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Thread: GPS in a smartphone?

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    GPS in a smartphone?

    Does the iphone and android phones have a GPS chip similar to what these portable GPS devices have? I mean like the Tom Tom or Garmin units? Or is it some sort of Wifi triangulation?

    The reason I am asking is that I am becoming pretty confused by all this. My co-worker was saying that he doesn't like that the iphone doesn't get his gps location exact. He did it and it showed us in the middle of a highway which is right nearby where we were. I know that a GPS device like my Garmin would be much more exact then that.

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    Does he have the 1st generation iPhone? That does not have A-GPS (or standard GPS for that matter) like the iPhone generations after that.

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    He has the iPhone 3GS. After doing some research of my own, I think I have an understanding of what is happening...

    Because we are indoors, he cannot access traditional GPS satellites, so his phone is using the AGPS to get the cell tower info to lock onto his position. Due to this, it is not exact.

    All this being said... is the AGPS that the iPhone (AT&T) uses the same as the AGPS that Verizon uses on the Droid, Eris...

    http://www.wmexperts.com/articles/gp..._tutorial.html

    Logic tells me that this technology, if used correctly, to support the regular satellite data and correct positions, would make an iphone, droid or other android phone superior to the Garmins and TomToms.

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    Is he using Google Maps? That is using Google's network location service, which estimates your location based on the cell site IDs and/or WiFi networks that the phone is in communication with.

    The iPhone 3G and 3GS, as well as all Android phones, have real GPS receivers that can find your location without any help from the cell network or the Internet.

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    Yes, we were using Google Maps on his iPhone 3GS. So if Google Maps uses cell site IDs and/or WiFi networks, when does the "real GPS receivers" come into play? Do the real GPS receivers override Google's network location service when they can locate your location via satellites?

    Is this Google network location service the assisted part of AGPS?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwangster12
    Yes, we were using Google Maps on his iPhone 3GS. So if Google Maps uses cell site IDs and/or WiFi networks, when does the "real GPS receivers" come into play? Do the real GPS receivers override Google's network location service when they can locate your location via satellites?

    Is this Google network location service the assisted part of AGPS?
    I can't speak for the iPhone, but on my last two Blackberries and my current Moto Droid, Google Maps did indeed use GPS when available.

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    Okay, well thats what I was wondering. I don't want to by any means make this an iphone discussion, more of a smartphone discussion.

    I figured thats what was happening. I bet him that if he went outside and tried his position it would be more exact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwangster12
    Does the iphone and android phones have a GPS chip similar to what these portable GPS devices have? I mean like the Tom Tom or Garmin units? Or is it some sort of Wifi triangulation?
    iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G [S] are capable of using 3 different methods for position fixes:
    • WWAN cell ID-based location lookup
    • Wi-Fi SSID-based location lookup
    • GPS (which can be either autonomous or assisted)
    None of those methods use triangulation (see this post for details). In general, iPhone will prefer assisted GPS over autonomous GPS over SSID lookup over CID lookup. So to answer your question, yes, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G [S] have a GPS chip, specifically the Infineon PMB2525 (Hammerhead II).

    Dedicated PNDs like the ones from TomTom and Garmin always operate in autonomous GPS mode, they do not have the option to operate in the other 3 modes, due to the lack of WWAN and Wi-Fi connectivity.

    PRL Interpretations
    XFF's AlphaTag software
    Cellular and PCS License Maps
    Quote Originally Posted by gpatrick900
    I am a little confused. My Verizon phone was able to roam on GSM because they used TDMA. Tell it was shutdown. The phone recognizes it as Analog. If PCS has TDMA, It could be technically be used on GSM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tabla View Post
    Y'know, I'm used to hysterical 14-year-old ******** on the internet, but this is exceptional. Never before in human history have so many nerds hyperventilated so publicly over so little.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwangster12
    He has the iPhone 3GS. After doing some research of my own, I think I have an understanding of what is happening...

