How Precise Is Geolocation On Mobile Phones?


Geolocation is a process by which any mobile phone can be tracked. Geolocation is a technique which helps in precisely locating the device with its exact coordinates. Mobile phones use positioning services through many applications to track user activity. It helps service providers track user location to provide better results.

Geolocation services on mobile applications are used for meteorological conditions sharing data on social media and campaigns for online marketing. But all of the services will only work if the location is accurate enough. The way smartphones work will be extensively limited if one did not factor the location services. In this article we will be talking about the basics of geolocation and how precious it can be on a mobile device.

How Does Geolocation Work?

Each smartphone comes with the software which enables precise location tracking. However, it is not possible to track the precise location of any mobile device without being connected to the internet. The Internet uses multiple ways to track the precise location for any device through Wi-Fi, GPS, IP address and other related user data.

Using IP address to track the location is not the best choice because of low precision. It is mostly used by marketing companies while designing campaign based on customer demographics in a certain location. The users also have the choice to opt for not sharing what they’re about when they install a new application or enter a website.

GPS technology is more widely used by many applications. It uses navigation satellites to acquire precise data. The only drawback is that it is quite slow and depends on the strength of the network. The global positioning system is most extensively used even if it is slow. One place it is widely used is in the apps that use Maps to track user position.

The last option is locating a phone through Wi-Fi. It is mostly possible in urban areas with strong networks because a Wi-Fi connection is difficult to establish at remote locations. Wi-Fi connection gets the user data and then uses it to track the precise we are about the device. If you would like more information on mobile tracking, make sure to view more.

How Accurate Are GPS Services?


There have been studies and research which signifies that the location obtained via a mobile phone is accurate for up to 30 meters. This can fluctuate depending on the connection and the type of positioning system used. The way an application is used also impacts data accuracy while tracking the general area in which a device is being used.

When we say that the accuracy is 30 meters, we are talking about a general average. A study done with major metropolitan cities of the US showed the variations in accuracy. Jio location was 21 meters in Boston and 28 meters in Austin, Texas. But the fluctuations increased and the accuracy went difficult in Chicago where it was recorded to be 38 meters. The cell tower signals Wi-Fi connection and other factors can impact precise positioning.

A lot is also based on whether the positioning is being done inside or outside the home or any building. The area density also leads to inaccuracy in the results along with the skyline of the metropolitan area which can impact geolocation. On the technology, the user needs to manually enable location services and the app permissions also impact precise positioning.

If we are specifically talking about mobile applications meant for booking a cab, the inaccuracies are high. If a specified landmark is chosen it is far easier to find the cab on the individual rather than going with the default locating feature of the app.

For instance, the ebay case scenario for precise positioning is by having more building density which would mean better Wi-Fi connection. But there should also be a lower number of skyscrapers. This is because a more dense skyline hampers the GPS system to a great degree. This is the reason why Boston, which has more buildings but fewer skyscrapers, performed so well in location accuracy.

Optimizing Data and Giving Permission


App developers are looking to understand location accuracy and the factors negatively impacting it. Optimizing the results and ensuring better connectivity becomes very important to reduce the variability in positioning results. The average still remains 30 meters but it can be reduced based on the strength of the internet connection and better usage of the GPS services.

Optimizing the user data also becomes limited because of limited permissions. Uses often do not think about checking all the boxes for phone permissions after installing an app. But there are some devices where location services are automatically off. Tracking devices thus becomes especially difficult for marketing companies who are looking for accurate data on user activity.

One can enhance the shopping experience by using location services to get targeted notifications and recommendations. It is entirely on subjective preference to allow location based services or not. Additionally, there are mobile tracking applications that are used to retrieve lost devices or just keeping a check on loved ones.

It is perfect for parents keeping tabs on the child without directly contacting them every 10 minutes. For someone who got their phone stolen or misplaced, tracking apps and location services can be a boon even if it is accurate for only 30 meters. Location services are also perfect even if the SIM is removed from the device because they track the device and not the number.

The Takeaway

We hope to have answered the question of precision when it comes to geolocation services on mobile devices. It is very difficult to get the precise location if it is not for major landmarks. The inaccuracy depends on building density and skyline but also on cellular connection if Wi-Fi is not available. Whatever the case may be, the IP address of the connection and GPS are the biggest indicators of finding the general proximity where someone and their phone is located.

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