Maps locate tool

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

  1. MBX macrumors 65816

    Sep 14, 2006
    the new maps locate tool is totally inaccurate and useless. it chooses a way off location and thinks it's my current location. even if i pinpoint my location manually and press the little circle button it goes back to the wrong location again. wtf'?

    any one else with the same issue?

    the only positive thing with this i can see is that it's giving out false info about your information to any spying government authorities.
  2. underwater macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2007
    The circle should be centered at the known location of the ATT cell tower or the Wifi node. If your home wifi has be up a couple years, it may be in the database. The wifi-scanning truck came down my street about 3 years ago.

    Jobs said it would "triangulate" a more exact position from 2 or more towers, but I have not seen it do that even though my iphone reports seeing 4 different ATT towers from my home.
  3. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern California
    it was pretty accurate for me. The circle seemed to change size at points. Sometimes it was larger and sometimes it was very close. But either way it was accurate.
  4. TyWahn macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2003
    Way off

    My location shows me 10 miles away in the next town. Not very accurate. :rolleyes:
  5. memesmith macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    I have a mate who works on LBS for 02. He says of the Googlemaps version of this used on other phones, that it doesn't triangulate from mreo than one tower, but just draws a circle around the tower it is currently "speaking to" based on that tower's estimated reach. He does also say though that on phones with GPS, such as his N95, if it can also get a GPS location, it will send that data back to google, to help them more accuratly map cell tower reach.

    Just demo'd it to a collgue and a very out of the way location, with minimal cell signal, and it accuratly placed us exactly where we were! So ... works for me.

    BTW, this is the forth thread on this subject, I wonder if the Admins can merge them?
  6. St. Germain macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2006
    How can you look to see which ATT towers your iPhone is reporting?

    I've found the locater to be much more accurate than I expected actually. I don't live in a large metro area (Lansing, MI area) and it's has exceeded my expectations.
  7. aonflux macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Google locator on iPhone vs blackberry pearl

    I find the locator very accurate too. It's almost perfect.
    I also have a blackberry and tried the Google locator on that, but it was NOT at all accurate. I think because that's the iPhone combines cell tower and wifi location triangulation. It's amazing!! :)
  8. Buran macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    The way this tool works is that it checks to see where you're getting a cell signal from. Google maintains a database of where all of these towers are located, and uses that in combination with what your phone reports about the signal strength from different towers to estimate where the phone is.

    The reason the circle changes sizes is that some areas are covered by more towers than others are -- if you're in a large city you'll see higher accuracy than if you are in a car traveling down a highway in farm country. So, when there are fewer towers there's less certainty to the calculation.

    I just came to the iphone two days ago from an AT&T Tilt and I had this latest version of Google Maps on that. I tried the location feature extensively and every time I tried it, my actual location was within the circle; not always near the center, but always within it. It does work. I still see that same accuracy with the iPhone version.

    Google has an explanation here (and the style/tone is hilarious):

    YouTube - Google Maps for mobile with My Location (beta)

    When used on a phone that has a real GPS receiver in it, and you run a location check when you have an actual GPS lock, you see a dot at your real location with no uncertainty circle.

    Google says the accuracy will continue to improve over time as more people use the feature since it seems to somehow (anonymously) gather information about location checks made using the service.

    Very clever, especially since not all phones have software-accessible GPS yet, although I remain puzzled over why the GPS (required by US law) included for E911 locating doesn't work with mapping software. What's the reason for not letting user-level apps see it?
  9. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    Money. They want you to buy their monthly navigation service.

    Handset competition will eventually force that to open up, methinks.

    What would've been really nice on the iPhone is to include Bluetooth support for GPS pucks as well as using the tower location gimmick. Apple just keeps dancing around real features.
  10. 3dred macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    It tells me I live in the next county, but I actually live next to a tower (very strange).
  11. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    My prediction a month ago was correct. The new Google App is completely useless for me. At my home location it puts me about three miles away at the cell tower. If I go into town (pop. ~20,0000) the circle becomes so large as to encompass the entire town. Thanks for letting me know I'm in town. ;) I tried routing to see what it would do with that much inaccuracy and it refused to route.
  12. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A93 Safari/419.3)

    if you are in a town (or county!) that only has one cell tower, then you probably don't need gps. You probably know all the shop keepers by name.
  13. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    Think about what you're saying. If you had to drive to a non-metro area you'd be completely screwed because this app wouldn't tell you anything. It doesn't matter if I live here or not. The purpose of the app was to tell YOU where you need to be.

    Well, we'll see how it does. I'll be through a city of about 200,000 tomorrow and then down the I-90 corridor to Cleveland with several stops in between, small and large. I'm going to keep checking its opinion of my location.
  14. megfilmworks macrumors 68020


    Jul 1, 2007
    Sherman Oaks
    I have been driving around L.A. continually pushing the locate on Maps.
    It has been very accurate. Someplaces the map zooms way in and puts me within a few hundred feet of where I am.
    Never thought it would work this well.
  15. janitorC7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    North Hollywood, CA
    I have found it very accurate, then again I live in Southern California, so there are lots of cell towers.

    and wifi nodes
  16. Passante macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2004
    on the sofa
    In PhilAdelphia (University City) I get a circle about 30 blocks wide. In my home in the subburbs the circle is about 5 city blocks wide.
  17. mixstar336 macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    haha i think my wireless router was registered to my old house since thats where maps places me. if i turn off wifi it gets really close!
  18. westernmass macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2007
    Western Mass.
    Okay, sitting at home in front of my PC near the wireless router. I hit find me button. It give wide range circling the town I live in. WIFI on entire time. I hold the phone near the router. Within a few inches and hit it again. The circle is right over my house. Everywhere else in town it circles the city not. More test later this weekend. Just thought I would share my experience.
  19. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    Thinking...... still thinking...... still thinking....... oh this hurts..... ok. done!

