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Better GPS?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Frostypawz, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. Frostypawz

    Frostypawz Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I like using Google Maps turn by turn navigation. However,my Verizon Galaxy S 3 frequently gives me a "GPS signal lost" spoken message. While usually it will begin working a few seconds later,many times at critical moments the pointer in maps will just drift off the road as though it doesn't know my position.This can last for a minute or two at times.

    This has led me to wonder if a bluetooth gps receiver such as the Garmin Glo might give me more consistent results from my phone.Its my understanding that phones have assisted GPS (A-GPS) which helps to get a quicker position fix. By comparison Standalone receivers like the glo do not have this ability as it would rely on getting additional satellite data from cell towers which phones GPS has the capability of doing due to its cellular connection. Of course there is still a market for separate receivers and standalone units which makes me wonder if they are better in other ways.

    If I used a separate receiver for my phone would the phone still assist the satellite signal with cell tower data? If not would this matter for getting a more consistent lock?Also If I used a Garmin Glo or something similar with a tablet having no cell connection would I get a full featured experience from Google Maps navigation? Would I need to use a Garmin navigation app instead? A lot of questions here. I appreciate anyone's attention.

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  2. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert

    Once in a while, I have issues where it seems the GPS app doesn't get a fix or the fix isn't updated frequently enough. I just reboot my phone and it usually works after that. Sometimes, it doesn't help much and then later that day, it's fine again.
  3. codesplice

    codesplice Elite Recognized Moderator

    I think you adequately explained (and understand) the trade-off between a GPS receiver built in to a mobile phone versus a standalone unit. :thumbup:

    The phone can use A-GPS to obtain a quicker lock; the dedicated receiver will likely be able to attain a stronger (and more accurate) fix - particularly if you can mount it somewhere in the car with a clear view of the sky.

    I have my eyes on something like this for use in my car - both for a more reliable GPS lock as well as increased precision and refresh rate at autocross and track events.

    Of course, the other catch is that I don't believe that Google Maps has built-in support for an external GPS module. There's not a way in the Maps settings to tell it to reference an external module instead of the internal one. I did find a workaround, but can't verify first-hand whether or not it works. That's probably concern for your decision than for mine.

    Do please let me know if/what you decide to do, and how it works out. :)
  4. Frostypawz

    Frostypawz Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thanks stuntman and codesplice for your replies. I read your link,codesplice,which answered more questions for me,thanks. From what I can gather,the standalone (and bluetooth receiver) versions are in all ways superior to the a-gps versions due to their higher powered chips.If Im correct,the only reason cell data is needed in a phone is to make up for the compromises needed to fit this ability into a phone due to cost,power, and possibly space considerations.

    I'm am curious however if the google maps and navigation app for phones will have compromised functionality in ANY way not having cell data. Will not only maps but navigation,traffic data,and its ability to reroute you on the fly be negatively affected with an app designed for a phone? Also,for driving purposes,are any of the other apps better or quicker at adapting to real time changes in road conditions?
  5. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert

    Google Maps requires a data connection in order to determine a route to your destination. Google Maps does have an offline mode. You can save several maps onto your phone. When you use a saved map with no data connection, you can still bring up the map on your app. However, you will not be able to use navigation. If you do have a data connection and start navigating, the navigation will still work if you lose your data connection and you stay relatively on route. If you stray too far, the navigation will fail. Google Maps caches the route onto your phone, so as long as you don't stray too far, you can still navigate if you lose data connection on route.

    You won't get traffic data because that information is more or less real time. Without a data connection, your app cannot reroute you if traffic conditions change while on route. It needs a data connection in order to get traffic updates. Also, it is the Google servers that do the routing. It then just sends the route to your phone which is why you need a data connection to start navigating.

    I recommend Waze. I find that Waze tends to find the better routes through traffic than Google Maps. It also informs you when traffic conditions change and will alter your route if it finds a better one. Like Google Maps, Waze does need a data connection to work.
    codesplice likes this.
  6. Frostypawz

    Frostypawz Newbie
    Thread Starter

    So it sounds as though the Garmin Glo Bluetooth receiver would not work with Google Maps if you want real time rerouting on a tablet without a data connection? Are there programs that would allow navigation and rerouting using a receiver on such a tablet?

    Also, if I used a Bluetooth receiver (for its better chip),the bluetooth gps android program with "allow mock locations" enabled to make use of the receivers output,and just used my phone ( instead of a tablet ) would google maps still pull real time data for rerouting purposes from my phones data connection? Do other programs allow for rerouting without the need for a data connection?

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