iPhone 3G GPS simply doesn't work. I don't see turn-by-turn ever happening.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by WilliamG, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. WilliamG macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #1
    I've waited a while to post this, to make sure I'd finally exhausted every option to make the iPhone 3G GPS work.

    Tested:

    2x black iPhone 3G 16GB models (my wife's and mine).

    Software tested:

    1.) Maps.
    2.) G-Map West

    I'd always thought the iPhone 3G wasn't very good at its GPS locating. The blue dot will stop for a bit, and then move on, and then stop for a bit, and then move on. Sometimes it will work for a bit, and then stop again. My location will bounce around sometimes, showing me in the wrong place, and then just "transporting" the blue dot to the right place moments later. Other times, the maps simply won't update my location at all.

    I finally decided to splurge on the G-Map turn-by-turn navigation software in the hope that this would fix the issue. It doesn't. It has the same problems as Maps! Works for a bit, then stops, says I'm in the wrong place, doesn't update etc etc.

    I really do think the iPhone simply doesn't have a strong enough transmitter for its antennae, including the Bluetooth chip. Even just in my Griffin Elan Form case in my pocket, Bluetooth crackes a ton on ALL my BT headsets. I have to clip the phone to my belt to actually get a clear signal to my headset when the phone is in a case.

    You can be sure, if there's a new iPhone in 2009, it will fix these issues. This is probably why developers haven't jumped on the turn-by-turn bandwagon yet. Don't you think that almost a year of no working software is peculiar?

    In any case, I'm sort-of bummed. The GPS is useful in a pinch, but should NEVER be relied on. My wife and I were furious this past week in Seattle when our iPhones just didn't work the majority of the time.
     
  2. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Home
    #2
    n=2 To extrapolation and beyond... :D iPhone 3G GPS simply doesn't work for you.

    Turn by turn is coming. Maps isn't meant for turn by turn. And Apple currently forbids turn by turn.
     
  3. mrrish macrumors regular

    mrrish

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #3
    Count me in! (and make n=3). Probably not true statistics here, but I think he is highlighting on a relatively accurate image of the 3G AGPS. Personally, the GPS relies way too much on the internet to correct its position, and the internet isn't always available or reliable. Therefore, if we take the internet out of the picture, we are left with a crippled GPS receiver. Hence the reason we see poor quality in 3rd party apps with custom maps that don't need internet.
     
  4. takenthesmeg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #4
    Someone who knows the details of this should be able to fill you in more. But as far as I know the current GPS chip has not yet been "unlocked" in so much as developers can't ask it your direction of travel, or speed. They can only calculate this based on polling your position. My understanding is that when Apple unlocks this and allows fully functional Nav apps into the App Store you will be able to use it like a regular stand-alone GPS device. This is something I have been waiting for :)
     
  5. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Home
    #5
    Mark I for having A-GPS in. It works ok where you'd expect GPS to normally work (SatNav, not handhelds, which more of a different kettle of fish).

    Let's put it another way - with possible ordinal direction, and velocity information potentially coming up with the OS, and with a fixed position of a Sat Nav, a iPhone could with better hardware, basically do an estimated position, and keep that better than any sudden jumps bounced signals might give for example.

    It can be very stochastic, and jumpy - the amount of polling and fixing might be partially a reason. It's a location position finding feature in the iPhone 3G really (though can in most cases be a fairly useful poor man's Sat Nav). I'll agree that the next gen (esp. with Tele Atlas / others) on board, will have got a better app for this. Google Maps isn't ideal. We'll see what they can make of it, and whether they've done an improved job on the antennae/changed the Hammerhead chip.
     
  6. Mikey B macrumors 65816

    Mikey B

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    the island
    #6
    The a-GPS in my iPhone 3G works pretty damn well, I must say. I'm sorry you are having problems with yours.
     
  7. skwoytek macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    #7
    We are talking about the GPS, correct?

    Transmitter? For GPS? I think one of is confused.

    I think Apple's only problem is that they have the GPS constantly trying to get the perfect position which slightly alters the position within meters, but may cause a turn-by-turn GPS to think you've made a turn or made a u-turn. When watching the Maps app's blue dot while traveling, it's always dead on - when I stop, again, it moves around to try and show the precise location. My opinion, Apple just needs to loosen the thresholds so the indicator doesn't register a move unless it's off by more than say 3 meters.
     
  8. skwoytek macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    #8
    A-GPS only affects the start-up of a GPS unit. In the early days you had to tell the GPS where you were located in order for it to get a fix. Now days the GPS can get a faster initial fix, but it still can take a few minutes to get the initial location - especially if you shut it down in one region and restart it a few hundred miles away. A-GPS enhances this by using external systems (cell towers) to retrieve and narrow the initial location, resulting in a faster positional lock.

    Point is, A-GPS and the internet have nothing to do with post-startup positioning unless you obscure line-of-sight with the satellites, in which case a normal GPS would lose functionality. In this case, iPhone will fall back to WiFi positioning.
     
  9. Dr. Cabrera macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
  10. robotica macrumors 6502a

    robotica

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #10
    Yeah I have to agree... there is nothing much wrong with the GPS hardware and when turn by turn comes it should be on par with a standalone GPS unit.

    we will have to wait and see for sure tho!
     
  11. StingerT125 macrumors 6502a

    StingerT125

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Location:
    Dutchess County New York
    #11
    No problems with the GPS usage on mine. Don't know why you're having problems.
     
  12. aok1975 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #12
    I agree with the ops opinion about the gps chip not being that great, but mine hasn't had as much problem as the op. Shure it's off sometimes but it works correctly %95 of the time I. My experience. Also it is capable of accurate turn by turn as it does this with Xgps( with voice). Maybe your phone has a problem.
     
  13. Trajectory macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Earth
    #13
    How well the gps works depends on where you are. Here in Vancouver, the gps doesn't work well for me. It's slow and mostly inaccurate. In NYC, it worked perfectly and was quite accurate.
     
  14. abarna21 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    #14
    my iphone's GPS is more reliable than my Cadillac 's GPS in Chicago
     
  15. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Home
    #15
    OP - It might be very useful to actually discuss the environment in which you were using Maps?

    e.g. In a car, in a reception lobby, on the 34th floor of a skyscraper inside...

    We've got 2x iPhone 3G 16GB model using Maps / G-Map West

    Ideally, you want line of sight to the sky - so few tree branches overhead, no too many tall building etc.
    Were you testing it in high-rise areas of Seattle? (e.g. downtown Seattle?)
     
  16. cal6n macrumors 68000

    cal6n

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Gloucester, UK
    #16
    Works for me. It's the perfect motorcycle GPS.

    I'm able to set it up and then put it in the top of my tank bag. As long as I keep the blue dot on the purple line, I'm golden!
     
  17. WilliamG thread starter macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    I never use it indoors. :) I'm on the road. I had the same issues driving to the airport from downtown Seattle. I don't expect it to be perfect in downtown anywhere, but out on the highways it should work flawlessly. I have these same issues everywhere I've been, with no high-rise buildings.
     

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