Samsung Galaxy S phones have a long history of GPS problems. Other Android phones do too, but Samsung phones running Android 2.1 are a mess. Supposedly, there is a fix in Froyo which will resolve this GPS issue … and should Samsung ever decide to update their existing phones … Anyway, there is still something that you can do. Download GPS Status & Toolbox by EclipSim from the Android Market. Hidden in the tools of this App is the ability to directly update your A-GPS State.
According to EclipSim’s site:
This tool was primarily created to check the state of your phone and GPS. If your phone’s GPS is behaving erratically there is an option in Tools | Manage A-GPS state which allows you to reset the GPS. This action will delete all received and cached data. (Please note that even a phone restart and battery removal cannot reset your GPS correctly because the data is stored persistently inside the GPS chip.) Android phones can get assistance data from the internet containing the orbital data of the satellites. You can initiate a download also on this dialog. The downloaded data is valid for 4-5 days and will give you a much faster GPS fix.
After clicking Tools > Manage A-GPS State, you will see the above dialog box. Just click Reset to clear all cached GPS data and then Download the latest data. But, you can even take this a step further. Under Settings > GPS & Sensors > Auto-download AGPS data you can select to automatically download the latest data when this App is run. If you have a program like Tasker, you can have GPS Status run every morning at 6AM to almost guarantee having an accurate GPS all day. Pretty cool!
UPDATE 11/15/2011 – Gingerbread fixes most GPS issues!
I have been running the stock EI22 Gingerbread for my Samsung Epic 4G for almost 2-weeks. It’s like having a new phone! One of my biggest headaches was the GPS under Froyo. Gingerbread updates the GPS files as well as the modem which drastically improves the GPS response and accuracy. If you have not updated to EI22, you should. Keep in mind that it will completely wipe your phone’s internal files (the SD card is not touched). Take a look at my update on To Root or Not to Root for info on manually updating to Gingerbread.
If you do not want to jump to the full Gingerbread release, you can also try updating the GPS with the daemon files from an earlier Gingerbread leak (not final, but close). These files are flashable through Clockwork Mod. Before I installed the full Gingerbread release, I tried this updated and the GPS performance improvement was incredible!