Vehicle tracking terminology can be a little confusing for the uninitiated. So, to try and avoid confusion and help those searching for a telematics system, we’ve got some handy definitions below, of our top 20 terms.

These are quite specific to telematics, too. For example, we all know that a ‘trip’ means a journey, but what exactly defines a ‘trip’ on a vehicle tracking report?

In this telematics glossary, we define our Top 20 pieces of vehicle tracking terminology. Twenty terms that you may find useful when researching or first using vehicle tracking systems from TT Matics. Much of the content below relates to Quartix vehicle trackers, our best-selling range. Our thanks go to them for providing this information.

Vehicle Tracking Terminology: The Top 20

An accelerometer is the device by which the acceleration or deceleration of a moving vehicle is measured. It contributes to the data and your understanding via driving style reports. See example below

vehicle tracking | track driver style

Functions that access features or data from another system or service. For example, the Quartix system shares information with Fleetcheck through an API, to provide fuel card information for users. TT Matics can provide both systems with an API.

Connect & Track is the name of the Quartix self-install tracking device that connects to the vehicle’s battery via two wires. It can be moved between vehicles with ease, as it is not hardwired.  Not to be confused with their Plug & Track option (see also, below).

This is a way of assigning telematics data to a specific driver using a key fob affixed to a reader in the dashboard that is connected to the tracking unit.

With Driver ID from Quartix, each driver is assigned a unique key fob which, when placed on the reader, registers the driver in that vehicle. The device will then record all trip-specific data against that person.

The term ‘Eco-driving’ refers to energy-efficient driving techniques that reduce fuel consumption and maximise fuel efficiency, like reducing idling, avoid harsh acceleration or braking. See more about eco-driving on our US sister-site

A set of functions and reports within a telematics system that allows the user to operate their fleet with maximum efficiency. For example, fleet management reports might include time on site reports and maintenance alerts.


Geofencing is the term used to describe setting up virtual perimeters around a specific geographic area. These areas are called geofencing zones. Geofencing lets you establish rules for each zone, and provides real-time alerts when vehicles enter or exit the zone.  This can be used to establish both mandatory and prohibited zones.

Idling is the period when a vehicle’s engine is running, but it’s not in motion, for example, leaving the engine running whilst pulled up at the side of a road.

Installation is the process of fitting a tracking device to a vehicle. For a hard-wired unit, this can take 30 to 45 minutes; for the self-install devices, Plug & Track and Connect & Track, this takes a matter of minutes.

OBD is an acronym for On-Board Diagnostics. An OBD is a vehicle’s self-diagnostic port, typically located under the driver’s side dashboard. This is where the vehicle tracking device connects to the vehicle.   


Plug & Track is the name of the Quartix self-install tracking device. it plugs into the vehicle’s OBD port and can be transferred between vehicles with ease. Not to be confused with the Quartix Connect & Track device (see above).

Vehicle trackers use various methods to suspend location and speed monitoring when vehicles are in personal use. The Quartix Privacy Mode, for example, can include periods when miles are logged without any location information or times when no monitoring is enabled at all.

Quartix’s unique SafeSpeed database maps speed data for thousands of drivers on the UK roads network and compares each vehicle’s speed on a segment of road to other vehicles that have driven along that road segment. This allows users to see which employees may be displaying risky driving behaviour, even if they are adhering to speed limits. 

Any location where a vehicle makes a stop and start.  Sites that are visited regularly can be set up as custom locations on your system and will show up in reports as that chosen name, rather than an address. 

An integrated circuit that stores the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number and its unique key, which are used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile devices. Vehicle tracking devices contain a SIM card to receive and transmit GPS data.

When a vehicle is stationary with its ignition on, for example, in traffic or while loading/unloading.  After two and a half minutes, the stop becomes idling. 


The term ‘telematics’ refers to any device which merges telecommunications and data acquisition. Telematics includes anything from GPS systems to navigation systems. 

Telemetry is a communications method where data is collected at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment. 


The tracking device is the physical device that’s installed into a vehicle and connects to either the power source, ignition or OBD port. These devices contain a SIM card and GPRS modem for transmitting data, so the vehicle information is available typically within a few minutes. 

A trip is measured from when the vehicle ignition is turned on (departure) and when it’s turned off (arrival). Should the unit detect the vehicle is stationary for a period of time then a break in the trip will be shown as “Stopped with ignition on” in the logs and reports. 

Having a better understanding of these vehicle tracking terms will help you navigate websites and product information as you search for the right vehicle tracking system for your business.

To find more about the the best systems, contact us today!