GPS usage - Aqua Map
The Aqua Map™ How-To serie
How to use the GPS with your iPhone/iPad
Basic GPS Info
Image 1: GPS Satellite constellation
The GPS system is able to locate your position thanks to a set
of satellites orbiting the earth that are sending signals to your
device. Different “countries” have there own constellation of
satellites (eg. GPS in US, Galileo in EU, GLONASS in Russia)
but the modern GPS receivers are able to use all of them.
Because your device need to receive these signals, you need to
be in a open sky to have a better localization and you can have
no location at all inside a tunnel. Other factors can influence
the quality of the signal, as clouds and leaves, or the number of
satellites visible from your position.
The GPS in the iOS devices
Most of the iPhone and iPad models have an internal GPS
receiver and using the localization on these devices is very
simple. For the few models that do not have an internal GPS
you have to buy an external GPS and connect it to your device.
The iPhone/iPad devices use also the 3G, the wifi and the
bluetooth signal to improve the GPS localization but these info
are not mandatory to have a good position. Having these
additional signals speed up the first point acquisition and could
Image 2: Page to enable/disable
localization for specific applications
reduce the power used by the GPS but even in areas without
them it is possible to have a good localization using only the
GPS signal.
Visualize your position with
Aqua Map™
To enable the GPS position in the Aqua Map™ iOS application
you have simply to tap on the “Center on GPS" button (see
Image 3) and the application will start to show the GPS
position (a blu dot) on the map as soon as the GPS receiver
will be able to calculate your position (if you are indoor this
could be difficult). When the “Center on GPS” button is active
the Aqua Map™ will also automatically re-center the map on
your position; each time you will pan on the map the autocenter mode will be disabled and you could re-activate it simply
tapping again on the same button.
Image 3: “Center on GPS” button
Image 4: GPS Info window
Image 5: North up to Heading up mode
If it is the first time you activate the GPS with Aqua Map™,
than a window requesting to allow the application to use your
location will appear: you shall answer “Allow” to enable the
GPS. If you press “Don’t Allow” the application will never
display the GPS position but you can correct your choice in the
iPhone Settings->Privacy->Localization->YourApplication (see
Image 2).
When the GPS is active you will see a small window in the
bottom part of the screen (see Image 4) showing GPS
information: a colored bar for the quality of the GPS signal and
in the below row: speed, direction and altitude.
Most of the iPhone/iPad models also have an internal compass,
so if you have the “Center on GPS” button active (North Up
mode) and you tap again on it, Aqua Map™ will enter in the
Head Up mode (see Image 5). When this mode is active the
map will automatically rotate accordingly to the compass
direction (where you are pointing your device). To exit from
this mode simply touch the map anywhere or tap again the
same button. To zoom in and out without exiting from this
mode you shall use the Zoom + and Zoom - button.
When you are moving, Aqua Map™ will show on the map your
direction with a magenta line (named Heading line) exiting
from the GPS icon (see Image 6). Note that this is the moving
Image 6: Heading line and GPS
direction of your device (where you are going) and not the
compass direction (where you are pointing your device).
When you close Aqua Map™ the GPS will be automatically
disabled to reduce your battery usage (unless you are recording
a track but this is another story). When you will re-open the
application the GPS will be restarted accordingly.
Aqua Map™ is an iOS application for Nautical navigation, see
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