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How Systems Manager Approximates the Location of a Managed Device

Systems Manager makes a best effort to estimate a device's location. Occasionally this estimate is inaccurate. We use these four methods to locate a device, in order of decreasing accuracy:

  • Manual (via User-Defined) 
    This is a static location manually set in Dashboard. Meraki admins can click on a client in the clients list, choose Edit Details, and then manually type in an address. Note: User-Defined locations will override any other type of location reporting. 
  • GPS location (via GPS)
    This is the most accurate location data SM can use, and is available natively for Android devices. iOS devices may report a GPS location with our SM iOS app installed, enabled, and active (see below).
  • Location of Meraki products (via AP)
    If your organization has other Meraki products, such as WiFi access points, we can use their location as part of the calculation.
  • Bssid geolocation (via WiFi)
    Location based on the bssid (the address of the WiFi network).
  • IP geolocation (via IP)
    Location based on the device's most recent IP address. This is our fallback mechanism, and the one that's most likely to be inaccurate. The results of a geoIP lookup can depend on a variety of factors, including where the owner of the IP (not the user of the IP) has it registered, where the agency that controls the IP is located, proxies, and cellular IPs. You may override this location by creating an IP override on the Systems manager > Configure > General > Network locations  section of Dashboard. Add a network location mapping the public IP address reported in Dashboard to the actual physical address of the device. From then forward, the map will register devices using that specified public IP to the specified map location.
    Note: Setting a location manually will override all automatic location reports until the setting is removed.

 

To determine how the location of your device is being approximated, check the device's location above the map on the device's client details page. 

Improving Location Data for iOS

More info on enabling location tracking for iOS devices can be found here.

For additional functionality, it is recommended to download the Cisco Meraki Systems Manager iOS app. This can be deployed via Systems Manager, like any other iOS app, by searching "Meraki" under MDM > Apps > Add new. As an added benefit, the Meraki SM app also provides the capability to send notifications to devices directly from the client details page, access a personalized app store, and use a digital file backpack.

 

Please note that the SM app must be running for it to report a GPS location. iOS will automatically unload apps if they aren't used frequently, and upon reboot of the device, the app will not run until launched. You can request that the user launch the app by issuing a "Request GPS location" command from the client's details page. If the user selects the prompt notification, the app will launch, and the GPS location can be fetched. Otherwise, the approximate location will be calculated using one of our other three methods.  

Forcing GPS Location

Due to Apple end-user privacy restrictions, it is not possible for EMM vendors to force GPS location on iOS devices without user notification, or lock location services to always be enabled. The one exception to this is using 'Lost Mode', which can be found in the MDM commands on the Client Details page. Lost Mode forces location services on, while disabling all other functionality on the device. This can be used as a tool to remediate non-compliant users who are blocking location service requests from Systems Manager.

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Last modified
08:00, 25 Jul 2017

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