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Navizon iPhone GPS?

Sep
20
2007

The tech sites are all a buzz this evening with news of Navizon running on the iPhone. According to the CEO Cyril Houri:

“Just by installing our software and hitting the Locate Me button, iPhone users can now see their position on a map and get directions to their next destination.” said Cyril Houri, founder and CEO of Mexens Technology. “This is just as if the iPhone was now equipped with a GPS chip”

Well that sounds promising… just like a GPS chip eh? Of course we’ll put it to the test.

So GPS gets an accuracy that covers pretty much 100% of the planet with an accuracy of a few meters. I wouldn’t expect this type of a solution to come anywhere near that accuracy or coverage area, but I wasn’t the one who isaid it was “just as if … equipped with a GPS chip”.

So what did we find? After driving around for a few hours, trying to hit various parts of the cellular network and as many wifi locations as we could find, every time we asked it to locate us, except once, returned the message “Unable to Locate. Your location could not be identified.” Hmmm… And the one time it did offer up a location it told us we were about 163 miles away from our actual location. But it got worse. We then decided to create a route to that location. Despite it putting the “WiFi Positioning” pin 163 miles from our actual location, the address associated with those coordinates was 2,228 miles away from our actual location in a different country.

I wasn’t impressed, and this was in a state capital city with airports, hospitals, etc… Not the typical rural towns I often hang out in. We’ll continue to test, and hope for better results since we’re hoping for accuracy greater than 163 miles (or 2,228 miles). This isn’t a GPS for the iPhone.

11 Responses


  1. It would help if you provide the date of the review/test, and software version if available. Then after a while one can compare to see if the unit/software has been updated for features or fixes. Your forum is great with lots of information.

    Sheel Mathur - October 4th, 2007
  2. The dates of publication (typically close to the date of test) are shown just above the comment area. I believe the version of Navizon was 1.0.1.

    Tim - October 4th, 2007
  3. Valuable reality check… 2nd prior comment to consider this initial test as a baseline, perhaps re-test in 3, 6, 12 months. Thanks.

    David - October 5th, 2007
  4. I find your review a bit superficial. I am using Navizon since it was launched and it has kept identifying my accurate location ever since (OK, I am in the Bay Area but still).
    As for saying that it puts you 2,228 miles, this is totally dishonest and you know it: while the pin indicates the location that Navizon finds, the addresses associated with the routes are coming from Google Maps not Navizon.
    So with all due respect, I think that your review lacks a little bit of thoroughness.

    Oh and I forgot to mention: I am not affiliated with Navizon in any way. I am just using this product on a regular basis and really love it.

    Dave - October 7th, 2007
  5. Dave, it is difficult to provide a thorough review of a program which didn’t work properly, and continues to not work properly. Over the past two weeks I’ve traveled 1,200 miles testing other equipment and experimenting with Navizon along the way. So far I haven’t seen any improvements in my results. I tried to acquire my location 19 times, with each area about fifty miles or so away from other areas I tested to try to get a fair sample. In 12 of those cases I had a wifi connection in addition to a cell signal. Only one location was found by Navizon, and again the location where it mapped me was over 100 miles away from my actual location.

    I’m glad it is working well for you, but it looks like unless you are in a big city the results will be less than stellar. Navizon looks like a really neat program and I’ll continue to follow its progress, but it is hard to give it the thorough review you are looking for when I can’t get it to work.

    Tim - October 8th, 2007
  6. David, don’t just compare your info but others as well. My navizon I installed said the same thing and was off horribly. I put a complete address (which is just across the street) and was told my trip would take 3 days. its still in its early stage and hopefully it will improve, but until then, im holding onto my tomtom.

    Brian - October 15th, 2007
  7. I agree with Brian, I live in the Netherlands, my position was off by about 10 kilometers. Not very accurate, you must admit…
    I thought the program looked up my ip and got the position through this way… Why not incorporate a bluetooth connection into this and have this program work with bluetooth gps? I suggest downloading your route at home with wifi, then save it in cache and then start driving, using bluetooth gps. Until then I will also hang on to my TomTom.

    Eric - October 28th, 2007
  8. Seems the technology is dependent on people across the country/world registering wifi locations (not sure how cell towers work but I assume it’s similar). You’re going to need multiple wifi and/or cell towers near you to triangulate. In my opinion, this will never come close to GPS accuracy. It will probably get better, but not because of new versions of the software as much as growth of the database, increase in number of cell towers and wifi locations, and probably never in rural areas.

    This is from the Navizon website…

    Navizon is a software-only wireless positioning system that triangulates signals broadcasted from Wi-Fi access points and Cellular towers to help the users find their way in most major metropolitan areas worldwide.

    The Navizon network is based on a collaborative database. Members with a GPS device can use Navizon to map the Wi-Fi and cellular landscape in their neighborhoods. Once they synchronize their data, it is made available to all the other users of the network. This way, users who don’t have a GPS device can benefit from a positioning system.

    Ken - December 2nd, 2007
  9. I used navizon for three days in Cincinnati, OH. It only found my position once, and though it was in the right part of town, it was about 5 miles off. Not useful for navigation.

    Campbell - December 20th, 2007
  10. I’m in the same boat as Campbell when I used Navizon for a couple days in Texas it was about 8 miles off. Until the accuracy and technology imrpoves I’ll hold on to my Garmin Nuvi GPS.

    Anthony - April 20th, 2008
  11. I have only been using this with my iPhone now for about a week, but have found it to be erratic at best. It is however fairly accurate if you are patient enough to have it relocate you a few times to get to your exact location. I normally have to restart Navizon anywhere between 2 to 4 times before it zeros in correctly on my current location. After that for me it has been fairly accurate to take me where I wanted to go. I think this is what it means by establish your location. Perhaps everyone testing this device are not getting your start point accurately set. If this is the case it is logical it would take you as near as it could based on an erroneous start point. I need to do more field testing.

    Mark - March 2nd, 2010



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