User Guide

Before you start: If you have problems with the GPS receiver (no lock), or issues with the sensors (wrong compass orientation etc.), please read the FAQ. The FAQ contains a lot of useful information about possible problems, use cases etc.

GPS Status & Toolbox is a simple program to show all the GPS and sensor data of your phone. It is designed to be simple, yet effective. It helps you to see what is happening while the GPS is trying to acquire your locations and can be used as a simple compass, as a leveling tool, will measure the phone’s speed and acceleration, the brightness or the air pressure (if your phone has the necessary sensors.) The program also supports basic navigation functions that are useful when you are out in the wild.

The program has four screens plus it can display a system notification to show GPS data.

  • Status - display for all your raw data
  • Radar - for basic off-road navigation
  • Locations - for your stored locations (only in PRO version)
  • Settings - for customizing units, display properties

Status

The screen has three main parts: The sky grid (G), the signal strength bar (V) and the instrument panels.

The sky grid (G) shows the GPS satellites above you as the receiver in the phone detects them. GPS satellites (with IDs 1-32) are represented by small circles while GLONASS satellites (with IDs 65-92) are shown as rectangles. The size of the symbol depends on the signal strength received from that satellite. The color shows what data is available for that satellite and how it is currently used by the phone.

  • green: satellite is used while determining the location
  • yellow: all orbital data is available, but the satellite is not used
  • blue: only rough orbital data (almanach) is available
  • grey: orbital data is not available

Usually at least 4 satellites are required to have a GPS lock. The more satellites are available the more accurate the position will be. If you have problems getting a GPS fix, please read the FAQ for troubleshoothing tips.

The compass needle (C) in the center of the grid will show you the direction of the magnetic field as measured by your phone. (This may or may not be the actual magnetic north, depending on how much extra magnetic field is present in your environment. Magnetic anomalies are always present in buildings and vehicles so you should not expect your compass to work flawlessly in these environments.) The program automatically calculates the magnetic declination (the difference between magnetic and true north) and the absolute strength of the magnetic field at your current location (M). If the measured field is stronger than the calculated you will see the needle grow while with weaker fields the needle will shrink. If there are no extra magnetic fields in your environment the needle should be roughly the same size as the inner circle of the sky grid. In addition to this, the magnetic compass in your phone reports the accuracy of the measurement. If the needle gets transparent (and you see a question mark appearing in the magnetic field reading instrument) then the compass may need a recalibration (in the Tools menu).

Magnetic compasses are inherently inaccurate. GPS can do a much better job determining your direction of movement. By default the sky grid aligns itself using the magnetic compass. Once you move faster than 5km/h a green arrow will appear showing your direction of movement and the sky grid will align using the much more accurate GPS heading data. The red/blue arrows (W) around the perimeter of the grid show the true north/south while the red/blue dots (X) show the magnetic north/south. The difference between the two direction is known as magnetic declination (M).

There is a small empty circle (Y) (can be turned off in Settings) that allows you to find the direction of any satellite. Just turn and tilt your phone until the circle covers a satellite symbol. Your phone will point towards the real satellite that is 20200 km away from you. (This feature is not particularly useful, but it is extremely geeky!)

The grid also contains a moving amber circle (can be turned off in Settings). This can be used as a leveling tool (L) to find horizontal or vertical surfaces using your phone. You may need to calibrate the leveling tool before using it (in the Tools menu).

In the PRO version, the rotation speed (R) of the phone is also displayed along the perimeter of the sky grid. The longer the green bars, the faster the phone is rotating.

The signal strength bars (V) show the individual satellite signal strength values. The left two thirds are used for GPS signals while the right third is reserved for GLONASS satellites.

The rest of the screen displays numerical values derived from the phone’s sensors and GPS.

