Assisted GPS

Definition of Assisted GPS

Assisted GPS, or A-GPS, is a technology that enhances the performance and accuracy of a traditional GPS system. It utilizes the assistance of cellular networks and supplementary data to improve the GPS’s time-to-first-fix and overall positioning accuracy. By doing so, A-GPS enables faster and more precise location-based services, especially in challenging environments like urban areas or indoors.


The phonetics of the keyword “Assisted GPS” is:ə-SISt-id jee-pee-ES

Key Takeaways

  1. Assisted GPS (A-GPS) improves the performance of GPS devices by providing accurate location data from external sources, reducing the time and satellite signals required for a position fix.
  2. A-GPS allows for faster and more reliable GPS positioning in challenging environments, such as urban areas with tall buildings or areas with weak satellite signals.
  3. This technology not only enhances the user experience but also reduces the power consumption of GPS-enabled devices, resulting in longer battery life for smartphones, wearables, and other GPS-equipped devices.

Importance of Assisted GPS

Assisted GPS, or A-GPS, is important because it significantly enhances the performance of GPS systems by reducing the time needed to acquire satellite signals, commonly known as “Time to First Fix” (TTFF). This technology combines GPS satellite data with information from cellular networks to provide a more accurate and efficient location tracking method, particularly in challenging environments such as urban areas with high-rises or areas with poor satellite visibility.

A-GPS allows for improved navigation experiences, faster location-based services, and increased safety during emergency situations or rescue efforts.

It is an essential technology for the seamless functioning of many modern applications and services that rely on our devices’ ability to pinpoint their position accurately and efficiently.


Assisted GPS, or A-GPS, was developed to enhance the performance and accuracy of traditional GPS systems. Its primary purpose is to offer users a faster method of determining their location by resolving the limitations of standard GPS systems in certain situations. Conventional GPS devices can sometimes experience delayed initial position estimation, known as Time to First Fix (TTFF), particularly in environments with weak satellite signals such as urban areas with high-rise buildings and locations with dense foliage.

A-GPS overcomes these challenges by utilizing a combination of data from GPS satellites and cellular networks, which significantly speeds up the process of obtaining precise positional information. A-GPS is predominantly used in mobile devices, such as smartphones and smartwatches, to improve navigation applications and location-based services. By utilizing resources from both the GPS satellite network and local cellular infrastructure, A-GPS allows these devices to determine the user’s position with greater speed and accuracy.

For example, in emergency situations, A-GPS can be a crucial solution for providing responders with accurate location data, significantly improving response times and potentially saving lives. Additionally, A-GPS functionality supports the ever-increasing demand for reliable real-time positioning data in various applications, such as ride-sharing services, fitness tracking, and targeted marketing campaigns. Ultimately, Assisted GPS ensures that location-based services are consistently accurate and efficient, enriching the users’ experience across a wide range of activities and settings.

Examples of Assisted GPS

Smartphone Navigation: One of the most common real-world examples of Assisted GPS (A-GPS) technology can be found in modern smartphones. Built-in GPS receivers integrated with A-GPS enable faster and more accurate position determination. This facilitates improved location-based services like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze, allowing for smoother navigation, better traffic updates, and location sharing with friends and family.

Emergency Services (E911): In the United States, Enhanced 911 (E911) regulations mandate that mobile service providers supply accurate location information for emergency calls made from mobile devices. A-GPS plays a significant role in this, as it quickly and accurately helps determine the caller’s location. Emergency responders can then easily reach the individual in need, thereby saving time and potentially lives.

Wearable Devices and Fitness Trackers: A-GPS technology is also found in various wearable devices and fitness trackers, such as smartwatches and running watches. By leveraging A-GPS, these devices can accurately track users’ locations, routes, distances covered, and pace during exercise, outdoor sports, and fitness activities. The technology enables users to monitor their performance, set fitness goals, and share their achievements with friends and communities. Popular examples of such devices include Apple Watch, Garmin GPS watches, and Fitbit.

Assisted GPS FAQ

What is Assisted GPS (A-GPS)?

Assisted GPS, or A-GPS, is a technology that improves the GPS performance of mobile devices by using assistance data from a network to enhance location accuracy and reduce the time it takes to determine a position fix.

How does A-GPS work?

A-GPS works by utilizing the data connection of your device to access assistance information, such as satellite positions and ionosphere delays, from A-GPS servers. This significantly speeds up the process of acquiring a GPS signal and reduces the time needed to obtain a position fix.

What are the benefits of A-GPS?

A-GPS offers numerous benefits, including faster times to first fix (TTFF), increased accuracy, and improved performance in challenging environments such as urban areas with tall buildings or dense foliage. Additionally, A-GPS reduces the power consumption of GPS-enabled devices and extends battery life.

What devices use A-GPS technology?

Many mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, utilize A-GPS technology to improve their GPS capabilities. Additionally, some standalone GPS devices and GPS-enabled wearables may also support A-GPS functionalities.

Does A-GPS require an internet connection?

A-GPS does require a data connection to access assistance data from A-GPS servers. However, once a position fix is acquired, A-GPS-enabled devices can continue to track their location without an active data connection, utilizing only the standard GPS functionality.

Related Technology Terms

  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Location-based services
  • GPS satellites
  • Mobile positioning
  • Time to first fix (TTFF)

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