GPS on the Droid

ultimate_ed

Well-known member
Dec 23, 2009
77
1
0
Visit site
First, I'll say that overall, I love my Droid. Google's Navigation (beta) was a not insignificant factor in getting me back to Verizon and picking up Droid's for my wife and I.

But, I have to say I'm becoming less and less impressed with the GPS capability of this phone. Even at the best of times its ability to figure out my location from the satellites is considerably worse than any other GPS enabled device I own (Garmin Nuvi, Garmin Forerunner, and the built in navigation system in my car).

Last night, I used it to find my way to place in town. During the entire drive of about 25 minutes, the phone never managed to get a lock and was limited to locating me by cell towers. The phone had a clear view of the sky through the car windows the whole time.

How's everyone else's GPS performance with their Droids?
 

baycruisers

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2009
231
1
0
Visit site
I've been pleased with mine, but I don't use it for general navigation (have a Garmin in my car). I have been impressed with it when I use it with My Tracks to log my exercise walks. I live in a neighborhood with many tall trees and a clear shot of the sky is almost unheard of, so much so that it takes my Garmin up to a couple of minutes to lock on, while my Droid is less than 30 seconds, which surprised me.

Others have complained about disappointing performance, too. Are there lots of tall buildings and trees in the areas you've visited?
 

anthonyzul

Well-known member
Dec 27, 2009
212
3
0
Visit site
I live right in the middle of a very dense, very tall, urban area... downtown philadelphia... and I don't have any problems with my GPS. It finds me in well under 30 seconds usually, and it also usually pretty accurate.
 

Dapke36

Well-known member
Jan 4, 2010
592
1
0
Visit site
I don't have any problems either. Every once in awhile it takes forever, but that's usually (oddly enough) the My Tracks app not knowing what it's doing and force closing.

I have a base Nuvi, and this picks up the signal about the same time as the Nuvi. Sometimes faster, even.

You could possibly have a defective GPS chip. If you want, you could go get a replacement Droid and see if that improves the GPS lock-on time.
 

polar135

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2009
128
0
0
Visit site
I use the gps daily for my job on my droid and it works perfectly. i also use the gps when i golf with golflogix and it works without issue. (works better then my when i used the same program on my Storm 2) Not sure why u r having issues.
 

takeshi

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2010
969
30
0
Visit site
But, I have to say I'm becoming less and less impressed with the GPS capability of this phone. Even at the best of times its ability to figure out my location from the satellites is considerably worse than any other GPS enabled device I own (Garmin Nuvi, Garmin Forerunner, and the built in navigation system in my car).

Last night, I used it to find my way to place in town. During the entire drive of about 25 minutes, the phone never managed to get a lock and was limited to locating me by cell towers. The phone had a clear view of the sky through the car windows the whole time.
It definitely sounds like it's having problems locking. Try dialing *228 and choosing option 1. The GPS is assisted so sometimes updating the PRL does help -- it certainly did when my Droid had trouble getting a lock.

The app GPS Status is handy for troubleshooting these sorts of issues as it displays the satellites that it can find and indicates how many satellites it is able to lock on to.

I've heard that allegedly the sensors in the Droid can fall way out of calibration and somehow affect the ability of the GPS receiver to lock. I don't know if that's true or not but those that make such claims indicate that recalibrating the sensors (by spinning on each of the three axes several times) helps.

Aside from the one incident I have no issues or complaints with GPS on the Droid. I do wish that it operated in standalone mode though.
 
Last edited:

ultimate_ed

Well-known member
Dec 23, 2009
77
1
0
Visit site
That definitely helps. I'll try the update to start. At least it sounds like it is more likely an issue with my particular phone.

Thanks to all.
 

furbymac

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2010
181
4
18
Visit site
mine likes to say i am in Decatur ohio (i live in noblesville,in) i have the sat option turned of to save batt. and seems even if i wasn't hitting 3 towers to triangulate my position that even with just 1 it would realize i am far away from decatur ohio
 

prometheus

Well-known member
Jan 5, 2010
675
8
0
Visit site
For the newbies...

Be aware that there is a GPS setting that needs to be enabled to make the GPS really work: home screen / menu / settings / location & security / check the box for "use GPS satellites" -- otherwise you're just using cell phone tower triangulation which is not very accurate (might be miles off).

Word of caution: This setting will use up battery quickly. I would suggest getting a widget or app that allows quick toggling of GPS on / off (there are many free in market, I suggest "quick settings") . Only turn on "use GPS satellites" while you're actually using it.

To answer the question... yes. I have had problems with the GPS "finding" me. Sometimes it takes 2 minutes+. However, once I'm "found" - it works very accurately.
 

