iPad 2 and GPS Experience

Discussion in 'iPad' started by LincolnsiPod, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. LincolnsiPod macrumors 6502

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    Nov 20, 2009
    #1
    I've wanted my iPad to have GPS capability in order to use apps that rely on location data (such as TripAdvisor) and mistakenly bought the WiFi only version, thinking it still had a GPS built in. I've since returned it for a 3G model, and keep the cellular option disabled.

    I've noticed though that it has trouble finding my location indoors even though my iPhone had no issues, so I was thought maybe my iPad was defective. When I brought it outside though it immediately got a lock. I thought maybe the ipad had a weak GPS chip, but then I realized it wasn't using the assisted GPS feature because that relies on cell tower data, unlike my iPhone, which is why it could still get a signal indoors when my iPad couldn't. Just to confirm, I disabled the cell signal on my iPhone, and sure it enough, it couldn't make a lock until I brought it outside.

    I never knew what a difference assisted GPS made until now. Hoping my experience will help those of you who own the 3G models but don't use a data plan. :D
     
  2. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #2
    FYI, you can keep Cellular Data turned on and not incur any charges if you haven't signed up for a data plan. This way you get the benefit of aGPS. At least this is the case with AT&T in the US.
     
  3. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 20, 2009
    #3
    Interesting, I have the Verizon model but it appears to use it as well after I turned it on. Thank you VERY much for this, now I can get the full GPS capabilities off the iPad. :D :D :D
     
  4. FloatingBones macrumors 65816

    FloatingBones

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    #4
    The iPad does use A-GPS. I know nothing about the relative strength of the GPS receiver in the iPad and iPhone.

    Check out the iPad in Aviation thread for a discussion of GPS options. The consensus seems to be that the GPS in the 3G iPad is insufficient for navigation and one of the external GPS units are needed. Those units work with either the WiFi or 3G iPads. There's one unit that attaches to the 30-pin connector and a couple of units that will pair to your iPad with Bluetooth.

    You may have been better off staying with your WiFi iPad and just getting one of the external GPS units.
     
  5. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 20, 2009
    #5
    Fortunately I don't need it for navigation, just enough to get a rough fix while I'm traveling and need to get an idea of what's around me. For better accuracy and navigation I just use my iPhone.

    I've tried WiFi triangulation back when I got started with an iPod Touch, but when it insisted that I was somewhere in Seattle even though I was having pasta at the North End in Boston, I knew I needed some type of GPS solution.

    I lucked out and returned the WiFi iPad the same week Micro Center was offering iPads for $50 off, so I wound up getting the 3G for not much more. It's good to see there are external units out there for the iPad in case I see a need for it down the road though.
     
  6. SHirsch999 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    #6
    I love the GPS in my iPad. It seems to pinpoint my location very accurately, almost eerily so for someone like me who craves privacy. My wife and I just took a road trip from NJ to western VA and were following our trip for fun using the GPS. Although we did have the data turned on the whole trip, it seemed to track us with extreme precision - "we are coming up to XYZ highway according to the GPS, ok, we just passed it.". It was like that the whole trip. We had never used GPS before, so it was kinda fun for us to do that.
     
  7. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 20, 2009
    #7
    Reminds me of the first time I started using GPS when I added a GPS receiver to my iPod. Watching that blue dot on Google maps was a religious experience. :D
     
  8. seajay96 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #8
    NO GPS WORKS WELL INDOORS.

    The signal strength on GPS is just simply too weak to penetrate multiple layers of construction. That being said, the GPS recievers on multi-function devices like the iPad or any cellphone are puny compared to military and aviation grade installed systems and will lose the gps-only fix with just about anything between the receiver and the satellites.
     
  9. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #9
    Your thread topic made it seem like you wanted accurate/reliable GPS.

    Anyway, the exact post in the mentioned thread is:

     
  10. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 20, 2009
    #10
    Thanks, I was mostly concerned that the iPad's GPS may have been defective/broken than how accurate it's really supposed to be. :D
     
  11. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #11
    aGPS doesn't improve GPS reception. It does help with getting a faster fix but if you have a weak GPS receiver it does not improve the receiver's reception. In other words, aGPS isn't why your iPhone did better indoors. As already mentioned above, the iPad 3G also has aGPS. aGPS merely supplies ephemeris data. The GPS satellites are still required for a fix. Be careful assuming causal relationships where there are not.
     
  12. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 20, 2009
    #12
    Seems that it couldn't get a fix at all until aGPS was turned on via turning on the 3G signal so triangulation could be used. I don't know if this meant that the GPS eventually locked onto the signal or merely that it was the result of triangulation without a signal, but it definitely improved things. I needed some degree of accuracy indoors since I tend to use the iPad then to read Yelp or other guides that are location aware, so it can help me plan itineraries.
     
  13. Batavian macrumors 6502

    Batavian

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    Mar 10, 2011
    #13
    How do the maps update? Don't you need to have an active data plan or continuous wifi signal?
     
  14. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 20, 2009
    #14
    You do if you're using Google Maps and other live maps. For offline use I use an app called Offmaps. You download maps for the region you need beforehand, and can use it even when you don't have a signal.
     
  15. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

    PracticalMac

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #15
    The part about "Assisted" is helping the receiver choose the best satellites from about a dozen that constantly circle the earth.
    Over the space of an hour a GPS device will switch to a dozen different satellites for the best signal.

    That log is small, 50kb(?), but is faster to get via terrestrial network then space, so with AGPS the lock-on can be done in seconds instead of minutes.

    NO "triangulation" used with AGPS.
     

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