Understanding Location Services, GPS Data, and ExakTime Mobile

Location services, more commonly known as GPS, are a feature on mobile devices to determine where it is in the world. If allowed, ExakTime Mobile can associate location/GPS data provided by the mobile device with a time record to help determine where the employee was at the time of their clock in/out for review within Map View.

ExakTime Mobile does not generate its own location/GPS data and fully relies on whatever data the mobile device provides.

What Are Location Services?

The Location Services on your mobile device is a combination of different services to help determine where the device believes it is in the world. The three most common services are, but are not limited to:

  • GPS (Global Positioning System) - The device receives and calculates signals from satellites orbiting the Earth to determine your relative position.
  • Cellular Towers/Network - The device receives and calculates signals from cellular towers to determine your relative position.
  • Wi-Fi - The device receives data from the manufacturer of the operating system (such as Apple or Google) that has been crowdsourced from other devices to help determine your relative position. This is what allows devices such as tablets that lack GPS/Cellular antennas to generate your relative position.

Of the three common data sources above, GPS is the most accurate but can be the longest to generate while Cellular Towers can be the fastest, but is not as accurate as GPS. If your device is able to use all three data sources, your device will be able to provide ExakTime Mobile location data as quickly and as accurately as it can.  Keep in mind that even if everything is working at peak capability, there can be some oddities with location services and accuracy.

For example, when using your phone to navigate for you while driving on the highway, there may be times when it thinks you are taking an exit ramp when you are still driving on the highway or vice-versa. Even though everything appears to be working correctly, your device can still have trouble with rapid movement as it is using every sensor on your phone to determine where you are.

Another example is how often your device is updating its location data. In the example below, we have a device that is stationary and indoors. The blue point is drifting around as it constantly updates where it thinks you are. The light blue circle around the blue point also indicates the margin of error and that despite thinking you are at the blue dot, you could actually be anywhere in the blue circle.


Location Services Permissions

When you first open ExakTime Mobile, it will request the user to allow access to location services. The user should allow ExakTime Mobile access to location services to take full advantage of this feature.


Location Services Mobile Settings

To ensure that ExakTime Mobile has the best chance of retrieving a longitude/latitude from the mobile device, we have some settings that make it so ExakTime Mobile requires access to location services or to have GPS information before the employee can clock in/out.

These settings are controlled within the Mobile settings page under Manage or within the Settings of ExakTime Mobile. 

"Require Location Services" will require ExakTime Mobile to have access to the location services of the mobile device to allow the employee to clock in. This does not guarantee that ExakTime Mobile will receive location data, but if the mobile device has any location data, this data will be provided to ExakTime Mobile.

"Require GPS Fix" will require ExakTime Mobile to have received GPS coordinates from the mobile device. If ExakTime Mobile cannot receive GPS coordinates for any reason, the employee will not be able to clock in or out until they can. While this will guarantee that you will have GPS information when employees clock in/out, if there is something preventing them from getting GPS they will be unable to clock in/out.

  Additional Information

For more information about Mobile Settings, you can refer to In-Depth: Mobile Settings

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