VA3 GPS accuracy

Hi, so I’ve had my VA3 for 3 days and wanted to see if anyone has any advice for GPS accuracy. I have software version 5, 1 sec recording and GPS and glonas on.




The route I walk / run has very light tree cover, it’s mostly open sky with light cover on the sides. I have attached a link where I walked the dog and remained on the path.




I have taken screen shots of the route and added them to protect my location of start point etc




Where I crossed the road at the start and end I crossed at the same point.




https://imgur.com/gallery/6rtjr28
  • Are you making sure you have a good GPS connection before you start?

    Please post a link to the activity on Garmin Connect so we can have a better look.
  • The VA3 does not support open water swimming, only in pools.
  • The VA3 does not support open water swimming, only in pools.


    Hi SvenvdMeer, what do you mean? That there is no dedicated app for open water or the GPS does not work properly in the water?
  • Just compare the specs of the VA3 (https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/602068#specs) with Fenix 5 Plus (https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/603267#specs) for example. Scroll to the bottom and you will see the difference. All gps antennas have problems with getting a signal while underwater. But the more expensive Garmin watches are able to make sense of the good signals they do get when your arm is above the water for a brief period (or something like that). When you swim in a pool your watch detects the change of direction and uses that with a given pool length to calculate the distance.
  • randall365: The VA3 is unfortunately not best in class when it comes to GPS accuracy. Based on the picture you posted I experience similar deviations as you. Also, I find that the recorded distance can be off by as much as 4% compared to a known distance (or a previously recorded distance of the exact same route).

    Regarding GPS vs. GPS+Glonass I don't know for sure what's best, and also I think it might depend on where on the globe you are located. After I discovered the distance deviation I tried enabling Glonass, but I didn't find any major improvment to the accuracy (maybe rather a small decrease actually) so now I'm back to using GPS only.

    You might want to check out this site: http://fellrnr.com/wiki/GPS_Accuracy
  • That is somehow strange. From my point of view, the VA3 has a quite good GPS. Taken the elevation apart...
    I´m running with others very often. The Fenix3 is horrible. Minimum of 10% less distance. Often "Pause"-notification in the woods. Rough edges on the map later on.
    The Polar is a bit better, but also not as precise as the VA3. And it shows a different pace during the run.

    My old forerunner got the best GPS. It took ages to find a signal and you were half way through the battery, until you could start. But the map was smooth, right on the track and I returned to the point, where I started. Not 25 meters apart.

    When I do officially timed runs, I´m close to the distance and time. Only in a forest with a closed roof of leafs, and/or on heavy rainy days, it differs.
  • I have not done any direct comparisons with other devices personally - so the "not best in class" comment above was based on the testing done by fellrnr as he seems to have quite a scientific approach to it.
  • Just compare the specs of the VA3 (https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/602068#specs) with Fenix 5 Plus (https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/603267#specs) for example. Scroll to the bottom and you will see the difference. All gps antennas have problems with getting a signal while underwater. But the more expensive Garmin watches are able to make sense of the good signals they do get when your arm is above the water for a brief period (or something like that). When you swim in a pool your watch detects the change of direction and uses that with a given pool length to calculate the distance.


    thanks, I understand
  • As a golfer GPS accuracy is key. I've now played two different courses and I'm finding accuracy to typically be within 3 yards or less of markers. So I think the GPS in the VA3 is pretty good.
  • Today morning @ my work parking some guys show up with some fancy geo-survey equipment, started measuring around probably to plan couple of building in an empty lot beside.
    I asked the fella if he could tell me what is the altitude height at that location? Based on google my street (30 km away) is at 175 M, but this was an opportunity to compare to some high tech equipment first hand.
    "depend what and how you measure..." was the answer.
    Doesn't matter just give me one number I can live with +/- 5%.....
    So I got a 188 point something meters. Checked my VA3 was at 186 meters....hm, not bad, that is about 2 meters meaning my wrist is about 1 meter from a ground....
    I guess I am happy.
    For a lunchtime I always walk my 3.5 kilometer walk rain or shine or snow...so today I started at that same point in the parkinglot at 186 and after my return to the same point....and I got 186 again.
    Now the testing I was tinkering about for some time, I did as well today.
    In my way out my watch wrist loose slide in the pocket (so the arm and wrist is vertical and of course the watch body stay vertical as well and no swinging arms but travels with my body). In my way back normally I swing my arms as normally all we do. When I got back to the office, sync to GC. And....
    Zoom in to map as much google allowed me, and the red line was way smoother right there on walkway when I was loose swinging my arms through the walk, in contrast when the watch was "travelling" locked to my pocket...
    Just my story to chew further.
    btw, my gps updates per 1 second...and my steps/paste through 3.5 Km is for a hair faster then 1 second=meaning 1 Herz...somehow the gps algorithm is guessing "sometimes" which direction I may be going based on the arm swing (antena pulsation)....because if you pay more attention how and what your lower arms doing when you walk ...is not entirely parallel with direction of your path...