Galileo – 935, Fenix 5 Plus Accuracy Update

Fitbit-Ionic-GPS-accuracy

I’ve probably spent a little too long recently looking at GPS (GNSS) plots of numerous runs that I’ve done, attempting to see if GPS+GALILEO offers any improvements over GPS-only or GPS+GALILEO.

In hindsight, the inordinate amount of time I spent looking at google map plots would have suggested, in itself, that there is no obvious answer.

The Obvious Answer

The conclusion that I came to was that:

  • Sometimes, GPS+GALILEO is slightly better at recording a plot showing where I’ve been.
  • Sometimes it’s about the same and
  • Sometimes it’s about the same in places and a bit better elsewhere BUT at the same time a bit ‘jagged’
  • Sometimes it’s truly awful and totally unusable.

 

Other Factors

Ref: DOP – Dilution of Precision (link to: wiki)

I’ve also used the GPS Plan app on IOS to determine the DOP conditions in various tests that I’ve done over the years. HDOP/TDOP/VDOP/PDOT conditions do vary where I live but the conditions tend to vary within the realms of Excellent-to-Ideal almost all of the time. Indeed on the very few occasions I have had a mere ‘Good’ level of PDOP I still had good tracks in those conditions.

However I’m not entirely sure if the stats I looked at worked out the DOP scores based on the entire constellation of GPS+GALILEO+GLONASS (I assume it did). Which makes the results and my time potentially meaningless and wasted, respectively. Grrr

However,  one thing that did stand out was that the number of available GALILEO satellites varied from 2 to 6 at my location. Quite low I thought (2).

You might have thought that buying a new watch to get access to two more satellites might be somewhat less than cost effective.

But, then again, it’s not the number of satellites that will necessarily give more accuracy. 2 GALLEO satellites in the right place in relation to the other GPS satellites could quite easily be better than 6 GALILEO satellites in ‘unhelpful’ locations.

Some Test Results

 

The Garmin Fenix 5S Plus (w/GALILEO) does seem to be an improvement over the 5S but is still not comparable to the better Suunto and Polar devices. There seems to be something generally wrong with running tracks that are not sufficiently smooth for my liking.

Whereas the Forerunner 935 w/GALILEO was actually pleasantly better than on previous run. I’m going to use my new app to plan the best time to get optimal GALILEO coverage and do a proper test run and see what it comes out with. It might, just might get close to the better Polar and Suunto models..or not. Then again, it’s 2 steps forward and the proverbial one step back. The one step back seems to be in open water performance where it’s defiantly not as good as before which seems to concur with Fenix 5 Plus performances elsewhere (link to dcrainmaker.com).

I had completed quite a bit of Coros Pace testing. Coros then released an improved GPS+GLONASS algorithm. Grrrr. But that *DOES* seem pretty good. Surprisingly so. It’s given me some excellent results that DO match the results of the best GNSS devices. #VeryPleasantSurprise

Instant Pace

I seem to be getting slower because of too much fiddling with gadgets. Maybe I should actually spend more time looking at how fast I am running?. Thus I’ve no feedback (yet) on any improvements to Instant Pace accuracy or otherwise. I would imagine that, at best, it might only be very slightly improved.

#STRYD

Take Out

Well I wouldn’t switch to a high-end Garmin right now just because of the GALILEO option. GALILEO wouldn’t be a factor for me AT ALL in a switch/purchase decision. Sure if you want to upgrade form a Fenix 5 to a 5 Plus because it won’t connect to your power meter then go for it….but that’s one of many other reasons to switch or trade up.

Indeed I would say that GALILEO currently has issues on the v2.20 GPS firmware. It’s fine to use it as a toy but it could go badly wrong eg me this week in a ‘C’ race.

If you are a 935 owner and feeling a little left out on the features front then you might want to think about my current, cunning plan. My cunning plan is to switch to a 5S Plus as my tri watch. That’s very much a W.I.P (work in progress) thing right now but that move will give me all the new non-sporty features that, of course, I won’t use too much 😉 But it will retain pretty much all of the sporty stuff that the 935 can do and it will do it in a similar sized/weighted format. Both have GALILEO. More to follow on the 5S Plus Switch.

