allocating tasks and coordinating schedules easier. By knowing exactly where to direct each vehicle, companies increase overall productivity and operations run smoothly.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

GPS tracking provides accurate delivery updates so customers always know when to expect their packages. When customers feel informed and in control, they are more satisfied with the services they receive. Happy clients are more likely to make new orders, contributing to the company’s growth and success.

Quick Theft Recovery

If a vehicle goes missing, custom GPS software can quickly locate it, helping authorities find it before real damage is done. This saves the company from losing valuable assets and gives everyone peace of mind knowing their assets are always protected.

6 Vehicle GPS Software Features You Can’t Go without

Vehicle tracking system features

Before discussing how to make your own GPS tracking device, you should understand what to include in your solution.

For starters, what might work for a taxi business may be of little avail to a logistics company. It goes to show that you can’t develop multi-carrier software as a one-size-fits-all solution. That said, some features should find their way into all systems, regardless of the business they serve. Get the lowdown on six of them.

Location Detector

You owe it to yourself to have a tracking system that can pinpoint the whereabouts of your vehicles fleet-wide. Knowing where your assets currently are can help you manage your mobile business cost-effectively. Think productivity improvements and theft prevention practices. Plus, a location detector is a way to track when your drivers use your vehicles for personal trips.

Route planner

This feature saves fleet operators and drivers the bother of planning directions, stops, and destinations. It computes the routes while displaying the estimated time of arrival to nail pickups and enhance your customer service. It’s not uncommon to couple this feature with geofencing to bring saved addresses into the equation. At the same time, a custom multidrop route optimization system dynamically calculates the most efficient delivery routes for multiple destinations, minimizing travel time and costs.

Mileage Tracker

Vehicle mileage tracking is a great practice for any mobile business. First, knowing how many miles your cars cover helps you plan a maintenance schedule to keep your fleet in tip-top condition. Second, a mileage tracker can also log fuel consumption data. If you’re looking to reduce idle time and save money on every gallon, it’s your way to go. The GPS Insight tracking system is an outstanding example of a fuel economy solution.

Notification Sender

Notifications are your pointers. Whenever your software spots unplanned stops, unauthorized vehicle use, or speeding, it can trigger alerts to let your drivers know something is going wrong. Another benefit of notifications is that they keep your customers informed of late arrivals or serve as reminders. Your fleet operators no longer have to do that manually.

Hours of Service Tracker

Did you know that fatigued driving accounts for nearly 100,000 accidents every year? Drowsiness puts your drivers and other people at risk, which is why a logger for hours of service is one of the key vehicle tracking software features. It can be used to establish night driving rules, plan rest periods, and minimize collisions. Some fleet managers may even want to embed video solutions into their loggers, as inspired by Omnitracs.


Never take your software security for granted. If unprotected, it’s in jeopardy as long as there are ill-wishers who can exploit its weaknesses. An anti-hacking solution should always be considered a critical GPS vehicle tracking system feature. It serves as a shield against cyber threats and malware so that attackers can’t compromise your data or hijack your vehicles.

How to Build a Custom GPS Vehicle Tracking Software as Part of a Tracking System?

GPS vehicle tracking system software development steps

Software is the main ingredient of a vehicle tracking system recipe. But you should never downgrade the importance of other components:

  • Tracking device. The API-based tracking device bridges the gap between GPS data and the server. It captures real-time vehicle coordinates via the receiver, microcontroller, and GSM module or retrieves them at preset intervals. The tracker then transmits this information to the server.
  • Server. The server is where all that GPS data is stored, processed, and broken down. It also includes an API to retrieve big data at a granular level as the tracker transmits it. Next, the server delivers this information to the user interface.
  • Frontend or user interface. With a vehicle tracking system, you can access location data in multiple ways. The most common ones include a web-based interface, an app, and push notifications.

Alternatively, you can opt for the tracking system that brings fleet insights into emails. This technology is more reliable than API-compatible trackers. It ensures a better deliverability level of fleet-related information, yet it does so at the cost of a high data transmission rate. These devices don’t need to be always connected to a network, but you shouldn’t expect real-time updates, either.

Custom vehicle tracking software is developed depending on what business problem you need to tackle. Here’s the nitty-gritty of the process.

