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Can I Use My Phone's GPS App To Measure Distances? - Golf Tips & Videos

Can I Use My Phone’s GPS App To Measure Distances?

Have you ever wondered if you can rely on your phone’s GPS app to accurately measure distances? Well, the good news is that yes, you can! In this article, we will explore the various ways in which your phone’s GPS app can be a useful tool for measuring distances. From tracking your running routes to estimating the length of a hike, we will delve into the functionalities and limitations of these apps, helping you make the most out of this convenient feature on your smartphone. So grab your phone, and let’s get started on this distance-measuring adventure!

Can I Use My Phones GPS App To Measure Distances?

Benefits of Using Phone’s GPS App


One of the key benefits of using a phone’s GPS app for measuring distances is the accuracy it provides. GPS technology utilizes signals from multiple satellites to triangulate your exact location, allowing for precise distance measurements. This can be particularly useful when you need to measure distances for various purposes such as tracking running or cycling routes, estimating commute times, or planning hikes and walks.


Another advantage of using your phone’s GPS app is the convenience it offers. Instead of carrying around additional devices, such as a dedicated GPS tracker or pedometer, you can simply utilize the GPS feature on your phone. Since most people already have their phones with them at all times, using the built-in GPS becomes hassle-free and readily accessible. This makes it easy to measure distances whenever and wherever you need to without the need for any additional equipment.


Using your phone’s GPS app for distance measurement can also be cost-effective. As mentioned earlier, it eliminates the need for purchasing separate GPS devices or trackers, saving you money in the long run. Additionally, many GPS apps are available for free or at a minimal cost on app stores, making them a budget-friendly option for accurately measuring distances.

Factors Affecting GPS Accuracy

Signal Strength

One of the primary factors that can affect GPS accuracy is the strength of the GPS signal. In order for your phone to accurately determine your position and measure distances, it needs to receive signals from multiple satellites. If the signal strength is weak or obstructed, such as in densely populated urban areas or indoors, it may result in less accurate measurements. Therefore, it’s advisable to ensure that you have a clear line of sight to the sky when using your phone’s GPS app.

Satellite Coverage

The number and position of satellites in the sky can also impact the accuracy of your phone’s GPS measurements. The more satellites your phone can connect to, the higher the accuracy of the GPS readings. In areas with limited satellite coverage, such as remote regions or areas with tall buildings, the accuracy may decrease. However, in most urban and suburban areas, the satellite coverage is typically sufficient for accurate distance measurement.

Atmospheric Conditions

Certain atmospheric conditions, such as heavy cloud cover or thunderstorms, can affect GPS accuracy. This is because GPS signals can be weakened or obstructed by atmospheric interference. However, these conditions are usually temporary, and as long as the signal strength is strong enough, your phone’s GPS app should still be able to provide reasonably accurate distance measurements.

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Calibrating Your Phone’s GPS for Distance Measurement

Using Known Distance Markers

One method to calibrate your phone’s GPS for distance measurement is by using known distance markers. This involves finding a path or route with clearly marked distances, such as a track or a measured walking path. Start your GPS app before you begin your activity and walk or run along the marked path. Compare the measured distance on your phone’s GPS with the known distance to determine if any calibration is required.

Using GPS Calibration Apps

Alternatively, you can use GPS calibration apps to fine-tune the accuracy of your phone’s GPS. These apps provide step-by-step instructions on how to calibrate your GPS using specific techniques or settings. Some of these apps offer tools to adjust settings like GPS accuracy or update GPS data to ensure the highest level of accuracy. Utilizing these apps can help optimize the performance of your phone’s GPS app for distance measurement.

Using Phone’s GPS App for Distance Measurement

Activating the GPS

To use your phone’s GPS app for distance measurement, you first need to activate the GPS feature on your phone. In most smartphones, this can be done by going to the settings menu and enabling location or GPS services. Make sure to grant the necessary permissions to the GPS app you intend to use.

Selecting a Measurement Mode

Once your GPS is enabled, open your preferred GPS app and select the measurement mode that suits your needs. Different apps may offer various modes, such as walking, running, cycling, or driving. Choose the appropriate mode based on the activity you want to measure the distance for.

Starting the Measurement

With the GPS app set to the desired measurement mode, start the measurement by pressing the appropriate button or selecting the start option. The app will then begin tracking your movement and calculate the distance covered based on the GPS data it receives. Make sure to keep the app running and your phone’s GPS active throughout your activity to obtain accurate distance measurements.

Can I Use My Phones GPS App To Measure Distances?

Apps for Measuring Distances

Google Maps

Google Maps is a widely used and trusted GPS app that offers a range of features and functionalities, including distance measurement. With its user-friendly interface, you can easily measure the distance between two or more points on the map. Google Maps also provides real-time navigation and traffic updates, making it a versatile option for both everyday use and distance measurement purposes.


Strava is a popular app among fitness enthusiasts that not only tracks and records your activities but also provides detailed metrics and analysis. Besides measuring distance, Strava offers features like pace tracking, elevation gain, and segment comparisons. It allows users to connect with a community of athletes, share their achievements, and participate in challenges. Strava is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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MapMyRun, as the name suggests, is primarily designed for runners but can be used for various other activities as well. This app boasts accurate distance tracking and offers additional features such as personalized training plans, audio coaching, and social sharing. It also integrates with other fitness devices and apps to provide a comprehensive view of your fitness data.


