BlackBerry GPS Issues

Potential Problems Using The Internal GPS Device

I've had a few odd reports that the GPS on some phones doesn't seem to work correctly, yet I've not been able to find a definite explanation for this - there are clearly plenty of BlackBerry phones on which it does work fine, so why some (otherwise identical) models have problems is strange. One suspicion is that some mobile providers may block the use of the GPS for 'un-approved' applications, although again, this doesn't seem to be a consistent issue. If you do experience problems with the internal GPS, please try these troubleshooting steps:

Reset TMJ GPS Settings
1. In TMJ-Mobile, set the Menu/GPS/GPS Options as follows:
- Allow Costs: TICK
- Basic Connection: UNTICK
2. UNTICK the Menu/GPS/Auto-Connect option
3. Exit TMJ-Mobile
(NOTE: If the first item in the TMJ-Mobile Menu/GPS/GPS Options reads 'Switch to Internal GPS' then select this to switch back to using the internal GPS from an external bluetooth device).

Check BlackBerry Settings
4. In BlackBerry Options/Advanced Options/Applications/TMJ-Mobile/Edit Permissions ensure that Connections/Location Data is set to Allow
5. In BlackBerry Options/GPS set the follow:
- GPS Data Source: Device GPS
- GPS Services: Location ON
- Location Aiding: Enabled

Restart Phone
6. Fully Reboot the phone. (Pressing Alt+RightShift+Del is a shortcut for doing this)

Verify GPS Signal
7. Go outside and sit somewhere with a clear view of the sky away from tall buildings. (Just to be sure that the phone has every chance of getting a location fix)
8. Use the BlackBerry Options/GPS/Refresh GPS function. The Latitude and Longitude should quite quickly update with local values. If they don't then there may be a problem with the phone itself

Restart TMJ
9. Start TMJ-Mobile and switch to the Text/GENERAL screen (press [1] a few times to reach it). Keep an eye on the GPS Status field at the bottom of the screen.
10. Use the Menu/GPS/Connect Int.GPS function
11. Watch the GPS Status field. After a few seconds it should hopefully change to 'Internal GPS Active' and then 'Internal GPS Signal OK'. If it does this then switch to the Text/POSITION screen (press [1] a couple of times again) and the Latitude/Longitude fields should be updating. If all seems okay then the problems may have been solved. If not...
12. Monitor the GPS Status field for a couple of minutes until the message changes. There are several things that it may say:
- Internal GPS Not Found: either the phone doesn't have a GPS device, the permissions may be set incorrectly, or TMJ is blocked from accessing the device.
- Int GPS Signal Ok: this is the ideal status showing that it has received a valid signal
- Int GPS Signal Invalid: shows that the GPS device is providing *some* info, but is currently unable to get a location fix
- Internal GPS Active: it should only show this initially, and should timeout after a couple of minutes, or another status is achieved.
- Int GPS Temporarily Unavailable: may be displayed when passing into a tunnel or building, where the GPS signal drops out.
- Internal GPS Timeout: the GPS has timed-out whilst waiting for a fix
- Internal GPS Error: another unknown error has occured.
13. Check the TMJ Event Log (in Menu/Settings/Debug Options/View Event Log). This may throw some light on where the problem has occured (and may be useful if you need to contact support)

Try Alternate Settings
14. Set the following options in Menu/GPS/GPS Options:
- Allow Costs: UNTICK
- Basic Connection: UNTICK
15. Restart the program and try connecting to the GPS again. Monitor the status again as in [12]. The Allow Costs option enables the 'Assisted' part of the A-GPS device. This downloads satellite data over the internet, rather than slowly downloading it from the satellites themselves, which can speed up the time to get a fix. It is possibly that the mobile provider may block access to this satellite data, so unticking this option may help. Note that it may then take longer to get an initial fix, especially if in a poor signal area or travelling at speed.
16. If still no luck, try TICKING the Basic Connection setting, then restart and re-connect again.

Still No Luck?
Well, thanks for trying anyhow!! Seriously, I would hope that most phones should have attained a signal by this point, but if not I'd be interested if you could provide some basic feedback so that I can try and find a pattern to these problems. The Menu/Help/Email Support option can be used to contact me, and provides some basic pre-entered info that could be useful (eg phone model, firmware version, provider name, etc). NOTE: if you need to copy any text from the Event Log, press the [*] key to copy the contents to the clipboard, this can then be pasted into the email body.

Last resort - Bluetooth GPS!
After all this, if you are still fascinated by TMJ then there is another GPS option - use an external Bluetooth device. Although this might initially seem like a hassle to carry around (and of course an added expense), there are several benefits, in particular the significantly more accurate location fix that is likely to be achieved by an external device - I am continually disappointed by the internal GPS devices in the phones that I've tested (and not limited to BlackBerrys). There is also then a much lower drain on the phone battery, which can be very noticeable with an internal GPS. I currently use a GBP25 GlobalTop G66 'touchGPS', although pretty much any Bluetooth receiver (Search on Amazon) should work fine.