Google 'triangulation' sadly INaccurate

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Joecool1964, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Joecool1964 macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2007
    I saw a thread about how accurate this is, at least in the UK.
    I'm in Iowa (no corn jokes, please), and when I'm home, it shows
    my location roughly 2 miles away. This morning at work in
    Des Moines (the capital of Iowa), I get an edit that my location
    cannot be determined. I've got full signal, so I'm obviously
    hitting on a tower/some towers somewhere. Don't think I'll be
    getting much use out of this 'upgrade'... :( Otherwise, I'm pretty
    pleased with 1.1.3 - especially the ability to move/create icons.
  2. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    definitely depends on where you use it. In downtown washington DC it put me on exactly the right street corner. When used in my home, it put me within about a 1 mile radius. Oh well... the price was right!
  3. ibwb macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2006
    I have found that it works much better outside, so that's something to keep in mind.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    If you actually watched the keynote, it says only US is completed right now. They are currently working / GPSing in Europe / Asia, so not ready in Europe at this time but probably soon.
  5. jTreu macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2006
    works really well for me, and im in a small town in ct. I get on the same rd that im on.
  6. westernmass macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2007
    Western Mass.
    I had same outcome. Here is Western Mass. Well, oddly enough first thing I did after the upgarde was try it. It actually worked very well I would say within a hundred feet of my house. (that is good considering my house doesn't show up on Google maps anyway as it is about 4 years old) Anyway. I tried it again for who hays a little while later from the same spot in my house and it gave a range of about a mile and showed me as nowhere near the center. Tried it again today at work. Same thing circled the city I am in but not close to me street wise. Wierd.

    I will try again later today when on the road. Anyone else in Western Mass try it?
  7. Surely Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Iowa is in the US. At least, last I heard.

    Unless we annexed it....

    You're next Nebraska!
  8. FastangV6 macrumors regular


    Oct 1, 2007
    I tried using the triangulation from the exact same location with wifi and then with edge and there was about a 20 mile difference between the two and neither one was closer than 2-3 miles of my actual location. Looks like YMMV on the accuracy. :(
  9. speakerwizard macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2006
  10. Xtoo macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Valencia, CA
    Keep in mind that the triangulation is a good start point. Yes, it is not exactly "accurate", but the phone doesn't have GPS either. So at least something.

    At home, indoors, I mapped it twice. The first time put me through a 1 -2 mile radius; the second time, I dunno 5 - 8 miles. I live in a suburban area, but my biz is in the middle of the city. So, I suppose the mapping over there will be a lot more accurate. We'll see....

    The good thing is that now you will be able to find the streets of freedom if you happen to end up in a screwed up neighborhood. And with the custom pin placement you will be able to quickly figure out your location and get the f**k out.

    This is a much better improvement until a GPS & G3 iPhone comes out. No complaints here...
  11. mainstreetmark macrumors 68020


    May 7, 2003
    Saint Augustine, FL
    Keep in mind that it might also use WIFI triangulation, which highly depends on the accuracy of your IP address. That database is notoriously inaccurate.
  12. sr5878 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2007
    what town? i'm from kensington (currently in boston)... good to hear that it works well in small areas.
  13. thegeist macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2008
  14. nickspohn macrumors 68040


    Jun 9, 2007
    You basically answered the fact in your own thread title.
  15. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Accuracy will likely improve for many people as more towers are correctly mapped. I don't think they were trying to assert that every cell tower everywhere in the US has an accurate GPS location, so, as they improve the quality of data, the cell-based location should improve in those areas it's wildly off.
  16. ibwb macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2006
    Hmm, I don't think the IP address comes into play. Steve spoke of receiving broadcasts from access points even if you weren't using them; if you're not joined to a given wireless network you don't have an IP on that network.

    According to the Wikipedia article it's based on the MAC address of the access point, which is a hardware code that should be unique for each physical device. I gather that Skyhook's business is driving around in urban areas documenting the physical locations where they find access points that broadcast this code.

    It's true that an access point could move, but most of them will stay in place for years at a time, so this data should be more reliable than the infamously bad IP-based info. If Skyhook updates it on a reasonably frequent basis it could be very useful, at least in urban environments that they've covered.
  17. Jonny427 macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    If you live within range of only 1 cell phone tower, then it cannot triangulate you. It will most likely place you right next to said tower.

    With 2 towers in range, it can only guess your position in the overlap.

    With 3 or more towers, the accuracy greatly increases.

    Since I live in SoCal, where i'm probably within range of 5 billion towers, my location has been extremely accurate so far.
  18. audiored macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2007
    Des Moines, IA
    Please, please annex us?! You can leave Nebraska though.
  19. mcarnes macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2004
    USA! USA!
    I've tried it in a few places around the Portland, Oregon area and it was spot on every time.

    I was a critic of this technology a while back but now I'm eating those words (not the first time :))
  20. Gonzlobo Suspended

    May 9, 2007
    Works fine in Albuquerque (Now the CIA knows *exactly* were I am).
  21. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    Yeah, can we be next?
  22. JMax1 macrumors 6502


    Oct 17, 2006
    Harlem, NY
    Also keep in mind there is a HUGE difference in accuracy between having WiFI on and off - you don't have to be connected to a network with wifi, but it just being on will make a big difference.

    Try it!
  23. myphone macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2008
    It depends where you are. At home, it's 5 to 10 miles off by using Wifi and Edge. I went to my Doctor's office today and tried the locate me feature, know what - it's 100 % accurate (WOW). BTW, I used Edge wireless.
  24. kbunch macrumors member


    Dec 15, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I am in Tucson AZ and it has been pretty accurate, within 1 mile to 2 miles. This fine with me. It is enough to find my location and then search for the nearest Starbucks ;)

    I have not tried it with wifi on yet. I keep it off to get better battery life.
  25. ibwb macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2006
    Just to clarify -- indications are that you do NOT need to be actually connected via wifi for the Skyhook wifi-based locator to work. You only need to have wifi enabled in the settings.

    So when you are on Edge (with the blue E) you may still be receiving a wifi location. The iPhone does not indicate whether the location came from the Skyhook wifi-based service or the Google cell tower-based service.

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