Posted by Frank van Diggelen, Principal Engineer and also Jennifer Wang, Product Manager

At Android, we intend to make it as simple as feasible for programmers to produce one of the most useful applications for their customers. That’s why we intend to give the most effective area experience with our APIs like the Fused Location Provider API (FLP). However, we’ve spoken with much of you that the largest area concern is error in thick metropolitan locations, such as wrong-side-of-the-street and also also wrong-city-block mistakes.

This is specifically important for the most utilized area applications, such as rideshare and also navigating. For circumstances, when customers ask for a rideshare automobile in a city, applications cannot conveniently situate them due to the GPS mistakes.

The last terrific unresolved GENERAL PRACTITIONER issue

This wrong-side-of-the-street placement mistake is brought on by mirrored GENERAL PRACTITIONER signals in cities, and also we started an enthusiastic job to assist address this terrific issue in GPS. Our remedy makes use of 3D mapping helped modifications, and also is just practical to be done at range by Google due to the fact that it makes up 3D structure versions, raw GENERAL PRACTITIONER dimensions, and also artificial intelligence.

The December Pixel Feature Drop includes 3D mapping helped GPS modifications to Pixel 5 and also Pixel 4a (5G). With a system API that gives comments to the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 5G Mobile Platform that powers Pixel, the precision in cities (or “urban canyons”) boosts marvelously.

Picture of a pedestrian test, with Pixel 5 phone, walking along one side of the street, then the other. Yellow = Path followed, Red = without 3D mapping aided corrections, Blue = with 3D mapping aided corrections.  The picture shows that without 3D mapping aided corrections, the GPS results frequently wander to the wrong side of the street (or even the wrong city block), whereas, with 3D mapping aided corrections, the position is many times more accurate.

Picture of a pedestrian examination, with Pixel 5 phone, strolling along one side of the road, after that the various other. Yellow = Path adhered to, Red = without 3D mapping helped modifications, Blue = with 3D mapping helped modifications.

Why hasn’t this been resolved prior to?

The issue is that GPS constructively situates you in the incorrect location when you remain in a city. This is due to the fact that all GENERAL PRACTITIONERS systems are based upon line-of-sight procedure from satellites. But in huge cities, a lot of or all signals reach you via non line-of-sight representations, due to the fact that the straight signals are obstructed by the structures.

Diagram of the 3D mapping aided corrections module in Google Play services, with corrections feeding into the FLP API.   3D mapping aided corrections are also fed into the GNSS chip and software, which in turn provides GNSS measurements, position, and velocity back to the module.

The GPS chip thinks that the signal is line-of-sight and also consequently presents mistake when it determines the excess course size that the signals took a trip. The most typical adverse effects is that your placement shows up on the incorrect side of the road, although your placement can additionally show up on the incorrect city block, particularly in large cities with several high-rises.

There have actually been efforts to resolve this issue for greater than a years. But no remedy existed at range, up until 3D mapping helped modifications were introduced on Android.

How 3D mapping helped modifications function

The 3D mapping helped modifications component, in Google Play solutions, consists of floor tiles of 3D structure versions that Google has for greater than 3850 cities worldwide. Google Play solutions 3D mapping helped modifications presently sustains pedestrian use-cases just. When you utilize your gadget’s GENERAL PRACTITIONER while strolling, Android’s Activity Recognition API will certainly identify that you are a pedestrian, and also if you remain in among the 3850+ cities, floor tiles with 3D versions will certainly be downloaded and install and also cached on the phone for that city. Cache dimension is about 20MB, which has to do with the exact same dimension as 6 photos.

Inside the component, the 3D mapping helped modifications formulas address the chicken-and-egg issue, which is: if the GPS placement is not in the appropriate location, after that exactly how do you understand which structures are obstructing or showing the signals? Having resolved this issue, 3D mapping helped modifications give a collection of dealt with placements to the FLP. A system API after that gives this details to the GPS chip to assist the chip enhance the precision of the following GENERAL PRACTITIONERS take care of.

With this December Pixel function decline, we are launching variation 2 of 3D mapping helped modifications on Pixel 5 and also Pixel 4a (5G). This lowers wrong-side-of-street events by about 75%. Other Android phones, utilizing Android 8 or later on, have actually variation 1 applied in the FLP, which lowers wrong-side-of-street events by about 50%. Version 2 will certainly be readily available to the whole Android ecological community (Android 8 or later on) in very early 2021.

