Utilizing both Assisted GPS (A-GPS) techniques and new high-sensitivity embedded GPS hardware, mobile phones are now able to achieve positioning in harsh environments such as urban canyons and indoor locations where older embedded GPS chips could not. This paper presents an empirical analysis of the positional accuracy of location data gathered using a high-sensitivity GPS-enabled mobile phone. The performance of the mobile phone is compared to that of regular recreational grade GPS receivers. Availability of valid GPS position fixes on the mobile phones tested was consistently close to 100% both outdoors and indoors. During static outdoor testing, positions provided by the mobile phones revealed a median horizontal error of between 5·0 and 8·5 m, substantially larger than those for regular autonomous GPS units by a factor of 2 to 3. Horizontal errors during static indoor testing were larger compared to outdoors, but the difference in accuracy between mobile phones and regular GPS receivers was reduced. Despite the modest performance of A-GPS on mobile phones, testing under various conditions revealed that very large errors are not very common. The maximum horizontal error during outdoor testing never exceeded 30 metres and during indoor testing never exceeded 100 metres. Combined with the relatively consistent availability of valid GPS position fixes under varying conditions, the current study has confirmed the reliability of A-GPS on mobiles phones as a source of location information for a range of different LBS applications.
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