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GPS Accuracy. Tools & Tips to Test Your Device

When it comes to location tracking applications, there is no other such important factor as accuracy. We have already written a lot about the basics of GPS accuracy and GPS accuracy for skiing, now we're going to share some facts from our own research and a list of practical tools that will help you to test your device's tracking accuracy. It is going to be concise and precise.

First of all, as examples we'll use the following list of devices we used for testing back in 2013. Go ahead and take your own device and test it following the basic principles laid out in this article.  

DeviceOSGPS chipGLONASS support
Google Nexus One2.3RTR6285-
Samsung Galaxy Nexus S4.1BCM4751-
Samsung Galaxy Nexus4.3SiRF SiRFstarIV-
LG Nexus 44.3Avago 3012+
Samsung Galaxy SI2.2BCM4751-
Samsung Galaxy SII4.2SiRF SiRFstarIV-
Samsung Galaxy SIII4.2BCM47511+
Samsung Galaxy Note4.1BCM47511+

For our research, we used different Android devices, because each one uses a different type of GPS receiver and has different accuracy.

All mobile phones which have chip-sets with support of GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) give you a better choice of satellites to draw from when you are in the field.

As you may see, the best device for GPS tracking from the abovementioned set is Nexus 4. Find out what the results of testing it are in different real-life environments in `GPS Accuracy for Skiing`.

Lemberg's quality assurance team typically uses a number of applications during the process of testing apps with location tracking functionality. Below is a list of those applications with a short summary.

Applications for checking GPS accuracy (walk outside, drive a car, static position, etc.):

GPS Test

GPS test application. Testing gps accuracy of device

The GPS Test app for Android is a utility that shows GPS information read from your phone’s internal GPS. Will support GLONASS phones. The app has several colour schemes, which could be used to match other instrumentation within the app. It has a "night mode" colour scheme as well.

GPS Test has five informative screens:
  1. GPS signal (SNR) bar chart, showing the signal strength for each satellite, as well as the accuracy and status of the GPS.
  2. Satellite positions in the sky (skyview), shown on a rotating compass.
  3. Your current location on the Earth shown as text and on a world map. The current position of the sun and the day/night transition curve is also shown.
  4. Your current speed, heading and altitude displayed as text.
  5. The current time read from the GPS and the local time in your current timezone, as well as the sunrise and sunset times at your location.

GPS Status & Toolbox

GPS Status & Toolbox application. Testing gps accuracy of device

Displays GPS and sensor data: position and signal strength of satellites, accuracy, speed, acceleration, altitude, bearing, pitch, roll and battery state.

Tools included: compass with magnetic and true north, leveling tool, mark or share your location and navigate back later.

Keep your GPS fast: reset it or download A-GPS data regularly for faster fixes.

GPS Data

GPS Data application. Testing gps accuracy of device

GPS Data represents all data from your GPS device. If you have problems with your position or signal strength, GPS Data will help you. You can test, diagnose your GPS signal quality and check the status of your device with this app.

With its splendid UI consistent with Android Holo theme (also for Android 2.3 devices!), you will never need another GPS status and test app.


Embedded Engineering Services at Lemberg Solutions

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