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Modern versions of Google Maps display a cone of various widths for the compass, depending on how accurate/in need of calibration the compass is.

Given that the compass is simply a magnetometer and could be detecting either real magnetic fields external to the phone or calibration errors/magnetic fields coming from inside the phone, how does Google Maps know how accurate/well-calibrated the compass is at any given instant?

  • I've been in situations where a nearby strong magnetic field gave me incorrect compass direction. I'm not sure how accurate that "view cone" is on Google Maps beyond a general "the app believes that you are facing in that direction" – Morrison Chang May 24 at 22:40

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