Running Google Maps on pure vanilla builds

Yes it is possible. People have been running Google Maps on pure vanilla builds. It might come as a surprise to many of you, but Google Maps does not really need Play Services to work. The app it will install and run without any fuss. First time when you open the app it will ask you to install Google Play services , but you can chose to ignore it.

The thing to remember is, that although the Map has installed and is running without Play Services  it will expect some input from you in order to get is started (IE: tapping on the target sign icon).

The advantage of having Gapps is that it does all that automatically for you… You don’t have to worry about anything… Which is cool i guess. However, if you decided to stray off the reservation “fight against Google” and go pure vanilla , well in that case you need to understand that Gmaps will make almost exclusively use of the GPS chipset embedded in your device. Why ? Well, simply because the Fused Location Provider Gmaps is used to work with and which is normally bundled as part of Google Play Services does not exist anymore…

What does that mean? It means that It will take some time waiting for an nonexistent input from the missing gapps and when it finally sees that it does not receive any, begrudgingly decides to go like: “Oh, Eff it… GPS chipset it is then…” and finally starts using your GPS chipset…

This waiting time can be ANYTHING BETWEEN 4-8 minutes… Yeah, I know, in this modern era of instant gratification that’s like an eternity. But it will work, it will still operate with few caveats.

In order to get it running you need to be aware of, to at least understand some basic , very very basic facts on how GPS (NOT THE A-GPS) works…

The thing to always remember is : GPS does need a clear view of the sky! There is no no ifs no buts about it…

Having said that , we are quite lucky these days… Most of the GPS solutions are designed ( especially on our lovely Android) to work by caching the last known locations and making heavily use of the Wifi/Cell positioning to get Intel on our position, even when there is no GPS signals at all. (May it be because you’re in a place with bad reception, or just because there no satellites passing above you at that particular time). That makes our live easier….

Way easier than back in the day when we were using something called PLGR… (Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver) . With those babies you had to make sure there always was a clear view of the sky….Meaning , depending on the area you were , you had to climb on top of the highest hills and so on… Never mind… Suffice it to say ,that the mobile phone in your pocket and the software running on it is light years away from those devices that were so advanced at that time when we were using them, that they were reserved only for the use of military.

So if you are in a area with bad GPS coverage AND bad network signals Gmaps will take time to find your position… In that case it will make use of your last cached known location… Meaning, your position might be off… You WILL KNOW IT instantly… The standard operating procedure in this case is to start tabbing and move out of that area with poor signal and make your way out to a place with better reception…

Now that you know the very basics on how Google Maps and the GPS chipset works , we’re moving to the second step…

How do you recognize an area which is likely to have bad GPS signal? Well, that’s simple… We’re going back to high-school physics 101… The introductory class about radio waves… Why radio waves ?

Well because GPS works with radio waves… They basically use radio waves to determine positional coordinates and getting that GPS signal. Now, there’s a lot of things that can impact that, starting from our own Earth’s gravity which can move satellites slightly out of the orbit, to our own planet’s atmosphere that can distort the satellite radio signals.

Trees, buildings (don’t even try to get a location if you are inside of a building… ) especially tall buildings around you and any other geographical features (like hills , valleys ) or any low areas will also affect those radio waves.

To make the matters worse, we have users who like to use fancy-schmancy covers for their phones without realizing that the very material of that cover in most of the cases it impacts the radio waves…

Don’t do that… So, if you made it so far , and if you managed to read all this and you are still willing to try to run Google Maps on a pure vanilla build (that means not even MicroG installed ) now you know what it takes to get it up and running…

It will mean you putting in a lot of reading , a lot of studying , and changing your expectations. But if you do… the magic will happen.

https://t.me/arrowoschat/314165

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