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PCB design guidelines

Question asked by ullrich.marten on Nov 3, 2014

I'm developing a compass module based on the LSM303D with a STM32F030x as host controller.
I'm a little bit confused about the inconsistent PCB guidelines and application hints.
In the application hints section of the datasheet for LSM303D it is stated, that "Power supply decoupling capacitors .. should be placed as near as possible to the supply pin
of the device (common design practice)."
Whereas all reference designs have their capacitors placed far away from the device to have a symmetric PCB layout.
Does somebody have any experience with hardware designs of e-compass devices?
Another question.. is it recommended to spare out the ground plane on the bottom side of the PCB as well?

Thanks in advance.