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GLOBAL – Location-based services are becoming more and more popular on your mobile. We’re all very used to using services on our mobile that tell us where the nearest shop or cinema is, to mobile applications like Ovi Maps that gets you from A-B using location information from your phone. However, this is just the beginning.

Over the next few years, we’re going to see more services and applications becoming location-aware. One of the areas where location information is predicted to be used more and more, is social networking. Both Twitter and FaceBook now include ways of including your location in your Tweets and your Status updates, and location-based games like FourSquare just wouldn’t work without your location. Ovi Maps now has the ability to share your location with your friends too, posting where you are directly to your wall on Facebook using the Check-in feature in Ovi Maps 3.06 currently at Beta Labs.

But for all these services to work correctly, you need to be able to calculate your precise location. It’s always been possible to calculate roughly where you are by using the nearest mobile base station, or cell site. However, while this is fairly accurate – estimating your position to the nearest 10-100 metres, in towns and cities where there are lots of base stations, as soon as you start to move in to more remote locations, where base stations are further apart the results become too vague – accuracies drop down to 1-10 miles – to be useful.


Assisted GPS (A-GPS) helps your device in finding satellites worth listening to in given time and location thus eliminating the time to search for satellites directly. A-GPS Server estimates location of the device based on network information sent with A-GPS request and delivers assistance data for that location over data connection.


Traditional GPS systems work well when you’re outside and ideally in the direct line-of-sight of three or more satellites. However, if you’re indoors, or surrounded by large buildings, receiving a signal will be harder, if not impossible due to the restricted view from the satellites above. Even when outdoors, the GPS system can sometimes take at least 40 seconds of data from the satellite before it can calculate your position. This isn’t good if you’re waiting for driving directions in a busy town centre.

The benefits of using A-GPS

With A-GPS device calculate position much faster, typically within tens of seconds, also in a cold-start situation, that is, when the GPS connection has been off for a long time, or if you have traveled to a different country.

GPS has some restrictions which also apply to A-GPS. For example, the availability and quality of signals may be affected by buildings, natural obstacles, weather conditions. So if you are indoors, you better use Nokia Wi-Fi/Network positioning.

Title image credit: Mukumbura
Main story image credit. Tech2