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Monday, 19 January 2015


I remember in the old days of standalone GPS it took quite some time for the system to acquire enough satellites to get a good fix.

Since I've been using smartphones for navigation, they almost always find the satellites much faster. I think it's due to using Assisted GPS, where the GPS system gets a table off the network to help it start looking in the right location instead of searching the entire sky.

I still have an old standalone Magic 8 Ball that I use in my car. Normally, it rides in the glove compartment, remembering having been put there in my driveway.
If I take it out in some other location and power it up, it continues to think it's in my driveway for the couple of minutes it takes to find some satellites and get a fix.
The Sunday adventure, though... the GPS woke up knowing exactly where it was, tracked our route correctly for a while, then after a couple of minutes decided it was somewhere else, and got increasingly wrong for the next ten minutes or so.
So, there must be something wacky with that particular nav system, or with Toyota's software. It may be old, but it's recent enough that it ought to work better than that.

(Yes, the location-enhancement tricks used by smartphones are a big help in getting a quick fix, and in keeping power consumption down - but there have also been big improvements in standalone GPS receivers the past several years. Look at the specs on some of the new economy-model modules, and compare to those of a few years ago: the progress is impressive.)

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