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What exactly is GPS, and how does it function on smartphones?

 Life will never be the same again. Smartphones and mobile phones; tablets, computers and laptops; smart watches and other gadgets have become too ingrained in our lives, giving us the most diverse information on a daily basis. Various channels, means of communication and data transmission have surrounded the planet on all sides. Among all this electronic variety, GPS plays not the least role and gives us accurate coordinates. And what did people do without it before? Does everyone know now how GPS works in general? And what is it? In this article we will try to give the most clear explanation of how the GPS navigation system works!

How does GPS work on mobile phones?

The principle of operation of any navigation system can be described as follows: several satellites fly in orbit, which are the most accurate flying atomic clocks with an antenna and a solar battery. They emit a radio signal that contains the exact time. This signal travels to the receiver at the speed of light. The receiver can be a smartphone, tablet or special navigator. Inside the smartphone is a mobile processor, which is responsible not only for computing. One of the important parts of the processor is the modem – it receives signals from cellular towers, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and more. Sometimes the modem is not part of the processor, but is a separate chip on the board. When the modem in the smartphone receives a signal from the GPS satellite, it compares the time sent by the satellite and its time, and then determines the difference. Thus, knowing the speed of the signal and the time required for its passage, the receiver calculates at what distance from it is the satellite.

Having three data sets from three different satellites and knowing their exact position in Earth orbit, you can calculate the coordinates of the receiver. The satellites move in a constant orbit at a constant speed and their coordinates in each period of time are known with high accuracy. These data are collected in tables called “almanacs”. Such tables must be available to any satellite receiver before the start of changes. In the case of a smartphone, the almanac is stored in the firmware of the radio module. Having at least three data sets from three different satellites, it is possible to determine the location of the receiver. However, data from the fourth satellite are always used to obtain more accurate results. Thus, data from 4 satellites is the minimum set of data that is required for the GPS function to work. The more satellites a reliable smartphone can see, the faster and more accurately it will be able to determine its location. It is for this purpose that chip manufacturers are implementing support for the maximum number of navigation systems in their devices.

In order to determine exactly how many satellites can be determined by each specific smartphone, you need to use the data of a special application – for example, GPS Test. If during the test the smartphone sees many satellites in a short time, then such a smartphone accepts GPS satellite data well. Modern smartphones by default have support for GPS, GLONASS and the European Galileo network. Due to such a large number of navigation systems, modern touchscreen phones, also known as smartphones, can collect location information from various satellites of all available navigation systems, consolidate the data obtained and give the smartphone user the most accurate and high-quality result.

Navigation in smartphones is not limited to GPS satellites. In order to increase the speed and accuracy of navigation, additional data from the towers of the mobile network is often used. According to these data, mobile phones determine their location with an accuracy of 200 to 1500 meters, and then download data from the network about the currently available satellites in this place, and based on the information received as efficiently and purposefully receive the desired signal.

If you are looking for a Pay-as-you-go bundle with affordable prices for data, you should join To The Moon Mobile! To The Moon Mobile is a young online based mobile provider operating in the UK, that offers you 23 Pay As You Go bundles with superfast data and sets up your free debit account with no ID checks. If you need to increase the speed and accuracy of navigation, To The Moon Mobile uses EE network, which means that it can offer you the best network 4G coverage in the UK and fastest 4G download speeds. Also TTMM can offer you data roaming SIM and international data SIM card, just choose one suitable for you.  Don’t forget to use the calculator to find out how much it will cost to use your SIM while roaming anywhere in the world!

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