Coros Pace Review M1 Multisport

If you are thinking of avoiding Garmin and getting a COROS Pace tri watch then that is starting to look like a more and more sensible move as the weeks go by. Especially with the apparently improved GPS+GALILEO. The lack of ANT+ support in last week’s firmware update was a cause for concern, although I was pre-warned of that. ANT+ is now scheduled to ‘later this month’ and ‘later this month’ is fast approaching. Maybe they’re actually testing it first to release sans-bugs??? Do companies actually do that any more 😉

Edited after a truly bad GALILEO experience

 

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Mirko Surf&Run
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Mirko Surf&Run

In august should become “usable” the 4 Galileo satellites that were launched in december 2017, they are now in the status “under commisioning”. See https://www.gsc-europa.eu/system-status/Constellation-Information.
But 6 satellites in view are quite a good number, it seems that we won’t see other substantial accuracy improvement any time soon without using other gnss technologies 🙁
Unfortunately I can’t find any detailed review about the Xiaomi Mi8, first android smartphone with a dual frequency Galileo chipset. The first tests seem to show (perhaps) that the android app are still not ready to take a real advantage of the second Galileo frequency (frequency E5b). See “Dual-frequency GNSS on Android devices” of Sean Barbeau https://medium.com/@sjbarbeau/dual-frequency-gnss-on-android-devices-152b8826e1c .
In the 8 July Sean wrote that till today no one has done an accuracy test of the dual frequency galileo with the xiaomi Mi8.

kkcebr
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kkcebr

Thanks for this review. It confirms my choice. I was in doubt whether to choose Suunto 9 or Fenix 5X Plus. I choose Suunto 9, because i value accuracy the most 🙂

massimo
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massimo

where do you find information about coros new firmware releases? thanks 🙂

Guillermo Guerini
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Guillermo Guerini

Last week, after updating my 935, I decided to use “GPS only” instead of “GPS + Glonass” or “GPS + Galileo”. To my surprise, the results were much better. I live in Boston and there aren’t many tall buildings here. I usually run by the Charles River so 80% of my run are wide open for miles. When I run by the river, both “GPS only” and “GPS + Glonass / Galileo” track the route perfectly. But until I get to the river, I run by many buildings and the “GPS only” works better (but it’s not perfect). I will give Galileo another try when the new Galileo satellites are launched. For now, I will stick with GPS only.

Claudiu
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Claudiu

From my tests , Fenix 5S Plus (Galileo) owns both FR935 or Fenix 5 in terms of accuracy (there is no comparison (firmware 3.20) and I have actually compared the same track. I was very impressed by the accuracy of the 5S Plus , sometimes detecting even change of direction for like 1-2 meters and I compared both morning tracks and evening (to see if galileo positioning makes a difference)

I am not even sure how it can be possible to get better results than that.

You are complaining about the “smoothness”. That I believe is also the result of the processing factor ( like Garmin Connect or Strava) not just the watch. I am very pleased with what I got with my fenix 5s Plus considering all my tracks are city based.

Claudiu
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Claudiu

too bad I can’t upload pics to see what huge difference it was in terms of accuracy. Even the Edge 520 fails in terms of accuracy compared to the 5s Plus.

Claudiu
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Claudiu

Btw , if it wasn’t clear enough – Fenix 5 andd 935 did not have the update that added Galileo option.

Mirko Surf&Run
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Mirko Surf&Run

GSAT0216, GSAT0217 and GSAT0218 (SV ID 25, 27 and 31) are now usable as from 2th august. They were launched 15th december 2017.
See Galileo constellation information status report.
https://www.gsc-europa.eu/system-status/Constellation-Information.
There are now 17 Galileo satellites in “usable” status.

