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Do you use GPS on your Windows Mobile device extensively? Is your use mainly while driving or walking or a mixture of both. For high-speeds movement such as when you are driving, it would seem that your GPS chip works great but when you are on foot, it might seem otherwise. Why is it that you have covered a few meters on ground but your location on the map still shows the same spot? There is nothing wrong with your GPS or Pocket PC. It’s due to a feature called Static Navigation which is responsible for what you are experiencing.

What Is It?

Static navigation is basically a feature of many GPS devices or chips. Think of it as a filter to correct or hide data which are incorrect due to reflections, tall buildings, trees and so forth. Your GPS chip fixes your location by calculating data received from satellites and thus, any alteration to it could lead to an inaccurate fix. If the data does not take an direct path to the receiver, the chip might be misled and thus be unable to fix your position or fixes a position that is jumping around.

What Can You Do About It?

Well you don’t have to do anything. The reason static navigation has been turned on is so that you can get accurate fixes. But if you are hiking or walking, then this is a less than perfect solution because you will not know your exact position until you have traveled some distance. If this is the case, then you might want to consider turning static navigation off. Depending on the chip that you are using, there are certain tools that you can use to achieve this, but the consequences can be permanent.

Should You Do It?

Well I always say that if something is not broken, do not try to fix it. But if you cannot wait to get your hands dirty and turn static navigation off, then at least read the problems that might arise if you fail. If there is anything that I hope you remember when you read this article, it would be these two issues:

Dead GPS Chip

If the tweak did not happen exactly as planned, then chances are, your GPS chip is dead. The only way to fix this is to let the battery drain and this includes the internal battery which you have no access to. This could take anything from 24 hours to a couple of weeks. Some have claimed to speed things up by short-circuiting the device but again, this poses another set of problems altogether. Your device will still work but your GPS will not function.

Low Accuracy Of Fix

When you turn off static navigation, your fixes become less accurate. You might be standing still but your position can be jumping about every couple of seconds. If you are walking, then it might not be so bad but if you are driving with a navigational software, this can be a real problem, especially if your software tends to re-correct routes quickly. This low accuracy is further amplified in areas with tall structures such as buildings and trees so do bear that in mind.

Who Needs It?

Almost no one needs it. Even if you are hiking in the forest, chances are the tall trees would pose more of a problem on your GPS than turning static navigation off. If you are planning to use when you tour another country, the tall buildings could be a factor and why you should keep static navigation.

However, that being said, if the area you are going to use GPS is relatively open, such as a field or even a village, then turning static navigation off could make your GPS even more accurate than before. You could also try with taller structures because there is no clearcut rule on how high the structures need to be before it becomes useless to turn off static navigation.

Conclusion

While you could turn off static navigation, it is not something that I would encourage unless you really know what you are doing. You should also have a backup device, just in case, or at least be willing to go by without any GPS for some time. Sending your unit to the repair center would probably not help because most techs are not aware of you making such a tweak. Whether or not this is covered by warranty is subjective. Maybe someone can shed some light on this?

So why bring it up if it’s risky. The reason is, I wanted to let you know about its existence so that you would not think that your device was malfunctioning. It is there to help you and make your life better (generally) so think twice before you proceed to turn static navigation off.

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