Microsoft Sends GPS Into The Clouds

But they’re already up in the clouds right? Have Microsoft, following the disaster of Windows 8, decided to deflect the attention by distracting the media with another story about their stupidity?

As it turns out, no.

In what can only be described as the Microsoft Christmas gift to geocachers, numerous reports are flying around the net that their researchers have found a way to outsource some of the GPS functions to the cloud and, therefore, reduce the drain on the battery.

How do they manage this?

Well, it turns out that they can be selective about what data they get from the satellites meaning they focus on getting only the most important data from them. Other info, such as satellite trajectories and Earth elevation values, can be obtained from public, online databases via your data network.

The result?

A decrease in the drain on your battery and, at some point in the future, cache for longer with your smartphone.

So why is this big news?

Arguably it isn’t particularly massive news. But considering one of the two major factors that lead GPS traditionalists to shun smartphones for many years was battery life (the other being robustness) this is an indication that the improvements we have seen in the last few years are likely to continue.

Smartphones, it seems, are only going to keep getting better for geocaching.

1 comment

  1. rediguana

    Except that a real-time cloud GPS service won’t work when you’re disconnected from the network, so you’ll return back to a higher powerhogging mode then. Being able to download a GNSS almanac from the network instead of the sats themselves could speed up a fix, but if you’re near a wifi point, you’re going to get a pretty fast fix anyway. I still want larger batteries, and a more robust smartphone 🙂

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