  • Heading (H): the absolute direction the phone is facing
  • Orientation (O): main cardinal points your phone is heading currently
  • aGPS data age (E): the age of the GPS assistance data used for speeding up the GPS locks.
  • Error (E): the accuracy of the actual location information.
  • Number of satellites (F): the number of satellites used for the actual fix and the total number of satellites visible for the GPS receiver (GPS+GLONASS/total.)
  • Pitch and Roll (L): the attitude of your phone.
  • Magnetic field (M): the three values represent the strength of measured magnetic field / the calculated strength of the field / magnetic declination (the difference between true and magnetic north). (Tip: the first slash will turn into a question mark if the phone detects that you have to recalibrate the phone’s magnetometer.)
  • Acceleration (Z): the measured linear acceleration of the phone.
  • Speed (S): the actual speed measured by the GPS.
  • Altitude (A): the current altitude relative to the Mean Sea Level (MSL) or the WGS84 geoid (configured in Settings).
  • Last fix (I): the GPS time of the last valide fix that is shown currently on the screen.
  • Location (latitude/longitude) (J): The acquired GPS location (format is configured in Settings).
  • Battery info (B): the remaining charge, battery voltage and temperature.
  • DOP (dilution of precision) (D): a value that represents how optimal the satellite constellation is. Smaller values represent better satellite arrangement. The total, horizontal and vertical component is also displayed.
  • Brightness (K): the measured light flux (if the phone supports it). The accuracy of this value is dependent on the quality of the brightness sensor.
  • Pressure (P) [PRO]: atmospheric pressure measured by the phone sensor (if the phone supports it).
  • Rotation speed (R) [PRO]: this is the direct readout from the phone’s gyroscope sensor (if the phone supports it).
  • Ambient temperature (T) [PRO]: the temperature around the phone (available only on Galaxy S4).
  • Dewpoint (N) [PRO]: the temperature below which water vapor will start condense (available only on Galaxy S4).
  • Humidity (Q) [PRO]: the amount of water vapor in the air (available only on Galaxy S4).
  • Humidex (U) [PRO]: an index that shows how hot the weather feels to the average person (available only on Galaxy S4).

Status Notification

By default, the application will show the most important GPS data whenever the GPS is accesses, even if other apps accessing it.

If you do not need the notification feature, you can turn it off in Settings / Background Behavior / GPS Status in Notification -> Never.

  • (A) Number of satellites: GPS in use [+ GLONASS in use] / Total visible
  • (B) Average signal to noise ratio (0-40dB)
  • (D) Dilution of Precision (smaller is better)
  • (S) Speed
  • (L) Current location
  • (A) Altitude
  • (E) Position accuracy
Tapping on the notification item will open GPS Status. This is an easy way to open the app from any other application that is using the GPS. Wait for the lock in GPS Status then press the back button to immediately return to the original application without loosing the lock.

NOTE: This feature uses little to no battery as the notification is updated only when it is shown. The display routine does NOT access or keep the GPS open. It just intercepts the GPS data that is requested by the other application. GPS Status never keeps the GPS open if it was put into the background.

Radar

Radar screen can store a single way point (Mark menu item) and allows you to navigate back using the GPS and the internal compass in your phone. Just move towards the point and use the screen as it would be a "radar". The radar screen will display heading and distance to the target point. It is possible to enter or edit the target coordinates and you can also share your current location by sing the Share menu. The marked point can be displayed on any of the supported mapping applications.

  • Heading (H): the absolute direction the phone is facing.
  • Orientation (O): main cardinal points your phone is heading currently.
  • Compass needle (C): magnetic compass needle.
  • Error (E): the accuracy of the actual location information.
  • Distance (D) : distance to the current target point.
  • Accuracy range (F) : the current position accuracy shown as a range around the actual position.
  • Target (latitude/longitude) (L): the coordinates of the currently selected target point.
  • Speed (S): the actual speed.
  • Altitude (A): the current altitude relative to the Mean Sea Level (MSL) or the WGS84 geoid (configured in Settings).
  • Bearing (V) : Beraring to the target point
  • Location (latitude/longitude) (J): the current location.
  • Target point (T) : the target point shown on the radar grid relative to the current position.
  • Additional waypoints (W) [PRO]: additional waypoints selected on the Locations screen.

Locations

Settings

Display units, UI language, sensor filtering, color scheme, message used for sharing your location and a bunch of other options can be configured to customize the application.