Android developers developing a GPS based application needs to position the location of the user. Determining the accurate location of the user using a mobile device is a challenging task. Google’s Location Services API is a high level and powerful frameworks. It helps in providing location updates, user movements, more accurate positioning services. In Android, getting locations work by requesting location updates from the LocationManager by means of a callback. Location determining providers can be accessed only by using, Fine and Coarse Locations permissions in the android manifest file.

what is fine and Coarse Locations in android GPS location determining, ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION or ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permissions which to be used where?

Location can be determined by two ways:

  1. Using NETWORK_PROVIDER
  2. Using GPS_PROVIDER

Using NETWORK_PROVIDER

The network provider determines the location of the users using cell towers,wifi access points etc. Distance between towers and user’s position are considered in the case of cell towers. This location provider offers a faster response. Commonly used for determining location inside the rooms or buildings. Here the GPS coordinates are not able to be obtained.

Android permissions required for using this provider are either,

ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION

<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION” />

Or,

ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION

<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION” />

Using GPS_PROVIDER

The GPS provider determines the location of the users using satellites. For this, the GPS coordinates are obtained and used for positioning. The GPS receiver in the smartphone receives the signals from satellites. These signals are processed and precise locations are determined. It takes more time for response and causes delay in location determination. It works better in outdoors – direct sky/satellite views and communication occurs.

Android permissions required for using this provider only,

ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION

<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION” />

 

Read:  AOS – Android On Steroids Operating System Overview

 

Difference Between Fine and Coarse Locations

Fine Location :

The Fine location provides better and accurate locations.

Requires permission,

ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION

<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION” />

It gives permission for using both GPS_PROVIDER and NETWORK_PROVIDER

or  GPS_PROVIDER only for determining the position.

Coarse Location :

The Coarse location provides less accurate locations.

Requires permission,

ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION

<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION” />

It gives permission for using both NETWORK_PROVIDER only for determining the position.

Difference Between Fine and Coarse Locations - Android GPS

Image: http://www.zelwyke.com/why-use-gps-impetus.html

Fine and Coarse Locations are two location permissions added to the android manifest file. For Reference on Location Strategies in Android visit official Google Developers page here.