Android’s 3D mapping helped modifications deal with signals from the UNITED STATES’s Global Positioning System (GENERAL PRACTITIONER) along with various other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs): GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and also QZSS.

Our GPS chip companions shared the significance of this help their modern technologies:

“Consumers rely on the accuracy of the positioning and navigation capabilities of their mobile phones. Location technology is at the heart of ensuring you find your favorite restaurant and you get your rideshare service in a timely manner. Qualcomm Technologies is leading the charge to improve consumer experiences with its newest Qualcomm® Location Suite technology featuring integration with Google’s 3D mapping aided corrections. This collaboration with Google is an important milestone toward sidewalk-level location accuracy,” stated Francesco Grilli, vice head of state of item monitoring at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

“Broadcom has integrated Google’s 3D mapping aided corrections into the navigation engine of the BCM47765 dual-frequency GNSS chip. The combination of dual frequency L1 and L5 signals plus 3D mapping aided corrections provides unprecedented accuracy in urban canyons. L5 plus Google’s corrections are a game-changer for GNSS use in cities,” stated Charles Abraham, Senior Director of Engineering, Broadcom Inc.

“Google’s 3D mapping aided corrections is a major advancement in personal location accuracy for smartphone users when walking in urban environments. MediaTek’s Dimensity 5G family enables 3D mapping aided corrections in addition to its highly accurate dual-band GNSS and industry-leading dead reckoning performance to give the most accurate global positioning ever for 5G smartphone users,” stated Dr. Yenchi Lee, Deputy General Manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Communications Business Unit.

How to gain access to 3D mapping helped modifications

Android’s 3D mapping helped modifications instantly functions when the GPS is being utilized by a pedestrian in any one of the 3850+ cities, on any kind of phone that runs Android 8 or later on. The finest method for programmers to make use of the renovation is to utilize FLP to obtain area details. The more 3D mapping helped modifications in the GPS chip are readily available to Pixel 5 and also Pixel 4a (5G) today, and also will certainly be presented to the remainder of the Android ecological community (Android 8 or later on) in the following a number of weeks. We will certainly additionally quickly sustain even more settings consisting of driving.

Android’s 3D mapping helped modifications cover greater than 3850 cities, consisting of:

  • North America: All significant cities in UNITED STATES, Canada, Mexico.
  • Europe: All significant cities. (100%, other than Russia & Ukraine)
  • Asia: All significant cities in Japan and also Taiwan.
  • Rest of the globe: All significant cities in Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and also South Africa.

As our Google Earth 3D versions broaden, so will certainly 3D mapping helped modifications insurance coverage.

Google Maps is additionally obtaining updates that will certainly give even more road degree information for pedestrians in pick cities, such as walkways, crosswalks, and also pedestrian islands. In 2021, you can obtain these updates for your application utilizing the Google Maps Platform. Along with the boosted area precision from 3D mapping helped modifications, we wish we can assist programmers like you far better assistance usage situations for the globe’s 2B pedestrians that utilize Android.

Continuously making area far better

In enhancement to 3D mapping helped modifications, we remain to strive to make area as exact and also helpful as feasible. Below are the most recent enhancements to the Fused Location Provider API (FLP):

  • Developers desired a less complicated method to get the existing area. With the brand-new getCurrentLocation() API, programmers can obtain the existing area in a solitary demand, instead of needing to register for recurring area adjustments. By enabling programmers to demand area just when required (and also instantly break and also shutting open area demands), this brand-new API additionally boosts battery life. Check out our newest Kotlin example.
  • Android 11’s Data Access Auditing API gives much more openness right into exactly how your application and also its dependences gain access to exclusive information (like area) from customers. With the brand-new assistance for the API’s acknowledgment tags in the FusedLocationProviderCustomer, programmers can much more conveniently investigate their applications’ area memberships along with normal area demands. Check out this Kotlin example to find out more.

Qualcomm and also Snapdragon are hallmarks or signed up hallmarks of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Qualcomm Snapdragon and also Qualcomm Location Suite are items of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.