Problem Statement

What do you need a tracking system for? Real-time data or emails? What are your strategic objectives? Vehicle fleet tracking software development starts with the answers to these questions.

Planning and Budgeting

Planning means building clearly defined processes and timeframes. Get ready to think through your tracking system capabilities. You’ll also want to budget your project out of the gate to avoid compromising software features later.

System Development

App development is the most time-consuming step that revolves around:

  • Software architecture
  • Server-side components
  • User-side solutions

This is where the development vendor you’ve partnered with does the coding and designing. It may take several months to one year to make your MVP usable, so be patient.

Software Deployment

Once the software is polished, it is deployed into the tracking device. At this stage, all parts of your vehicle tracking system are brought together. Your drivers and fleet operators can now start using it. However, unexpected things may occur, so your software needs to be regularly debugged as you integrate it into your fleet.


For a web vehicle tracking system to run, it’s important to maintain server-side components, update the user experience according to your drivers’ feedback, and add extra features. You may also want your tracking system to scale once your business outgrows its current functionality. If your vendor designed the right architecture, it should be easy to do that.

How to Build a Scalable and Cost-Effective GPS Tracking App?

Imagine that your fleet comprises 20 cars. You can choose to build a vehicle GPS tracking app or a web-based system that works like a charm for a fleet this size. But what if you want to expand it with 20 more cars? Or 40?

Scalability is a rock-solid foundation that keeps your app or web-based system from being “shaky” as your business grows. It means your solution has everything it takes to distribute increased workloads and function flawlessly, no matter the fleet size.

How to make a GPS tracker that can scale? Pay attention to:

Tech Stack

It’s either you who decides which frameworks and programming languages to use in your tracking solution or your software vendor. Python, JavaScript, React, PHP, .NET, Ruby — you name it. Your tech stack can be flexible, whether you need a cross-platform custom real-time GPS commercial vehicle tracking system or an email sender. Most importantly, your backend should be up for scalability, especially for a SaaS development.

Cloud-Agnostic Solutions

Cloud-based vehicle tracking systems can scale faster as it takes seconds to add more servers to handle increased workloads. Besides that, you can go cloud-agnostic. Although your solution needs to be properly configured for that, it allows you to migrate to any certified cloud provider in a wink, be it AWS, Azure, GCP, etc.

Software Architecture

Let’s put it without technical parlance. Your SaaS software architecture should be built in a way that reduces idling and resource overuse, just like you’d want for your fleet. That’s when you will never have trouble maintaining, expanding, or adapting your end solution for your growing business.

How Can Acropolium help?

There’s no denying it’s hard to develop GPS tracking app. At some point, this process may even look like the rollercoaster of trade-offs to make it scalable and feature-rich within your budget constraints. But it doesn’t need to be an ordeal. When you have an established development vendor in your corner, your project is in safe hands — from planning to deployment.

Acropolium can be your IT outsourcing partner. Our developers have been developing truck GPS tracking apps, among other business solutions, for 18 years. Our know-how is extensive enough to help you wind up with the right technology, architecture, and features for your business needs.

So far, we’ve been engaged in creating:

Let Acropolium walk the talk. We can make a cloud-based commercial fleet tracking system or an AI-powered transportation app that is anything but lackluster. What’s more, we can get you covered with a full-service solution — from the frontend to the backend to system maintenance. The tech stack? Go for any technology, knowing we are well-versed in it. Legacy system upgrade or migrating monolith to microservices? Let’s do it.

And now, it’s time to overview our case study.

GPS Fleet Tracking Solution

How to develop GPS tracking software

Our client requested an IoT system to collect and visualize the location, speed, fuel consumption, driving time, and camera video data via the CAN bus. The dedicated team developed a GPS fleet tracking solution that provided real-time visibility and intervention over long distances.

Now AWS-based architecture delivers power in data storage and processing. It allows dispatchers to manage update history, generate reports, and track events and alerts.

With modernization, the platform integrates with about 1,000 IoT devices, including GPS trackers from various manufacturers. New features like streaming video and remote command processing increase system efficiency. It now displays up to 1000 trucks on the map in real time, with location updates every 5-10 seconds, instead of 4 days for 4 trucks.

Want to build your own GPS tracker? Contact us to learn how much fleet GPS tracking systems cost and get one step closer to refining your business operations with custom software on a subscription basis.

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