• The Advantages and Disadvantages of 5 Positioning Methods


    When it comes to positioning, many people firstly think of GPS. In fact, in addition to GPS positioning, there are many other positioning methods, such as beidou positioning, WIFI positioning, base station positioning, bluetooth positioning. Everyone will inadvertently use these positioning every day, then what are the differences? Today I am very happy to elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages of these several positioning methods.

    1. GPS positioning

    GPS is a well-known term for everyone. It is a kind of positioning method studied by the United States. The distinct features lie in no need for a SIM card and no need to connect to the network. As long as it is in outdoor places, it can be accurately located anytime anywhere without much effort. However, it takes some time to search for satellites after GPS starts . Usually, it’s about 2 minutes (commonly known as cold start which includes: the first time to use GPS, GPS battery exhaust, move more than 1000 km under the shutdown state, continuously shutdown over 4 hours)


    Advantages: High accuracy positioning. As long as you can receive the positioning signals of four satellites, you can be located within 5 meters errors.

    Disadvantages: GPS positioning is greatly affected by weather and location. When the weather is bad, or under the viaduct or shade, in the corner of the tall building, underground garage, open-air lower garage (or SIMply said when the sky is not visible), GPS positioning will be considerably affected and will not even be able to perform location services.


    2. LBSbase stationpositioning


    The base station includes China mobile base station, China telecommunication base station, Sprint base station, AT&T base station, Verizon base station ect. Base station positioning is to calculate the mobile phone location by the differences of the mobile communication  base station signals, and it depends a lot on the coverage density of the base station near the location. If there are many base stations, the positioning is accurate. If there are few base stations, the positioning is not so good. Generally, the positioning accuracy is 50-2000 meters. LBS positioning must be connected to network, and the mobile phone is in the SIM card registration state (open WIFI and unplug the SIM card in flight mode is unavailable).

    Advantages: It is very convenient because it is located by receiving the base station signal through the SIM card. In terms of theory, as long as the signal difference between three base stations is calculated, the location of the mobile phone can be verified. Therefore, it can be located at any time as long as the user's mobile phone is within the effective range of the mobile communication network. 

    Disadvantages: The position coordinate value obtained by calculating the signal difference of the base station is obviously inferior to the accuracy of GPS, and is affected by the environment. In the suburbs and rural areas, the mobile station can be positioned within the range of 10 to 20 meters. Due to the large number of tall buildings in urban area, the radio wave propagation environment is not good, and therefore the signal cannot reach the mobile station from the base station directly. Usually, it is subject to refraction or reflection, and thus the positioning accuracy will be affected, and the positioning range is 100 to 200 meters. Secondly, the use range is relatively limited. LBS will not be affected by weather, viaducts or high-rise buildings, however, if the service range of the mobile phone is exceeded, or the number of base stations where the mobile phone located is insufficient, LBS positioning cannot be performed. In this point, it is not suitable for field use.


    3. WIFI positioning

    WIFI positioning, as the name suggests, there must be WIFI around! The purpose of WIFI positioning is to solve indoor precise positioning issue, and the principle is similar to base station positioning. We know that each wireless AP has a globally unique MAC address. WIFI positioning relies on detecting the MAC address of all nearby wireless access points (WIFI Access Points), comparing the coordinates of the MAC address in the database, and then calculating the location. The conditions for WIFI positioning are: 1. WIFI must be turned on, regardless of a hotspot is connected or not. 2. It must be able to access the internet. Mobile data or WIFI networking is available. 


    Advantages: 1. High positioning accuracy, especially in places where people are crowded   2. Fast speed   3. Surrounding WIFI can be positioned even if it is not connected.

    Disadvantages: 1.WIFI dependency - cannot be located without opening WIFI 2. It is must be in a networked state.


    4. AGPS

    AGPS is a method of assisting GPS positioning. The positioning principle is the same as GPS, except that it is supplemented by the network. But it works only when equipped with GPS module. If there is no GPS module, this positioning does not work. AGPS positioning is used to speed up the positioning. The search speed is very slow because of GPS cold start (you need to search more than 20 satellites on your head), and find in 2 minutes. After adding AGPS positioning, you can use the base station to find your location roughly, and then send this location to the server through the network. According to this location, the server will pass the satellite parameters above your head (the number, frequency, position, elevation, etc.) to your positioning device. By doing this, the GPS on the device can search for satellites with direction, your search star speed is greatly improved and you can locate in a few seconds accordingly.


    Advantages: Search satellites and positioning are fast, regardless of cold start or hot start.

    Disadvantages: You must be connected to the internet. If your device can't access to the internet, or have no WIFI around, you can't use AGPS to achieve the great effect. 

    5. Beidou  positioning

    Beidou positioning principle is similar to GPS positioning’s. It relies on China's independent research and development of the beidou satellite. The current largest user is Chinese military industry, while civilian industries are not very popular. To some extent, it is not as accurate as GPS positioning.


    Advantages: It is safe, and supports communication & target positioning that GPS is unavailable. GPS can only tell the user where "I" is, but the beidou system can not only tell the user where "I" is, but also tell the user " where is my friend.

    Disadvantages: It is still in the developing stage, mainly used in Chinese military industry, while civil industry has not yet been fully popularized. Also, the chip cost is high. In the middle and high latitudes, due to the small number of beidou satellites, and the poor satellite distribution, this kind of positioning accuracy is not good.


    In fact, many devices are positioned in more than one way, many of which are used together. For example, our concox's vehicle GPS tracker, in addition to GPS positioning, we also adopt AGPS positioning, WIFI positioning and other multiple positioning methods. We aim to make vehicle positioning faster, more stable, and more accurate.

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