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wejones

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 I have a generic Android tablet that I've been using for a few applications for a bit more than a year.  When I first got it, I thought that it might have a built in GPS, but all my attempts at getting any GPS function to work failed, so I bought a BlueRay GPS, and connected it to the tablet, and that seemed to work, in that I got a little spot that would move around on the map as I moved. 
   This past weekend, we needed to drive down to Boston for a couple days. While down there, I decided to hook up my BR GPS to see how well it would work in the big city, so I got out the tablet, and brought up the Maps program (Google), and was about to turn on my GPS, when I noticed that the map program had already zoomed in on my location, without having access to the GPS.  I thought that this was just a coincidence, but when I started walking around, the spot on the map moved to where I was walking, even when inside a big high rise building, in which I was pretty sure that my regular GPS wouldn't have reception.  I thought that somehow the internet service I was connected to (provided by the building I was in) might somehow be feeding location info to my computer, so I switched to the little hand held hot spot access point for internet, and it was still showing my location, even when I left the building.  When we left Boston to come home, I again used the hot spot, and again, without an external GPS, the map program was showing my location, while we were driving home, far away from any cities, although we turned it off when about half way home.  So I concluded that my generic Android tablet must indeed have a built in GPS.
   Today, I decided to try it again, to compare to my external GPS, and to see what some of the free GPS APPS might do.  So I downloaded a couple GPS apps, one for mapping, and one a combination GPS/compass program, and neither one would work, so I uninstalled them.  So I went back to the Google maps program.  It showed my approximate location on the map, however when I'd walk around, the spot never moved.  I tried for an hour but never got any indication that there was a working GPS in the tablet.

   So now I am real confused.  If my tablet does have a GPS, then why did it stop working? Did uninstalling the new apps somehow disable the GPS, or is the GPS not sensitive enough to get reception here in the woods?  And if my tabled doesn't have a GPS, then how did I get reception in Boston and driving home through country roads.
   I am real confused.  Is there any way to determine if there really is a GPS in this tablet? 

BTW, I read in the info about the maps program on the tablet that the location service can use both network (via cell towers) and GPS, but suggested that the network location was much less precise than the GPS location, and when working this was giving accuracy as good as I've seen when using a GPS.  But where I live, the cell coverage is very poor, so I doubt that location via cell towers would work.  So the only thing that makes sense is that perhaps I was getting network location everywhere except when I was home where cell coverage is poor????  Or, that I somehow disabled the internal GPS when I uninstalled the new apps I was playing with.
Anyway, I'm confused.
DarkSky

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Originally Posted by wejones
But where I live, the cell coverage is very poor, so I doubt that location via cell towers would work.


I think that is your answer in a nut shell. From what I remember the cell network uses some form of cell tower triangulation to pin point your location.
wejones

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Originally Posted by DarkSky


I think that is your answer in a nut shell. From what I remember the cell network uses some form of cell tower triangulation to pin point your location.


Thanks.  I guess I was fooled by how accurate it seemed to be down in the city, so I thought it must be GPS.  And I guess it would explain how I got coverage inside the buildings, since the buildings had many glass windows and the cell signals would be coming in horizontally.  I think I'll take the tablet out on the road around her to where the cell coverage is better, and see if it works there. 
Thanks.

majortom

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yeah your phone or data device is probably using A-GPS.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS


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