Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Using GPS in India

I always wondered why there are no navigation services in India. Probably there are not enough customers. Finally I have found one decent road navigation solution that can be used in many places in India. It uses underlying google maps. If one is interested, here is how you go about doing it.

Buy a phone that can do GPS, I have used a Nokia N95 for this.
Subscribe to a GPRS plan from operator. You only need to access the web from phone so a airtel-live type of plan would be sufficient. You do not need the capability to use the phone as a modem, those plans are more expensive.
Go to http://www.gmap-track.com and create an account for your self.
Using the phone download the MGMaps application and set it up based on the instructions provided.

Now run the app on the phone and make sure that you are able to connect. Before running the app you should make sure that you have GPS lock on the phone. On N95 you can use GPS data application and make sure it shows you lat and lon.

Once the app is running, it will show your position on the phone and as you move it would track you on the map. The google maps are pretty accurate and current for many cities and highways in India. For bangalore it even shows you oneway information. Your family can also track you on the web if you share your web username and password with them.

The icing on the cake is that if you have a car TV in your car, N95 has a video out that you can connect to the TV and see the navigation on a larger screen.

Comment if you need more information or your experiences with solution.


  1. This is interesting. Just yesterday there was an advertisement in Times of India about SatGuide (http://satguide.in) which claimed to be the first GPS navigation system in India.

    Some questions about this N95 based system:

    1. How accurate is the in-built GPS receiver?
    2. Does it come with an external antenna?
    3. What is the initial time to sync up with GPS satellites?
    4. Just to clarify, is it a mere GPS based location determination solution or
    a navigation solution where you can ask for directions from A to B?

  2. The GPS receiver is very accurate, I think the minimum resolution is something like 38m. I will have to double check on that. It can differentiate between different buildings in my apartment complex. It does not have external antenna.
    Initial time to sync up is around 2-3 minutes in most cases. It works only in outdoors. If you have a lock them it can work indoors but it is very difficult to get a lock indoors.
    Ok, the system rides on google maps to achieve the navigation. So in the countries where google maps offers that service, we can get it but in India google maps still does not offer that service so I presume you can not do route planning etc. But you can visualize yourself on roads that you are traveling.