Skyhook Wireless – A Credible Alternative to GPS?

Skyhook Wireless

Perhaps a little known fact is that iPhone doesn’t always get its positioning from GPS, but sometimes from WiFi and cellular towers, using Skyhook Wireless’ system. Skyhook provides an alternative form of positioning that is more reliable in areas where there may be excessive sky coverage, such as trees or tall buildings – it is at this point the iPhone may decide to switch to taking its position from surrounding WiFi acess points and cellular towers by judging its proximity to them.

How does this work? WiFi points are generally moveable so surely it’s impossible to get an accurate position from them? True. But Skyhook employs around 500 drivers who constantly patrol the streets in their custom vehicles (much like how Google map their various softwares) to work out where the access points are located. To me, this seems a very costly procedure to what is a relatively small company, but it’s obviously working. If you want the gory details on everything Skyhook related, their website: otherwise I would highly recommend’s very informative article.