I’ve got to hand it to those clever geeks at Google – I just downloaded the latest version of the Google maps client for Windows Mobile and it was able to give me my current location, despite not having a GPS unit in this device! How are they doing it? Well, according to the instructions they are doing an approximate triangulation of the cellular broadcast information to give you a location that they say is accurate to about 1700metres. This might sound rather a large inaccuracy but if you think about how little data they are probably working with, it is probably no wonder.
My initial position was accurate to about a block, which for most purposes (like finding yourself on a map of Sydney) is close enough. If you need more accuracy then you just need to cough up the extra couple of dollars to get either an external GPS unit or a device (such as the HTC TyTnII) that has integrated GPS.
Whilst I haven’t downloaded the latest Live Search client, I’m yet to see anything that has impressed me as much as the Google Maps client (kind of bizarre for a predominately web based company!)