Actual GPS, not A-GPS?


  1. JeffinCA

    JeffinCA Well-Known Member

    Are there any Android smartphones that have an actual GPS chip in them instead of A-GPS which only works if cell service is available?

    Jeff

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  2. Harry2

    Harry2 Well-Known Member


    A-GPS works without cell service like pure GPS.
    But if cell service is avaiable, it's faster to lock with the satellites :)

    Harry
  3. Usta

    Usta Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean by above, but a better wording is:

    The GPS chips in the phones don't require cell service to function, but if cell service is available, it's faster to lock with the satellites... :)
  4. takeshi

    takeshi Well-Known Member

    Here we go again... Don't overlook search -- I know I've posted this before here on this site.

    aGPS is "actual" GPS. GPS means that the GPS satellites are used to determine location. If they're not then it's not GPS. Tower triangulation is not aGPS (extremely common mistaken assumption). WiFi locating isn't GPS. It seems common for people to use "GPS" to mean any method of determining location but GPS has a very specific meaning.

    All aGPS means is that the GPS receiver contacts assistance servers for a faster initial GPS fix. Without the assistance data it takes much longer to obtain a GPS fix. Most aGPS receivers can fall back on standalone mode if the assistance servers are not available.

    The other extremely common GPS misunderstanding is that people don't seem to realize that the GPS receiver and the GPS app(s) are entirely separate entities on smartphones (not just Android). Some clarification below:

    The GPS receiver (whether aGPS or not) does not require data or even cellular service. It just needs to pick up signal from the GPS satellites. The only thing the GPS receiver does is determine your location. It provides latitude, longitude, altitude and time. Everything else is provided by the GPS app.

    It's your GPS app that may or may not have data requirements. Your GPS app provides maps, routing, prompts, POI's, logging, or whatever is needed to make the location data provided by the receiver useful to you. If you need to not rely on data then you need to look into GPS apps that don't require data.

    What type of GPS app are you looking for that doesn't require data? A nav app? A tracking app? Something else? What problems are you having? It's seems common for aGPS receivers to have problems obtaining a GPS fix. Apps like GPS Status can be handy as you can see what's going on with your GPS receiver. GPS Status also has a tool to clear aGPS data which has always resolved issues with my Droid's receiver not being able to obtain a GPS fix.


    Assuming no problems with the aGPS receiver. I've had countless instances where I've had to clear aGPS data for my Droid to get a fix. I had a ROM or something that allowed me to disable aGPS but I think it was a GB ROM and I wanted to revert to a Froyo ROM. If I can disable it again, I'll do so and just force the GPS receiver to operate in standalone as it seems more reliable to me.

    My BB's all had standalone receivers and they never had problems obtaining a fix. Granted, it's all anecdotal evidence but it works for me so that's what I'm going with.
    Colchicine, JeffinCA and Tangent like this.
  5. JeffinCA

    JeffinCA Well-Known Member

    I seem to be unable to use Search well. I entered "GPS" before posting and got close to nothing (the same happened when I searched for this thread tonight). In fact, I was only able to find this thread by searching for posts by me.

    I don't know what you mean by "doesn't require data", because all GPS apps require data. Perhaps you mean, doesn't require assisted data (the "A" in "A-GPS").

    I am looking for the best Android tablet/smartphone for my needs. To summarize, I have an ancient Dell Axim PDA for Contacts, Calendar & GPS Navigation and a separate cell phone for my pre-paid account (I spend very little time on the phone and rather like paying $15 every 90 days instead of $50 per month).

    I would like to integrate everything into one unit, but BoostMobile only allows one Android phone on their Pay As You Go plan and it is iDen-only. From what I have read, it would be... problematic... to get things working with some other CDMA-capable smartphone.

    So... I am willing to keep separate units and am investigating Android tablets.

    I am not happy to hear that. My current phone (Motorola i870) has problems getting a fix; I thought it was this particular (and old) phone.

    I've got no problems forcing an operation mode if it improves things.

    My GPS unit in my Dell acquires rather quickly (usually less than 30 seconds; occasionally in less than 4 seconds). I was hoping for a tablet with the same capability.
  6. dylo22

    dylo22 Well-Known Member

    The search function on the forum is horrible. You have to enter more than three letters to get results. And even then it might not get you what you want. You could try searching through google. Enter your search words and add ":android" forums behind it. For example you could enter "gps:android forums" and it would give you results of gps in android forum threads.

    There are apps in the market such as Copilot that stores all the maps on your sd card. That way you won't have use data to downloads maps as you go. It will be like using a stand alone gps. Of course, you still might need data for agps to get a quick lock on satellites.

    Anyways, wouldn't a tablet be to big to be used as a gps?
    EarlyMon likes this.
  7. JeffinCA

    JeffinCA Well-Known Member

    That is useful information. Thanks.

    That's what I have on my Dell Axim.

    I've been looking for PDAs (or smartphones that don't have a data plan requirement). Not having the best of luck.

    Jeff
  8. 28064212

    28064212 Well-Known Member

    Not true. I can turn off mobile data completely, and my CoPilot app will still give me directions
  9. JeffinCA

    JeffinCA Well-Known Member

    That's because the map data is already in the phone, as opposed to being provided over a wireless link on an as-needed basis.

    When I said that all nav programs need data, I did not mean a Wireless Data Plan; I meant actual data.


    Jeff
  10. 28064212

    28064212 Well-Known Member

    ...it hardly needed to be stated that you need map data to have maps.

    And to answer your initial question, yes virtually all Android phones have a GPS chip, and all of the ones with aGPS do
  11. JeffinCA

    JeffinCA Well-Known Member

    I'd tend to agree, but when people aren't precise (as in using 'data' to mean a 'wireless data plan that is working'), other people get confused.

    Jeff
  12. takeshi

    takeshi Well-Known Member

    A lot of forum searches don't do well with 3 letter (or less) words. Don't overlook site restricted Google searches either. For this site just add "site:androidforums.com" (without double quotes) to your keywords.

    It also helps to narrow/focus your searches with better keyword usage. Even if GPS did turn up related hits you'd get a lot of results that don't have any relevance to using GPS on a smartphone without data. GPS has many more uses than just car nav.

    No, they do not all require data. Some popular apps such as Google Maps Nav require data. There are plenty of GPS nav (both car and offroad/hiking/etc), GPS tracking, etc apps that do not require data.

    Apps generally don't care if the receiver is assisted or not.

    Again, the device doesn't matter. You're looking for an app that doesn't require data as far as GPS usage is concerned. Consider it a separate shopping list from the device itself.


    Jeff, "data" is commonly used to mean "data plan" (cellular data coverage) on every smartphone discussion forum I've used -- particularly in a context like this. You'll have trouble conversing if you say data but don't use the same meaning that the majority does as well. Sorry I didn't clarify my meaning but, again, that's typical usage for the word "data".

    A lot of shorthand, acronyms, etc are used on discussion forums and it takes time to acclimate if you're new. People rarely carefully write out posts strictly adhering to formal language and definitions.

    My statement's only based on anecdotal evidence and perusing forums so don't take it as fact. I can't speak to your i870's GPS issues. Some devices, like my wife's IP4, have weaker GPS receivers which introduce yet another potential cause for GPS issues.
  13. Hugh3lf

    Hugh3lf New Member

    Thanks for some great advice. I have noticed that a lot of people with aGPS on their phones, don't lose position information in buildings. Given that normal GPS tracking is often lost in buildings (due to the very weak signal) Does aGPS provide some form of Relative Navigation (Rel Nav) ie the position of the phone is fixed by some sort of signal from the Cell Phone Tower(s)?
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