itouch location services... HOW?

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by bevhoward, May 5, 2011.

  1. bevhoward macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Austin, Tx, USA
    OK, I'll admit it... I'm curious.

    4th Gen itouch, wifi on, bluetooth off, on a 50+ mile jaunt, no other connection equipment (gps, hotspot, etc in car)

    I watched google maps do a pretty good job showing the location over the entire route, in many cases showing accurate location pins every thousand feet or so.

    The wifi indicator showing a wifi connection never came on.

    While I can see that the touch might be able to receive hotspot mac addresses along the way, it would seem unlikely that it could negotiate long enough to request a geolocation.

    In light of last weeks data file revelation, perhaps a local file containing mac addresses and their locations?

    I am curious geographically. Anyone have any information or references?
    Beverly Howard
  2. bevhoward thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Austin, Tx, USA
    fwiw, here's part of the answer;

    It appears that this data is comprehensive enough in the central texas area to allow a wifi only itouch or ipad to do a pretty good job as a gps unit.

    Since the only native gps app is google maps, this is not readily apparent since google maps has to download maps on the fly to be functional which is normally not an option when mobile and moving without a cellular connection.

    I stumbled into this after getting a clearspot+ and was surprised to see that my location was being displayed when I opened the google maps app. I originally assumed that the position information was coming from the clearspot's connection, but, now think that comes only from apple using the wifi to detect the mac addresses of nearby wifi units (both locked and unlocked and possibly hidden) and deriving a location using that and the database.

    The above article references "crowd sourcing" ...pure speculation on my part, but I would venture an educated guess is that iphones around the world are automatically feeding apple with wifi ap mac addresses and their gps location as they move around the world.

    Got an itouch or wifi only ipad? If you need gps around urban areas, I'm guessing that any gps app that referenced maps stored on the device would give a surprisingly good gps experience.

    On the other side of the cloud, this also means that if you have a wifi only ios device, locations services is probably doing a pretty good job of tracking your movements when wifi is on but not "connected" to any hotspot.

    Beverly Howard
  3. goosnarrggh, May 12, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2011

    goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    May 16, 2006
    Your speculation is exactly correct. Apple has said as much in a letter to Congress on the matter:

    (See section I.B starting on page 3)

Share This Page