Getting Better Accuracy with a Handheld GPS Device

Inexpensive handheld GPS receivers are of great use to any person who likes outdoor activities. However, there are several factors affecting their accuracy and we will look into the necessary steps that will help you achieve better accuracy with the handheld GPS receiver.

First method: Improving positioning

  1. Check the owner’s manual to know the type of antenna your GPS has

Antenna positioning is very important for accuracy, therefore, it is necessary to understand the type of antenna your GPS device has. Usually, there are two types – patch and quadrifilar helix antennas. While one is built into the device, there other is external so make sure you point the antenna (irrespective of the type) to the sky.

  1. Move away from any form of obstructions

For the fact that GPS relies heavily on satellite data, it is very important to ensure there are no obstructions between the signal and your device. When you are trying to lock down your position with your device, ensure you are away from skyscraper, tunnel, deep valley and other artificial obstructions which can block or reflect the signal, thus altering its accuracy. The aim is for your device to be in view of as many satellites at once as possible as well as getting a clear signal.

  1. Orient the patch antenna well

There are several designs given to GPS antennas which would give you a good signal from a particular positioning. The chances are that you have a patch antenna in your receiver (this can be confirmed from the manual). To get the best signal, it is ideal to hold your GPS flat with a patch antenna.

  1. Orient the quadrifilar helix antenna

If your antenna type is the quadrifilar helix antenna, then you need to hold your GPS erect.

  1. Move away from under cross wires net

It will happen electromagnetic shielding if you are standing under cross wiress net, then your gps device will not receive any satellite signal. So it is ideal to let your device away from cross wire net, usually, 3 meter is ok for gps device.

  1. Turn and face different directions

Whenever you are in an open field with your handheld GPS device properly positioned, the only way to improve accuracy is turning and facing various directions so as to increase the number of satellites in view. The higher the number of satellites “seeing” your device the better and faster your GPS receiver provides accurate information.

Second Method: Using Averaging

  1. Put on “position averaging”

With this feature, your GPS can take measurements about once every second and therefore calculate an average position before it is saved in the receiver’s memory of the GPS device. It is essential especially if you are pinpointing a particular location. Three minutes of averaging is enough to provide sufficient measurements for improving your position’s accuracy.

  1. Adjust average setting in order to get more points

If you are within an obstructed location, you will need more data for pinpointing your location more accurately. Therefore, if your device is collecting just 2-3 points (coordinates), it is better to set it to 20. The longer you stay still and gather more data, the better the accuracy.

  1. Make sure to stand still during the averaging

If you are moving too fast while collecting points, then your accuracy could get worse. If you are standing under a tree canopy or in any other location with obstruction, then be patient enough to get more data in order for your reading position to be accurate.

  1. Use manual waypoint averaging

Instead of making use of an averaging feature on your device, you can record your waypoint (i.e. your fixed position) coordinates during the course of several days and average them by adding up the last numbers of the coordinates your recorded and dividing by the total number of readings (the times you recorded all the coordinates).