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mobile phones and GPS

fishrow
Grafter
Posts: 67
Registered: 31-08-2009

mobile phones and GPS

For a while mobiles have had GPS capability. However, is there similar GPS receive hardware in them like SatNav/handheld devices or does it depend on the phone or some arcane trickery?
The assumption is that anywhere in the open one could get a GPS signal but maybe not a network. Like a climber/hiker can have a handheld GPS and see his co-ordinates match his point on an O.S. map. So would he have the same capability with only a GPS'd mobile in a poor or no signal area?
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kmilburn
Grafter
Posts: 905
Thanks: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: mobile phones and GPS

Mobile telephony and GPS are completely unrelated.  A mobile phone has GPS because the manufacturer has included the necessary chips and circuitry to support it.  Effectively using the same or similar chips to those in pure GPS units.  As such, the mobile signal strength and the GPS signal are completely unrelated.
Mobile phones do have the added ability to be able to utilise the mobile network to narrow down it's position without GPS,  making it establish your position quicker (in theory).  With Android,  it can even use Google's database of Wifi access points to narrow down your location.
However,  the problem with most smart phones is that while they can receive GPS signal in the hills, but not  a mobile signal,  they're no good for navigation as they don't store the maps like a traditional GPS would.
Moderator
Moderator
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Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: mobile phones and GPS

Quote from: kmilburn
Mobile phones do have the added ability to be able to utilise the mobile network to narrow down it's position without GPS,  making it establish your position quicker (in theory).

Known as Assisted GPS or A-GPS.

Customer and Forum Moderator.

fishrow
Grafter
Posts: 67
Registered: 31-08-2009

Re: mobile phones and GPS


OK, forget maps or routes, the essential point is seeing the same location co-ordinates as real devices would show.
Is that a given, or model dependent?
kmilburn
Grafter
Posts: 905
Thanks: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: mobile phones and GPS

From what I'm aware,  all GPS enabled devices handle location in the same format  (Decimal Degrees),  which is compatible with most mapping software..   
e.g.  you should be able to find the North Greenwich Arena at  51.502899,0.003383.
Some dedicated GPSs may report using the more traditional Degrees, Minutes, Seconds..    http://makeyourownmaps.com/coordinate_format.htm
On smart phones,  it'll depend on the App used.
MJN
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,103
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Registered: 26-08-2010

Re: mobile phones and GPS

There are a few apps out there that support so-called 'offline mapping'.
For OS maps I used to use 'Memory Map' on Windows Mobile however since moving to Android I am now using 'MM Tracker'. The latter can read the QCT maps that Memory Map provides however for this very reason it has recently been removed from the Play Market due to accusations of licencing violation.
Both apps highly recommended, and have been a real boon whilst out walking.
Mathew