GPS, Location Services, iTouch, Yes

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by bevhoward, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. bevhoward macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, Tx, USA
    #1
    Started researching "location services" on the touch last week and signed up with http://www.skyhookwireless.com/howitworks/submit_ap.php then turned location services back on, but forgot about it assuming that it would be two weeks before it was registered.

    Today I discovered that Clear's mobile wifi Clearspot+ apparently knows where it's located and the iTouch has access to that location info when connected. I was in far south austin today and wanted to look at the best route options to get back to the house.

    I'm now in the habit of parking the clearspot+ on the dash for use with the iTouch when mobile, so, I tapped the built in google maps app to start learning how to use that map program and was surprised to see a blue sphere on the map showing where I was parked.

    In that parking lot today, I initially assumed that the Lowes wifi had been registered, but then I realized that I was not only not connected to that wifi, I was too far away from any building to get any other reliable wifi signal.

    As I traveled, the blue sphere started tracking my position, albeit in big, block long, jumps and continued to track out on the mopac loop so I concluded that the clearspot was keeping track of it's position using cellular triangulation and it was providing the itouch's location services with updated positions as I drove.

    It's not as accurate as a satellite GPS position, but still showed a pretty accurate position on a high percentage of the time. That makes the built in google maps app (and probably google earth) position tracking fully functional on the itouch.

    I assume (but don't know) that the same functionality would be available with other cellular hotspots such as myfi, etc.

    Hope that this information is of value.
    Beverly Howard
     
  2. aNYthing24 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    #2
    Cool stuff. Do you think it'd work with an actual GPS program?
     
  3. bevhoward thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, Tx, USA
    #3
    >> Do you think it'd work with an actual GPS program? <<

    Insufficient data capt'

    I don't use or know anything about any iOS GPS programs, but, as far as I know there are none that use GPS satellite receivers, so, that leads to the assumption that all the iOS apps out there probably use location services for positioning.

    Accordingly, I would guess that anything that uses location services would function with a clearspot+ connection.

    Remember that where GPS units will work anywhere in the world at high accuracy, cellular location services will only work when there are receivable cellular signals available.

    _Please_ report back if you use this. I'm interested in both other apps that use location services as well as knowing if other cellular wifi hotspots (such as the other clear units and myfi) pass location info on to iOS devices via wifi.

    Beverly Howard
     
  4. bevhoward thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, Tx, USA
    #4
    >> as far as I know there are none that use GPS satellite receivers <<

    Looks like I'm wrong about that... see;
    http://www.gpscradle.dualav.com/how-it-works.html

    Next question is what pipe they are using to get the gps info to the itouch... serial, other digital, via the connector or using a wifi or bluetooth transmitter.

    Beverly Howard
     
  5. aNYthing24 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    NY
    #5
    I know you can add a dongle, put it in a car mount, or even use a Bluetooth GPS receiver so it can receive a GPS signal. I currently don't have a mobile HotSpot sorta thing, but I am contemplating on getting it. If it works, I'll try to remember to tell you.
     
  6. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    #6
    Through the dock connector.
    http://www.gpscradle.dualav.com/faq.html
    (See FAQ "Does the iPod touch have to be jail broken in order to work with the Cradle")

    And it doesn't require any extra software to be installed on the iPod touch... Apparently iOS includes a standardized API for obtaining 3rd party Core Location data through the dock connector, likely using the quasi-RS232 (serial) pins.
     
  7. bevhoward thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, Tx, USA
    #7
    >> Through the dock connector <<

    I've done a significant amount of searching since my last post and have found some additional information.

    While there appear to be options for bluetooth gps connections, what I saw indicates that the only bluetooth options require jailbreaking the device. Attempts to pair the 4g itouch with firmware 4.2 with a bluetooth gps receiver were totally unsuccessful... the itouch discovery service never saw the gps receiver.

    As you say, the gps cradles that have gps receivers built into them connect via the docking connector. Since the docks cost up to $200, it puts them out of my range. I am, however, interested in learning how the gps info is sent to the docking connector.

    _IF_ the data is fed to the touch in serial nmea format, that would open the possibility of using a serial port gps receiver or handheld gps with serial output and creating a docking connector with a serial port connection.

    >> hotspot <<

    I was able to do a little more testing on the road today, a mix of urban, suburban and rural using the hotspot's location services, and, as expected, when the setting became more rural, the location information was pretty poor. In metro areas it looks as if it's pretty usable.

    >> gps software <<

    I looked at several and installed Mobile-X... Mobile-X is able to use the location services info to display position, but it complains that it needs satellite gps input in order to do any routing and even in an urban setting with good cellular location, it failed to use it for any routing.

    In general, google maps is much more usable since it offers manual stepping that allows moving from turn to turn without gps input.

    Still looking,
    Beverly Howard
     
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #8

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