Geode is not seeing satellites

13 Apr 2021

This article explains some of the common problems and solutions for when the Geode GNSS (GPS) receiver is not seeing satellites.

Potential App Conflict

Geode Connect may not see satellites when another app or the operating system is also trying to access the Geode (and/or your location). After the initial setup and testing of the Geode, you may want to uninstall Geode Connect to avoid any potential conflicts with the actual data collection app that you will be using with the Geode. Otherwise, when encountering such an issue you may need to disconnect and fully close (swipe away) the conflicting apps or background services that are trying to access your Geode/location, disconnect or turn off Bluetooth, or restart your phone/tablet/computer and then only connect your data collection app.

Using a New Receiver

To be able to use all of the available satellites and obtain the most reliable position, a new receiver should be turned on and left outside under open sky for at least 25 minutes.

When a new receiver is first used, it needs to receive and download the Almanac message from the GPS satellites. The almanac is broadcast from every satellite in 12.5 minutes segments and repeats every 25 minutes. Until the download is complete, the receiver may not see all of the available satellites or see a very limited set of satellites.

For more information see the Geode Owner's Manual or the GNS3 User's Manual.

After Long Term Storage or Moving Long Distances

When the Geode has been stored for months or has been moved a long distance (such as across states or countries), it will again need to download a new almanac similar to as explained above for a new receiver.

Initializing for Work Day

At the beginning of each work day, the Geode may need to be turned on and left outside under open sky for at least a few of minutes to obtain a 3D GNSS Fix (amber light flashes) and then a DGPS fix (amber light solid). This should be done before attempting to connect to a data collection app. During the work day, you may lose DGPS fix (solid amber light) if an obstruction is encountered blocking SBAS satellites which are at an angle above the southern horizon in the northern hemisphere (northern sky in the southern hemisphere). This angle above the horizon decreases at higher latitudes and can result in more obstructions as the SBAS satellites will be lower in the sky. This and other possible causes to fix loss are shown and described in Best practices for better GPS accuracy in the field.

Factory Reset

The Geode Connect software utility can be used to Hard (Cold) Reset and then Soft (Warm) Reset the Geode. This is done under Receiver Configuration > Advanced > Reset Factory Defaults.

If the receiver is reset to the factory defaults (a hard reset), moved a long distance from its previous location (across states or country), or has been in storage for a long time (months), a new Almanac should be downloaded to the receiver in order to use all available satellites.

To obtain the most accurate position, the receiver must be turned on and left outside under open sky for at least 25 minutes.

Enable NMEA Sentences

Specific NMEA sentences need to be enabled to view which satellites are visible by the receiver. In most instances, the default NMEA sentences are sufficient. The Geode Connect utility (or a terminal connection) can be used to enable these sentences. Some devices such as EM sensors and GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) require only one or two sentences to be enabled (which may not include satellite information).

To verify and enable the GGA, GNS, GSA, and GSV sentences that contain satellite information, as well as other NMEA sentences, select Receiver Configuration (Settings) > NMEA Sentences. The defaults for all Geode models include GGA, GNS, GSA, GST, GSV, RMA, RRE, and VTG.

Specific Constellations

You can verify if a Geode unit is GPS only or Multi-GNSS by entering the serial number on our Check Product Status web page. An upgrade code can be purchased if needed. If you cannot see satellites from a specific GNSS constellation (such as Galileo or Beidou), please see Geode not showing Galileo or Beidou satellites.