The new Google Maps shows you how to calibrate your phone's compass

...

Google Maps, the venerable digital navigator that manages to keep even the least-oriented among us on track, gives pretty good directions. But what it doesn’t do is give accurate cardinal directions, largely thanks to the inconsistency of smartphone magnetometers. Indeed, any six phones of the same model can give wildly different compass readings. Software improvements can’t fix hardware flaws, of course, but Google’s doing what it can all the same: A new version of Maps contains interface tweaks that should shed light on the preciseness of your phone’s compass.

The updated Maps makes finding out which direction you’re facing “easier” than it was before, Google says. How? A slight visual tweak, basically. Previous versions of Maps indicated orientation with an arrow jutting from the blue dot that shows your current location. That arrow’s been replaced with a beam — “a flashlight guiding your travels,” the company called it. (Clever, Google.)

Related: Google may bring a fancy new bottom menu bar to its Maps interface

There’s more to the beam than meets the eye. It indicates accuracy: A narrow beam is a show of high confidence in your compass’s reporting, while a variable or broadening beam communicates uncertainty on the app’s part. (The latter case, Google said, is typically a symptom of an uncalibrated sensor.)

A broad beam every once in a while is practically inevitably, Google said — magnometers are temperamental little sensors, prone to interference from chargers, metal objects, and even other magnometers. But luckily, there’s an easy fix: repeatedly waving the phone in a figure-eight motion. “This should immediately result in a more accurate direction,” Google said. “Once you master the curving motion, you’re one step closer to having a more accurate compass when you use Google Maps on your … phone.”

Related: Google’s new and improved Maps does away with the clutter to make finding places easier

The new Maps is rolling out to Android devices gradually, Google said. Details on an iOS equivalent are presumably forthcoming.

Google Maps upgrades have been fast and furious, lately. In July, Google rolled out improved typography for street names, points of interest, and transit stations, and shaded regions — “areas of interest” — determined arithmetically by restaurant, shop, museum, and monument density. In August, it rolled out a revamped Street View, its street-side imagery viewer, with interface and performance tweaks for mobile devices. And just last week, Maps gained a menu bar with shortcuts to different locations, driving information, and transit details.

Categories
APPLICATIONS
0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Captcha image


RELATED BY

  • 5300c769af79e

    Download Apps For Free: Lifestyle

    Here are 5 games for you to download and try them out!This game is sure to be a hit with the kids especially with the awesome graphics they have in store.
  • 5300c769af79e

    New Samsung Phones May Contain LG Batteries

    So how do you guarantee your new smartphones won't also explode?As well as designing and testing new handsets much more thoroughly, Samsung could opt to use someone else's batteries, and it looks as though that's what the company is trying to do.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Google Assistant Comes to Android TV and More

    At tonight’s opening CES keynote, NVIDIA was the first to announce that Google Assistant would be coming soon to Android TV.In the coming months, Android TV units running Marshmallow and Nougat will receive an update that includes the Google Assistant.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Samsung's Galaxy Note7 Assembly Lines Grind to Halt

    One began crackling and smoking on board a Southwest Airlines plane, leading to the evacuation of the flight.Sprint "is halting sales of replacement Note7 devices pending the conclusion of the investigation by the [CPSC]," said company spokesperson Michelle Mermelstein.