GPS Status - FAQ

I have no idea what this whole thing is...

Please read about how to use it.

Is there a change log?

Why do you need permission XXX?

coarse and fine location: obviously we need this to display your location :)
full internet access: used by the advertisement component. Donated version does not use the internet connection at all.
access extra location provider commands: allows the program to re-download AGPS data or reset the GPS.
view network state: allows checking if there is an active internet connection. If there is no net connection, advertisement and AGPS download is disabled to save memory and battery.

It is eating all my battery according to the battery status screen. It is even running in the background.

Fortunately no. There is a bug in the battery status screen and it calculates the percentages incorrectly. If you click on the GPS Status item on the battery info screen, you will get details about how long the application was running total/in foreground. You can verify that it is not running in the background.

Yes, but it still eats a lot of battery if it is running in the foreground. 

Well, that is true. Please keep in mind, that GPS Status turns on all the sensors of your phone, constantly runs and updates the screen. It just needs the power to do all these things. You should not run it all days long (unless you are on charger). It was just meant to quickly start when you need it, check the data and then close it.

Can I still save some battery?

Sure, the biggest power draw in the application is the CPU. You can reduce the screen refresh rate in the settings menu. This will save a lot of power.

I hate the advertisements. Can I remove them?

Sure, please check the donation page. You have several options to remove the ads. I hope everybody will be happy.

The application is using only half of the screen on my Nexus One, Droid etc. phone.

You have turned off the "Compatibility Mode" in the Spare Parts application. Enable it and reboot your phone. To support users who are still using older android versions (Hero, G1, several Motorola handsets) GPS Status is compiled for android 1.5. To display correctly on 2.1 systems, compatibility mode must be turned on. Also it is not a good idea to turn it off as other programs may have also issues.

The GPS time is 15 seconds ahead compared to the official UTC time. Why? I thought GPS clocks must be extremely accurate.

The rotation period of the Earth is not constant and additionally it is 2ms longer than 86400 sec. This causes some drift over time between the atomic clocks (used by the GPS system) and the UTC time. To avoid confusion, every now and then leap seconds are inserted into the UTC time. (Yes, there are sometimes 61s long minutes!). GPS and UTC was in sync in 1980. Since then 15 leap seconds were inserted into the UTC time. The GPS satellites brodcast this information, but only in every 12minutes. YOur receiver may not heard the broadcast, so it does not know how much it should substract from the GPS time. In this case it simply displays the GPS time and does not correct it to get UTC. You should wait at least 15 minutes with the GPS on to receive the correction data.

What languages are supported by GPS Status?

Version 3.1 supports the following languages: English, Hungarian, Czech (Ivo Marecek), Russian (Andrey Sitnik), Chinese (TW:Ken Cheung,, Arabic (Hisham Nasser), 
German (Christian Krämer), 
French (Alexandre Faraino), 
Spanish (Juan Jimenez), Italian (Diego Pierotto), 
Portuguese (Breno T. Minzon), Slovak, Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch
 A big thank you to all the translators.

Some parts of the application are not translated or there are translation errors.

Feel free to join the GPS Status translation project at . You can add new translations, or correct existing ones.

The location/altitude or other data is inaccurate.

GPS Status simply displays the data received directly from the phone hardware. In fact this is the main pupose of the software (that's why it's called status). Inaccurate data is not the fault of the software, but shows that you may not have optimal reception of GPS satellites or there is a magnetic anomaly nearby affecting your compass. Find a different location and try again. If you feel that the data is inaccurate, it may indicate a hardware issue. Please note that the sensors in your phone (including the GPS receiver) are very prone to environmental disturbances.

My compass is very "jumpy"...

Try to set the sensor filtering in preferences. It can filter out the measurement noise, but at the same time the compass will react slower to changes.

I am standing at the sea shore, but the altitude is always minus 80 feet... Why?

GPS (in android phones) does not report the height above the mean sea level, rather the GPS system compares the height to the WGS84 reference ellipsoid which may be above or below the actual sea level. In different parts of the earth it can be off by more than 200 meters (depending on the mass distribution of Earth). For example the geoid's surface around Florida is above the mean sea level by a good 30-40 meters, which means that standing on the shore would show you -30m as altitude. This is normal, and not an error, and caused by the fact that the altitude is relative to an artificial reference surface and not to the sea level. If you are interested in this topic, I recommend to read this. On long term I will add some options to the program to allow correcting this value.

Is it showing magnetic or true north? How to set the magnetic declination?

Magnetic declination is the difference between the true and magnetic north at your location. The value is calculated automatically by the program using the current geo-magnetic earth model. The algorithm uses your current location and time. To aswer the question: The needle in the middle is always showing the magnetic north while the grid itself (small red arrow) points always towards true north. The angle between these two corresponds to the magnetic declination. The last number in the "Magnetic field" instrument is the magnetic declination in degrees.

My compass points to the wrong direction or I'm asked to calibrate my compass. What should I do?

Your phone contains a digital compass which measures the magnetic field's strength in three direction with three separate sensors. The orientation of your phone is calculated from these values. Unfortunately the sensitivity of the sensors are a little different. To correctly calculate your orientation your phone must measure first these differences. This is done during the calibration process. To calibrate your phone, simply find a space where no external magnetic field is present (preferable outside of buildings) and rotate your phone 1-2 times on EACH of its three axes (Swinging your phone in big 8s in all direction will also do, but it' less scientifically correct :) ). If you feel that your compass has become inaccurate you can repeat this procedure.

What does the Magnetic field reading mean?

Aside from your orientation, your phone can measure the absolute strength of the magnetic field which is displayed as the first number in the reading. The second number is calculated from your GPS position and current time using the earth geo-magnetic model. It is the theoretical strengh you should measure in an open space. If the two values are sufficiently different, then you are standing in a magnetic anomaly. This is pretty funny because this allows you to detect big nearby metal objects. Go and try hunting for treasures.

The compass needle changes its size... What the hell?

The size of the needle indicates the relative magnitude of measured magnetic field to the calculated value. If the measured and calculated value is the same, the needle should be the same size as the inner circle on the grid. If the magnetic field is bigger/smaller than it should be, the needle will be also bigger/smaller. This way you can see at a glance whether you are standing in a magnetic anomaly. If the needle is too small or too big chances are that an external magnetic field is present and the compass points to the wrong direction.

Velocity cuts out above 400 km/h.

Civilian GPS systems are guarantied to work only under certain conditions. They cannot measure reliably if your speed is above 4-500 km/h or your height is above 15km. So this is a limitation of the GPS system itself.