All Collections
Inaccurate GPS Data
Inaccurate GPS Data
Tech Team avatar
Written by Tech Team
Updated over a week ago

Have you had trouble with GPS data while recording an activity using the Runna app?

Below is more information on how GPS data is received from your device, why inaccuracies can occur and what you should try to do to try and fix the issues.

What is inaccurate GPS data?

The data we capture during your tracked run is heavily reliant on your devices GPS system. Runna (and all other run tracking apps) use a constant stream of GPS locations to calculate the distance and speed at which you are moving. Inaccurate GPS data is defined by any location that does not match your actual location. Receiving inaccurate locations can lead to a number of issues; flawed elevation data, increased or decreased distances, incorrect pacing feedback and ultimately data that does not properly reflect your true activity.

There are primarily two issues that will arise if you receive inaccurate GPS data;

  1. If you totally lose connection to GPS satellites it will result in no data being recorded for your Runna activity. This could cause your activity to lack a mapped route or show a direct line connecting large sections of your run.

  2. If you receive GPS locations with poor accuracy measurements, your map will deviate from your true path, and could result in distance and speed measurements being off.

As we are reliant on lots and lots of data points being received over of the course of your tracked activity, any small inaccuracies in the signals reception can result in significant errors to the activity.

Why has this happened?

There are many factors that contribute the the accuracy of GPS data and this is important to keep in mind. With all GPS devices, and particularly with iPhone/Android devices where the GPS hardware can vary significantly, there will always be some level of error with location data. There are lots of reasons why GPS inaccuracies can occur, such as forrest or tree cover, tall buildings and skyscrapers, valleys or hills and even the weather. Any one or a combination of these factors can disrupt the connection between your device and the GPS satellites. Below, we outline some of the main causes of such issues;

  1. Signal Interference:

    • GPS relies on signals received from satellites orbiting the Earth. However, these signals can be obstructed or weakened by various factors, including tall buildings, dense foliage, tunnels, or even adverse weather conditions.

    • In urban environments with skyscrapers or areas with dense tree cover, GPS signals may bounce off buildings or get scattered, leading to inaccuracies.

  2. Poor Satellite Reception:

    • The accuracy of GPS data depends on the number and quality of satellite signals received by your device. In areas with limited satellite coverage, such as remote rural areas or deep valleys, GPS accuracy may suffer.

    • Additionally, indoor environments or underground spaces may significantly reduce the number of visible satellites, resulting in degraded GPS performance.

  3. Software Issues:

    • Outdated software or operating system glitches can also contribute to inaccurate GPS data. Ensure that your device's software, including both the operating system and any GPS-related apps are up-to-date.

    • Sometimes, background processes or conflicting apps may interfere with GPS functionality, causing erratic behaviour. Restarting your device or closing unnecessary apps can help resolve such issues.

  4. Location Services Settings:

    • On both iPhone and Android devices, location accuracy settings can impact GPS performance. Make sure that location services are enabled for the apps and services that require GPS data.

    • High-accuracy mode (which utilizes GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks) generally provides the most precise location data but consumes more battery. Alternatively, battery-saving mode may use less power but rely more on Wi-Fi and cellular signals, which might be less accurate.

  5. Hardware Limitations:

    • Hardware-related factors, such as a damaged GPS antenna or faulty GPS chipset, can also lead to inaccurate location data. Physical damage or water exposure may affect the device's ability to receive GPS signals effectively.

    • If you suspect hardware issues, consider contacting the manufacturer or visiting an authorised service centre for diagnosis and repair.

Did this answer your question?