    Because we are indoors, he cannot access traditional GPS satellites, so his phone is using the AGPS to get the cell tower info to lock onto his position. Due to this, it is not exact.
    That's a common, but tragic misunderstanding. aGPS (assisted GPS) is no more or less exact than autonomous GPS. Cell ID-based or SSID-based location lookup are far less accurate and only provide an estimation of the location, but they have nothing to do with GPS, nor aGPS! They are completely separate position determination methods that operate fully outside the realm of the GPS network and constellation. Also, the term aGPS (autonomous GPS) can mean different things, specifically MS-based, MS-assisted, or LTO. You can learn more about this here. Bottom line is that aGPS is no more or less accurate than autonomous GPS, as it uses the exact same ranging data from the exact same satellites, the only difference is where and how the calculation is done, but the end result is always the same. The other two methods (CID-based and SSID-based) only provide an approximate location fix, but again, they have nothing to do with GPS.
    Logic tells me that this technology, if used correctly, to support the regular satellite data and correct positions, would make an iphone, droid or other android phone superior to the Garmins and TomToms.
    That is correct. There are two factors that make iPhone a superior position determination entity, compared to a dedicated PND:
    1. It has two fallback options for environments that don't allow a GPS signal to be received, specifically indoors.
    2. It supports assisted GPS, which allows for a much quicker TTFF than an autonomous-only device.

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    Quote Originally Posted by balazer
    Is he using Google Maps? That is using Google's network location service, which estimates your location based on the cell site IDs and/or WiFi networks that the phone is in communication with.
    That is not correct. The Google Maps app on iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G [S] will use GPS over SSID-based and CID-based location lookup, whenever possible. It only falls back to those other two methods if GPS is not available.

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    So... to try and bring this back into a Verizon Wireless world... I assume the Droid, Eris, Devour... other android phones have the same methods for determining location?

    WWAN cell ID-based location lookup
    Wi-Fi SSID-based location lookup
    GPS (which can be either autonomous or assisted)

    Basically what I'm asking, other than something like RAM or speed of hardware, are all of these smartphones created equally from a GPS/WWWAN/Wi-Fi SSID perspective?

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    Quote Originally Posted by XFF
    That is not correct. The Google Maps app on iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G [S] will use GPS over SSID-based and CID-based location lookup, whenever possible. It only falls back to those other two methods if GPS is not available.
    I didn't say that Google Maps doesn't use GPS. I said it was using network location service, which it was, in his example. Pay attention, man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwangster12
    So... to try and bring this back into a Verizon Wireless world... I assume the Droid, Eris, Devour... other android phones have the same methods for determining location?

    WWAN cell ID-based location lookup
    Wi-Fi SSID-based location lookup
    GPS (which can be either autonomous or assisted)

    Basically what I'm asking, other than something like RAM or speed of hardware, are all of these smartphones created equally from a GPS/WWWAN/Wi-Fi SSID perspective?
    Every modern smartphone that I'm aware of has an autonomous GPS receiver. Support for network location service is a function of the OS and/or Google Maps app. I think you'll get that on every recent smartphone also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by balazer
    I didn't say that Google Maps doesn't use GPS. I said it was using network location service, which it was, in his example. Pay attention, man.
    I agree that your original statement wasn't clear. It's not a matter of paying attention or not. Your post made it sound like Google Maps only uses Google's network location service.

    Be clear, man.

    Quote Originally Posted by balazer
    Every modern smartphone that I'm aware of has an autonomous GPS receiver.
    I'm pretty sure the Droid's is assisted and that it doesn't operate in autonomous due to the nature of a couple of recent issues I've had with getting a lock. It really depends on the specific device you're talking about.

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    I guess I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, but I really take issue with someone telling me I'm wrong when I'm not. Yes, my statement was not clear. If you want to clarify, then clarify. Don't tell me I'm wrong if I'm not. My statement was factual.

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