Not always instantly connecting to GPS?

It has always been said that navigation is an art – but surely not in these days of technology?

When you take your device out of its box the app will probably show your position using Wifi.  Some GPS tracker, huh?

In order to receive GPS the device needs to acquire and track 3-4 satellites.  From a cold start this will need (ideally) line of sight view of the sky (the less concrete and mountains the better).  And it can take up to 5 minutes to get its ducks in a row.

Next up, we need the device to be able to communicate with the app.  For this to happen you will need mobile coverage for the device and for your phone.  The device is network agnostic so it will pick the strongest signal (e.g. Vodafone, EE, O2 etc) and send the position across provided your phone is also connected.

In the event there is no connection your phone will fall back on LBS or Wifi.  In a built up area this will most likely be Wifi.  LBS (Location Based Service) is a tracking system that uses mobile phone signal and triangulation between GSM masts.   It’s what they use in all the cop shows but its accuracy can be poor (between 500 and 1000m) compared with GPS.

So what does this all mean?

Once you’ve got your device working it’s worth taking the time to do some trials.  Take your device everywhere with you for the first few days.  Hopefully you will be lucky and you will have complete coverage at all times (once you’ve grown patient enough to wait for GPS to fire up).  If not you may find there are areas of poor GPS reception (tower blocks etc) but more likely there are mobile shadow areas.

You don’t have to keep your nose to the app to do this.  Simply use the historical tracking function and you can pull out every data point to see the navigation source.

It’s unlikely these areas are large but it’s handy to know them and also be reassured how quickly the device is re-acquired.

Having trouble with tracking at home?

As discussed above, your tracker will generally link to Wifi or LBS indoors.  Wifi takes its location from your IP address (you can Google this).  If it’s not exactly at your address then it can’t be changed.  If you’re setting up a fence that depends on it, it’s still okay because it will alert when it falls out of range of the wifi router.  It just doesn’t look that good on your map.

You may also find your tracker drifting away on LBS.   If you find this annoying, you can switch off LBS by toggling the control in the settings panel.

Location Modes

  • When indoors (weak or no GPS signal) the tracker will use LBS or WiFi.
  • When outdoors and active the device will use GPS (but may take 2-3 minutes to acquire)
  • If the device becomes stationary or when the battery gets low it will tend to fall back on LBS

As a default the tracker is set to update every 10 minutes.  You can override this by pressing the locate button (bottom right in the map navigation).  Alternatively you can change the update rate (in settings menu) to increase the update rate to every minute.

#gps trackers