This week the Apple iPhone 4S began receiving a boost in its GPS signals from Russia’s GLONASS Satellite System – the equivalent of the Global Positioning System in the US, according to Apple’s website. That means instead of having just GPS’s 31 satellites to get location information, the Apple (AAPL) iPhone can also receive location data from GLONASS’s 24 satellites.
Now that the iPhone will receive GPS data from 55 GPS satellites total, the iPhone GPS system is able to look at both satellite constellations at one time and leverage them to get much more accurate location data. This greatly increases the chance the iPhone will be able to find your precise location,honing in on where you are within a couple of dozen feet, instead of the vague light-blue circle encompassing several city blocks.
Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services, told PCMag GLONASS improves GPS accuracy in urban environments by 50 percent. “It’s like dual-core location,” he told PCMag. (The iPhone 4S wireless processor is a Qualcomm model, according to a teardown from IHS iSuppli.)