    I didn't buy my iphone to use as a gps and neither did you (unless you purchased it since Tueday). And if you did buy it to be a gps you misread the product literature because apple doesn't advertise it as a gps. Any gps like functionality is a bonus. When I want true gps accuracy I use an actual gps, and so should you. If your iphone drops a call, then you have something to complain about.
  20. DiamondMac macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    I have the exact opposite experience.

    At home or school, iPhone is scary accurate to the point of damn near having me dead on

    At work, it is much broader and has several blocks around me but hell....still accurate

    Even while driving it is close to me
  21. Island Dog macrumors 6502a

    Island Dog

    Sep 11, 2005
    St. Cloud, FL.
    I live in a smaller town, but I haven found it to be surprisingly accurate.

  22. al256 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2001
    Have you considered that maybe having it half-ass guess where you are is really nice instead of trying to find an address of a building near by to navigate to you another point? Before this update you didn't have any pins you could place. So you had to either move the map manually to find where you were but if you want directions to somewhere else from your unknown location you had to find an address and maybe a zip code to pinpoint to you to get somewhere else. I really appreciate that inaccurate circle because it can move at least move the map to the general location and I'm smart enough and now have the tools to do the rest.
  23. Monk Edsel macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2004
    Eeesh. For me the accuracy has varied wildly, all without moving an inch. The first day I tried it, it circled my neighborhood... a few blocks in every direction. Not as good as I hoped for, but adequate. The next morning, it was very accurate, circling a few houses in every direction. I tried it again immediately after, and it circled my entire borough. Later that day I tried it, and it circled a neighboring borough. Now it's back to circling my entire borough. I'm pretty disappointed with it. I know that performance varies by location, but for the dense urban area I'm living in it's bad enough to be rather pointless, at least at this point. I am eager to experiment more with it this weekend, though.
  24. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    I already have a GPS, thanks. I'd rather not have to carry around two devices with me all the time. Isn't that the reason the thing has an iPod built into it too? It would be nice to have a reasonably close guess that Goggle states in their own information but isn't even remotely close. Why even bother advertising the functionality if it doesn't work. Using your logic I hope your car never breaks down because, according to Goggle, a riding lawnmower would be an acceptable substitution.

    That being said, I checked it VERY heavily today on a 180+ mile trip and I can reaffirm, without a doubt, that the new 'find me' aspect is completely useless. This driving covered rural areas, a city of 100,000 and the Cleveland, OH area. The distance errors were confirmed with a real GPS. I used the function frequently and took more than 50 samples.

    First of all, only twice did the locater actually locate a position correctly. I was well outside of the range ring. On average I was at least three to five miles from the center of the range rings.

    On Interstate highway travel I generally found the location it was displaying to be behind where I was actually located. Thanks for letting me know where I've already been.

    On one of the occasions when it didn't report me as following myself, at the final exit inside Pennsylvania on I-90, the location was reported to be one mile north of the next exit in Ohio, an 8 mile error.

    On one occasion approximately half way to Cleveland I had a stop to make off the Interstate. At one point while traveling I was roughly being reported correctly until, at one point, the app decided I was back on the Interstate one exit 10 miles back.

    The worst error occurred when I was traveling on US Rt 6 and it had been giving me a roughly general location (+/- 5 miles) when suddenly it decided I was in a town 18 miles to the east. The town I came from was the only other time where it accurately showed my position. By accurate I mean that it showed me centered on a circle that was 1.5 miles wide.

    The claims that large population centers make a difference are grossly exaggerated. When I was in Erie, PA the range ring diameter covered an area of 35 city blocks and I was never in a location where the range ring said I was. That is completely unusable.

    When in the Cleveland area it never showed me accurately at any location. My physical location was never within the range ring at any point and the range ring ranged from 1.5 - 3 miles wide.

    I repeatedly attempted to use the routing feature and got the notification that it couldn't create a route. Well, no kidding. With an error level that bad how could it. On my second actual located position I got it to route. I attempted the locater along the way and it would frequently yank the position away from the shown route and display me miles away from where I was actually on the route. Obviously routing and using this to locate myself on the route is useless.

    I also discovered that with approximately 8-10 locater uses the application fails to locate any longer. I had to force the application closed and then it would locate once again on the next run.

    Goggle claims an average accuracy of 1000m. A kind estimate of average error was more than 5000m and frequently more like 8000m. On only those two out of 50+ location attempts did it actually fall within their estimate in 180+ miles. Any other time I wasn't even located anywhere within its range ring estimate. Nearly all samples were taken when the signal scale was being reported as near full or full scale.

    So, no this isn't even remotely ready for public use. It obviously has serious issues and is completely unreliable.
  25. Buran macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    People don't seem to understand how this works. PLEASE watch the description movie, and especially note the part where they say it's known to be inaccurate at times and that the more the tool is used the better it'll get. Also, it's not a real GPS and and is an ESTIMATE and due to the way it works, that's the best it can be.

    It also has some advantages over GPS - it works indoors and doesn't take a while to get a lock since it isn't trying to find satellite signals.

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