Wednesday, August 21, 2013

GPS Drift

So your right where you normally go to hack/attack one of your favorite portals. You hit the deploy or hack button and get the message that the portal is out of range. Grrr.

Or IMO even worse you think you are at the furthest point where you can deploy resonators, you deploy them just to see they end up immediately on top of the portal making for an easy hit on your newly claimed portal.

You look on your scanner and it shows you are where???

Here's what got me thinking about GPS drift. The image below is from my commute this morning into work. Don't worry fellow agents I was going exactly 0 MPH when I took this screenshot. Just as I was going 0 MPH for the next 10-15 minutes, but that's another rant for another time. Keep in mind I am in the left (the "fast") lane on the interstate here. My GPS drift is probably close to 100M if the ring represents 40M. So if I were trying to hack or deploy, I'd be SOL.

First, your phone is not a military grade GPS, it is more perfunctory. 

Second, because of it's more general functioning ability it is more prone to disruption from weather (even mild/moderately inclimate weather) and obstructions like trees and buildings.

There are some things you can do to help. 

One thing I've found, and I can't explain why, is that you will need to check your phone's settings to make sure you are not set to automatically connect to Wi-Fi. It doesn't make sense to me because GPS is separate from your network connection and operate independently of one another, but for some reason it works sometimes. 

Another reason (beyond general security and not related to GPS drift) not to automatically connect to available Wi-Fi is that you may be just on the fringe of the Wi-Fi range and your connection may be slower than your regular data connection. I ran into this problem at my children's school. I have their school set up as a trusted site and to connect when available because I am active in the school and am there frequently. Well their school has a Civil War historical marker in front of it which is a portal. I had so many issues on that portal. It took me a little while to realize that I was connected to their Wi-Fi, but had such a weak signal being on the street or in the parking lot it made working that portal difficult.

I don't recommend it, but it may help; remove your phone's protective case. To help determine whether removing your protective case will help refer to your owners manual and find where your phone's GPS antenna is located. If the case is obstructing the antenna's reception, you may want to consider a different case. Remember were talking a low wattage signal which travels thousands of miles. 

If you are experiencing GPS drift there are some things you can do:
  1. Be patient. GPS drift often corrects itself in a short time. 
  2. Move to a clearer location or get outside of your building or car. This will help you get a clearer signal.
  3. Force Sync Ingress from the device tab in the OPS menu
  4. Restart your phone. Just like when you call tech support for your computer the first thing they want you to do is restart.
  5. Load a GPS App. I use GPS Status and like it it also has the ability to clear your GPS cache which can slow down your GPS and even give bad locations. 
  6. There are also external GPS antennas for phones, but I have no information on how well they work.

I hope this helps.

Happy Hacking!

I wrote this post at lunch time today. Now as I get ready to leave work I turn on my scanner to burn up the XM Energy I'd accumulated through the day. This is the image I get. Where I actually am is probably 400+ Meters from where it is showing me. I am barely on the map. This is the worst GPS drift I've ever encountered. I typically show accurately from my office. Wow...


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  2. I agree with all of the points keep up the good work.Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. When your phone connects to wifi, your backend location provider can pull useful information from the internet such as your IP address, its approximate location, and the location of nearby cell towers and GPS satellites. By correlating all of this additional information with the signals the GPS chip is receiving, you can improve the accuracy of your phone's location.