Review: “GpsFix” by Android Labs

Google Maps, Foursquare, Gowalla, Geocaching and other GPS enabled apps require a GPS fix on your location to property provide you with the information you need. But sometimes your actual location and the one shown on your smart phone can be completely different.

GpsFix

For one reason or another your location can be skewed. This is usually cased by something interfering with the GPS signal like trees or tall buildings. Also the phones GPS/AGPS receiver is only active for a short period of time. This can cause false locations if your app did not acquire your location before the receiver deactivated.

When this happens your left with refreshing the GPS through the app your using. This option always seems to take time and it does not always work.

GpsFix is designed to sync your phone with all the satellites ahead of time.

Activate the app and click “Start Fixing.” Satellite icons will then appear indicating that the phone is locking onto different satellites in your area. GpsFix will keep the GPS/AGPS receiver on until your phones actual location is fixed.

The app works quickly, and once done back arrow out and activate the app your interested in using.

GpsFix will also give you your latitude and longitude and usually your address. The app is so good that when I tested it indoors it still found my location. Of course I was near some windows but I’ve yet to see other apps pull that off as quickly and accurately.

GpsFix is Free and is available for Android devices.

Geocaching without a GPS

The point of Geocaching is to use a GPS to find caches hidden throughout the word. But if you want more of a challenge try caching without the GPS.

Geocaching.com uses Google maps to map out the locations of caches, represented by icons on the map. The map can be adjusted to Street, Satellite, Terrain and Topographical views.

Geocaching Map

Geocaching Map

First in your profile page select the “Map It” icon on the right side of the screen. This will bring up Geocaching Maps. Move around the map until you find the geocache you are interested in looking for. Now switch to Satellite view and zoom in a far as you can. Be sure to keep the cache icon in the middle of the screen or you’ll lose it as you zoom in. Most urban areas contain far more detail than rural in satellite view so I would stick to cities and towns. The image of the location will be a little blurry but you should be able to make out the landmarks.

With the example provided you can see that the geocache is located at the edge of a grass field between two buildings next to the sidewalk. Using the provided clues you should be able to find the cache.

Using the map view to find caches only works if the cache location is not obstructed by tress, buildings or other objects. Since most caches are hidden under something this method of caching becomes difficult and sometimes impossible without a GPS.

Nevertheless give it a try and see how you do. I’m actually good at reading maps and with a print out of the map and the provided description and clues I ended up finding 5 caches this way.

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