Google is upgrading it’s map on Android for GPS accuracy. The precision of the GPs in current mobiles can be a matter of centimeters if necessary. Of course, not in cities. Due to the buildings and their interference, it is not at all strange that the GPS indicates that we are meters from a place or on the opposite sidewalk for example. Google seeks to change that and with the amount of data it has on cities through Google Maps and a series of techniques, it says that precision will go up to 75% compared to the current situation.
In denser urban areas, the GPS service has the peculiarity of losing part of its precision. The GPS does not have direct contact with the receiving device, so the signals most of the time come through reflections and are not direct. Outcome? the chip in the smartphone approximates where it is or directly assumes that it is where it is not.
Google Maps 3D data and machine learning
The solution proposed by Google is not that new, in fact it has been doing it for a while in the last Pixels. It is about using information about how and where buildings are located in order to understand how a GPS signal is reflected and tell the smartphone more precisely where it is. The new version will come to other smartphones apart from the Pixel and promise an improvement in precision of up to 75%.
According to Google, this will especially help the location in cities for apps that require pedestrian measurement. That is, apps for example such as public transport where the user must know where exactly a stop is. It is not surprising that the app shows a bus stop on the opposite side of the street.
To better understand how significant this improvement is, nothing better than the example shown by the company itself, In a tour of a street going around the two sidewalks (yellow) the improved GPS marks with much greater precision when it is in each one of the sidewalks using the new model (blue) than the old model (red).
For all Android and globally GPS accuracy
Google indicates that the new precision improvement will come in the form of an update through Google Play Services. It will do this to all Android phones with Android 8 or higher and will not be limited to the manufacturer’s Pixels. Likewise, developers will be able to use the API to improve the accuracy of the GPS in their apps as well. All this during this next 2021.
Now, to benefit from this improvement, Google must understand the 3D model of a city. Currently, thanks to Google Earth and Google Maps, it has enough data for cities in practically the whole world. Google says this precision enhancement will be available in all major cities in Europe, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.