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GPS icon going nuts. Why?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by JaSauders, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. JaSauders

    JaSauders Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Tonight I disabled "use wireless networks" under the location menu. I let the regular GPS stay enabled.

    Shortly after, I noticed that my GPS icon was flickering insanely fast. It wasn't just the "searching" type of flash. It was super, super fast. Easily 15x a second.

    So then I go into settings and re-enable "use wireless networks" and it's fine. I disable "use wireless networks" and it goes insane again.

    I made sure I was signed out of Latitude, but even when I did that, it didn't matter. I thought maybe being signed in to Latitude was effecting it, but alas it was not.

    Has anybody seen this before? Anybody know what it means?

  2. Saltine713

    Saltine713 Android Enthusiast

    Could be a broken GPS? Not sure. Have you tried resetting the phone? Does the GPS still work?
  3. JaSauders

    JaSauders Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    What would a broken GPS be doing, exactly? I mean, the GPS works fine. It operates fine when I open a program that needs to utilize it, such as Google Navigation or Glympse. It's just when I'm sitting at the home screen with the settings that I mentioned above that it acts up.

    I hate to sound like an idiot, but if I do a reset on the phone, I lose *everything* right? I never did a reset, however I have it rooted and have done several recovery's with ROM Manager.
  4. gen-e

    gen-e Newbie

    Sounds like you have some background applications that you are not aware of accessing the GPS, that's why...
  5. mrsbelpit

    mrsbelpit Android Enthusiast

    This is just speculation, but since you disabled wireless networks, maybe whatever is running has to rely on gps alone, thus your gps icon is telling you the gps is being used.
  6. El Presidente

    El Presidente Beware The Milky Pirate!
    VIP Member

    Doesn't the handset use Wireless Networks setting to estimate your position, then the GPS to pinpoint it? If you disable the Wireless Networks, GPS is going to have to work harder to find a signal.
  7. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert

    This is my understanding of A-GPS which is what most phones use. They rely on WiFi/3G to help the GPS pinpoint your location. Otherwise, GPS alone will take a lot longer to lock onto your location.
    El Presidente likes this.
  8. JaSauders

    JaSauders Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I had done a recovery 10 days ago, so I just restored that. When I did, things were back to normal with the GPS icon. I have no idea if another app was acting up with it or not. I have to admit I have quite a lot of location based apps installed so I decided it would be easier to do the recovery and see what happens first instead of trying to single out which app (if any) were acting up.

    I didn't know GPS and "use wireless networks" worked hand in hand like that. I was trying to disable "use wireless networks" to see if there was a way for Latitude to utilize it instead. But it seems pretty apparent that Latitude ONLY uses GPS when foregrounded, and when backgrounded, uses "use wireless networks" for determining estimated location.

    I just think it's funny how it works. I looked at my timestamp history from last night. I drove all day (almost 14 hours straight) yesterday so from 11pm until 11am I was dead asleep. Yet my Latitude updated a few times, here and there putting me in a location far enough away that I was not within the blue circle of the estimated range it thought I was in.

    Granted, I have to admit, this kind of technology is pretty remarkable it's even this accurate, to be honest. I mean, using NO GPS and finding me within a few miles... However, to give it credit, during the same minute it updated me again, putting me further south to where I WAS within the blue circle. So while it threw me out of left field, it also brought me back relatively quickly.

    So I have to give it credit. While it's not pinpointed accurate, I see how incredibly useful it is. I just wish Latitude was a little more configurable so I can get the GPS involved a bit more (every few minutes, maybe?). I can see some questions popping up if a couple uses this to track one another. But then again, since it's using rough estimates, if that's known up front perhaps it wouldn't raise any awkward questions. :p

    Do any other platforms use this "use wireless networks" technology? Or is this something Android based phones only do?

    Also, how does it use your wifi? Does it somehow pinpoint the location of the wifi based on where its feed is from with the ISP?

    EDIT - so I decided to tinker around with Latitude again and to my surprise, it said I was on Long Island in New York. The only difference was I had my wifi enabled this time whereas before I did not have wifi enabled. So it seems the "use wireless networks" option with mobile towers works relatively well. Using WIFI is nothing short of a bad joke. I just re-enabled my wifi and sure enough, I'm in New York. Nice.

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