GPS for dummies.. please explain


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  1. Terry S

    Terry S Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Okay so I have never used a GPS or a smartphone but was looking forward to having a GPS with this phone. When people say GPS.. are they referring to the button on the phone that says Maps or Nav or both? Also, when I go into Nav a pop up comes up saying "waiting for location" and it doesn't go anywhere from there. When I click on Maps and than click on my location it says "your current locations is temporarily unavailable". I have tried this in my home both on wireless and without wireless on (does this matter?). I saw the instructions on the one thread of someone who said they figured out the problem, but those instructions are for someone who has some experience. So could someone please post some help instructions in detail. Thank you!
     

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  2. radi0chik

    radi0chik Well-Known Member

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    GPS is actually a receiver in your phone. You have to be outside (usually) to get a signal from the satellites out in space orbiting the earth. You don't need wifi to make it work, although google maps uses your phone's data (3g) service to download the maps. Basically your GPS receiver will tell maps "I'm HERE, send me maps for my location" then the google server will send back the maps over 3g. I do know many people have had problems with their GPS seeing the satellites outside, so if you go outside with the maps application running, and it doesn't let you see your location within a few (5?) minutes, you may have the problem others are experiencing. If that's the case, post again and maybe we can walk you through an easy way to figure it out. :) Good luck!
     
  3. Terry S

    Terry S Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Okay so I went outside in the street. It did take about 4 minutes to find my location when I was in the Nav button. In the maps button.. when I hit the my location button I still got the same response.. "your current locations is temporarily unavailable", I hit that button 3 times before it finally gave me my location. Is this normal to take this many minutes or this many tries to find my location?
     
  4. smaksmakic

    smaksmakic New Member

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  5. rajendra82

    rajendra82 Well-Known Member

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    As a side note, GPS works by looking at satellites in the sky and measuring the time difference between the interal clock of the phone and the time signal of the satellite broadcast. The difference in time tells the GPS system how far you are from each satellite in the sky, and based on that it can pinpont your location. The more visible satllites there are, the more acurate your location. When you are inside the house, the number of satellites visible drops dramtically, and will become zero if you are away from the windows. If this happens the GPS will fail to locate you. There is a second method based on triangulation from cell towers, which can be enabled in the settings of the phone. This method will work indoors, but is not quite as accurate. GPS also has issues on cloudy days or in wooded areas due to the same line of sight limitations.
     
  6. pkulak

    pkulak Well-Known Member

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    Eh, I'm done. I give up. There are a million little tricks that people offer up, and I think people sometimes _think_ they work because they happen to get a lucky lock after a reboot, but it's still a shitty GPS system on this phone.

    I got my buddy's iPhone 4 next to my Captivate today and opened up maps on each device. We were on the bottom floor of a two story apartment complex and the iPhone locked on (to what looked like the exact apartment) in about 4 seconds. No joke. My Captivate, however, sat there with my location icon on the other side of the complex and an accuracy circle the size of 6 city blocks for as long as I wanted to sit there waiting for it to do something.

    Then we drove somewhere and I tested them both again. The iPhone immediately locked on and started moving along the road as we did. The Captivate turned into a large circle, put my location in the middle of a bunch of houses, and then just sat still as we drove along.

    A large part of the reason I bought this phone is because the maps application is so much better. It's got transit and bike directions (I almost never drive anywhere) and there's free car nav even when I do. But, if there's no working GPS system in the phone, what's the point?

    So, if I move to the iPhone, I give up notifications, widgets, Swype, and the hackability of it all, but I gain a GPS that works, a better camera, a flash, a front camera, a butt load of games and a smoother, more polished OS.

    If this thing had a good GPS, I'd stay with it, but these days the GPS is really important in a phone. I'm going to take this back today and get on the list for an iPhone. I'm really disappointed in Samsung. This phone could have been really awesome if they just gave a crap about the quality of their hardware.
     
