New Google Maps beta locates you without GPS

by Volker Weber

Google Maps can now can use cell tower triangulation to show you where you are. So far it isn't working for me:

googlemapslocation1 googlemapslocation2

The 8820 does not get a fix indoors (the TomTom does easily), and the 8120 says my location is temporarily unavailable. Maybe it only sees one tower. Or it isn't working at all in Germany. Do all GSM towers send their geolocation?

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I don't think GSM towers send any geolocation info. Every 10 year old cell phone knows which antenna and cell it's connect to. What they probably did was map antenna IDs with geolocation information and they're not even the first ones to do it. I have actually wondered why they didn't do it long ago.

Vitor Pereira, 2007-11-28

Ah, that would make sense.

Volker Weber, 2007-11-28

Right, this FAQ describes how it works.

Martin Kautz, 2007-11-28

does't work here in Berlin neither (nokia e61i @ t-d1)

Samuel Orsenne, 2007-11-28

Works perfect in Munich. Scary:

Google Maps with My Location |

Nico Kaiser, 2007-11-29

Cologne, E61 w/ the latest native Symbian Google Maps, E-Plus: No go.

"Leider kann ihr Standort derzeit nicht ermittelt werden"

Joerg Michael, 2007-11-29

Didn't work for me last night here in Paderborn. But now it does - I'm in a slightly different location. It says "location within 1700 meters". Pretty cool.

Matthew Langham, 2007-11-29

Hamburg + Nokia N73 works fine. With GSM only it displays the location within 1700 meters, in UMTS only mode within 5000 metres.

Magnus Haug, 2007-11-29

Das wird dann funktionieren, wenn Google die Koordinaten der Senderstandorte kennt, genauso wie die in der neuen GMM-Version enthaltene Verkehrsinfo-Funktion dann funktionieren wird, wenn Google sich Zugang zu diesen Daten verschafft hat.

Daß Ortung per Handynetz prinzipiell funktioniert, mit von der Zellgröße abhängigen Ergebnisgenauigkeit, war ja bereits zuvor z.B. beim von O2 angebotenen "Handyfinder" auszuprobieren. Mit solchen Daten beauskunften die Netzbetreiber zuweil z.B. auch die Feuerwehr auf der Suche nach als akut suizidgefährdet gemeldeten Personen.

Die neue Version von GMM läuft auf meinem E61 übrigens ganz deutlich schneller als die alte, so daß ein Update nicht nur wegen der aufgeräumten Benutzeroberfläche lohnt.

Haiko Hebig, 2007-11-29

Works fine over here in Berlin. It says "within 1700 meters", but right now I am exactly located where I am in my office.

Alexander Kluge, 2007-11-29

Not too precise here. According to Google Maps I'm constantly run flat because of standing in the middle of the Autobahn ;) Still, the actual position is way below the 1700m distance from the point given by Google Maps.

Stefan Rubner, 2007-11-29

Guys this will never be absolutely accurate, your phone can either be connect to an antenna right next to you or to the one standing a mile away, it depends on antenna usage.

Vitor Pereira, 2007-11-29

Just tried that with the 9500 and get a function is not supported message...

Martin Forisch, 2007-11-29

Well, it's nice to know that London is still internationally famous for that famous British dish, Chicken Tikka Masala.

Nick Daisley, 2007-11-29

Vitor, in my case Google Maps uses the GPS built into my phone. And that should be quite accurate, wouldn't you agree?

Stefan Rubner, 2007-11-29

@Stefan: You' right! My Pocket Loox 830 shows my position absolutely right with its built-in GPS antenna.

Fozi Nisiropoulos, 2007-11-29

Stefan, yes but since we were commenting on a mapping solution without GPS I would never guess you were complaining about the accuracy of the GPS in your phone, wouldn't you agree? ;-)

Vitor Pereira, 2007-11-29

Of course, but it's a nice way to see how it works. Since around here there's only 1 (one) cell tower, on startup Google Maps will place me *anywhere* around that. Then it will think for about 30 seconds and place me in the mentioned middle of the Autobahn. And then it will finally use the GPS data from the phone, if available. So my guess is that as long as my mobile doesn't have a GPS fix (which happens to be quite often) Google Maps will use the cell triangulation. But since that won't really work here, I guess they're using map data to decide the "most likely" point to place me.

Stefan Rubner, 2007-11-29

On the Sony K800i, it seems to know that I'm in Berlin, but it can't find me on a map. Maybe the "0" button doesn't work.

I'll have to try it when I leave the area.

Bryan McDade, 2007-12-01

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