How accurate is GPS on phone?

How accurate is GPS on phone?

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Global positioning system has left its own marks on both our daily life and national security. Specifically, GPS helps us navigate to destination, find nearby restaurant, recover device and much more. Though GPS system is working well, the accuracy differs vastly on smartphone. Before we access GPS devices and start tracking, it’s necessary to have a basic understanding of how accurate is GPS on phone. Thus, the possibility of finding assets and people can be boosted. In this article, we’re going to discuss GPS accuracy on smartphone.

How accurate is GPS on smartphone?

It seems that there is no definite answer to this. GPS is a network of satellites and can be used by land, sea and airbone users in all weather conditions, anywhere and anytime. GPS satellites broadcast the signals in space with a certain accuracy, but what you receive is dependent on various factors like signal blockage, satellite geometry, atmospheric conditions and receiver design feature.

The accuracy of GPS on phone depends on the dveice’s chipset. GPS solutions typically have a range of three to five meters, or up to 16 feet away. However, accuracy worsens if the device is located near buildings, bridges, trees, deep canyon and more. Thankfully, users can boost accuracy with dual-frequency receivers or augmentation systems. It is a big help in cities as it can avoid issues caused by signals getting reflected off big buildings.

Why does GPS system show the wrong location?

There could be plenty of reasons why GPS positioning accuracy degrades. The common reasons include satellite signal blockage due to buildings, bridges, trees, indoor use or signal reflected off buildings. Without clear and strong satellite signals, device cannot accurately pinpoint your location. Other than that, radio interfence or jamming, major solar storms, improperly designed devices that do not comply with GPS interface specifications can degrade the accuracy.

In some cases, GPS on smartphone works well but its mapping system is faulty. For instance, users can be misled by incorrectly drawn maps, missing roads, buildings, communities, incorrectly estimated street addresses. That’s why sometimes you get the wrong place or loctaion.

Is military GPS more accurate than civilan GPS?

The user range error of GPS signals in space for civil and military GPS services is virtually the same. But it should be noted that most civilian devices use only one GPS frequency while military receivers use two. The benefit of using two GPS frequencies is to improve accuracy by correcting signal distortions by Earth’s atmosphere. GPS equipment using two frequencies is commerically available for civilian use, but its cost and size has limited it to professional use. However, with augmentation systems, civilian users can actually receive better GPS accuracy than the military.

How to improve GPS accuracy on smartphone?

To help your phone get a more accurate location, it should consume a bit more battery than normal. It’s a necessary sacrifice but you can disable it when you don’t need to use GPS. If you want to turn on Google location accuracy, here’s how you can do:

Step 1. Go to Settings and tap Location

Step 2. Under Location, tap Advanced > Google Location Accuracy

Step 3. Turn Improve Location Accuracy on

It uses a combination of GPS, WiFi and mobile networks to estimate your location. It will consume more battery but provide you with most accurate location. Additional options like WiFi scanning and Bluetooth Scanning are available on some smartphones. WiFi scanning can improve location by allowing system apps and services to detect WiFi networks at any time while Bluetooth scanning detects Bluetooth devices nearby.

Also, you can clear GPS data to increase accuracy. Sometimes GPS on your phone cannot work properly because it gets stuck on certain satellites even if they’re not within range. It’s advisable to access an app like GPS Status & Toolbox to refresh GPS data and start connecting to satellites again. Within the application, tap anywhere on the screen, then tap menu > Manage A-GPS state > Reset. Go back to Manage A-GPS menu and tap Download. Now your GPS data has been refreshed.

Wrapping up

Having a review about this article, you can find out that GPS on smartphone is typically accurate to 5 meters. While accuracy will degrade if device is nearby buildings, bridges or trees. To get possible best result, you can turn on Google location accuracy or refresh GPS data. If it shows you wrong location, it might be caused by bad satellites signals or radio interfence. Check it out and get accurate location!

Carl L. Hirsch is a writer, editor, and journalist. He has been a staff writer in various US-based periodicals for five years. But then he decided to dedicate his life to traveling and freelance writing.

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