Google Maps - Offline GPS - Vacation In Italy - Data Charges?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by boltjames, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #1
    I'm vacationing in Sicily for a week and will use my iPhone 5 for turn-by-turn navigation extensively. I'm with AT&T and I don't want to eat up my data plan for the sake of GPS.

    I've read about Google Maps offline and have had my iPhone download the maps for the territory I'll be covering in Italy.

    Questions I hope you can help me answer:

    1. Since I've downloaded all the map data and will have it locally stored on the phone, can I leave my iPhone's 4G/LTE antenna on for other purposes or will that trick the iPhone into re-downloading the maps?

    2. If I must turn off Cellular Data in order to avoid racking up charges, will there be any issues with turn-by-turn navigation as a result of those antennae being disabled?

    Hoping someone who has used Google Maps offline in a foreign country might be able to answer.

    TIA

    BJ
     
  2. GoSh4rks macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #2
    1. It will download any data you missed. Likely, some data will be used.
    2. Navigation won't work at all.
     
  3. Hustler1337 macrumors 68000

    Hustler1337

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    London, UK
    #3
  4. stu.h macrumors 65816

    stu.h

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  5. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

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    May 2, 2010
    #5
    Whoa, thanks everyone. Didn't realize that data needed to be 'on' even for offline navigation, seems quite unintuitive.

    I read somewhere here once that Apple Maps uses a lot less data than Google Maps while driving with turn-by-turn directions, something like 5x less data which could solve my problem.

    Can anyone confirm this?

    Thanks again.

    BJ

    ----------

    I could, but that's $45 I'd rather not spend.

    I'm getting the 120MB data plan from ATT for $30 for the trip and so long as three days of driving will be covered within that I'd rather cap it at that.

    BJ
     
  6. GoSh4rks macrumors 6502

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    #6
    It isn't quite unintuitive because with Apple or Google Maps, there is no such thing as "offline navigation" and there won't be anytime in the foreseeable future.
     
  7. Chatter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 10, 2013
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    Uphill from Downtown
    #7
    [/COLOR]

    I could, but that's $45 I'd rather not spend.

    I'm getting the 120MB data plan from ATT for $30 for the trip and so long as three days of driving will be covered within that I'd rather cap it at that.

    BJ[/QUOTE]

    Did you look into NavFree? You do not need a data cxtn.
    Also, TMobile allows free Intl roaming on their plans. I know you are with ATT but if you think you may travel lots in the future, think about switching.
     
  8. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

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    May 2, 2010
    #8
    Well, Google themselves call it "offline" but I'm guessing you're saying it'll put a map in my phone but not allow the turn-by-turn?

    I found the article online that shows how Apple Maps is 5x less data-hungry than Google Maps. Makes me think Apple Maps is the answer.

    But if I downloaded the Google map in Italy I need (done already) using its 'offline' feature would that make Google Maps less data-consuming than Apple Maps?

    The idea here is that I'm trying to use an iPhone map for turn-by-turn connected properly but not using a ton of data and getting hit with ridiculous charges, if one scenario is better than the other in that regard please advise.

    Thanks!

    BJ
     
  9. GoSh4rks macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #9
    There is no offline turn by turn. Only map data is saved.

    The 5x-less-data comparisons are from when Apple maps first came out in 2012. Google maps has since been updated to also use vector graphics and I imagine that the data amounts are fairly comparable now.
     
  10. Hustler1337 macrumors 68000

    Hustler1337

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    Dec 23, 2010
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    London, UK
    #10
    Why not use the traditional paper map? Have people forgotten that these exist lol?

    The offline map on Google Maps can be used, just without live turn-by-trun navigation.
     
  11. MarkCollette macrumors 68000

    MarkCollette

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    Toronto, Canada
    #11
    The best approach, which I'm currently doing, is to have an unlocked phone, get a cheap Italian sim plus phone or data plan for €20 or less and have 1 GB, and just use Google maps or Apple maps regularly.
     
  12. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

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    May 2, 2010
    #12
    I need to use my iPhone for work during my travels and can't swap SIM's cards in/out frequently, just won't work.

    Thanks though.

    ----------

    Thanks for all the help Sharks.

    Is there definitive evidence that indeed Google Maps and Apple Maps now consume the same type of limited data? Short of doing an A/B test myself for a few days here in the US, would love to know so there are no surprises once over there.

