Are you afraid of losing your drone? Or you’ve just lost the signal from your drone, and all your attempts to find it is futile. Most drones are unmanned. Hence they can easily get lost once they are out of sight. A tracker for drones solves this issue by showing the pilot the aircraft’s live location on an app. In this article, we elaborate at length on the essence of drone GPS trackers.
Table of Contents
- Importance of a Drone Tracking Device, Even for a Drone with GPS
- Types of Drone Trackers
- Advantages of GPS Drone Trackers
- Disadvantages of In-built GPS Drones
- Best Drone Trackers
- How to Find My Drone without a Tracker
- Drone GPS Tracker FAQs
Importance of a Drone Tracking Device, Even for a Drone with GPS
A flying drone.
You may wonder why to invest in a drone tracker when it has its GPS. Well, it increases your chances of finding the drone if it flies away. A drone uses its GPS for different reasons, like maintaining its position, which gives it a ‘stable hover,’ making it easier to control.
It also helps the aircraft vehicle keep flying within a certain altitude and aids the flight back home.
You can check the flight log to see its last location if your drone flew away. However, you have no assurance that the drone is still in its last recorded location. If its batteries fell off during the flyaway, you can only hope it’s still within that area.
A GPS tracker powered separately can help you avoid losing the drone in such a scenario. Investing in a GPS tracker for your drone ensures that whatever the reasons for its journey, off-course, you can still locate it. It saves you the hassle of searching for it and the cost of replacing it.
Types of Drone Trackers
A drone with a digital camera.
There are four main types of drone trackers you can choose from when making a purchase. They are:
RF drone trackers
If your drone uses radio waves to communicate, you can use an RF detector to track it. This detector assesses the signal to recognize typical drone models and identify your aircraft.
This tracker’s greatest advantage is its ability to work in remote areas because it does not require a GSM card. However, it offers a limited range and may not be reliable if you intend to cover a large area.
GPS drone trackers
Most experts in drone technology recommend this type of tracker because of its wide range and reliability. Drones with trackers send their exact location to an app where you can monitor them and find them in case of a flyaway.
True to its name, the buzzer tracker uses a buzzing sound to help you determine its location. Most pilots who choose this type attach it to their FPV uncrewed aircraft to experience the flight from a first-person perspective.
But they operate under a short range of about 60 feet, and even though they have a wider range, you can only use them for distances within which you can hear the buzzer.
Bluetooth drone trackers
These trackers use Bluetooth connectivity to send signals to your device and find their location. Although they have a very limited range (about 60 feet), they are very effective if you lose the aircraft indoors. This tracker is an excellent choice if you intend to use it in the comfort of your home.
Advantages of GPS Drone Trackers
A GPS tracker
There are several pros to investing in tracking systems for your drone. Some of them include the following:
It can be devastating to lose your UAV because of strong winds or software glitches. A GPS tracking system ensures that you always know their location, and they can return home if they are still in good flying condition.
The GPS tracker memorizes the drone’s takeoff position, allowing the aircraft to revert to it after flying a certain distance. If you have moved from the takeoff point, you can direct the drone toward your new location.
- Planned course
You may plan the drone’s way by setting waypoints along its course for certain reasons. Waypoints refer to an automated flight mode where the drone navigates a specific flight path repeatedly.
At the GPS locations you specify, the drone can take photos or hover for a predetermined amount of time.
A GPS for your drone can help it maintain a fixed position at a location of your choice, giving it a ‘steady hover.’
The GPS ensures it maintains this state even without additional commands. GPS lets it sense if it has deviated from the said position and corrects it.
- Altitude control
Your drone can fly within a specified altitude with GPS tracking. During the flight, it monitors the drone’s height and ensures it does not exceed preset altitude specifications. This feature helps you adhere to height regulations specified by the FAA.
Disadvantages of In-built GPS Drones
A flying drone.
