Understanding the Working of GPS Based Cell Phones

Almost every other cell phone that is sold these days has one or other kind of GPS receiving ability. It is an inbuilt feature that is offered by almost every other kind of company. Why is it necessary? Imagine you are in an emergency and need to find the nearest hospital; your first impulse will be to check your vehicle tracking or GPS system. However, in case, it also damaged, you will need a backup and that’s exactly why you need a GPS tracker on your phone. Your phone will guide turn by turn and let you know where exactly you need to go.

Basics of GPS Receiver

To understand how the technology works, you first need to understand the basics of GPS receiver. Just like the normal cell phones, the GPS receivers also work on radio waves. However, in place of utilizing the ground based towers, these communicate through satellites that revolve around our planet. The present orbit has around 27 GPS satellites out of which 24 are active while three acts as a backup when any other fails. To determine your location, a GPS needs to be in coordination with at least three satellites that are above you and your relative angle with those satellites.

Upon coordination, the receiver makes use of trilateration to find out your location in an exact manner. Primarily, it draws up a sphere around each of the three satellites that can be located by it. The three spheres intersect with each other on two points – one of them is in space while the second one is on ground. The specific point where three spheres intersect on ground determines your exact location.

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The GPS receiver needs to have a direct communication line with the satellite for operational purposes; therefore, you need to stay away from dense tree covers and tall buildings. The cell phones and GPS receivers have a lot in common, apart from being popular there are several other features that are carried by GPS-enabled mobile phones.

Wireless-assisted GPS for faster and Better Results

There are a few cell phones that also use wireless-assisted GPS to find out the location of the user. In the wireless-assisted programs, the phones make use of orbiting GPS satellites in combination with information about signals from the cell phones.


These are also termed as enhanced GPS sometimes, the wireless assisted GPS often find out the users’ location faster than the GPS-only receivers, it is the reason why these are preferred so much over others. The technology also permits the phones to communicate the location of a person to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) when you dial 911.

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Uses of GPS phones

There are some other kind of phones that have whole GPS receiver located inside the phone or are capable of connecting to a phone through a Bluetooth or any other wireless connection. These GPS enabled phones are capable of understanding various programming languages like Java and can easily offer turn-by-turn directions or indications for close by attractions and businesses. Others can always work as tracking devices.

In order to use these features, you need to have a GPS compatible receiver, a separate calling plan that supports maps transmission and GPS data communication; and a specific service plan or a software that offers the real maps and directions about phone’s location. The GPS phones have several uses like location tracking, turn-by-turn directions, outdoor location services, and some other location based services.

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But all these uses may not always work in your favor, do you know there are a number of employers that like to keep a track of their employees through GPS phones. So, make sure you make the right choice when you choose a technology like that to be enabled on your cell phone.


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