Mirko Surf&Run
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Mirko Surf&Run

http://en.miui.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=3427566&highlight=mi%2B8%2Bgps%2Baccuracy
In this thread we see that the Galileo ID25 satellite appears now in the app Gpstest.
They are finding accuracy of the dual frequency xiaomi mi 8 between 0,5 m and 4 meters while driving. The problems on the phone firmware are still not completely resolved (I don’t understand very much what is the issue, it seems a bit complicated).

Mirko Surf&Run
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Mirko Surf&Run

Sorry the5krunner, with the three new usable Galileo satellites, I think it’s time you do another update of your GPS+Galileo test 😉

Mirko Surf&Run
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Mirko Surf&Run

h t t p s : / / http://www.ewisetech.com/Device/SmartWearable/Samsung-Gear-Sport(SM-R600)_id2650/Part-Collection/Location-Marking?locid=83093
Always in the page of Sean Barbeau of the first post, we see that a user on the 24th august writed that the Broadcom chipset BCM47758 will be installed in the watch Samsung Gear.
This chip can give simultaneously dual frequency GPS and Galileo.
After the big delusion of the Xiaomi Mi8, we’ll see how if this watch well behave.

Patrick Sledge
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Patrick Sledge

How accurate is the GPS in terms of measuring the correct distance vs mapping coordinates. For example, if I run three miles, and the surface that I am running on is accurate and measured, but GPS is reading a distance shorter than actually ran.

I have the Fenix 3 and I am willing to upgrade to the 5x plus but I won’t until reviews on the distance accuracy can be adequately answered or more people purchase this version of the watch and give an honest assessment. I currently have to run measured routs to ensure I am running correct distances whether its on a track, course or street. Correct distances are my main concern.

Mirko Surf&Run
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Mirko Surf&Run

Galileo GSAT0215 (also known as Galileo E21 – space vehicle ID ) is usable from 12th october 2018.
There are now 18 usable Galileo satellites.

NOTICE ADVISORY TO GALILEO USERS (NAGU) 2018023
DATE GENERATED (UTC): 2018-10-12 10:30

NAGU TYPE: USABINIT
NAGU NUMBER: 2018023
NAGU SUBJECT: USABLE AS FROM 2018-10-12
NAGU REFERENCED TO: 2017047
START DATE EVENT (UTC): 2018-10-12 08:07
END DATE EVENT (UTC): N/A
SATELLITE AFFECTED: GSAT0215
SPACE VEHICLE ID: 21
SIGNAL(S) AFFECTED: ALL

EVENT DESCRIPTION: GALILEO SATELLITE GSAT0215 (ALL SIGNALS) IS USABLE SINCE/AS OF 2018-10-12 BEGINNING 08:07 UTC. GSAT0215 IS POSITIONED IN SLOT A03 OF THE CONSTELLATION. PAYLOAD ON PHM CLOCK.

Mirko Surf&Run
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Mirko Surf&Run

Font Sean Barbeau
https://medium.com/@sjbarbeau/dual-frequency-gnss-on-android-devices-152b8826e1c
Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro

Huawei launched the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro on October 16, 2018, and — tl;dr — it supports dual-frequency! However, there is a twist. Instead of using the Broadcom chipset, these devices use the Kirin 980, which is also being marketed as the “World 1st 7nm Mobile AI Chipset”. But, more importantly for this article, the Kirin 980 website says:

The GPS is supported by industry leading L1 + L5 dual frequency ultra-precise positioning to give you a more accurate target location when using map navigation, even in complex terrains.

And, the Mate 20 Pro site says:

By leveraging L1&L5 dual frequency simultaneously, HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro allows you to always find the destination with great accuracy even in city centres surrounded by skyscrapers or highway interchanges.

And it looks like dual-frequency extends to Galileo and QZSS too, according to the specs:

GPS (L1 + L5 dual band) / AGPS / Glonass / BeiDou / Galileo (E1 + E5a dual band) / QZSS (L1 + L5 dual band)