Cirro

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2009
48
0
0
Visit site
I was having the same issues as you. Started persisting after I rooted, but then i did the *228 and it now locks in under 5 seconds everytime I have used it since
 

johnny99

Active member
Mar 21, 2010
43
1
0
Visit site
I'm very happy with the Droid GPS. It boots up more quickly than my Garmin GPS. Accuracy seems about the same as Garmin. I've taken the Droid and Garmin on several long bike rides and the total distance numbers are always the same or at most 0.1 mile different. When I view the tracks in Google Maps, the Droid looks just as accurate as the Garmin (though both will wobble a bit when I'm traveling in urban areas).
 

redman213

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2009
191
1
0
Visit site
does anyone know if rebooting accomplished the same thing as dialing *228?

Dialing *228 programs your phone while rebooting your phone restarts it. Also to the people having problems with Google Maps Navigation should always remember that this application is still in beta and is not guaranteed to work.
 

ebruot

Well-known member
Jan 23, 2010
144
5
0
Visit site
I am very happy with the droid's gps, it is as good if not better than my garmins was. As far as the gps eating up battery, that's what i thought until i installed the app "mobile defense". The developer says to leave the gps on all the time as it won't engage and use the battery until an app calls for it. so i have left mine on continously for the last 2-3 weeks now and my battery has not went down any more than it did before and the gps icon never comes on unless i am in navigator or some other app that uses gps.
 

UncleMike

Well-known member
Nov 8, 2009
205
1
0
Visit site
...During the entire drive of about 25 minutes, the phone never managed to get a lock and was limited to locating me by cell towers. The phone had a clear view of the sky through the car windows the whole time...

After months of trouble-free GPS use I had the exact same problem for ONE trip of about 30 minutes. After arriving at my destination (I knew the way), I finally got a GPS fix (or so the accuracy would indicate), but Google Maps showed me in Michigan, when I was actually in New Jersey. After starting another GPS-enabled app which correctly located me, I returned to Google Maps to find that it too had now correctly located me.

Nothing like this has happened since.
 
Mar 31, 2010
19
0
0
www.brandongoodman.com
For the most part, I've been very pleased with the GPS accuracy and signal acquisition times. There are, however, times when the phone just seems to be "stuck" and cannot get a good GPS lock. (this is when I'm out driving through wide open desert too) Sometimes, it seems that toggling GPS off and then back on (using the home screen widget) will fix it but on occasion, it takes a full reboot to get back to normal.

Hopefully the pending 2.1 update will help fix some of those buggy scenarios
 

baycruisers

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2009
231
1
0
Visit site
After months of trouble-free GPS use I had the exact same problem for ONE trip of about 30 minutes. After arriving at my destination (I knew the way), I finally got a GPS fix (or so the accuracy would indicate), but Google Maps showed me in Michigan, when I was actually in New Jersey. After starting another GPS-enabled app which correctly located me, I returned to Google Maps to find that it too had now correctly located me.

Nothing like this has happened since.

Interesting. Maybe it's not a GPS glitch, but a Google Maps glitch that was corrected by opening another app?:confused:
 

paradox460

Member
Dec 24, 2009
16
0
0
paradoxdgn.com
I was able to get a GPS lock in the middle of an airplane, in about 20 seconds, which says something about the quality of the device's gps chip (Airplanes are built like faraday cages, to insulate against RF radiation, so getting ANY signal on the inside is always good)
 

LCH

Member
Mar 22, 2010
7
0
0
Visit site
For the most part, I've been very pleased with the GPS accuracy and signal acquisition times. There are, however, times when the phone just seems to be "stuck" and cannot get a good GPS lock. (this is when I'm out driving through wide open desert too) Sometimes, it seems that toggling GPS off and then back on (using the home screen widget) will fix it but on occasion, it takes a full reboot to get back to normal.

Hopefully the pending 2.1 update will help fix some of those buggy scenarios

Had this very same issue in the desert. Was in Arizona the last few weeks and it worked very well for about a week and 1/2 and then started having problems getting a lock. Did the *228 and didn't help. Also had no lock and lost signals in LA around Hollywood/Santa Monica area and up the pacific coast hwy. The thing that really frustrated me was when we were leaving for the airport this morning at 4:30am, we had to return a rental car close to the airport and I put the address in to go to the air port and it got a lock after a couple minutes but then it tried to route me in a huge loop that would have took twice as long to get there. I used it a few days ago to pick up my wife from there so why it would route me so differently this time I have no clue. Good thing I was in Az long enough to learn which direction to go to pick up 51, it finally rerouted the right path when I got close enough to 51. I've used it a lot and loved it until these issues, makes me not trust it. LCH
 
Last edited:

prometheus

Well-known member
Jan 5, 2010
675
8
0
Visit site
I was able to get a GPS lock in the middle of an airplane, in about 20 seconds, which says something about the quality of the device's gps chip (Airplanes are built like faraday cages, to insulate against RF radiation, so getting ANY signal on the inside is always good)

And then we all crashed and died...
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
941,293
Messages
6,907,811
Members
3,157,844
Latest member
mariekecalvin