Location Without Tears

This is an overview guide to choosing a method for fixing your location with Tasker. At the end are some advanced power-saving strategies.

Power / Accuracy Comparison

Method Power Usage Acc Network Wifi BT
State: Cell Near * *
State: BT Near ** ***** Y
Location: Net ** ** Y
Location: Net & Wifi*** */***** Y Y
State: Wifi Near **** ***** Y
Location: GPS ***** ***** Y

More stars mean higher power usage or higher accuracy (Acc).

Detail Comparison

State: Cell Near

Setup
Create a state context, select Phone then Cell Near. Click Update and walk around a bit to scan for cell towers nearby.
About
Uses information about the cell towers the phone uses for telephony to record and match a location.

When the display is off, frequency of checks is controlled by Menu / Prefs / Monitor / Display Off All Checks.

If your profile keeps deactivating, go back to the Cell Near state and click the magnifying glass icon to check for cells you may have missed in your scan.

Plus / Minus
Other Settings

State: BT Near

Setup
Create a State context, click BT Near (in the Net category), fill in the name or address of a bluetooth device near the location you want to identify.
About

BT Near does regular Wifi Scans and will activate when it recognizes a device you have configured is nearby. Note: you don't have to connect to the device, so it doesn't have to be a device you own.

Frequency of checks is controlled by Menu / Prefs / Monitor / BT Scan Seconds (screen on) and Menu / Prefs / Monitor / Display Off All Checks (screen off).

Check the BT Toggle box if you don't want bluetooth enabled all the time. It will then be toggled when Tasker needs to do a scan.

If your target device is a low-energy device, deselect Standard Devices to reduce energy usage. If you can pair with the target device, you can have a major reduction in power usage and scan times by not selecting Non-Paired Devices.

Plus / Minus

Location: Net

Setup
Create a location context, and deselect GPS.
About

Net location accuracy varies greatly. It's very important that you create a large radius around the spot you wish to detect.

Frequency of checks is controlled by Menu / Prefs / Monitor / Network Location Check (screen on) and Menu / Prefs / Monitor / Display Off All Checks.

More Info.
Plus / Minus

Location: Net & Wifi

Setup
Create a location context and deselect GPS. Make sure your device's Wifi is turned on when you want a more accurate location fix.
About

Net location can be assisted by nearby access points when Wifi is turned on (Google has a map of APs for many areas).

Turn Wifi off when not needed to conserve power e.g. use a Time context to turn wifi off at night.

Plus / Minus

State: Wifi Near

Setup
Create a State context, click Wifi Near (in the Net category), fill in the SSID of an Access Point (AP) with the best signal near where you want to identify.
About

Wifi Near does regular Wifi Scans and will activate when it recognizes an AP you have configured is nearby. Note: you don't have to connect to the AP. You could configure e.g. the neighbours AP if the signal is strong enough.

Frequency of checks is controlled by Menu / Prefs / Monitor / Wifi Scan Seconds (screen on) and Menu / Prefs / Monitor / Display Off All Checks (screen off).

Check the Wifi Toggle box if you don't want wifi on all the time. It will then be toggled when Tasker needs to do a scan. This isn't needed in In Android 4.4+ if you select Scanning Always Available in Advanced Wifi Settings and will save power.

Plus / Minus
Location: GPS
Setup
Create a location context, and deselect Net.
About

Frequency of GPS checks is controlled by Menu / Prefs / Monitor / GPS Check (screen on) and Menu / Prefs / Monitor / Display Off All Checks. Higher frequencies mean more battery usage but that location changes will be noticed more quickly.

When indoors, GPS will try a long time to get a signal, using a lot of battery. Adjust it at Menu / Prefs / Monitor / GPS Timeout. Make the timeout as low as you can until you start losing effectiveness.

More Info.
Plus / Minus

Advanced Strategies

Multiple Contexts
Tasker does not check high-power contexts until all lower-power contexts in the same profile are active. You can use this to reduce power consumption. For instance, if you use the Wifi Near state to detect coming home, you could add a Location: Net context to the same profile, so that wifi scanning will only take place when you are in the right neighbourhood.
Location Control
Disable GPS/Net location when they're not needed by creating a separate profile with e.g. a Time context which disables GPS during the night.

This works because Location contexts assume you are in the same location until there is a fix which says otherwise.