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    Re: NavList in the thin air
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2013 Jan 15, 12:22 -0800

    Brad, you wrote:
    "The interface looks like "GPS Test" from ChartCross Limited. I have it on my Android phone."

    Yes, that's right. I think I've mentioned before that it's my favorite GNSS app right now. It has a nice feature that shows the GLONASS satellites in use as well as the GPS satellites.

    And you wrote:
    "I tried to use it in-flight once, but got reception from zero satellites. It was not GPS Test at fault, rather it was either my phones' GPS receiver or my seat on the plane. Could not get a satellite or a positional fix.
    At 18000 feet, I rather doubt Frank held his hand out the window ;-) Frank, did you hold the phone against the window? "

    I have found that it varies by type of aircraft, which, I suppose, isn't too surprising. On planes where I can get a satellite fix in the cabin, I find that I don't need to do any gymnastics. As long as I am in a window seat, I can get a good fix with the phone in my hand or resting on my knee. On other flights, there's no way to get a fix so I assume the construction of the fuselage blocks the signals. There may be coatings on the windows, too, that block signals.

    By the way, for those who haven't tried this, don't worry about using your phone for this sort of purpose in flight. The satellite signals are received passively. There's no transmitter in operation, so it falls under the accepted "airplane mode" operation. I'm sure most everyone knows that using a cell phone in flight even for phone calls is quite harmless (if you can get a signal), but at the same time, we don't need to make life difficult for the flight attendants. If anyone asks, you can assure them the phone part of the smartphone is not active. It's even more fun when you can get an Internet signal (many flights now have WiFi for a small fee). Then you can fire up Google Maps or equivalent and watch the little arrow zipping along, refreshing the map as you go. Some in-flight systems include a primitive feature like this, but with Google Maps active on your handheld computer (in other words, smartphone), you can zoom in and identify the geographic features, towns, roads, etc. that you're seeing out the window. It's something I've dreamed of having for as long as I've been flying. Does anyone know if there's a way to set up Google Earth to create a true "out-the-window" view that updates in real-time as you're flying along?


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