    Best,

    BJ
     
  13. MarkCollette macrumors 68000

    MarkCollette

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    #13
    We brought an iPad mini with us, the idea being that we'd keep our original home sims in our phones and use the local Italian sim in the tablet for data and have the larger screen for mapping and web browsing, and be able to make hotspots for the iPhones. That might be better for you if you have a tablet or are willing to buy/borrow one for the trip. Tablet sims are even cheaper or for the same price get you 2 GB instead of 1 for a phone sim that gives you SMS and phone minutes. I got TIM but WIND is much cheaper. Not everyone has multiple devices or is traveling with someone with another device or has unlocked devices, but if you have some other device I'd recommend a local sim. I ended up getting one for my phone instead of the tablet since I needed to make more local calls then I had anticipated.
     
  14. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

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    May 2, 2010
    #14
    My A/B test results on an iPhone 5 running latest firmware all apps/iOS up to date:

    (Apple Maps) to work: 28 miles, 40 minutes, used 3.6 MB (Thursday)
    (Apple Maps) to work: 28 miles, 40 minutes, used 0.3 MB (Friday)

    (Google Maps) to home: 28 miles, 40 minutes, used 2.1 MB (Thursday)

    The first test (Apple Maps Thursday) I did not shut off push email which likely clouded the numbers. Either that, or not having used Apple Maps to commute it had a one-time download of map data, thus the 3.6 MB reading.

    Today, same identical drive (Apple Maps Friday) with push email turned off the identical ride was only 348KB which is insanely tiny.

    Google Maps did the identical ride yesterday (the commute home) and came in at 2.1 MB and that was with push email turned off- we'll see today on my ride home if it was also the first-time map download that put it over the edge.

    At this point, both mapping solutions would be well under the 120MB international data plan I'm purchasing, and I'll test it again but Apple Maps looks to be so efficient with data that the need for any type of offline GPS in Italy might be nill.

    BJ
     
  15. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #15
    Google Maps - Offline GPS - Vacation In Italy - Data Charges?




    That used to be the case but Google changed they're mapping. Data usage will be relatively similar.

    ----------


    I haven't tested mine in a while but my drive to work which is 15 miles Google used .7 mb more data. This would compound with enough usage I suppose but oddly unlike your test Apple and Google both used over 2 mb.

    I would also thoroughly compare the area you'll be traveling abroad before you leave. In Ireland and Tokyo Apple maps was absolutely terrible for me. In the US it's been pretty good.
     
  16. BMcCoy macrumors 65816

    BMcCoy

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #16
    Get navfree Italy.

    It's free.
    And it provides full turn-by-turn navigation whilst your phone has data roaming switched off.

    The interface isn't as intuitive or polished as other maps apps, but it's free!
     
  17. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

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    May 2, 2010
    #17
    Going to download it and give it a try.

    Thanks!

    BJ
     
  18. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #18
    UPDATE:

    (Apple Maps) to work: 28 miles, 40 minutes, used 3.6 MB (Thursday)
    (Apple Maps) to work: 28 miles, 40 minutes, used 0.3 MB (Friday)

    (Google Maps) to home: 28 miles, 40 minutes, used 2.1 MB (Thursday)
    (Google Maps) to home: 28 miles, 40 minutes, used 2.0 MB (Friday)

    Okay folks, I'm going to try this one more time next week to make sure I don't have any dirty data but it does appear that Apple maps is significantly easier on the data than Google maps and my clear choice for my trip to Italy.

    I will post back in case someone in the future comes across this thread.

    BJ
     
  19. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #19

    Is that a typo? You have 3.6mb used by Apple maps. That's very inconsistent results if correct.
     
  20. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

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    May 2, 2010
    #20
    Yeah, it was likely an accident, I'd left Push email 'on' and I think that skewed the results.

    Will test another round on Monday.

    BJ
     
  21. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #21
    Okay, so I tested Waze against Apple Maps today, identical route, Waze on the way out, Apple on the way back, 30 minutes, 19 miles, local streets and highway, the results:

    Waze: 1.2MB
    Apple: 0.4MB

    No matter what turn-by-turn GPS app I test against it, Apple Maps comes up with the lowest data usage of any of 'em. Additionally, I find Apple Maps building detail, smooth scrolling, lag-free reaction, and 3D zoom/turn animations vastly superior to the rest.

    Unless Apple Maps puts me in a corn field in Italy, I'm sticking with it.

    BJ
     
  22. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 9, 2014
    #22
    This is the correct answer.
     
  23. boltjames thread starter macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #23
    Greetings from Italy.

    Apple Maps was flawless in Sicily, we drove for several days, got it right each time and we were utterly amazed that even tiny dirt roads that maybe three people a day drive were accurately represented.

    Was very low on data, under 20mb the whole way.

    Thanks to all who helped advise.

    BJ
     

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