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I'm looking at creating a desktop application to track a number of vehicles using Google Location History and the Google Maps API.

Looking at the accuracy of the feed during a trip to Liverpool - it seems that while the general journey outline is broadly speaking correct, the finer details of the journey are inaccurate. The position can be anywhere up to half a mile out.

The implication here is that GPS isn't used. From Google Support,

How often Location Reporting updates your location data isn't fixed. Frequency is determined by factors like how much battery life your device has, if you’re moving, or how fast you’re moving. Location Reporting will only use cell ID or Wi-Fi location detection depending on your device."

Is there any way to make the device make use of GPS for this to improve accuracy? Alternatively, are there any more accurate alternatives Google provides?

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More accuracy is technically achievable, but at a cost. Keeping GPS turned on and recording positions more often draws power, making the battery run down more quickly. That wouldn't be appropriate for something that always run in the background like Google Location History, but there are other location tracking apps (such as running apps) that let you choose your own trade-off between accuracy and battery life.

You might even be better off making your own Android client, so you have full control, and can set up everything just right for your situation. Since this is a site for end-user questions, not programmers, we can't help you any further with that side of things.

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    Thanks, trying to avoid the creation of my own application ideally. Specifically wanted to know if you could force location history to make use of GPS so you can then use Google Maps API desktop side which it seems not. – AndroidNewbie Sep 23 '14 at 10:42

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