  7. RingMe

    RingMe Active Member

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    If you turn on "Use Wireless Networks", then the phone will first use cell towers to find your location. It will not be very accurate. If you turn Use Wireless Networks off, it will only use satellites and will be much more accurate.

    However, there are apps that use the Wireless Networks to find your location.
     
  8. siehead

    siehead Member

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    I totally feel you on this one. I even agree with your comparison of what you would be giving up in exchange. I personally, however, am willing to wait out the initial software updates (supposedly a GPS fix coming out within a week) to see if that improves things, most importantly the GPS issue and the smoothness of the OS. I really had no idea that the android OS would be so unresponsive (not smooth), but hopefully Froyo (supposedly coming out next month) will remedy a lot of this.
     
  9. radi0chik

    radi0chik Well-Known Member

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    The FIRST time your gps connects is the longest. It SHOULD be only a few seconds thereafter.
     
  10. pkulak

    pkulak Well-Known Member

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    Don't wait and hope that Android ever becomes as smooth as iOS. I think they make different tradeoffs.

    For example, if you open up the browser on a iPhone, navigate to a large webpage, and the flick really fast, the page will very quickly decelerate but you'll most likely still see checker boarding anyway. Open you Android browser and flick the same page; it will fly nearly to the bottom in one flick and you'll see the whole page fly by at a million miles an hour with no checker boarding whatsoever.

    Now, zoom in on an iPhone browser. You'll see that until you stop zooming, it looks like it's just resizing a photo. Then you let go and it turns sharp again. Resize an Android browser page and it's sharp the whole time.

    Finally, scroll and Android browser slowly. It stutters. Every so slightly, but it's totally noticeable. It makes it seem like your scrolling with a mouse rather than actually moving the page with your finger. Now do it with an iPhone: buttery smooth.

    I think I know why this is. The iPhone is rendering the page, then taking the result of the current window and loading it into the graphics buffer. So, when you scroll quickly it can't keep up, and it doesn't even bother to reload the buffer until you're done zooming. Android forgoes this complication and just uses the CPU to render directly to the screen. You get super fast scrolling and smooth zooming, but choppy scrolling. I think this tradeoff is made other places too, like maps. I think Android takes the Apple approach in the new gallery app, however.

    Personally, I prefer smooth, slow scrolling to anything else. It just makes it easier to read things while you scroll them. I may be totally wrong about why this happens, but still, I wouldn't hold out that it's going to change any time soon. Go ahead and wait until your 29th day and see if the GPS issue goes away, though. Me, I have so little faith that it's going to be solved that I'm not even going to bother waiting. If it was an easy fix, Samsung would have fixed it with the US versions. Do you really think they designed an entirely new case, with a fancy metal back and new square design, but they didn't bother to fix some little GPS bug that just needed a couple firmware changes to go away? I think they just wanted to save some money and threw in some crappy GPS chip.
     
  11. no driver

    no driver Active Member

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    This morning I was right with you, same experiences trying to get Google Nav to pick up my location in my backyard. I used the phone code to go into GPS config and enabled Skyhook, turned the phone off, then on again, and tried using Nav in my backyard again. Still nothing, but I was also holding a wiggly kid and didn't have time to wait on it.

    Later in the morning I decided to give it one more try while I was walking around downtown where I live (but in a park, away from tall buildings) and it locked. After that I had it pull up directions for me to drive to work, and it kept pretty good track of where I was as I walked back to my car, which was in a parking deck. When I got to my car, it said it had lost the GPS signal, but shortly after I pulled out of the deck it reacquired the GPS signal and started giving me directions on where to turn, etc. Then later in the day I used Nav again to route me to lunch just to be sure it was still working etc, and everything worked just fine.

    My wife also got a Captivate and I haven't had a chance to set hers up yet, but I'll give it a shot tonight, first without changing any settings but giving it enough time to find the satellites. Hopefully they both work from now on, as GPS was one of the most important features for our new phones.
     

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