Google opens up GNSS pseudoranges

June 7, 2016  - By

Google has announced that raw GNSS measurements will be available to apps in the Android N operating system, which will be released later this year. This means pseudoranges, dopplers and carrier phase will be obtainable from a phone or tablet computer.

The announcement came during Google’s I/O 2016, its three-day developer conference which was held May 18-20. The specific announcement occurs during a video summary of the conference, shown below.

“This is groundbreaking,” says Steve Malkos, a technical program manager at Google. “It is the first time in history that a mobile application will have access to the raw GPS measurements. This is beneficial to many, but especially the phone makers, because they can use these measurements to help them in their performance testing. And if you ever had a bright idea on how to use GPS measurements, now’s your time to shine.”

Malkos co-wrote “The Fashion Demands of Always-On: Ultra-Low-Power, High-Accuracy Location for Wearable GNSS Devices: From Host-Based to On-Chip” in the December 2014 issue of GPS World, and “Putting the (ultra-low) Power in GeoFence” in the November 2013 issue. His blog post in the upcoming July 2016 issue will include more information about the new Google development, including a hands-on demonstration course to be offered at ION-GNSS+ 2016 in Portland, Oregon in September.

For a brief background and context of this development for application developers and chip-makers, see “OS providers: 800-pound gorillas in PNT jungle” from the current (June) issue of GPS World. Contributing editor for geospatial Eric Gakstatter has also written on this topic in “Mobile Device Operating System Wars: Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Mobile “ (April 2012) and “Mobile Device Operating System Wars: Ver. 2.0” (April 2014). “The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend has been hot for a few years due to the growing popularity of iOS and Android devices.”

Android N is the codename of an upcoming release of the Android operating system. It was first released as a developer preview on March 9, with factory images for current Nexus devices, as well as with the new Android Beta Program which allows supported devices to be upgraded directly to the Android N beta via over-the-air update.  The stable release of the operating system is expected in mid-2016.

Google I/O is an annual developer-focused conference held by Google in the San Francisco Bay Area. It features technical, in-depth sessions focused on building web, mobile, and enterprise applications with Google and open web technologies such as Android, Chrome, Chrome OS, APIs, Google Web Toolkit, App Engine, and more. Google I/O began in 2008. The “I” and “O” stand for input/output, as well as the slogan “Innovation in the Open.”

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About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.