How Google Maps tells your location data
Google keeps a detailed track of users’ movement. This record is available as a part of their Location History data.
Google keeps a detailed track of users' movement. This record is available as a part of their Location History data. Users can view and manage Location History information through Google's Timeline, which is available both on mobile and desktop-based platforms. They can also edit specific entries from the Location History section, delete information from ranges in time and even delete all of their location history data.
To visit your timeline on Google Maps, open the app on your smartphone > tap on the hamburger menu on the top left corner of the app > and then tap on the Timeline option.
You can also see the places that you have visited in the past. To see the places that you have visited tap on the hamburger menu on the top > then tap on Your Places option. In the Your Places section, tap on the Visited option and you will see a list of all the places that you have travelled to.
How to turn on Location History on your Google Account
To see your timeline and a list of places that you have visited, you need to turn on the Location History feature in your Google account and on your smartphones.
To enable the Location History open your Gmail account on your smartphone > tap on your profile picture > tap on Manage your Manage your Google Account option > tap on Data and Personalisation option > Now tap on Location History option under Activity controls.
To see all the places that you have visited in the past open Google Maps on your personal computer and sign in with the same Google Account you use on your mobile device. Now click on the Menu option on the top left corner of the app and then click on the Timeline option.
To see the places that you have travelled on a specific date, choose a day, month, and year on top and you are good to go.
How Google Maps finds your current location
Google Maps primarily uses a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and cell towers to track your location.
GPS: Using satellites, Google Maps knows location up to around 20 meters.
Wi-Fi: The position of nearby Wi-Fi networks helps Maps interpret the location of a user.
Cell tower: Connection to a cellular network can be accurate up to a few thousand metres.
According to Google, while GPS is the most exact way of interpreting location, it involves triangulation between cell phone towers and/or the previously recorded locations of Wi-Fi. If there is an error in triangulation involved, it can show locations which are several to hundreds of miles away from their actual position.
Also, the GPS is sometimes inaccurate when a person is inside buildings or underground.
An accurate GPS location requires a line-of-sight of at least 4 GPS satellites that need to be widely separated. If the signals from various satellites bounce off walls, buildings, before reaching the phone, then the amount of time for them to get from the satellites to the phone is increased.
Reflecting signals thus cause an error in showcasing location. Also, poor Wi-Fi signal results in an inaccurate reading.