Precise Positioning with Smartphones

Enabling reliable precise positioning with smartphones.

The Challenge

Precise centimetre-level positioning applications are becoming possible on smartphones, as smartphone developers have started to take advantage of the low-cost Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) chips that have become available in the past few years. Geoscience Australia’s (GA) Analysis Centre Software (ACS), a GNSS data analytics capability which verifies and corrects positioning signals for users, takes advantage of this development. However, there are several performance issues and processing inconsistencies within smartphone precise positioning that require investigation. This project is analysing the observation characteristics of raw code and phase data in smartphones and evaluating the performance for long-baseline, real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning applications, such as Precise Point Positioning (PPP) RTK.


The project partners are Geoscience Australia, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the University of Otago.

The Solution

This project is a sub-project of the on-going development of the Multi-GNSS Analysis Centre Software, Ginan. It aims to achieve the following four main objectives:

  1. Analyse the observation characteristics of some recently released Android smartphones.
  2. Conduct and implement a quality control scheme suitable for smartphone observation data.
  3. Test optimal positioning estimators using smartphone data.
  4. Provide example source code of the developed algorithms to GA’s ACS.

The smartphone data is being collected in both Dunedin, New Zealand, and Melbourne, Australia, to analyse the difference in performance between the two locations. Ultimately the smartphone data and the developed algorithms will be tested on the GA ACS through example source code.


Positioning allows us to locate ourselves in the world and get to where we want to go. This brings increased productivity, improved community safety and boosted innovation. The reported economic benefits of positioning technologies have the potential to generate upward of $73 billion of value to Australia by 2030. The ACS and results of this project will enable accurate, reliable and instantaneous precise positioning on smartphones and lower the barriers to accessing advanced high precision positioning technology in Australia. This will enable Australian industry to progress and allow for innovation across all sectors such as agriculture, transport, emergency management, mining, engineering and logistics.


The recent development of the smartphone Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) chipsets makes instantaneous and cm level real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning possible with Android-based smartphones. The effects of locating the smartphones in an upright and lying down position were evaluated, and it was shown that the choice of smartphone configuration can affect the positioning performance even in a zero-baseline setup. For the very first time, a near 100 percent (98.7% to 99.9%) instantaneous RTK integer least-squares success rate was demonstrated for one of the smartphone models and cm level positioning precision. Access the paper at


To learn more about Ginan click here, contact FrontierSI at, or connect with Otago University Project Manager, Robert Odolinski, at