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kceratops

GPS Performance Across Range of Smartphones

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Has the accuracy of the GPS in smartphones generally improved over the last ten years? Is the GPS in higher-end smartphones more accurate than the lower cost alternatives?


I have a new Moto G7 that on initial tests seems to perform better than my five year old Alcatel Idol 3. The GPS in the Idol 3 has provided inconsistent readings at times even fifty feet from a target. The readings may improve if I wait ten to fifteen minutes.

 

The Moto G7 has a Snapdragon 632 processor while the Idol 3 has a Snapdragon 615. The GPS receiver appears to be part of the Snapdragon SoC. Both of the phones receive signals from GPS and GLONASS satellites.

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iPhones have definitely improved in accuracy in that time.  In addition to GPS, GLONASS, cell towers, and Wi-Fi to help positioning, newer models also do Galileo and QZSS.

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Thanks for the help and glad to hear that performance has been improving.

 

I'd be interested in any recommendations on Android phones supporting Galileo that might provide more accurate readings.

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6 hours ago, kceratops said:

Has the accuracy of the GPS in smartphones generally improved over the last ten years?

Is the GPS in higher-end smartphones more accurate than the lower cost alternatives?

 

Performance has improved in phones, and now actually having GPS in them is a plus.

 - But civilian GPS hasn't changed in "accuracy" in twenty years.  It's still around 10' on a good day. That's 10' for you and the CO.

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GPS on Samsung devices, at least, has been as good as my Garmin GPSR for as long as I've been using them: roughly 7 years or so. Usually sitting at 3.4 - 3.9 meter accuracy according to an app called GPS Status. My Garmin may be a touch better than that on the high side but not by much. 

 

Mine doesn't have Galileo but it's a couple years old now. Not sure if the current and upcoming generations have it. 

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Posted (edited)

I am currently using a Moto e6 and this has GPS and GLONASS. In addition. SBAS satellites owned by Europe (EGNOS) and India (GAGAN) are received (I live in the north of England). I had to set the developer option "Force full GNSS measurements" which states it will "Track all GNSS constellations with no duty cycling" before the SBAS satellites were picked up. The GPS lock is acquired very quickly. For the cache I found today, which was in the open air with no tree cover, the reading seemed to be accurate to about a metre.

My previous phone was a Motorola G5 which could take a minute or so to acquire a lock and had about a 3 m accuracy, the same as my elderly Garmin Nuvis.

As for other constellations, as well as Galileo there is also the Chinese "BeiDou" group of satellites and I am wondering how many phones will receive these with their current software, when that network becomes world-wide, as a lot of the chips are made in China.

Edited by and1969
error

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Many accuracy issues are less about the chipset and antenna and more about the environment. There will always be multipath issues in urban environments, in dense tree canopy cover and in areas with rock formations.

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I wonder if there are any "your GPS should read  XXXX" markers around?

 

I know (at least in Australia) there are surveyors markers all over the place on the ground, road and sidewalks. I don't know if there is a little stone slab somewhere that gives you the correct lat / long for that slab. Might be easier to find a chart somewhere that says "survey marker XYZ is located at lat / long UVW" so you could check your devices' accuracy?

 

Last year sometime I got the chance to have a bit of a play with a military radio which had a 10 figure gps receiver. I was able to compare it to my phone at the time and my Garmin Foretrex 304, and all three basically agreed on the map reference (though that used MGRS instead of lat / long). I was more impressed that my phone agreed with the Foretrex than anything - not that the Foretrex is a particularly expensive gps to begin with.

  • Funny 1

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Unit473L said:

I wonder if there are any "your GPS should read  XXXX" markers around?

 

This is the only accurate one I've come across (although I'm sure there are plenty more around the world)... and when I say accurate, I mean even remotely close like less than 100m...

 

 

20200809_171247.jpg

 

Edit to add, sorry, didn't check the phone's accuracy as was traveling and using the phone as camera...

Edited by funkymunkyzone

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