GPS - accuracy, performance, availability ?

streetkid

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Sorry to get off topic, but I don't understand the FAQ on calibrating the GPS.

Do YOU spin around 3 times, or you just set the phone in your hand and spin it 3 times?
 

spillner

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I have never lost GPS while using navigation. It is so accurate that it tells me when to turn in large parking lots! It has out performed my fathers Garmin and my friends TomTom in accuracy.
 

tommyz

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I think the GPS is very accurate. The problem with the Google Navigation is the map data.

Google maps are no where near the Navteq used on the Garmins.

On many occasions the Google Maps showed an address in the wrong spot, while the Garmin pointed to the right place.

I think once Google gets there map data more accurate the navigation will improve.

I have to say nothing beats the traffic on the Google maps. It is pretty amazing and even works on main streets.
 

iPirate

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I think the GPS is very accurate. The problem with the Google Navigation is the map data.

Google maps are no where near the Navteq used on the Garmins.

On many occasions the Google Maps showed an address in the wrong spot, while the Garmin pointed to the right place.

I think once Google gets there map data more accurate the navigation will improve.

I have to say nothing beats the traffic on the Google maps. It is pretty amazing and even works on main streets.
I had the opposite experience. Google told me the correct location while Garmin was off several times.
 

filterbox

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Thanks for all of the responses.

Do any of you notice that the droids gps seems to have good days and bad days? Sometimes it has me perfectly throughout the day , other times it doesn't have my location at all. ( or thinks I am in Quebec , which I am not )

Yes, soon after I posted my response to your survey, I went to my maps and it took a few minutes to connect to any satellites. It had my location within a few blocks based on the cell towers, but no gps. It has also placed me in San Diego and Pebble Beach, CA which are nowhere close to Los Angeles...usually that fixes itself within a couple seconds and I usually notice it with my WeatherBug app. I have no clue why it would think I was in either of those places.
 

takeshi

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- How well do you rate the phones gps? In a rural area? In the city? How accurate is the position shown on the map? How often is your "location temporarily unavailable"? Which Android phone do you have?
Very good. No problems in the country or in the city (not sure why it should matter for GPS though it might affect data availability). Never had the "location temporarily unavailable" issue. I'm using the Droid.
 

knotbeerdan

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I was doing some work at the warehouse the other day and needed to go to pick up some shelving. So i took out my droid and brought up google maps. said my location within 3 meters. This makes me laugh because we spend $3-4,000 on trimble units here at work because we need to be accurate within 3 meters... Should just buy a bunch of droids, lol
 

ronhawker

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gps navigation accuracy

What I am missing compared to dedicated GPS units like the Garmin is the speed tracking. That is one of the things I use a lot. You get that with the GPS widgets but not in maps that I can tell. Just does not seem like many options for info overlay of Google Maps like the GPS units or the ability to switch modes easily to do so.

The Motorola car mount works well on my bike. I have used Garmin on the bike for several years. The Droid mounts up well on the tank in front of my tank bag. Does not have the glove friendly touch but it does work and does the Bluetooth stereo music as well. I have stereo helmet sound system from Chatterbox and they work well together similar to by BB Curve I had before.

Anyone know of a speedometer app that would overlay the maps and have big numbers?
 

odiaz

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It seems to know where I am fairly accurately but when navigating to a location, it seems to be off by about 1/4 to 1/2 mile. I't happened to me twice in the past 2 days, once in Western NY ansd then the next Day in Scottsdale Az.

Also, the routes don't seem to make sense sometimes. While navigating to an address in Ct yesterday, it had me drive 1/2 mile out of my way and then circle back. Good thing I noticed before I followed those directions.
 

odiaz

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I just read in another post that if you travel in an airplane with the phone shut off, the GPS can develop a type of jet lag where it can take several days for the accuray to return as new maps are downloaded. This might have been the problem since I've been flying quite a bit lately. I'll have to try the GPS status tuning suggestion in one of the earlier threads to see if that helps.
 
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eliwellis

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I am fairly convinced that we are dealing with a technology that is still in its infancy. And I mean all phones with gps chips, not just the android phones. There are times when it is as accurate as can be and times when it has my location off by 1000 miles. Hopefully the gps units in phones will get better in the future.....But for now it is still pretty cool that it works most of the time. :)

Also, I have noticed a big drop in gps performance since this thread was started back in the winter. I think that it is due to the foliage on the trees.

Does the Droid X have the same GPS technology in it? Any improvements that anyone knows of?

-eli
 

cleopete

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I've had my Droid X since launch and GPS has been pretty hit and miss. Sometimes it's right on the money, other times it places me about a mile away (always in the same spot too). Part of my problem at home is probably the metal roof, but I've lost GPS outdoors too. Rebooting the phone usually fixes it. The X has been a bit buggy, but I still love it...I'm used to the vagaries of Linux and I accept them. I'm still beyond pissed at Moto over the whole efuse thing however.
 

takeshi

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I've had my Droid X since launch and GPS has been pretty hit and miss. Sometimes it's right on the money, other times it places me about a mile away (always in the same spot too).
If it's a mile off it's not using your GPS receiver.

Yes, metal and water are the worst obstacles for GPS signals.
Inability to obtain a fix (not due to signal issues) is also a fairly common occurrence, going on posts here and my personal experience.

I am fairly convinced that we are dealing with a technology that is still in its infancy. And I mean all phones with gps chips, not just the android phones.
I disagree. I never had problems with the GPS receiver in my Blackberry 8310. I relied on it (and Telenav) for thousands of miles without any issues. However, it only operated in standalone mode. The Droid is assisted and should fall back to standalone, if needed.

That said, I've certainly had several incidents with the Droid's GPS receiver not being able to get a fix and it didn't have anything to do with signal as reactivating seemed to get it going in each instance. That, and GPS Status indicated that it was picking up plenty of satellite with plenty of signal from each -- just that it wasn't getting a fix for whatever reason.

There are times when it is as accurate as can be and times when it has my location off by 1000 miles.
Again, if you're off by a large margin like that then your GPS receiver isn't being used. It's falling back to triangulating or using another (non-GPS) method of determining your location.

Watch for the GPS icon in the notification bar. If it's steady it has a fix. If it's flashing, it doesn't. If it's not there then the app isn't even trying to use it.

GPS Status or similar apps can be helpful in troubleshooting GPS issues. The app can show you exactly how many satellites are picked up, signal strength and whether or not a fix has been obtained. As I said earlier in this reply, each of my issues with GPS has not been due to a lack of signal.

I just read in another post that if you travel in an airplane with the phone shut off, the GPS can develop a type of jet lag where it can take several days for the accuray to return as new maps are downloaded.
Link? This sounds like dubious information. Your GPS receiver needs to know where to find the satellites. Standalone mode units determine this on their own. Assisted units, like the Droid, pull data from assistance servers (hence the "assisted" in "assisted GPS"/aGPS) to obtain a faster initial fix so it shouldn't be an issue.

It's quite common to confuse the GPS receiver and the GPS app but they're entirely separate. Your GPS receiver doesn't care about maps. Maps are handled by your GPS app -- not the receiver itself. Download of maps is irrelevant to the receiver.
 

Billc

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My Droid sometimes takes 5 or 10 minutes to get a lock, even though the GPS is left on, when I use GPS Status or the map function. I just got a car mount and have been experimenting with the navigator in LA traffic. Updates are not nearly as smooth as my TomTom and it looses the lock now and then. I also notice that the phone gets very hot, the battery temp runs over 50C.
 
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