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WARNING - Nokia OVI maps application appears to cause problems with Flexispy


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WARNING - Nokia OVI maps application appears to cause problems with Flexispy

I am posting this on the forum rather than raising a ticket because

(1) it's a general problem I think and will probably require a patch to Flexispy to fix.

(2) as a warning to others.

Phone: Nokia E71

Firmware: 500.21.009

Flexispy: Symbian Pro-X V3.04

Recently upgraded the firmware on the target phone to version 500.21.009. It appears that Nokia's OVI maps V3.03 is now embedded in the firmware. i.e. no option in the application manager to deinstall it.

After the firmware upgrade reinstalled Flexispy.

Initially all appeared ok however I noticed that (1) battery life had halved and (2) credit ballance was being used at a much greater rate.

Subsequently noticed that the phone was continuously trying to make a data connection. Flexispy appeared to be functioning normally and was uploading to the server at the configured interval.

Used the phone log and found that the continuous data connections were trying to use the MMS access point. Confirmed that there were no outstanding MMS messages waiting to be sent so deleted the access point.

After deleting the access point started to get popup messages at regular intervals along the lines of "To use positioning you need an active data connection...". These popups don't come from Flexispy but come from OVI maps I believe.

However confirmed that the interval of the popups coincided with the GPS position update interval I had configured into Flexispy. Set the Flexispy interval to 10 seconds and the popups were displayed every 10 seconds. Set the interval to a minute and the popups appeared every minute. i.e whenever Flexispy tried to get a GPS position fix the phone GPS software would display the popup. Not very good for stealth mode.

Sort of confirmed this on another phone, same model, same firmware but doesn't have Flexispy installed. It does however have a general purpose GPS position logging application installed. This application used to run in offline mode and just log positions to a file however since the firmware upgrade and OVI maps installation this application also tries to create a data connection at regular intervals.

I don't know what Nokia have done by embedding OVI maps into the firmware. Either changed the behaviour of the GPS APIs or just enabled some default setting which was previously disabled. On the E71 under the GPS settings is an option Positional Settings. The options are (1) Bluetooth GPS, (2) Integrated GPS, (3) Assisted GPS and (4) Network based. I am sure but not absolutely certain that the defaults under the old firmare were Bluetooth was disabled and the other three options were enabled. This is certainly the case with the new firmware. I have confirmed using the general purpose GPS logging application I have that disabling Network based stops the continuous attempts for a data connection. Haven't been able to test this setting with the target phone and Flexispy because it's out of my hands at the moment.

I'm guessing but I think that under the old firmware that Network based was used to get the initial position fix and then the internal GPS was used for subsequent fixes. I think that under the new firmware that Network based if enabled is used for all position fixes and Network based obviously requires a data connection.

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I doubt it has anything to do with OVI Maps, and actually its not really a technical problem or an incompatibility, but the Symbian menu options for GPS might have changed for you, or may need to be reset after a reformat. I think I understand what's happening here...

You are on the right track when you talk about the GPS Positional settings (not FlexiSPY, but the OS GPS settings). Maemo includes OVI Maps, and on that phone you have to go into the GPS settings menu and enable GPS, but you also have to specifically enable either Integrated mode, Network Assisted, or both. Our developers tell me that FlexiSPY doesn't determine which GPS method will be used on Symbian, that it must be left up to the OS itself to decide. I have a hard time believing the OS can determine which method is more accurate, but it might decide that one method has a better latency period.

What's more likely is that the OS is simply using any combination of the Positional Setting options you've enabled. So the thing that you should try would be to enable GPS but in the Positional Settings, only enable Integrated mode, and disable all others. Then turn the phone off, go outside under clear sky so that a GPS satellite connection should be found, and turn it back on. When you do this you should set FlexiSPY's GPS refresh setting to every 1 minute to make this easy, but make sure you also have the report timer set to connect per every 24 hours and per every 500 max events, just to be sure the report timer itself isn't triggering a data connection. Stay outside long enough to get several GPS readings from FlexiSPY (at least 5 minutes for 5 GPS refreshes at the every minute setting). You can also time this and watch for the little icons in the corner of the screen to indicate if there's a data connection happening every minute or not.

If having only the Integrated mode turned on does not create data connections, you're good to go. Except that you must understand that Integrated only works when outdoors and without any obstructions, line of sight to satellite. To test further, now keep the same FlexiSPY settings for GPS refresh and report timer, but go back to Positional Settings and enable Assisted GPS in addition to the Integrated mode. Now reboot the phone outside again and see if you get data charges this time. You could also try rebooting the phone indoors to see if data connections only occur when the Integrated mode isn't available (when indoors).

For complete testing, also enable Network based, or try Assisted alone and then Network based alone. It could be that only one of these is using the data connection, or it could be that its going to use these other modes no matter what Positional settings you've chosen, or only when the phone is indoors without an Integrated mode connection to a satellite, etc.

It seems clear that its the GPS request making the data connection, but with many different positioning modes, it all depends on what the OS decides to use for the available options. Again, FlexiSPY does not (and cannot) determine which method to use, its up to the OS, and possibly only up to the methods that you enable. But what I don't know is whether or not the OS can over-ride those positional settings and use anything available, or if those settings only apply directly to the OVI Maps application. However FlexiSPY does disable the BT method during its own request, but if we also disabled Assisted and Network based then it would mean you could never get location unless you were outside under open sky.

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Thanks for the reply Christian. Problem has now been sorted.

The clue was in my original post, the data connection was being made on the MMS access point and I think that it wouldn't be able to contact the assistance server using that access point. Changed the (phone) GPS configuration settings to use the internet access point and it's all sweet.

Still begs the question as to why the behaviour changed as the access point was probably misconfigured from day 1. I have previously upgraded the firmware without the problem appearing. My guess, as Nokia do not provide detailed change logs for their firmware upgrades, is that in previous versions of the firmware, if the Assisted GPS couldn't get a response from the server it just gave up and waited for the integrated GPS to get a position fix. I suspect that in the new firmware this behaviour has been changed such that if any application requests a position fix and the integrated GPS hasn't synced it will always try to get an assisted position fix if assisted GPS is enabled. That would explain the behaviour I was seeing.

And as an aside, Nokia don't always get it right. While trying to get to the bottom of the problem I came across an article which said that Ovi maps v3.0 beta had a problem where if both network and assisted GPS were enabled the system would ignore assisted GPS and only try network based fixing.

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Thanks for the reply Christian. Problem has now been sorted.

And as an aside, Nokia don't always get it right. While trying to get to the bottom of the problem I came across an article which said that Ovi maps v3.0 beta had a problem where if both network and assisted GPS were enabled the system would ignore assisted GPS and only try network based fixing.

Beta versions of software are expected to have bugs or otherwise not finished, but I'm glad you brought this up as an example of something. Sometimes people watch the location tracking for a while and then think that FlexiSPY isn't getting the location right. FlexiSPY always gets it right, but it can only capture the location the phone is getting; either from Integrated, Network or Assisted, or possibly Cell ID if nothing else is available. With so many positioning methods and settings, it makes a difference how the OS decides to get the location information, combined with the user settings (of both the phone itself and also FlexiSPY). It also makes a difference if the phone is outside or indoors, whether it can find a satellite signal or use Network based, etc. This stuff isn't perfect, and we have to remember that a phone is not a dedicated GPS unit. When the location doesn't seem right, it probably means there's no integrated mode available, or you can try checking what positioning settings are enabled on the device for normal operation.

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