back to article Google lets Android devs see nanosecond-level GNSS data

Geonerds, how would you like to work with raw GNSS data at nanosecond accuracy? That's what Google's Android folk are promising with the release of a set of Linux/Windows/MacOS desktop tools that accesses the raw GNSS outputs from Android phones' GNSS receivers. Created for phone designers, The Chocolate Factory has decided …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enough for Real Time Kinematics?

    Anyone know if this would be enough to get something like rtklib working natively between android devices? When I looked at it a few years ago you could do the processing and have a nice GUI on an Android device, but needed a separate pair of GPS devices that were capable of supplying the necessary low level data, plus a better antenna than you'd find in a phone.

    1. c1ue

      Re: Enough for Real Time Kinematics?

      Short answer: No.

      The raw data is extremely noisy - particularly if you're in an urban environment.

      There are no solutions in the consumer marketplace now that do any form of reliable multi-path pruning.

      Secondly, you need consistent bandwidth for the atmospheric related portions of accuracy improvement - which isn't reliable on a cell phone.

  2. Tim99 Silver badge
    Big Brother


    So does this allow Google to determine the location of your phone accurately enough to determine which part of a shop window you have paused in front of, and then try to sell you stuff based on what you might have been looking at?

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Google

      This, no. Location in general probably not. Maybe with fixed differential GPS receivers in the shop windows.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'what you might have been looking at?'

      I'm sure this has some interesting applications, but the sheer 'blind' rush or tendency to use location tech for surveillance capitalism, gets a little boring. Look, its 1984 'lets abolish the orgasm' etc. As the article below shows, there's no discussion / transparency as regards where we want tech to go from here. Instead its the usual-suspects / tech giants dictating everything: 'Look plebs, here's what we can do, just because we can'...

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      allow Google..location..accurately enough..which part of a shop window front of

      This is inedeed exactly the right question to be asking.

      What's in it for them?

    4. c1ue

      Re: Google

      No. Not unless you stand still for 20 minutes.

      Urban GNSS systems' accuracy is crap due to multi-path, but there are mathematical ways to improve accuracy if you don't move much.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is this flying cars, or domestic robots designed to do all home cleaning including windows etc??? No! Then wake me up when tech actually gets interesting, or when one of Musk's Colony ships finally gets to Mars!...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Snore!


      Slow and low (at under 200mph so you do not trigger any of the safeties in the GPS chipset) cruise missile. Should give sub-1m precision in the final dash - good enough to put it bang in the middle of a large-ish window.

      1. Gavin Jamie

        Re: Snore!

        Is the 200mph still a thing? I was able to get location fixes on my Moto G while sitting at thirty something thousand feet in an A320 over the Bay of Biscay. Phone in flight mode so receive only GPS.

        Only worked by the window mind you.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Only worked by the window mind you.

          Did this with my old Garmin StreetPilot III way back when. I mainly used the Garmin on my motorbike. Confused a fair share of self-annointed "speed freak" kiddies when they had their "look at the top speed I clocked on my SatNav" contests.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Snore!

        I think you will find your GPS chip is good up to 1200 mph, so unless you use a hyper sonic cruise missile or an ICBM you should be OK.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And who of these transmitters gave their permission?

    Just curious: is this another flood of data exported from Android phones without any user involvement, or do they actually have a choice?

    1. DropBear

      Re: And who of these transmitters gave their permission?

      Out of curiosity, where exactly in the article did you see the word "transmitter"? Because I couldn't find it. Also, "DESKTOP tools" is a bit of a clue-in - this thing lets you play with the GPS receiver in your phone, not ship you wholesale to Google or the NSA. Some further clue bat right from the original article: "The test report is useful for device manufacturers, who can use it as they iterate through the design and implementation of new devices"...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And who of these transmitters gave their permission?

        Ah, so the export of data is merely stage two, you first need to get enough developers interested in it. Got it.

        Why would you need a full MathLab platform if not for handling and interpreting large volumes of data? And where would you get those from?

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Still thought software decoding without a chip was cleverer.

    Especially as it only had 10MIPs at the time.

  6. Alistair

    and the question users will be asking

    Why the hell is my battery life so short now?

  7. c1ue

    The chipsets on cell phones are way, way behind even professional commercial chipsets, much less what you might see in the military.

    Basically the capability of a GNSS chipset is a function of how quickly it can lock onto at least 3 of the satellites within line of radio. The commercial chipsets I note above have up to 864 channels to quickly lock and maintain lock - the consumer ones have maybe dozens.

    Look at Javad to see what a real commercial GNSS receiver looks like.

  8. IGnatius T Foobar

    Excellent! Android DIY ICBM

    This is great news. Now anyone can build an ICBM and have the guidance system powered by a simple Android device.

    Now where does one go on eBay for weapons-grade plutonium...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Now where does one go on eBay for weapons-grade plutonium

      How about Craigslist locations near Sellafield?

    2. JohnG

      Re: Excellent! Android DIY ICBM

      Note that this involves a test app which logs GPS data on an Android device. Once the logged data is transferred to another system (Windows, Linux or Mac), it can be analysed by the software described in the article. None of this stuff provides any navigation/guidance functionality.

      All this stuff has been posted by someone called Mohammed Khider - I cannot see any problem (unless his middle name is "Al").

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Combined with a little suite of aps running covertly, this should improve the precision of drone strikes quite a bit.

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