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GPS for phone while on board?


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If you are comfortable viewing marine charts then you can use the MxMariner App.  Download the marine charts in advance of your cruise.  In the US you will need to switch regions if you go from one part of the country to another.  Also, the charts only cover the US, New Zealand, Brazil, and the UK.

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One other point.   You will likely find that your GPS receiver will have difficulty getting a fix on most decks.  I had a balcony cabin and still had difficulty receiving a signal even  while outside on the balcony.  I was able to get a signal while on the very top deck.

 

I purchased a Garmin GPS Receiving Antenna that plugs  into a USB outlet for my laptop and would like to try that out on my next cruise.   

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Posted (edited)

Oddly (and I believe I've posted about it earlier [See post #9] ), my Android phone can give me a good fix in the middle of the Atlantic while I'm sitting on the bed more or less in the middle of the room. It's not an old stored position, it's not dependent on a WiFi connection. I can open a GPS Status app and observe that it actually has lock on sufficient satellites while 8-10+/- feet in from the outer wall of the balcony.

Edited by Underwatr
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2 hours ago, Underwatr said:

Oddly (and I believe I've posted about it earlier [See post #9] ), my Android phone can give me a good fix in the middle of the Atlantic while I'm sitting on the bed more or less in the middle of the room. It's not an old stored position, it's not dependent on a WiFi connection. I can open a GPS Status app and observe that it actually has lock on sufficient satellites while 8-10+/- feet in from the outer wall of the balcony.

 

A GPS receiver requires at least 4 of the 30+ sats to be visible above the horizon. In addition to line of sight, the receivers can also receive reflected signals, which is most likely what you are receiving inside a cabin.

 

Since position (Lat/Long) is calulated on the time the signal is received, reflected signals add additional errors to the calculated position. As a comparison, the ship aerials are normally located at the top of the mast for an unobstructed view of the sky - increases number of sats visible and reduces reflections. We also had to input the altitude of the aerial(s) above sea level.

 

For pax, especially mid ocean, when 4 sats are visible you will still receive a position, however the accuracy might not be the best. Mind you, your phone is probably still better than we did with the best sun/star sights with a sextant. 😀

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On 11/2/2019 at 5:14 AM, ed01106 said:

IIRC, most phones don’t use true GPS, but rather the locations of cell towers, on a ship the nearest cell tower moves.

That's not true - I got an accurate location in the middle of the Coral Sea in PNG  -trust me there are no cell towers -  all I needed to be able to do was see the sky - didn't work through decks! 

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Occasionally Android or ChromeOS will tell me that I'm tied up at the pier in Southampton when I'm doing something on the ship's WiFi but there are ways to tell the device to only use its internal GPS.

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  • 1 month later...

Just to clarify phone GPS. They do not require tower signals for a fix, but they can use the tower information for a very rough location which makes the satellite calculations quicker. I suspect they can similarly use WiFi to generate a rough initial location.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/5/2021 at 5:02 AM, grozzy1 said:

Just to clarify phone GPS. They do not require tower signals for a fix, but they can use the tower information for a very rough location which makes the satellite calculations quicker. I suspect they can similarly use WiFi to generate a rough initial location.

 

To follow up - https://www.garmin.com/en-US/aboutgps/.

 

DON

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