Google awarded patent for cell coverage based directions

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Dolorian, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Dolorian macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Here is the abstract of the patent:

    "Methods and systems for providing routing information to a user are disclosed. Based on a request for routing information between an origin and destination for a travel objective, wireless coverage data for the geographic area associated with the travel objective is received. A graph model for determining routes between the origin and destination is adjusted based at least in part on the wireless coverage data. According to particular aspects of the present disclosure, the graph model can be adjusted based on the wireless coverage data and at least additional parameter such as estimated trip time, average speed, distance, favored routes or traffic information. User information can be optionally provided and used to emphasize or deemphasize wireless coverage data in the determination of the route for the travel objective."​

    A post from Android Authority explains the patent thus:

    "Lets break this down. According to the USPTO, the patent is much like GPS. It involves finding the destination and current location. However, the location and route to the destination can be altered by wireless coverage. In other words, Google can now use your cell signal to help better figure out where you are and where you’re going."

    However in the comments someone seems to correct the description given by the author:

    "This is a patent for creating a path from A to B that uses "cell phone coverage" as a factor. So you know how on Google Maps, there's a checkbox for "Avoid Toll Roads"? Google can now have an option for "Avoid Areas Without Reception"."

    Interesting patent. Aside from Google Maps, I think this will also tie in with Google Now to improve it's location based cards such as the time and route to your home/work or meeting as well as nearby locations and attractions.

    What do you think?
  2. M. Malone macrumors 6502a

    M. Malone

    Mar 11, 2004
    Very interesting and a meaningful patent!

    Page flipping animation? C'mon.
  3. Dolorian thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Yep, that's the same thing I thought.
  4. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    isnt that what apple basically does? using cellphone towers to improve location services
  5. zbarvian macrumors 68010

    Jul 23, 2011
    With offline maps and GPS I don't see how this would be useful. Not to mention, why do you need data when you're driving? If someone could explain a real-life situation where this would be useful I'd like to hear it.

    I'm anticipating a response of: "Well if Apple introduced it with iOS 7 you'd be shouting INNOVATION!!!"
  6. dalbir4444 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2012
    You know it's true.;)
  7. zbarvian macrumors 68010

    Jul 23, 2011
    Flyover was touted as awesome by Apple, but I think it's a total gimmick. I don't think everything that comes from Apple is automatically special.
  8. dalbir4444 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2012
    Of course not. Any reasonable person knows that. But they have their fair share of great products.
  9. siiip5, Nov 17, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012

    siiip5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2012
    GPS doesn't work underground, in tunnels, parking structures, subways, or indoors. Ever wonder why Google Maps had been mapping tbe interiors of large structures like Malls, large i doors stadiums and the like? Now here are some examples of why this patent is useful;

    1. Buy a ticket to your football teams next match, say the Colts are playing the Niners, and your ticket is emailed to you. As soon as you get the email, Google Now is able to give you not just time of the game, but an interior layout of the stadium and where the seats are located. Once you get to the stadium, GNow will tell you the best place to park and then guide you to your seats once gps cuts off. Once the game is over, it will guide you out, bypassing the most foot traffic based upon conditions. GPS wouldn't be able to do this.

    2. Let us say you and your partner are at the Mall of America and you go to one store, while she is at another. Now you want to go find her. With Google Maps you can ping her exact location to within a few feet with cell tower triangulation. GPS couldn't do this,because it doesn't work inside. Plus, with Google interior maps, you can get the layout of the stores before you even get there.

    3. Avoiding areas with no cell reception. Getting an accurate map of weak, good and strong cell service is an awesome feature when determining a camping location or travelling to new areas.

    Cell tower triangulation is also good for areas with poor gps reception, like downtown New York City or the Redwoods of California. Any time large trees or buildings are able to block your view of the sky, cell reception is critical for navigation. Offline map are useless without GPS or cell reception.

    Beyond all that, this patent is critical for any smartphone and should be considered a FRAND patent. Apple should be allowed to use and license it at a fair price.

    Edit: Forgot to add, this could also be a very critical feature for not just faster traffic updates, but also fire rescue and police. Imagine if dispatch could generate an alert to AT&T or Verizon so that they could send out a signal to all phones within a radius of X, Y and Z towers to reroute them around an accident, chemical spill or fire?!? GPS and offline maps can't do anything like this.
  10. Dolorian thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Well put, that's a good assessment of the usefulness of this patent. The documentation of the patent I linked to in the OP also gives out a couple examples.
  11. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    You guys are making this far more complicated than it is.

    It's about getting a route that has a cellular connection always available. Who says that has to be just map data?

    If I'm going on a three hour trip with kids, I might want to make sure that the tablets in the back seat will have cell coverage the whole way so the kids can watch Netflix or browse the web.

    For that matter, I might just want to make sure my wife will have voice coverage the whole way in case of an emergency. (Where I am in the hills, not every route has coverage.)

    Doesn't fit the description. FRAND patents are voluntary contributions towards a standard, wherein the patent owner agrees to license their IP to anyone who wants it (barring bad credit, etc).

    It does, however, fit the description of a pretty obvious option that should not get a patent. What next? Patent sunlight-in-the-eyes avoidance routes? No police speed trap routes? etc.
  12. siiip5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2012
    Not saying it will be FRAND, I just believe it should be. Simply because, to me, this is an essential standard for the entire mobile industry. This patent involves everyone, regardless of their phone preference.


Share This Page