Runkeeper is another popular app that allows users to track their runs, walks, hikes, and other activities. It provides accurate distance measurements and offers features like goal setting, audio cues, and customizable workout plans. Runkeeper also allows users to sync their data with other fitness platforms and share their achievements with friends and fellow fitness enthusiasts.

Measuring Distance with Google Maps

Step-by-step Guide

To measure distance with Google Maps, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your phone.
  2. Search for the starting point of your desired route or mark it directly on the map.
  3. Long-press on the starting point to set it as your starting location.
  4. Search for the endpoint of your route or mark it on the map.
  5. Long-press on the endpoint to set it as your destination.
  6. Google Maps will display the total distance between the two points, either as a straight line or the actual route distance based on roads.

Restrictions and Limitations

Although Google Maps is a reliable and widely used navigation app, it has certain limitations when it comes to measuring distances. The app provides distance measurements based on road networks and may not accurately reflect the actual path you take, especially in off-road areas or locations with limited street data. Moreover, Google Maps is primarily designed for navigation purposes rather than precise distance measurements, so it may not be suitable for highly specific distance tracking needs.

Can I Use My Phones GPS App To Measure Distances?

Measuring Distance with Strava

Features and Functionality

Strava offers a comprehensive set of features to measure and track distances accurately. It uses GPS technology to record your activities, including distance covered, pace, speed, and elevation gain. Strava also provides segment tracking, allowing you to compete with other users on specific routes or sections. It offers customizable training plans, audio cues, and detailed workout analysis to help you improve your performance.

Accuracy and Limitations

When it comes to distance measurement, Strava generally provides accurate results. However, it’s worth noting that the accuracy can vary depending on GPS signal strength and other factors affecting GPS performance. Like other GPS apps, Strava may also experience occasional discrepancies when measuring distances in areas with poor satellite coverage or signal obstructions.

Measuring Distance with MapMyRun

Features and Functionality

MapMyRun focuses on providing accurate distance measurements specifically for running activities. It offers features like GPS tracking, pace monitoring, map routes, and an audio coach. The app allows you to set personalized fitness goals, create and follow training plans, and log your workouts. It also integrates with other health and fitness platforms, making it easy to track and analyze your overall fitness progress.

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Accuracy and Limitations

MapMyRun strives to deliver accurate distance measurements for running routes. While it generally performs well in areas with strong GPS signal strength, accuracy can be affected by factors such as tall buildings, tree cover, or heavy cloud cover. It’s important to keep in mind that no GPS app is entirely immune to occasional inaccuracies, and relying solely on GPS distance measurements may not be ideal for highly precise needs.

Can I Use My Phones GPS App To Measure Distances?

Measuring Distance with Runkeeper

Features and Functionality

Runkeeper is a versatile app that offers accurate distance measurement for various activities, including running, walking, cycling, and more. It utilizes GPS tracking to record distances, pace, speed, and other relevant data. The app features customizable training plans, activity history logs, and audio cues to keep you motivated during your workouts. It also allows you to connect and interact with a community of fellow fitness enthusiasts.

Accuracy and Limitations

Runkeeper endeavors to provide accurate distance measurements through its GPS tracking feature. However, as with any GPS-based app, accuracy can be influenced by factors like signal strength and environmental conditions. Runkeeper may occasionally exhibit minor deviations in distance measurements, particularly in areas with limited satellite coverage or during adverse weather conditions. It is advisable to consider these factors when relying on the app for highly accurate distance tracking.

Alternative Methods for Distance Measurement

Pedometer Apps

In addition to GPS-based apps, pedometer apps can be an alternative way to measure distances. These apps utilize your phone’s built-in accelerometer or other motion sensors to estimate the distance based on your steps. While they may not provide the same level of accuracy as GPS-based apps, they can still offer reasonable estimates for activities like walking or running when GPS signal strength is not available or required.

Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers, such as wrist-based devices or smartwatches, often include distance measurement capabilities. These devices use a combination of GPS and motion sensors to track your movements and activity levels. Fitness trackers provide comprehensive insights into your distance, along with additional metrics like heart rate, calories burned, and sleep tracking. While they may come at a higher cost compared to using a phone’s GPS app, fitness trackers offer a more holistic approach to measuring and monitoring your fitness activities.

In conclusion, using your phone’s GPS app for measuring distances offers various benefits, including accuracy, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. Factors like signal strength, satellite coverage, and atmospheric conditions can affect GPS accuracy, but with proper calibration and selection of reliable apps, you can obtain accurate distance measurements. Apps like Google Maps, Strava, MapMyRun, and Runkeeper provide different features, functionalities, and levels of accuracy for measuring distances. Additionally, pedometer apps and fitness trackers offer alternative methods to measure distances based on steps and motion sensors. Whether you’re tracking your running routes or planning a hiking adventure, your phone’s GPS app can be a valuable tool for precisely measuring distances.

Can I Use My Phones GPS App To Measure Distances?

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