Published by Steve Litchfield at 15:29 UTC, August 24th 2010
Q. On my Nokia, I've been experimenting with Maps Booster. Having bought and installed it, I've found that it makes the accuracy of my phone's location fix worse, not better! What could be wrong?
A. It's important here to understand what the location module is doing on your smartphone. It takes input from cell tower triangulation, giving accuracy to a few hundred metres at best; from GPS (including 'Assisted', which just means that lock on is faster), giving accuracy to ten metres or so as long as there's nothing blocking the GPS antenna's view of the sky; and now from Maps Booster, which uses Wi-Fi router MAC addresses to triangulate your position, giving accuracy to twenty metres or so in heavily built-up areas.
The Symbian operating system has got to make an educated guess on your position, based on the second and third inputs, each giving position and estimated accuracy. Under ideal conditions, you'll get a super-accurate, super-fast fix. Out in the real world, the density of Wi-Fi routers will vary enormously, plus if you're in a car then you'll be speeding past routers too fast to check their position online anyway. The end result (in a car) is that Maps Booster can end up swamping the location system with old or bogus fixes, degrading your on-screen position accuracy.
The solution is to keep Maps Booster turned off (in your S60 phone, you'll find it in a path like Settings>General>Positioning>Positioning methods) most of the time – GPS should be fine if you're in a car. Then, when you travel as a pedestrian into the GPS-unfriendly 'big city', turn it on – it'll be a lifeline and will really come into its own.
(This original text of mine was originally published in Smartphone Essentials magazine and re-purposed here with kind permission)