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nRF Cloud Location Services

nRF Cloud Location Services lets you obtain location data for your devices. Location data is critical for many types of devices and use cases, for example, asset tracking, wearables, smart appliances, and point-of-sale payment terminals. nRF Cloud Location Services offers faster location fixes, improved location accuracy, and greater power savings.

You can obtain location data through the CoAP API, MQTT API or REST API. There are also samples and applications that integrate with nRF Cloud to show location data in the terminal or nRF Cloud portal.

nRF Cloud stores location data for six months.

Types

nRF Cloud supports the following types of location services, two using the device's GNSS receiver, two using cells, and one using Wi-Fi:

Service Speed Accuracy Power savings GNSS requirement Description
Assisted GPS (A-GPS) ~Fast High Low Yes Provides assistance data to the device. Enables a faster time-to-first-fix (TTFF) for the GNSS receiver. Gets satellite data over the cellular connection and uses the GNSS receiver to obtain a fix. Includes an SCELL request as part of acquiring a fix.
Predicted GPS (P-GPS) ~Fast High Medium Yes Provides up to two weeks of predicted satellite data to the device. Enables a faster time-to-first-fix (TTFF) for the GNSS receiver. Reduces frequency of new assistance data requests.
Single-cell location (CELL_POS: SCELL) Ultra-fast Low High No Gets the coarse location of the device based on the nearest cell. Single-cell positioning, or SCELL. Saves power by eliminating the need for the GNSS receiver. Part of ground fix operation.
Multicell location (CELL_POS: MCELL) Ultra-Fast Medium High No Gets the coarse location of the device based on the nearest cell and its neighbor cells. Saves power by eliminating the need for the GNSS receiver. Part of ground fix operation.
Wi-Fi Fast Medium High No Calculates location in relation to at least two nearby Wi-Fi network access points (APs). Saves power by eliminating the need for the GNSS receiver. Part of ground fix operation.

Speed

Speed refers to how quickly the device can obtain its location. These speeds are approximate and should be used for assessing relative performance. Compare these values to traditional, unassisted GNSS, which can require minutes to obtain a fix, depending upon the time-to-first-fix (TTFF).

How fast the device can obtain a fix depends on the degree to which the device can inform its GNSS receiver of its location. This gives the receiver a narrower piece of sky to locate satellites. Assisted GNSS is faster than unassisted GNSS because the receiver already has satellite location data.

Accuracy

Accuracy is given according to horizontal positioning error (HPE), which represents the probability that the actual location of the device is within a given diameter of the calculated position.

Low means up to 1000 m accuracy, and Medium means up to 300 m accuracy. These estimates depend on whether the device can find multiple cells. In rural areas, the device might only find one or two cells covering a 10+ km radius. Cell-based location assistance should not be measured against the accuracy of smart phones, which can use Wi-Fi location assistance or GNSS receivers and processors.

Choosing a service

Location Services decision matrix

Choose services according to your accuracy, power consumption, and device memory requirements.

See an overview of Location Services features for more information.

Service costs

Location Services usage is priced according to your plan.

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