Android and iPhone use three
different methods to track the phone’s location: GPS, cell tower/cell
triangulation and wifi. Depending on the setting on the drivers’ phone they
might be using one or more of these methods. For the best location, the drivers
should choose all three methods.
GPS: GPS uses 21 government owned satellites to triangulate the phone’s location. If you have ever used a Garmin GPS watch, you know that it takes a couple minutes for a connection to be made with all 21 satellites to get a good location. Furthermore, GPS need to have a line of sight to the sky to communicate with the satellites. Therefore, if you are in a parking garage or next to a huge building or if your phone is deep in your pocket, the location from GPS is not always 100% perfect. Assuming that the phone has good connection with the satellites, GPS is the best method, but it uses the most battery life of all three methods.
Cell Triangulation: This method measures the signal strength of the cell towers in your area and estimates the phones location based on the tower location. This method does not uses very much battery, but is dependent on the density of cell towers in your area. The more towers in an area the better the accuracy.
Wifi: When Google Maps trucks photographed all of the streets in your city, they also recorded every wifi connection. Your phone can identify the nearby wifi connection like the cell triangulation method and estimate your location based on the wifi hotspots in your area.
Best Practice: You will want your drivers to select all three methods. Take a look at the attached screenshot from an android phone. You will see the option on the top says ‘high accuracy’ and it use the three method described above. Make sure that drivers have select ‘high accuracy’ for android under Settings/Location. On iPhone, there is only Location ‘On’ and the setting ‘Always’ in Privacy settings. Also ask your drivers to put their phones on the dashboard or somewhere that has a good line of sight with the sky to make tracking easier.