Mod Edit (@harrisonhjones): Solution: Adding an external GPS antenna to the Photon configuration solve the problem.
For firmware development debugging, I would like to use the Asset tracker shield with a Photon.
When I use a Photon, the GPS acquires a fix (red light goes out) but the majority of NEMA sentences the Photon receives are $GPGSA with very few $GPGGA sentences. My application sample the position and time every 15 seconds for 8 sample and then use publish and a web hook to sent the package of 8 samples to my website - with the Photon there are insufficient fix to collect 8 samples in any reasonable time.
When I replace the Photon with an Electron, the majority of the NEMA sentences are $GPGGA sentences and all works as one would expect - website receives packages of 8 sample every two minutes.
In both cases, the the hardware is in the asset tracker box with the cover off and the USB cable connected. There is no WifI antenna on the Photon. The firmware used on both Photo and Electron is the same - one flashed over WiFi the other OTA.
Any suggestions on what I might be doing incorrectly with the Photon.
When I set Time.zone(0), and used Time.now() to read the Unix seconds, I always get the Local time when I expected UTC time. According to the Doc, Time.now() should not that the value of Time.zone(0.
Is there some trick that I am missing?
BTW: The application is tracking racing sail boats in real time - well every 15 seconds.
Thank you for you assistance