How to fix GPS problems on Nokia phones

7. September 2010 at 08:03

Nokia GPSIt’s almost months now since I’ve used my GPS on my Nokia N97 mini and luckily I was to able to use it again and compared with my Nokia E52. I was hoping that this comparison would help me to solve some other issues that users experience, specially on the GPS speed locking.

GPS issues tested on Nokia N97 mini and E52 (Symbian S60v5 and S60v3)

On the first day, I was able to test the speed of N97 mini’s GPS locking and calculations against on the compact E52. It seems that E52 got a faster GPS coordinates lock and calculations for more than 10min of tanning my self under the sun. After few minutes I got a popped up message on N97 saying  “GPS works poorly indoors…blah blah blah” and tadah! I finally managed to have the GPS lock done on N97 mini.

*Note: This is not the final result on the basis of GPS speed locking. It just happened that on first test E52 was advance with few minutes. The results were of course dependent on many elements and it may vary time to time. See the conclusion below.

With results:

Scr000043Scr000005

N97 mini(left) and E52(right) – both on offline mode that means A-GPS is turned off. I will explain the benefits of this setup below.


Solving problems in slow GPS locking

If you will make a contrast on the time results of GPS locking for both devices it’s really a pain having to spend more than 10 minutes just to have your GPS location lock especially on geotagging photos. So I managed to search for aids on the said issues and to fix this or somehow we could reduce the delay.

1.) What I found after googling is an article by Mark from thenokiablog which he suggest that changing the positioning server address from supl.nokia.com to the google server supl.google.com.

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The result were very impressive with the google server. I was able to lock my position faster, let’s say I got my first position lock on E52 and N97mini for about 2 minutes. While it only took less than 10 seconds for the second lock and on the next lock.

2.) Another thing to consider is the A-GPS (assisted GPS) function bundled in most smarthphones these days. What A-GPS do is it helps the integrated GPS chip to get a faster coordinate triangulations but on based on network cellsites and Wi-Fi server. Triangulation means you will need at least 3 satellites to lock your position, it is also another way of mapping system as A-GPS uses the network cellular sites or Wi-Fi server info connected in satellites to locate easily my position.

The use of A-GPS may vary from your situation. In my case, I got a clear sky, no tall and big buildings at place, weak network signal and no Wi-Fi signal at all so I turned my phone to Offline mode so that the A-GPS won’t  interfere the integrated GPS in triangulations and avoid consuming of data from network access. But I still suggest you enable this four positioning methods as default whether offline or with network.

Scr000073 (2)In offline mode with no A-GPS, Wi-Fi and Network support. Depending in the integrated gps as whole.

You could also check the satellite status from your location application in your phone whether you have a good signal strength from different satellites. More satellite (at least 3) and with good signal strength means a better triangulation.

Scr000068 - CopyConnected to four satellites

3.) Last and simple guide is to avoid hard grips to the antenna section of your phone and move some few steps to receive more satellites signal. Mostly Nokia devices antennae are placed at the bottom of keyboard/screen and on top.

Nokia N8 Antenna locationExample in Nokia N8

Conclusion:

There are many elements to consider on GPS issues that I got on Nokia N97 mini and E52. Highlighting the server issue is one. But with just simple solutions you could finally fix some of it.  This will not just apply to N97 and E52, but of course to most Nokia devices and other enabled-GPS phones.

So, is the N97 mini really slower in GPS locking? NO!