Shift in GPS track depending on wrist

As an avid heatmapper / run every street I'm particularly interested in more accurate GPS tracks.  I've been perplexed by why has appeared to be a shift of my GPS tracks to the left of where I run no matter what direction I run in.  So if I run an out and back on a road it looks like I've practically run a loop because its shifts it off the road on both sides.  In general my tracks are off the road and sometimes its more egregious than others.  I took to running on the wrong side of the road (with traffic instead of against) to get it more centered.  I then did an experiment and changed my watch to my right hand.  Low and behold my tracks started looking significantly better!  I figured there must be some sort of setting I was missing.  I found the wrist setting in my Fenix 6 and changed it from "left" (the correct setting) to "right" and it made no difference.  


Wearing the watch on my right wrist example here:

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4692022516  - I ran on the side of the road against traffic and its shifted to the right, which is closer to the middle of the road

Wearing the watch on my left wrist example:

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4488678027 - notice how all the tracks are to the left where you would be running against traffic off the road

Really neither of these examples are very accurate as they don't capture where I really ran but at least with wearing it on the right hand it will actually show on the road I was running on.   I don't know if this is an intentional shift or not.  Also I'm not a fan of wearing it on my right hand (again wrist setting seem to make no difference in my tests).  Does anyone have any info on this?  

Also this isnt a one off test. All my runs with my Fenix 6 are like this and I found many with my Fenix 5 as well.  Additionally I have done several runs with it on my right wrist and they consistently produce better results every time.

  • Run from yesterday with a Marq and F6 on the left wrist and another F6 on the right wrist. I have several of these in open and with overhead tree coverage. There can be a difference between wrists but that usually occurs if there are obstacles on that same side. I often see small differences on the long straight that runs South West on this run as it is a narrow pavement with high walls, fences and trees very close by. It will differ depending on whether I run left to right, or right to left.

    No surprises that the wrist setting made no difference. That's purely related to the gesture needed to activate the backlight.

  • Yeah, this is uniform for me pretty much anywhere I run.  There is little to no tree coverage or larger buildings in the areas I have been running.  Its immensely frustrating after paying so much for the Fenix devices.

  • What are your expectations? Garmin suggest we should be happy with plus/minus 15m most of the time but in reality I get closer to plu/minus 5m most of the time.

    You can zoom in to the map and you'll see that most of the time the track is on the correct side of the road. Sometimes it'll wander over the other side but that's a realistic rendition of the path I took for a wrist worn GPS

    BTW, your activities are locked.

  • Thanks I unlocked them.  Well my GPS tracks of older watches performed much better.  Im ok with it not being perfect all the time and understand that it will be off at times some number of meters in each direction but its consistently wrong and shifted based on my directionality. 

  • Also it would be a different story if it was some inaccuracy that was consistent regardless of which wrist I was wearing it on.  It seems designed to be doing this shift based on the orientation of the watch when running.

  • i think you should test your watch in an open field before coming to a judgement.

    It's quite dense where you run.

    Sometime a canopy can offset the signal and it takes a while to get it back on track. 

    Also it seems that you didn't have a good signal from the start. did you soak the gps before starting? 

  • Um no, it is not dense at all.  Even if it was it is Winter and there are no leaves on the trees. This is completely independent of where I run.  Same thing happened in Utah last week when I was there.  I go when my GPS turns green, what else could I do?  I have done plenty of tests, its every run and its evident and obvious from every gps track and always off in the same manner.  Again when its on the right hand instead I simply see it shift the opposite direction which happens to be closer to the road because I run against traffic.

  • I go when my GPS turns green,

    Try to wait a bit longer. Couple of minutes or more. What I do, it's warm up with the activity selected then I check the map widget before I start. If the cursor is spot on over my location I start. I noticed the cursor moves to the right location as I am warming up. 

  • I get closer to plu/minus 5m most of the time

    Mee to but I learnt to avoid as much as I can certain areas such as running adjacent tall buildings and canopies.

    I think that's the trick. Understand the limit s of the technology and adapt to it

  • What's wrong with this? https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4692022516?fullscreen=true. Yes in places it's adrift much not by much considering there's a reasonable amount of tree cover there.

    And same here - https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4488678027?fullscreen=true

    Do you have anything more recent?

    What GPS are you using? Do you have 1s recording set?

    Have you got some older tracks from other watches you can post for comparison? I have tracks going back to the 310XT that show little difference to the tracks I am recording on the same course now. 

    310XT from 2009

    F6 Sapphire Pro from Tuesday

    The tracks look perfectly acceptable until you zoom right in, which too be honest is all I look at most of the time anyway. I'm more interested in the distance and pace for the activity than the lines drawn on the map. Heat maps will still show the general location of an aggregate number of time the route has been run. 

    Two main things at play with the tracks recorded in Garmin Connect. The first is obviously the quality of GPS signal received and interpreted by the device, the second is the accuracy of the maps used to display the signal.