GPS Coverage different networks

Last Updated:

  1. Mike777

    Mike777 Well-Known Member

    Hi all

    How dependent is the network coverage for a good GPS siginal on a smart phone (samgung SII)

    Currently I am on vodafone but am thinking about switching to O2.....would like to have a good GPS track on my cycle to work hence my question.

    Many thanks for your time and help.



  2. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    Hi Mike,

    The GPS part should be the same either way, as it's the same satellites.

    As an experiment I just set my phone in airplane mode, stepped out into my garden and activated the GPS Status app. I got an 11 satellite lock and 3m precision in a few seconds with no network assistance. I don't know the S2, but there's no reason in principle why a phone can't work just fine as a pure GPS device without network assistance.

    The bit where the network is used to aid location may in principle vary. Obviously won't work when out of cover (but as above, you should be able to use GPS without this). If the database of cell tower locations is wrong I suppose it might in principle confuse things, but as long as both networks maintain that correctly (or pass correct into to Google - I don't know how that bit works) then it should be the same on either network. I should add though that I've no experience of using either, so this is just theory.
  3. togger161

    togger161 Well-Known Member

    The network location and GPS location are totally different, and use different technology. You can get your location from your phone network, but it isn't that accurate. I've used Google maps and it's shown my location anything up to a mile or so away. This was on 3UK. I'm currently on T-Mobile and that shows me at the end of my road, about half a mile away. This is not accurate enough for sat nav etc. I believe it looks to the mast your phone signal connected to.

    Switch the GPS on and it uses satellites to triangulate your position (why you need a minimum of 3 satellites to get your position.) This is a lot more accurate, typically down to 20ft. First fix on a lot of devices usually takes a couple of minutes, but if you use the GPS every few days you will get a lock a lot quicker, sometimes in seconds. (I believe the GPS data is valid for up to 7 days. Basically use it every 7 days or less and you will be getting a hot (quick) fix, any longer and you'll get a slower "cold" fix) If you want to know more about this and why let me know and I can point you to some more detailed explanations.

    You can use the GPS without a phone signal/no 3G. You will need to have the maps on your device though. I have Navigon on my phone and used it on holiday last year in parts of Devon where we had no phone signal at all (HTC Desire) and in Scotland this year (SGS2 and wife using my HTC Desire) Both worked flawlessly, easily as good as a dedicated sat nav.

    In summary, the location provided by your phone company is usually good enough to see roughly where you are on Google maps (typically within a mile) and is fine for check-ins on Facebook and for returning details about local products from bar code scanning apps (Red Laser). If you need to know exactly where you are for Sat Nav, Geocaching, logging your jogging/cycling routes, GPS is a lot more accurate.

    They both use different forms of technology and can be used independent of each other.
  4. togger161

    togger161 Well-Known Member

    BTW, you've started about 3 threads now asking about GPS. There are GPS issues on some devices, but Google (who developed the Andorid OS for mobile phones) have released patches. You need root access to your device in order to patch the system files with the updates. My HTC Desire was really bad on several Roms, but the patch sorted it out. My SGS2 is fine out of the box.

    If you want any more info PM me.

Share This Page