What is GPS drift?


GPS drift is the difference between your actual location and the location recorded by a GPS receiver. All GPS systems have some amount of drift (including GPS-enabled smartphones which can drift by 16 feet or more). If you are considering a GPS fence for your dog, it’s important to understand why GPS drift happens and what it means for your pup and his fence.

The amount of drift a GPS system has is dependent upon several factors, including the quality of the GPS receiver and antenna, the number of satellites detected, and how much of the sky is in clear view from the ground.

Drift can also occur:

  • When the satellite signal gets blocked or reflected by your house, a neighbor’s house, or other buildings, causing your fence boundary to move.
  • In areas with tall structures, like in a city or even a neighborhood where the houses are close together.
  • In hilly terrain; if you’re in a valley and see less of the sky, GPS also sees fewer satellites.
  • Under heavy tree cover, use Forest Mode in wooded areas to enhance accuracy.

SpotOn uses True Location™ technology to minimize GPS drift and auto-correct your dog’s location, so his boundaries and his position are more accurate (his ‘true location’). The expected drift for SpotOn is 3-10 feet, depending on the environment.

For your dog, GPS drift isn’t an issue; he is trained to the tones and will turn back to the center of his fence when he hears them (which also makes traveling with SpotOn a breeze). However, it’s important to consider drift when creating  a fence to make sure the boundary is a safe distance from the road or from a neighbor’s property.  We strongly recommend that you build a 15 feet buffer zone into your fence planning. You should have 15 feet from the outside of your boundary to any unsafe environments. 

You may want to tinker with your fence boundaries to get it just right. We recommend you create your fence, then test and adjust it to ensure the boundaries land where intended (given the inherent GPS drift).


How exactly does SpotOn’s True Location Technology minimize GPS drift?

This patented technology pairs GPS data with inertial sensors in your dog’s collar that track the trajectory, speed, and acceleration of your dog. SpotOn’s intelligent algorithms combined with this data to predict your dog’s True Location. But that is only part of what minimizes GPS drift for your SpotOn Fence. SpotOn also:

Connects to more satellites. SpotOn connects with up to 24 satellites at any given time, simultaneously across three satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo). More satellites can more accurately interpret your dog’s location.

Uses a more powerful antenna. SpotOn uses a powerful, multi-path antenna and receiver system. In fact, SpotOn's antenna and receiver combo have the highest noise immunity in the market. The antenna allows SpotOn to pinpoint your dog’s location and ignore GPS signals partially blocked by buildings or trees, making your dog’s location and your fence boundary inherently more accurate.

Has an optimally placed GPS antenna. The position of the GPS antenna is essential.  GPS works best when it has an unobstructed view of the satellites. SpotOn’s antenna is set where your dog’s body cannot block it. Resting at the back of your dog’s neck, it always has a clear view of the sky and can maintain more accurate boundaries and a better overall connection than other GPS pet products that are positioned at the front of the dog’s neck. 

Access to the constellations, combined with the GPS antenna’s quality and location, affects how many satellites can be connected at once. Better connection to more satellites means better boundary accuracy and less drift. Your dog can freely move within the boundaries you set without being falsely corrected or not corrected at all, and you can go about your day.

If you want to know if the SpotOn GPS dog fence will work in your yard, email us at support@spotonfence.com, and a SpotOn expert can evaluate your property and help you design the perfect boundary for you and your pup.


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