iFaux GPS Put to the Test

Roberto Baldwin's picture

iFaux GPS Put to the Test

 

In-N-Out Burger in Long Beach, California.

 

I enlisted a friend living in Long Beach to go to his favorite spot and try the Locations feature on his iPhone. He could have gone to the Queen Mary, the Long Beach Aquarium, or to VIP Records (where Snoop Dog filmed a music video). Instead, he choose In-N-Out. He was hungry.

 

The real world iFaux GPS difference: Approximately .25 miles.

 

Apple in Cupertino, California.

 

You can't test an Apple product that gives you your location without going to Apple. Unfortunately, the company store was closed so I was unable to procure a black turtleneck for the chilly winter days in San Francisco. I expected a repeat of the results I had a Google. Instead, it seems the Reality Distortion Field affects GSM signals as well as human reasoning.

 

The real world iFaux GPS difference: Approximately .5 miles.

 

 

Even with varying results, the addition of Locations to the Google Map application within the iPhone is impressive. While driving, the iPhone found my location within a quarter mile about 75 percent of the time. A friend tried it in Spain and Germany and was surprised how well it worked abroad.

 

These results are far from scientific and would probably vary depending on mobile phone use in the area, sunspots, how close you're standing to a microwave and whether or not you're wearing a tin hat.

 

Tell us your experience with the Locations feature in the comments below.

 

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freedom8707

Or you could just download Location Spoofer on iPhone. Works great for me!

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Anonymous

As has been said already the real useful part for me is "the next step" where I can use the "found" info to help get me to my next destination. I have tested it on major highways and on country roads and I found it is faster and a bit more accurate in town but for my needs I find it awesome! I love my iPhone more everyday.

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smokeonit

google maps wps in germany is varying like in your results... depending on haow many cell towers and wifi hotspots are picked up.

i had hits as precise as 10feet, 3m, and as far way as .6miles, 1km....

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Kim Hill

Around my neighborhood (Greenwich Village/NYC), it's typical accurate to within 30-80 feet - impressive. But at the NYC Googleplex tonight, it showed a gigantic probability circle that I normally see only if I turn off WiFi. Weird.

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Stephen

I think you can't generalize how well it works based on tests in Apple and Google's backyard (literally). I did some testing myself, and am pleased with the system, but wouldn't say it's anywhere near .5 mile accuracy in general! Right now it pinpoints me about 4 miles away from where I'm sitting - not even in the "blue circle".

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Mark Cogan

You say you "used the iPhone Maps Location feature to locate me (blue pin)". But I think what you actually did is to drop a blue pin at the center of the circle displayed by the Location feature. The Location feature isn't saying that you are located at the center of the circle; it's saying that you are *somewhere within* the circle. Smaller circle, better guess. Stated another way, the data type that the nominal "Location function" returns isn't a point, it's an area.

So it's only accurate to say there's a "difference" between your actual location and the approximation returned by the Location feature if your actual location is outside the area that the Location feature said you were in. In every case where you showed the Location circle, that wasn't the case -- so the Location function was 100% accurate in those cases.

Still: cool tests!

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Anonymous

It's not a huge surprise to see that dense commercial areas would have the best results. More wifi, more cell towers to triangulate with. Being in a residential area, or next to a large body of water where the wifi and cell towers are all on one side, makes triangulation more like obfuscation.

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RayCon

I was recently driving from Florida to Minnesota, and somewhere in Georgia I required some good coffee, not from one of the machines at the rest stops on the interstate. My wife used my iPhone to pinpoint our location and then typed in Starbucks. Sure enough, there was one a half mile east of the next exit. That was a lifesaver!

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Anonymous

But I thought you wanted good coffee?

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Anonymous

Out and about in London, my phone typically gives me a 5 mile radius. Every now and then it gave me something closer but still a huge radius.

Meanwhile, my buddy standing right next to me was able to get something down to the street level. And if we walked 20 feet down the road and pressed the little button again, the little circle would move correspondingly.

So, can you imagine going into an Apple or O2 store saying, "My faux-GPS locator thingy is not as good as his ... please fix it."

Still I would love to know why his works and mine does not.

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Anonymous

His probably works better because he has wifi turned on.

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Steve

Generally I know where I am on the map.... It's been pretty good at locating me, certainly close enough that I can easily fine tune it.... The real benefit for me has been the next step.... After it's located me (and I've fine tuned it) it's been really nice for getting me to the next place I want to go... It's no Garmin, but it does the job pretty well.....

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Eleventeen

I'm guessing for this you had the Wifi enabled? Or are there so many towers in San Fran that it's easy to triangulate down to such a close margin?

I've found that where I live, half the time, having the wifi turned on stalls out the location finder, turning it off instantly gives me a location but with a wide radius.

On a recent trip on the interstate thru a section of the Florida panhandle which could only lovingly be called 'sparse', the location circle was perhaps 5 miles wide, a good 10 miles off, and on the wrong interstate even.

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