GPS: Get Lost

12:45 PM -- GPS has started to show up in yellow cabs in NYC, which is actually pretty educational about the strengh and weakness of global positioning satellite tracking in the city.

GPS, you might remember, requires three satellites to lock on to the receiver in order to plot your location to within a few feet. If you turn down the sound on the dreadful ads then you can just watch the map on the screen embedded in the back of the front seat to see how well -- or not -- it works in the city. (See Targeted Ads in Your Cab.)

So far, I've found that it tracks closely on the bridges and in Brooklyn. The skyscrapers of downtown and midtown Manhattan can throw the system off wildly, however. You can be in Chinatown and the satellites think you're somewhere off West 4th Street.

Next, I have to test the new Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) mobile maps application, which uses cell-tower triangulation for location information, and see if that works any better in the city.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

kantarjiev 12/5/2012 | 2:57:25 PM
re: GPS: Get Lost As best I can tell, Google isn't doing any sort of triangulation - they're just showing the location of the tower you're currently connected to, with a radius of uncertainty around it. If you put yourself in the right place, you can 'follow the bouncing ball' as your phone registers with one tower and then the other...
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