Despite their many advantages, in-built GPS drones have their limitations. These include:
- High power consumption
An in-built GPS can weigh down your drone’s battery life. It is mainly because of your aircraft’s increased weight and technological burden. GPS modules require more power to operate effectively, reducing your drone’s flight time.
- Loss of connection
In-built GPS drones rely on the dependability of the GPS signal to operate effectively. In case of a signal loss or delay, it may be difficult to determine the drone’s precise live location of your aircraft.
It can increase the chances of your drone flying away or encountering a physical obstacle that may damage it.
Their advanced technology makes them pricier than the average drone. For operators with tight budgets, in-built GPS drones may be unaffordable.
When preparing your drone for takeoff, it is important to consider the strength of the GPS signal in the area. If the GPS signal is weak or lost, the drone will not be able to take off.
An overly-sensitive GPS sensor or a faulty receiver can also cause takeoff issues. Strong magnetic surroundings also create unfavorable takeoff conditions for an in-built GPS drone.
Best Drone Trackers
Here are some top GPS drone-tracking devices and their respective tracking features.
It’s one of the best drone trackers, with remarkably outstanding features. The tracker sends data on the drone’s position to a smartphone app. Also, the tracker uses a GSM network so that someone can call you and inform you of its location in case it gets lost.
Thus, for the tracker to function efficiently, it’s imperative to have a monthly cellular plan. You can also activate the geofencing property of the tracker, whereby you’ll get a notification if the drone leaves your defined area.
Lastly, the tracker barely influences the drone’s flying ability as it is lightweight.
Scout Universal Drone Attachment Kit
It is arguably the best tracker, applying various technologies to relay your drone’s real-time data. The technologies include:
- Vibration sensing
The tracker is not built primarily for drones but is lightweight, making it ideal for flying devices. It also allows you to build a geofence that will notify you if your drone is out of the area you have set.
Its only downside is that you must have a GSM cellular connection, but it’s a tracker worth investing in, considering its benefits.
Trackimo Drone GPS Tracker
Lastly, the Trackimo GPS tracker is similar to the above type as it also requires a GSM network. It provides real-time data on the position of your drone, and what’s more, the tracker can work anywhere in the globe.
But you must have access to a GSM connection for the Trackimo 3G tracker to work efficiently. Hence, it doesn’t truly work anywhere, and you might lose your drone if it flies to areas without a GSM connection.
How to Find My Drone without a Tracker
A drone is flying high.
How do you find your drone in case the tracker fails to function? Find out below.
- Make a habit of screenshotting the surroundings with the drone cam to ensure you always know where to start looking for it.
- Your remote controller will also help you find your drone as long as it’s still on. It’ll connect with the aircraft when you come close to it, and you’ll be able to find it.
- You immediately lose connection with the drone if you press the Return to Home button on the controller.
- Also, it would help if you reported that you lost your drone to the police. There’s a chance someone found it (or will find it) and submitted it to the police.
- Check the online marketplaces that deal with drones, as someone could be trying to sell your drone on the platforms.
- Also, it’d help if you made posters and flyers and posted them in the area where you believe your drone could be.
- Besides, you can use another drone to find your lost one. Fly this drone above the area where you lost the other one and take pictures of the surroundings.
- You can also use the ‘find my drone’ app if you’re using a DJI device.
- Lastly, check the drone’s flight logs to know the course the device took before disappearing.
Drone GPS Tracker FAQs
What is the smallest GPS tracker?
Currently, the Mirco Hornet is the smallest GPS tracker with a weight of 2.5g.
Do all drones have tracking devices?
Most drones lack tracking devices primarily because incorporating one requires a GSM sim. It would skyrocket the prices of drones.
Losing your drone, no matter how cheaply you bought it, can be frustrating and heartbreaking. In this guide, we have highlighted the benefits of having a tracker on your drone and the top trackers in the market. Also, we’ve covered ways of recovering your drone if the tracker fails. As you try to find your lost device, we hope you’ll install one of the trackers so that it isn’t hard to find it in the future.